No one likes being rejected. It sucks. It hurts the most when coming from someone you care about, but it still isn’t great dealing with it professionally, either. Professional rejection is like a slow burn that builds over time, slowly accumulating and killing your spirit if you aren’t careful. So how do you deal with professional rejection in the first place? Let’s talk about that.
What is Professional Rejection?
When I use the term “professional rejection,” I’m talking about being rejected in the workplace. And no, I don’t mean rejected by a coworker you tried to ask out on a date. I mean not being chosen for something in a work environment. Most people will be professionally rejected while applying for jobs or submitting project/ business proposals.
Unless you have incredible luck you’re probably going to be rejected from quite a lot of workplaces during your next job hunt. You may also see some rejection after securing a job when submitting proposals or certain work projects.
It’s normal to face some rejection… But that doesn’t mean it’s fun or easy. The more rejection you face, the more it can weigh you down. Personally, I find that silence and rejection are some of the worst parts of job hunting. Submitting an application and agreeing to interviews is quite literally a process where you agree to have someone judge you and evaluate your worth. It’s not a great feeling if they decide you aren’t what they were looking for.
It’s Nothing Personal
It’s not personal when you’re rejected from a job or some proposal. It can certainly feel that way sometimes, especially when you’re getting a lot of rejection, but at the end of the day, things just weren’t a good fit. It doesn’t reflect on who you are as a person or your worth in the slightest.
Most professional rejection is likely to come when you’re younger. The less experience you have, the less likely you are to be seen as someone with value. Companies (to their own detriment) often don’t want to take the time to train their employees, which means if you don’t already know what you’re doing, they may not want to take a chance on you.
It isn’t anything against who you are, even if sometimes it feels that way. Being repeatedly told that you don’t have the right experience starts feeling unfair. Eventually, you will be able to find something, though. Even if it isn’t the best fit, sometimes you just have to keep your head down and bide your time while you pad out your resume.
According to one article, getting a single job offer can take 100 to 200 job applications. There is a less than 10% chance of getting an interview from any given application. Meaning the odds are not great.
There are, of course, a lot of factors that can influence the odds of getting an interview or job offer. The point is that you’re probably going to face a lot of rejection. So don’t take it to heart and try to remember that sometimes it’s just a numbers game.
They Would Be Lucky To Work With You, Not the Other Way Around
It may not feel like it at the time but it’s important to remember just how valuable you are. The contributions you could make to any workplace will likely have a much bigger impact than you know. You’re not just some drone there to punch in and out after going through the motions.
Your voice matters a lot more than most management will probably give you credit for. If they can’t see how much you could contribute to their work then that’s their problem. And it’s their loss too.
If you keep looking, you’ll find a great workplace that will truly value your voice and input. It may take a while to find the right fit for you, unfortunately, and you may end up in a toxic work environment to get by, but the right place for you is out there. One where you’ll be proud to work and actually feel valued.
Whether you believe me now or not, I hope you will keep these words in mind anyway.
There is Always Another Opportunity
Whether you’re rejected once or one hundred times, it only takes one acceptance to turn things around. And you will find someone that will give you a shot. It’s just a matter of time. The right job or project will come along that will be perfect for you.
Job hunting and workplaces can be incredibly stressful. Just try to focus on your wins rather than the losses and you’ll have a much better time.