I’ve applied and interviewed for jobs that I have not gotten. I’ve gotten used to rejection letters and all that. Usually I don’t get my hopes up, so it’s not so bad when I don’t get it. But for the job I interviewed for in the Chicagoland area two weeks ago, I did get my hopes up. The interview went so well, so much better than any other had for me, that I really believed I would get the job. My husband came up with me for the interview, and we drove around the suburbs, looking at houses for sale and rent. We let ourselves imagine what our life would be like if we lived there. My sister-in-law, her husband, and kids live right nearby, so it all fit perfectly into this little fantasy picture of our life. I’d practically redesigned the library’s website in my head. It was a nice fantasy, and it actually made me very happy to imagine my future that way.

Well, it was fun while it lasted. I found out yesterday that I didn’t get the job. It was very close, so close that they even called my references 3 days earlier. They wished they could have hired me — I was an excellent candidate — but they were blessed with two excellent candidates. They thought I was wonderful and thoroughly enjoyed meeting me. If they had another job, they’d definitely hire me for it. I don’t know if it’s better or worse to have come so close and still not have gotten it. I guess it’s good in terms of my prospects for getting another, but bad to know that maybe if I’d said or done something a little bit differently, it may have given me an edge over my competition.

What I don’t know is how to be enthusiastic about a job without getting my hopes up. If I’m not enthusiastic, I’m sure it will come through in the interview. But if I am truly enthusiastic about it, I risk being tremendously disappointed if I don’t get it. So, for you veterans of the job search, how do you manage to do that? How do you get yourself psyched up about a job and not let yourself be hurt by not getting it? How do you imagine yourself in the job without really getting attached to the idea?

On the upside, I’ll now have plenty of time to really see Chicago, visit the museums, and go to plays and lectures (the free ones, of course). We’ll be living rent-free for a few months, so, depending on whether or not I find a job in the area, it can be either an extended working vacation or move. At least it will be more fun to be unemployed in Chicago than in South Florida, where there isn’t all that much to do that doesn’t involve spending money. I still have some irons in the fire, jobwise. I have a phone interview in a little over a week. So I’ll just pick myself up, dust myself off, and continue with the job hunt, a little bit wiser than I was before. Though I am awfully curious how other people prepare themselves emotionally for interviews and rejection.