It was about a year ago this week. I had been super active in the job search, had a couple of weeks under my belt sending e-mails to employers, applying directly on job boards and anything else I could think of doing. I found a target company that looked interesting and sent my resume to info@targetCompany.com hoping it would be passed along.
It was passed along! I was amazed, really, but the next morning I had a phone interview with one of the executive members. We had a great interview and I was invited to come in that afternoon. Amazing. This interview also went well, and I was asked to come in for a third interview to meet with two other executives in different departments.
Now, one thing you have to understand about me is that I am optimistic, and once I get this far along in the process I am thinking of all of the great things to do in the job. In fact, I’m already doing the job in my mind! I’m losing sleep over how I can add value to their organization and have specific projects already started (in my mind).
I was completely surprised, after the third interview, to get an e-mail that seemed to come out of some Communications 101 book saying that they already had someone else in mind, and thanks for coming in, and they’d keep my resume on file – you know, all that normal garbage that doesn’t sound true.
This was the lowest point of my job search – even after this rejection I didn’t have a bigger let-down. I had become too emotionally involved in this one, excited about the prospect, anxious to get started, and reading the signals inaccurately.
So, let’s talk about this thing called rejection, and coping.
Rejection, for me, came in various forms. The most frequent was not getting an e-mail or response back. I’ve covered this before and realize that everyone is busy, and they’d probably have to hire an extra person just to respond back to all of the applicants. I realize that now but it sure was a shocker at first. Other forms of rejection included a non-invite to the next interview, or asking someone if they knew anyone that knew anyone -and they’d say no, even though you knew they were super connected.
I remember a former boss that learned of JibberJobber, and when I asked him if he’d let his colleagues know, his response was “I’ll try.” Not a big deal, but if you knew this guy, you would know that “I’ll try” is absolutely unacceptable in his company – if I would have said that in a meeting I’d be in big trouble. What a rejection, hearing “I’ll try” from him, when I asked him a simple favor.
So what should we do when we are rejected? How can we react (and still be healthy :))?
I’m not sure there is one appropriate answer or strategy – it probably depends on you, where you are at, and what you need. One of my favorite philosophies on dealing with rejection comes from Carolyn Greco, of The Facet Group. One of her mantras is:
For me, this is somewhat hard to live by (although the more rejections I get the easier it is – isn’t that how we get wiser?), mostly because I get emotionally involved. But it is excellent advice. For an awesome read on something very closely related, go check out Kent Blumberg’s How to handle negative criticism.
How do you handle rejection?