I got a phone call earlier today, with the news that I had not been chosen for a job position I had applied for. As always, I tried to accept the information with an eye toward what I may have done “wrong,” with the intention of simply doing it differently, next time I get the chance. In this case, the single most important reason for the choice seems to be (according to the phone call I got, which I have no reason to distrust) was a misunderstanding of what the “Important part” was.
I’ve enumerated my personal struggles past usefulness elsewhere, suffice it to say that after what ended up amounting to a self-imposed exile from… well, from people, I guess… I have been looking for ways to alter my perspective and find my way to fit in and contribute to… the community of people. Saw a MyFaceTweet about a church needing someone to run their streaming on Sundays… and perhaps eventually evolve into a position that worked on their website and social media endeavors.
I tried not to get too excited, but wow, it sure sounded perfect. I’ve been participating in social media with jjewell.com and beyond since 1996… I’ve been doing sound and video for live performances since 2003… this was a reasonably small step back into the people-verse for me, less likely to overwhelm, but room to grow… and it’s a church I know that still contains friends and family, although I personally have not been a part of its activities for years. I followed up, made and returned calls, had a Zoom interview. It… really seemed like things were going pretty well.
The misunderstanding was this: it was always clear they had, ultimately, two positions in mind, which could possibly both be filled by one person… and that the first position of greatest need was the Sunday Service part of it: making sure everything ran correctly, and things got posted in a timely manner. Their website and other advancements were a secondary priority. Again, at first, this had seemed perfect for me: in looking for excuses to stretch my recording and editing muscles (not to mention possibly the performance muscles as well), I tried to focus on the things I could bring to the Sunday Service table. When the social media aspect of it came into play, I presented more long term thoughts… social media is by definition always in flux; clicks, impressions, and likes are poor measures of meaningful interaction; and discovering the ways different media speaks to different groups… so the opportunity is to use a beefier Sunday Service in different ways on different forms of social media to create more actual connections.
Despite my proven abilities to be a positive participant in the church’s Sunday Service (I was in the choir, I was a worship leader, I was a lay speaker: I sang from that loft, I spoke from that lectern, I preached from that pulpit), the position went to a person who possessed more Social Media cred than I did.
I misunderstood what they meant by focusing on the Sunday Service: I leaned towards ways to improve the Sunday Service in all its presentations, but all they wanted was a way to increase clicks on the Sunday Service presentation they already have. Or, at the very least, the clicks were a more important consideration than the source material when it came to filling this particular position, spending this particular money, bestowing this particular official sanction.
That paragraph keeps sounding harsher than I want it to; let me be clear that there is obviously a certain amount of speculation on my part in this section of our essay, further, I want to be clear that I am not attributing this to any individual or clique. I have no idea if the phone call I received earlier came from a person who disagreed with everything I presented in the interview process and/or who I am as a person and was showing me the door politely, or a guy who felt he was being forced to make a short-sighted decision by the hierarchy at hand and was trying to find a way to keep a door open.
Does that distinction actually represent a difference? In a short term way, no, absolutely not, for either party. The die is cast, they shall move on making the best of their decision and I must, too. Which summons the question, what is the best I can make of this decision?