I walked out of my apartment in my favorite pair of diamond earrings and cork wedges, ready to attend a job interview I had been anticipating for weeks. The interview had been rescheduled because of a winter blizzard, but I wasn’t terribly upset because the change had given me more time to prepare.

This time, I was fully prepared, and felt ready to nail it. I walked out of my front door and headed to my car with my head held high — at that very moment, there was nothing that could bring me down. Seconds later, I opened my car door only to realize that the front window facing the passenger’s side was completely shattered. I stared at the window in shock, and noticed the tiny shards of glass that flooded in the inside of the car.

The drive to my interview would take me over forty minutes, and without a car to drive there, I began to panic. As if I wasn’t already nervous enough, I started stressing about how I would even be able to make it to the interview, and how I was going to get my car fixed so I could go to work the next day.

While attempting to understand why someone would break into my car, and trying to figure out my next steps, I took a deep breath, and decided to remain calm. A few years ago, I probably would have started sobbing uncontrollably on the spot, and would have canceled the interview to spend the day sulking. But today, I had an entirely different take on dealing with the unexpected. It takes a few setbacks to make you realize that you don’t always have control over the situations that happen to you, but you do have control over how you respond.

It’s only natural to feel anxious and overwhelmed when events occur beyond our control, especially negative ones. In these situations, anxiety and worry tend to take over, masking our ability to think and react with a clear state of mind.

So, I buckled down, remained calm, and created the best game plan I could come up with on the spot. I decided to make three phone calls. The first was to my mom, for her advice and support. The next was to the local police department, to tell them what had happened and file a report. Finally, I called the person who I was supposed to interview me, and explained the situation. The woman on the phone told me that we could reschedule, but my gut was telling me that that would be the easy way out. I told the recruiter that I intended to show up, and would give her a call back shortly.

I began calling my closest friends in hopes of finding a ride to the job interview. I was determined to find a way to proceed with what I had planned for the day, and I felt resilient to follow through, no matter what. I found a ride, and called the recruiter and let her know that I could still make it that day. She seemed surprised that I didn’t want to reschedule, and I think she was impressed by my desire to remain committed, despite the circumstances.

I made it to the interview (only twenty minutes late!) and felt like I managed to put my best foot forward. With the distractions of my day still permeating in my mind, I knew that I might not be in the best mental space to do the interview, but I did my best. I started my new job a week later.

In retrospect, I’m grateful for the unexpected series of events that led me to a job offer I was hoping to receive. Even though the day was drastically different than what I had expected, I learned a lot about myself, and how I’ve been able to cope with unforeseen obstacles beyond my control. It sounds strange to say that I’m thankful for someone breaking into my car, but the unanticipated hurdle allowed me to pause, deal with stress in the moment, and do my best in a difficult situation.

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