The Welcome Lightness of Losing
I'm writing this by the pool but in fact I started working a couple of weeks ago. My first real, paid job. Soon after I realized they expected me to show up on time and really, efficiently work for seven hours (unlike previous internships), the rush hour in London was overwhelming and just plain horrible, I wouldn't be best friends with my co-workers, and office life was monotonous. I hope to feel better (or think less) when I get a better hang of things. On top of all this, London proved to be unexpectedly cold and rainy in the summer, and they put a car full of explosives in the neighborhood I work. I'm just hoping that the odds that the same area is targeted for a second time are pretty low, unless the city is in war!
The day before my first day of work, I heard back from the FT about the internship prize I had applied for a couple of months ago. Working for the FT is my dream (although I barely read it unless I have to for work or school!) I do want to travel to developing countries and talk to people and help their plight (or uncover a plot) by writing just, honest, direct stories. That is as meaningful as it gets, something that will set me apart from everyone else in all those offices across the world. I imagined myself in cargo trousers - that special young fearless idealist journalist woman. Somebody finally discovered my huuuuuge potential.
Too much happiness makes you a little unstable and annoying, but I tried to keep my balance. I saw myself too good for my job (not exactly the best attitude to start a job when you clearly have a lot to learn!) but I did my best to keep my vanity to myself. I took pride in my modesty and tried to work hard.
Now, to keep the long story short, as there's nothing exciting about the post-interview wait and playing the interview scene over and over in your head, weighing your pros and cons, I didn't get the internship. That shouldn't come as a surprise because I haven't done anything that I aspire to do yet. I just feel much more clear-headed and balanced now. I'm excited about my life and projects again. Steve Jobs likes to tell how getting fired from the board of Apple turned out to be a good thing for him. Starting fresh is great because it is humbling. You realize your real value, and you are ready to learn and work hard to increase it.