You've wasted your time applying for the office scapegoat position. We did not read your cover letter, but we did use your resume as toilet paper in the bathroom this morning, because we ran out. Thank you for your pathetic desperation.
Human Resources Department
Apparently, after my three years spent working for a marketing company, my experience as an office manager, and my four years spent in college earning a degree in English, I was under qualified for an entry level position as a university administrative assistant in Boston. The managerial and authoritative skills I possessed didn't mean squat. My writing abilities, understanding of excel, proficiency in grammar and spelling, and my impeccable attention to detail were all vetoed.
As I sat cross legged on the floor in the middle of my bedroom, I read and reread the words, but they didn't seem to register. Every time I finished, I started over hoping for a different outcome. The conclusion never changed, because the position had been given to somebody else. I was frustrated that a generic rejection letter, probably sent to dozens of people, had reduced me to feeling useless and worthless.
After fifteen minutes of sitting on my bedroom floor and attempting to sort career options out in my brain while staring blankly into space, I gathered the remaining scraps of my pride and migrated to my desk. I turned all of the lights out, lit a few candles, and sat in complete silence for a half hour.
I breathed deeply, and every time negative thoughts entered my mind, I acknowledged them, and did my best to let them go. I can't explain what urged me to do what I did next, but without thought or hesitation, I reached into my drawer and took out my notebook. I flipped to an open page, grabbed a blue sharpie, and began ferociously writing.
I am passionate. I am intelligent I am tenacious I am determined I am artistic. I am brave I am creative I am capable
Tears streamed down my face as I sat alone in my dark apartment listing good qualities about myself, valuable qualities I knew to be true. It was in doing so that I realized what I should have known all along. Deep down, I did not even want the administrative assistant position. I did not want to be sitting behind a grey cubicle, monotonously punching numbers for other people and faxing documents I had no part in creating.
I wanted to create something bigger than myself, bigger than the emptiness I felt when I thought about taking a job I knew I would hate. I opened my computer and read my cover for the administrative position I had just been rejected for. It didn't even sound like me. It sounded like somebody who was trying to be professional. It sounded like somebody who had been fed the right things to say on a cover letter to appear qualified for a position.
Perhaps I should have written: Dresses well. Listens to great music. Meets deadlines like a pro. Writes like a boss. Let's make it happen.
I glanced over my list of positive qualities again, and on the very last line of my list I wrote in blue capital letters: I WILL ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS. I read the rejection letter once more, and instead of throwing it in the garbage, I stapled my list of positive qualities on top it, and put them in the desk drawer.
Carley is a twenty four year old currently living in New Hampshire. After graduating college with a degree in English, and taking a couple of years to travel the globe (ahem, while constantly getting lost using foreign public transportation in large cities) she now resides back in her home town. She is somewhere between trying to have it all figured out, and not even being close, but she writes in hopes that somebody out there thinks the way she does. She has a NikonD3000 that could be considered a third arm, and she may seek surgical help for this eventually. Carley thinks speaking in third person is incredibly awkward, but she's glad you're here anyway. You can find Carley on her personal blog (http://findingravity.com) or on twitter @carbarton. *fistbump*