The job search: a revelatory and exfoliating process in which participants metabolize the cycle of hope and rejection.
When I was discussing a recent job rejection, my friend Gerik shared a story he had heard of someone who intentionally set out to be rejected 100 times in one year and ended up finding opportunity in the process. That sounded like a good story, so I looked it up. Here’s what I found:
Rejection sucks, let’s be honest. Putting yourself out there, framing an ask, and building hope around an idea can feel both brave and terrifying. Whether it’s applying for a job or asking someone on a date, it’s a vulnerable spot. And, while hearing “no” is part of life, it’s not fun. Sure, it’s a numbers game. Sure, it means something else is out there. It’s still a big ole bummer.
We’ve all been rejected in job searches. In my recent case, I have often gotten to the final round of interviews for positions I would have loved and rocked but didn’t make the final cut. The disappointment is real, and the self-doubt seems inevitable. Getting back on the horse may not seem to make sense. Here are a few guidelines I’ve developed for myself on my ongoing search for finding that great position.
- Be willing to fall in love with a job during the application process. I tend to go all in with my heart. Research, ask around, apply, interview. If you can’t imagine loving the job, why apply?
- The interview is not just a part of an application process; it’s a networking opportunity. Enjoy connecting with people in the field who care about the same work as you. As a bonus, it can help calm the nerves.
- Rescinding an application is scary, and also okay. The search process needs to be right for everyone, including you.
- Didn’t get the job? It’s okay to grieve… for up to one day.
- Ask for feedback from the hiring manager, perhaps in an informational interview. What can you learn from the process and the field to strengthen the next effort?
- Step back. What did you learn about yourself, your interests, upcoming opportunities? What do you know now that you didn’t know before?
I’ve met a number of pretty great people in my search so far and hope to find ways to work with them in future. I have also become a connoisseur of hiring processes and will be a better hiring manager in future because of it.
What I learned at life today: Embrace the exfoliating qualities of hope-saturated rejection.