Rejection

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Jess left a comment on my blog that I wanted to share with you.

What I’m disgruntled about currently… is the long online application process of many organizations. I’ve spent upwards of 6+ hours for a good job submission… carefully constructing my cover letter, researching the company a bit, tailoring my resume to that position, crafting essays…. taking online personality tests, skills assessments, etc. Only to hear nothing. Or to receive a generic email two months later that the position was not created. I understand why the online submission process is lengthy… but after countless lengthy submissions, I am tired and pessimistic. Ho hum!

Ho hum, indeed.

I’ve written about the unfortunate ways that we treat candidates and job seekers in America. There are great pieces all over the internet about it, too. What interests me most in Jessica’s comment is the concept of rejection.

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I have been rejected, both professionally and personally, more than any other woman you know. I put myself out there in a very public way. Sometimes it works for me. Sometimes I fail spectacularly.

Although I have an ego and I don’t like to hear bad news, it doesn’t bother me to be rejected 95% of the time. The 5% that comes through is awesome. I’ll take it.

Having experienced both highs and lows in my life, I know that the art of rejection is lost. We live in a society that fears conflict. This is true at work, in our families, and in our personal lives. It takes a strong person to look another human being in the eyes and say no. When that person is finally courageous enough to have a difficult but honest conversation — whether it’s a loved one, a colleague, or a peer — the other person often flips out. The intended message is often lost in drama and misunderstanding.

Knowing that rejection is such a pain-in-the-ass, many employers and loved ones would rather say nothing than engage in the turmoil. It’s a shame. I think there’s something important that can come out of a good-old-fashioned conversation where someone is told NO.

  • Rejection can provide an opportunity to move forward in a new direction. If you’ve been waiting for a sign, this is it.
  • Rejection provides clarity and puts the ball in your court. Once you’ve been rejected, you regain control and you can choose where your life goes next.
  • Rejection gives you a chance to look back and see that maybe, just maybe, you dodged a bullet.

Do we lack emotional maturity as a society? Are we destined to operate out of impulse to protect our fractured egos?

Take it from a woman who has been told NO more than she’s been told YES:

  • Just because you have been passed over doesn’t mean you won’t be considered for future roles and opportunities.
  • The timing for your success might not be right.
  • The role you are destined to fill might not be open, right now.
  • There may be an incumbent in a position who hasn’t moved into a better role, herself.

No one has ever accused me of being an optimist, and I’m hardly sentimental about life. I just hope that when you are rejected, whether professionally or personally, you stop and think before you react. Those feelings of worthlessness and sadness were in your head before you heard the bad news.

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Here’s a final thought. You might be doing everything right and it might not make a difference. The hiring process, like most of life, isn’t in your control. Once you know what you can and can’t control, you can put the rejection into context and move on to something better.

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