Ask me what my biggest fear is!!! Go ahead, ask me!… It’s being mauled to death by cougars! But my second biggest fear, and unfortunately, the one I’m far more likely to encounter in my life: Rejection. I’ve done a pretty good job in my life of avoiding situations where I could be rejected. I didn’t date around in highschool (let’s be real, it wasn’t like there was a mob of cute boys banging at the front door trying to date me, either) Hell, I married the first boy I did date! I have always shied away from most activities that involved a tryout or audition unless I KNEW the odds were with me. Like that one time, in Jr. High, I played Senior badminton for 3 consecutive years, only because they never had enough players! And until recently, I landed every single job I interviewed for! I am pretty sure that I won them over with my sparkly disposition. The world was easy on me, and I enjoyed that blissful, privileged existence! Then, this summer it seems I packed up my house, and moved to Rejection City!
I have been dealing with a lot of rejection in my life lately, and it’s not exactly a good time. Some say that hearing “no” gently pushes them to try harder, but it violently shoves me into a corner where I’d like to put my head between my knees and breathe frantically into a paper bag! It’s not a feeling that I can say is a fun one. But going through a crash course in what it’s like to be rejected has, in many ways been so good for me. Today I wanted to share the sometimes funny tale of what it’s been like for me lately and how I’ve been faced with the ups and downs of being rejected.
After facing the initial sting of being separated, (nothing like being rejected by your “life partner” to kick off all the warm fuzzy feelings in this post!) the joyful task of finding a job was looming. Thankfully I had the month of September to focus on settling Arthur and perfecting my stand out resume and cover letter! I researched the snot out of what kind of work I’d best like to try, but ultimately realized I was open to just about anything. In early October, with about $37 to my name, I was ready to work!
Que the crickets! For probably a month, I didn’t hear back, AT. ALL….. from ANYONE! I was putting my application in for multiple positions a week, in a small town, that was getting close to applying for every single job that was posted. Not one, even emailed me back to acknowledge they received my application. These weren’t exactly high-level positions, so it was a bit of a blow to my ego. But just when I was starting to feel quite discouraged, I was called for my first interview. Great! This was my time to shine! I always nail the interview, remember?!
Of all the jobs I applied for, my first interview was for a position I felt was out of my league. I had no directly relevant training or experience. It was for a company that has amazing local brand recognition and is very trendy. The owner is pretty high profile, for Manitoba, at least. They have a small staff, who all just exude cool! There is no doubt they were all the popular kids in high school! I just didn’t feel like I fit in, so needless to say I was already intimidated. BUT I put on a pretty dress, painted my face to the best of my ability, and right before I walked into that interview swiped one more layer of lipstick on my lips! HUGE mistake! As I opened my mouth to answer the first question, every drop of moisture disappeared from my tongue. It felt like my mouth had been stuffed with a fist full of cotton balls! At the same time the fresh, still, tacky lipstick glued my mouth shut! No matter how hard I willed myself, I was not able to fully open my lips to answer! My mind was racing a mile a minute, all the while it must have looked like I was having some kind of stroke. Not to mention it sounded like I was faking a terrible accent through pursed lips! Sadly, my situation didn’t improve, so I quickly stumbled through the rest of the questions red-faced and got my ass out of there! Sigh, my interview winning streak was over! I knew as I walked out the door, I wouldn’t be getting a callback. I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Oh, please dear God, don’t let me ever see these people again in my life! But after a few days, I realized if I can laugh off, what was a pretty humiliating experience, I would be perfectly fine, and possibly better prepared for my next interview!
That initial pity party was short-lived as I received calls now for more interviews for other positions! Beyond “bring your own water”, that first interview experience prepared me for meeting with new potential employers! I learned that I am capable of surviving uncomfortable situations, and failure, while painful, should be embraced! There are lessons to be learned here folks! Being rejected, while not feeling so nice is not an accurate measure of my abilities or worth. And they aren’t of yours either!
The happy ending of this story, is that I did eventually find a job! I have been training as an Eyewear Consultant for the past two months. I’ve met some incredible people through my work and I enjoy it every single day! I wonder now if I had not fallen on my face in that initial interview, would I be stuck working in a position that wasn’t such a great fit for me! Was the sting of rejection all part of things working out exactly as they were supposed to? It’s hard for me to surrender to the belief, if I let go, I will fall into the life I’m meant to have, but it sure feels like that’s what happens, despite my best protests!
I now see rejection as a teaching tool, helping me learn and grow. When my instinct is to resist life’s swerves, and brace against feeling embarrassed and hurt, these experiences are probably very healthy and important to walk through. I am turning rejection into resilience, and it feels pretty empowering!