What Rejection Taught Me

If I had a nickel for every time I heard “no” during my job search, it’s safe to say that I’d have a lot of nickels. As someone who was used to being recognized for her hard work, variety of skills, and good grades, it was hard for me to deal with the copious amount of rejection I faced during my post-grad job search.

My immediate feeling was that I was clearly the problem. I wasn’t smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough (yes, I realize how silly these sound) to get those jobs. I applied to jobs that I was overqualified and under qualified for, hoping someone would give me a chance. Eventually I found a full-time position and worked there for almost two years before moving to my current job, but the time in-between was tough. Through those periods of trial-and-error, I came to realize a few things about rejection.

1. Rejection happens to everyone.

Although it seemed to me that I was the only one not getting a job, the truth was tons of others were in my exact position. The only difference was that they weren’t vocal about it or they hid it so others wouldn’t know. Meanwhile, I shared my job hunting struggles with everyone in hopes of gaining advice, leads, networking opportunities or even a little sympathy. Rejection happens to the class valedictorian, the top-notch CEO and even celebrities.

2. Rejection gives you a thicker skin.

Hearing “no” the first few times is admittedly tough, but after it happens a few more times, you start to become familiar with it and can deal with your emotions better. After the first few missed opportunities, I felt my self-esteem plummet and I wanted to give up on my job search. But as time went on, I learned to effectively manage those feelings and turn them into positive ones. Instead of thinking “That company must have hated me,” I would think, “I wasn’t the right fit for them and they weren’t the right fit for me, either.” I feel that the hard times are what make you stronger — and this was perfectly demonstrated during rejection in my job search.

3. Que sera sera

After a rough time during my job search, I decided to take some time off from it, relax and focus on my strengths. I wrote more and more, networked as much as I could and continued to grow my online reputation. Eventually, I found a company that fit well with what I was looking for. The job position was on par with my skill level, the location was ideal and my future boss saw potential in me and believed in me. Finally I wasn’t rejected — in fact, I felt wanted and appreciated. I realized that my “time” finally came, and that all the instances of rejection only made this moment that much sweeter.

How do you deal with rejection?

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