I didn't get the job.
My boss phoned me on my mobile while I was in the middle of Tescos with the youngest choosing a packed lunch box for her first ever school trip.
"I'm sorry Gappy. No-one wanted you to get the job more than me, but you just didn't give us the answers we were looking for."
A bit like a court case in which previous convictions for the same crime cannot be taken into account lest it prejudice the minds of the jury, my colleagues on the interview panel were not allowed to take into account the skills they know I have, and the good work they know I do. The interview questions were all scored - a point being awarded for various specific key words and phrases used by the interviewee - and I didn't score high enough on some of the questions; not because I don't know the answers, but because I just didn't say them right or go into enough detail.
So someone else will be starting my job after my temporary contract for it ends in two months time, and I will.... well, I'm not entirely sure what I will do. My boss was keen to point out that there was another job coming up soon and that they wanted to make sure to give me feedback from this interview so that I would be able to sail the next one if I wanted to apply for it, but I'm not sure if I do. The job will be in the information centre for one, and I much prefer refuge work. Also it will be five days a week which I just can't see myself being able to manage in the school holidays. On top of all that the working environments created by the two different teams are like night and day - the refuge team being a strong supportive group who take care of each other at work and the community/information centre being something of a snake pit in which nobody trusts each other and everybody goes about subtly undermining everybody else. I don't, in all honesty, really want to work there.
I also feel embarrassed if truth be told. I really appreciate their support in offering to try to make sure I get this next job, it's nice that my boss has specifically said that she knows I'm good and she wants me working for them, but really it's not their responsibility to try to make sure that I am gainfully employed. I feel as if they feel they owe me something because I have volunteered and covered paid posts at short notice for a long time now - but they don't really - it was my choice to do those things. One particularly helpful colleague from the community team said before my interview that she was hoping and praying I got the job because if I didn't it would just be "really awkward for you and everyone else." I refrained from laughing bitterly and saying "Yeah thanks for that," but it's true really. It is all a bit awkward.
Tomorrow night is the slightly belated leaving do of the colleague whose job it was that I had applied for. I want to go - she was a fantastic, dedicated support worker and colleague who taught me a lot - but I know that me having not got the permanent post is going to be a massive elephant in the room. I'm torn really - I don't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but I also think that if I don't go it will look as though I have simply spat my dummy out, which isn't the case at all. My feeling is that I should probably go and try to hold my head high. I tried my best, I didn't get it, I'm terribly disappointed, but I'll live. It's her night anyway and we should all be concentrating on being there for her.
What do you think? Any and all advice much appreciated.