When I was in college, I started searching for a job nannying a few days a week. I found a couple opportunities and interviewed with a nice family with two small kids. It turned out they were related to a family I knew growing up. Small world. One weekend, while I was visiting Sean at college one, they called and offered me the job!
I started working and everything was going great. (Another small world story: On my first day, I looked at a picture on the wall from their wedding at the church where I grew up. Standing beside the priest were 2 young boys - the altar servers. I looked a little closer and realized that one of them was Sean. My Sean! Seriously, small world.)
Several months later I was nearing the end of my senior year of college and knew I needed to find an internship or job that allowed me to get some experience in my field. The family knew this was ineveitable when I took the job, and I was honest with them that my search had begun. It happened a bit faster than I expected and I was offered an internship (at the company I still work for today) just a few weeks later. The family understood and began their search for a new nanny (or child care solution) to take over once I was gone.
One day, maybe a week before I was set to finish my time with them, I noticed a folder on the counter with all of their nanny search information. I snooped - I admit it. I shouldn't have, but I did. Well, included in this folder were their notes from their first nanny search. The one where they found me.
I saw the paper with my information - my name, experience, emails we exchanged, and some handwritten notes from our interview at their home. That's when I saw something they had written about me that I will never forget. Sprinkled among some nice words (that I can't even remember right now) was one word, underlined that felt like a kick in the gut.
Sure, they never told me this and certainly never intended for me to see it, but it was a way someone defined me that I will never forget. The fact that it seemed important enough to write down, to consider among all my other qualifications for the job, hurt me. Ultimately it obviously didn't affect their willingness to employ me, but that it mattered at all left a lasting impact I'll never forget.
I still see their family around from time to time (we belong to the same church), and wonder sometimes what they think of me now. I'm somewhere around 40 pounds lighter than I was when I worked for them, but I'm still not where I want to be. It will always be something I struggle with, and there will always be the memory of hurtful things like that to make it harder to overcome.