Operation Boss Lady is a series all about becoming a strong and established female career badass.
Last week we talked about job carving, and literally creating your job out of nothing. This week I’m going to talk about the nasty side of the job search – rejection. In my opinion, the hardest part about your career journey is that you’re not always going to get the jobs you apply for. This was a pretty humbling experience for me, and it started happening when I began applying for “grown up jobs.” From the age of 14, I had worked in teen-typical, part-time customer service jobs, and due to my experience I was used to getting any job I wanted. Before you think I’m full of myself, let me clarify – at the time, the jobs I wanted were just variations of the same retail-type job, so my experience was very transferable.
After university I was eager to break into the workforce – I mean, I was an adult now… And adults have full time jobs. Armed with a really expensive piece of paper, and the confidence that I could learn any job I was given, I started scrolling through job boards for positions I was qualified for… Or mostly qualified for. I must have applied to 50+ job postings in Calgary. With the booming energy sector there, I was certain I would be able to land even an administrative assistant position at an oil and gas company, (in my head that was a backup plan – I should be so lucky). Despite my efforts, I didn’t receive a single reply. *Sigh.* Thus began my ongoing relationship with rejection.
The good news is, the rejection usually came passively in the form of, well, nothing. No reply was better than overt rejection for my ego, so to be honest it didn’t really phase me. Unfortunately, as I continued to gain experience and increase my qualifications, I started to get feedback from prospective employers. This should have been a good thing, but it made the rejection real, and it sucked.
You see, the thing I learned really quickly was once you sit down and chat with someone, whether it’s via email, on the phone, in an interview; you become invested. I now realize that this is because you’ve invested your time, and if there’s one thing we’re protective of it’s how we spend our time. This investment carries on through the entire process, up until either an offer is made, or… you’re let down. Sometimes this happens after one e-mail exchange, and sometimes it happens after months of multiple interviews and testing.
I’ll be completely honest when I say that job rejection doesn’t get easier, especially when it’s a position you really want. What I can say for certain though, is that there is absolutely something to be learned from every experience of job rejection. It sounds corny to say there’s a lesson in rejection, (thanks mom and dad), but oddly enough learning from my rejection is exactly how I secured my dream job. Whether it’s a follow-up email asking for feedback, a genuine thank-you note for their time, or just replaying the questions in your head and dreaming up more wow-worthy answers, you can ensure you’re a more prepared interviewee the next time around.
So all that being said, rejection sucks, but it’s a part of life that we can either let defeat us, or strengthen us. If you happen to be faced with job rejection, take a bit of time to wallow and feel sorry for yourself, but pick yourself back up and come back stronger than ever. We’ve all been there, so just remember that you’re not alone!
Until next time,
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