You Look Like You Belong There

Almost four years ago, I applied to my dream job at St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I grew up with the idea of St. Jude – seeing the commercials on TV, feeling for those children battling cancer – growing up, I thought I would be a nurse there. I went to college and decided prior to signing up for my first semester my freshman year that nursing wasn’t for me. All of those courses nurses have to take, were all of the classes I dreaded in high school. Why would I put myself through that for four years? I switched to psychology right before the semester started. That dream of St. Jude was muted. And then, my sophomore year, I discovered child life! YAY! I could still potentially work for St. Jude, but this time as a child life specialist. It was all working out!

During my job search after my internship, I applied to St. Jude and was given an interview! I flew down to Memphis and was on cloud nine. I rode in a taxi to the hotel with an older couple and as we drove past St. Jude, I said “I have an interview there tomorrow.” The woman looked me up and down, smiled, and said “You look like you belong there…something about you….” There I was, floating higher and higher. All the affirmations kept coming!

The interview was a whole day – I felt that I connected with the team really well, I really loved the way they had their team dispersed throughout the hospital, and I appreciated the time they took to show me around. It all felt like they were setting me up to be hired. The manager even told me they had not ONE position open, but THREE. I thought I was feeling pretty confident already, but once she told me there was more than one position open, I knew I had it in the bag.

And that is the worst thing to do. To get your hopes up so high, to hear all the affirmations, to see all the puzzle pieces fit together and then get the email:

although your qualifications were impressive, we have selected another candidate whose skills and abilities more closely fit our needs at this time.”

Ouch.

I was blindsided.

I was not expecting that.

I had applied to the hospital that I did my practicum at, Beacon Children’s Hospital, several months prior to this and received a similar email stating that “they were really impressed but someone else came in with their Master’s, certification and more experience.”

Nothing was looking up for me anymore. But…looking back, let me retrospectively tell you what all of this did for my life.

Moving from northern Indiana to Memphis, Tennessee would have meant that I wouldn’t have met my, now, husband.

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He moved to southern Michigan to pursue his Doctorate in Counseling Psychology and we both happened to wander onto the same dating app (Coffee Meets Bagel – hilarious) and met up at a coffee shop several days after matching online. Let me tell you, the wait for him was so much greater than any job offer at St. Jude.

That person that Beacon Children’s Hospital hired instead of me? One of my, now, dearest friends, because I was hired several months after her when one of their team members left for another job.

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She also happens to be the person I started our hospital’s surgery program with from scratch. I could not have done this without her. Lots of tears shed together – starting a program in a different department that is unaware of all that child life can do is TOUGH. Imagine what I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish had they NOT hired her first.

Now I’m a person of faith, so I like to look at it this way: God knows way more about your story than you do and you just have to trust the process. It is far greater than anything you could have ever imagined.

Sometimes right after a rejection, you’re not ready to hear all of that. But keep a journal and look back at those rejections a year or two later and see all you accomplished; how that would have not happened if you were accepted to XYZ.

I promise it all works out.

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