The Empowerment of No: An Experiment, Part One*

*As told through Tom Hanks and his many unique facial expressions, with special guest stars Meg Ryan and Judd Nelson.

Many years ago, I was in a theatre course. A theatre course where my theatre professor wanted us bright yet naive students to practice using different tactics when it came to conveying our subtext (translation for non theatre speaking readers: she wanted us to say our dialogue in different ways, using different methods, conveying different things so our scene partner and audience would believe we wanted something from them, didn’t want something from them, etc)

Not an actual theatre course. Merely a symbolic representation of how I remember my theater courses.

Not an actual theatre course. Merely a symbolic representation of how I remember my theater courses.

As I have shared before, those theatre courses taught me more about life than I think it ever intended to. Somewhere between Meisner and tongue twisters, a philosophy of life penetrated and made it’s way to a very important part of my cranium where it will hopefully stay safe for years to come.

That said, let me go back to the subject of tactics.

Specifically, tactics and the job search.

tom hanks troubled

Anyone else tired of filling out online application after online application, whoring out their resume via attachment like no tomorrow, and getting automated emails thanking us for our interest?

Yes that is Meg Ryan. yes this is from the movies Joe Vs. The Volacno. And yes this is how I feel with online applying.

Yes that is Meg Ryan. Yes, this is from the movie Joe Vs. The Volcano  And yes, this is how I feel with online applying.

Please virtually raise your hand if you are. Also audible “heck yeahs”that I hear in spirit would be nice.

This has nothing to do with Tom Hanks. But I caught the end of it tonight and it inspired me. Plus, one does that fist quite like Bender.

This has nothing to do with Tom Hanks. But I caught the end of it tonight and it inspired me. Plus, no one does that fist quite like Bender.

The process is tiring and exhausting. You want to apply to one job with one particular company, and what winds up happening is you have to set up an account on their particular job website, fill out all the information (unless you can Google Chrome Auto Fill In the answers ), write a cover letter, attach a resume, and all of your time is then returned with a friendly yet automatic response in your inbox. Then you sit, and wait, and after a few weeks you receive another friendly yet automatic email kindly explaining the position went to someone else. You go back to look for other job openings with that particular company, but since you have filled out so many applications with different companies, you forget your log in and password for that particular site, so instead you say screw it…and go watch Once Upon a Time instead.

tom hanks fun expression one

In this day and age, technology is a wonderful thing, and at the same time, a hindrance.

Which is why I’m changing my tactics.

When I was in high school, I wanted a part time job. So I drove around my little town, went into several businesses, got paper applications, and filled them out.

Today, I revisited my roots. Ironic, since last week I was all, like, trying to distance myself from teenage Amanda.

Today, I drove around in the Wisconsin special of a rainy snow concoction, and here is what I learned:

a) There is a graphic design joint in our industrial park. Who knew?

b) There is an event planning place in the same industrial park.

c) A local florist is hiring part time. I’m dropping off a resume tomorrow.

d) Everyone for the most part, kindly rejected me. But it was in person.

The first “no” was at the library, in a firm yet hushed, whispery tone. And it stung a smidge. I walked back out into the identity crisis precipitation, and asked ” But why? Why not? What’s wrong with me?” I had put on nice clothes, put make up on and done my hair nicely, and had brushed my teeth. So appearance and scent couldn’t be the offender.

"What's wrong with me?" Tom Hanks asks himself in the wonderful movie Joe Vs. the Volcano. Seriously, check it out

“What’s wrong with me?” Tom Hanks asks himself in the wonderful movie Joe Vs. the Volcano. Seriously, check it out

It was while I drove around where sense finally knocked itself into me. Nothing is wrong with you, Amanda.

This thought lingered as I continued.

At the florist, the owner seemed hesitant and leery of me.

“Do you have any experience?”

meg ryan and joe flowers

“Honestly, no.”

He did wind up asking for a copy of my resume though. Which I’m dropping off tomorrow, first thing while I conduct what I am now calling The Experiment, Part 2.

From there I went to the competition down the street.

“No we aren’t hiring, but we are always accepting applications.” She kindly gave me one with a smile.

My voice was growing stronger, my posture straighter, my gait more confident.

“It’s slow season, and I may need people in the summer, but I’m good right now.”

I smiled at the photographer, and walked out. Feeling determined.

There’s empowerment in the word “no.”

tom hanks gif

For with every no, I become more determined to receive a “yes.”

I’ve already landed a job as a very part time freelance correspondent with the local paper, and the first check arrived today. Seeing my work in print and being paid to tell stories is already fueling me in a way I didn’t see this time last year. I want to keep that going.

So tomorrow, The Experiment, Part Two will commence.

a) I will arise. Early.

b) I will review and revise my resume. Then I will print off many copies.

c) I will dress for success. I will straighten my hair. I will wear contacts. I will apply make up.

Perhaps, not quite to this caliber. But I am most certainly bringing it. The style, not the caviar.

Perhaps, not quite to this caliber. But I am most certainly bringing it. The style, not the caviar.

d) I will grab my map, which I made two nights ago, with places I want to go to in the most convenient way possible, travel wise.

e) I will grab coffee from my favorite local coffee shop to help me last the whole day.

f) Then, I will drive. I will drive to various selected destinations, I will go into various selected destinations and inquire about employment, paper applications or simply hand off a crisp resume and carry on.

g) I will be confident. I will stand firm in the face of countless rejections.

determined tom hanks

and then, finally

h) I will come back home. I’m not sure how I will come home. Successful? Feeling like that was a very bad idea? A combination of both? Numerous applications in hand to fill out? An interview or two in my planner? A new job even?

I don’t know. And honestly, this idea scares the bear scat out of me.

While I despise the online way of applying, it gives me a virtual wall to hide behind. Instead, doing what I am planning to do tomorrow will force me to get up close and personal, and force me to face rejection head on.

I think it’s what I need to shake things up a bit.

Here’s to tomorrow, and the unknown.

tom hanks in big at end

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