You know that moment, the one when you get the rejection call for the job you applied for and believed you wanted? They give you the spiel, thanking you for your interest and time and how great you were but … they chose someone else.
That moment. You feel rejected, disappointed and completely let down.
You sit there thinking that you were not good enough or not smart enough or not whatever-they-were-looking-for enough to get the job. You already told friends that you were perfect for the position. You bragged that the interview went well. You convinced yourself that the job was yours and you were already imagining leaving your current job, the one you now hate, for this great, new opportunity. You calculated your salary increase and just how great life would be with the extra income. It was going to be perfect!
But then it all evaporated. You have to suck it up and carry on in the job you decided to hate, hoping eventually something else transpires. As you explain it to your friends, you start to convince yourself that your current job is no so bad after all. At least you know everyone there. You revert to your old place of comfort with some reluctance but also with an effort to make the best of what is your existing situation. That initial, shocking “you don’t want me” fades into the background as you re-enter the day to day ho-hum of good enough.
I have gotten the call, the letter, the email. When I was younger those communications hit my self-esteem like daggers. I have known everything from no interview at all to being in the top few. I have gone through grueling interviews in intimidating board rooms and walked out feeling small. It took me a long time to realize that those rejections were some of the best things that happened to me in my career and my life.
Being rejected feels very personal. We want people to like us and to be interested in us. We want to win. It is part ego and part conviction and part qualifications that enable us to believe that we are the best fit for the jobs we apply for. When someone else is chosen over us we are left to consider what we lacked.
But is being rejected such a bad thing? When we look at them from a rear view mirror we can discover that not getting the job can be the preferred result. That “no” may feel like crap and it’s hard not to take it personally but it can push you to ask yourself more carefully and honestly what you really want. Did you truly want that job? Or is the rejection asking you to consider other options, other interests, and other opportunities that are more closely aligned with you.
I like to think of “no’s” as “not meant to be.” (It took me a long time to see it this way – age does have its advantages) A few years ago I applied for a job that would have required me to move across the country. I was certain this life change was showing up at the exact right moment and I was about to land an opportunity that would transform me. I did not even get an interview. I took it calmly, despite the sting of rejection, and told myself something better would come along. Not only did a better job come along but my future husband also came along. That’s the kind of “meant to be” that I want.
The problem though is when we take rejection to heart and give into it. When we start to believe that we are not good enough we have a more serious issue. Learning to take a no in stride requires strong personal conviction that the yes, the yes we want, will be ours. We can learn from rejection and use the experience to propel us forward. We can make sense of these lessons by looking at our side of the equation.
Definitely ask the question if you really wanted the job? Or were you just trying to escape your current situation and the new one appeared like a good way out? When something is right for us we want it with our whole selves and we become unstoppable in getting it. A job might present the kind of work that you want to do but it may not be in the right environment. Or a job might be completely wrong for you even though you could adequately perform the tasks. In both cases, you would have a level of hesitancy that walks into the interview with you. In both cases you are not addressing what you most desire and they do not derive from passion 0r purpose.
And let me ask you this, have you ever gotten a job to find out that it was not what you expected? Maybe you have even wished that you had remained in your old position or with your former company. That is you rejecting what does not suit you. That is your true self telling you that the circumstances do not serve you or fulfill the need in you to work according to your talents, abilities and interests.
Yes, you may have to remain in a job that is not ideal to support yourself and your family. There are bills to be paid and food to be purchased and a home to support. Those are times of tenacity and fortitude. You do what you must do. But consider this, do not lose sight of what would make you happiest, the kind of work that would be pleasure and reward. Live where you are now but create a vision and a pathway that will carry you to what you most desire. And never give up.
Amongst millennials there is a strong trend for entrepreneurship and self-directed careers. They get that doing it themselves, creating their own success and failures, allows them to build a career and a life on their own terms. They are looking for a better way than “the job” and the climb up the corporate ladder. I applaud their willingness to take their future into their own hands. This way of thinking and doing promises brighter ideas and more inventive businesses. It promotes and ensures belief in self as the cornerstone to success. There will be different elements of rejection but on their own terms.
~ be fierce ~
As a final thought, rejection is and has always been a very real part of life. We encounter it in numerous ways and on many levels. Just as what you seek is seeking you, what you reject is rejecting you. It is the law of attraction. Don’t marry the corporate career that defines what you are worth (in salary, that is consistently way below what most people are worth) and how you are going to get there. You were born to “do your thing” so do your thing. Interview your self and ask what would really make you happy and then get out there in the big bad beautiful world and make that happen. Be fierce. Do it for the love of you.