So the wait is over. I verbally accepted a job offer last week. (And got completely wasted on that same night semi-coincidentally, the sickness that stretched over the next 24 hours convinced me I’m too old to celebrate by over-drinking.)
I was really happy though, mostly becoz I do think it’s a positive move career-wise, but partly also becoz I was cathartically relieved the wait was finally over. For someone who hasn’t changed job in the past 4 years, I was indeed a bit rustic in the job market and had little idea of how difficult and agonizing the process can be these days, even from the side of being headhunted.
Let me start from the beginning.
Sometime last year, I was approached by a recruiter about a job, and I happened to start to have the idea of looking around at the same time, so I agreed to proceed with the opportunity without knowing what I signed up for. It was a very strong brand, let’s say Company P. The interviews went quite well, I managed to move to the next steps successfully after every round, and I managed to complete all ten rounds of interviews and one written test with all positive feedbacks.
In the end, I didn’t get that job. They chose another candidate over me. Things like this happen. But the annoying part is, I had to wait for literally one month for this piece of disappointing news. I remember receiving the email from my headhunter when I was alone in Bali during the new year break, right after a morning yoga session. I was sitting at a beautiful cafe facing a beautiful rice field, and feeling only deeply depressed. In fact, it wasn’t even about not getting the job (trust me, after one month of not hearing, you wouldn’t be still expecting anything positive anymore). It’s about feeling a concrete sense of loss, which only started to kick in from that moment, all the interviews that I had to go through, all those nights and weekends spent preparing for them, all the time and effort I had committed. For what? I’d be lying if I said there was no bitterness felt at all. From the first day I heard of this job to the last day I heard from this job, it took two and half months.
After this episode with Company P, and several other unfruitful interviews that my headhunter rushingly set me up with (I couldn’t tell if he was trying hard to comfort me or just can’t wait to cash me out), I just felt pretty exhausted and decided to put my job-hopping thoughts on hold. I was equally jaded in the job market as I was in the dating market, and turned myself into the “not-looking” mode all together.
Fast-forward to this June, I got an email about a role from the same recruiting firm. The role was with, let’s say Company A. I took a glimpse and forgot about it. I got several more messages from the recruiter chasing me over it, telling me Company A was really interested in meeting me. I relentlessly ignored them. (yes I was that jaded.)
Fast-forward to this August, I received another email from another recruiter, telling me about the same role of Company A and the same message that the hiring manager was really interested in meeting me. Now Company A had successfully got my attention. Why is Company A so obsessed with me? Out of curiosity I agreed to meet with the recruiter and hear him out about this job. It turned out that the hiring manager joined A from P earlier this year, and even though she didn’t interview me for that Company P job, she had heard good words about me from her ex-colleagues (who interviewed me), and thought I’d be a good fit for the Company A role she’s recruiting.
Everything after was pretty plain and straightforward comparatively. After only 2 rounds of on-site written tests, 7 rounds of interviews (including a final round of being asked about my political views on the current HK mess and I basically took a leap of faith by being truthful of what I think), two weeks’ nerve-wracking wait after all of the above and one round of salary negotiation, I got the job.
At this point, my friend, I guess you could more or less resonate with how relived I was, not even for getting the job, but simply for having proved that at least someone does fancy me, and I’m after all not completely un-hireable in this cruel cruel market.
And at this point, I guess I could finally go back to that early January morning in Bali, pat on the shoulder of that girl sitting in the cafe gazing at the rice field with dismay, and tell her that all those interviews she had to go through, all those nights and weekends she spent preparing for them, all the time and effort she committed…she didn’t go through them for no good reasons.
P.S. Ironically, I got an unexpected raise last week on the same day I got the offer. Even though it didn’t change anything, still, I just wanna look up in the sky and ask whoever is up there: dude, WTF?