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When looking for jobs or applying to colleges, rejection will be common and stuff. What's your advice on managing that failure and how do you keep work related failure out of your personal feelings/life?

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Andy’s Answer

Hi Stephanie,

This is a really fantastic question! There are so many options and strategies and I suspect you'll end up finding a very "personalized" approach which works best for you. I look forward to ideas from other people also, but will share my thoughts.

1. Please do always separate your self-identity and personal journey/story from your career journey. The sucesses and challenges/setbacks in a career are usually MORE associated to the job requirements and situation for that job at a specific point in time. For example, right now in the US there is a shortage or medical professionals but I'm sure we could find a different profession where there are more interested workers than available positions. Those type of factors are "bigger" than any one person. During your career you coudl have a combination of success and setbacks and there will be factors outside of your control - so "don't take it personally", especially emotionally.
2. In your career development, you can focus on what IS in your control: what skills, experiences define your career-capabilities. What tasks give you energy and keep you engaged and productive. What roles, industries, companies, or teams may provide the greatest match: job requirements matched to your skills/passions. This is much much easier to say than to do, but if you keep this guiding principle - it can help us mentally "re-frame" any career challenges - the "problem" isn't with you/me/us it just may not be the best fit job role. I have personally had to navigate to different roles in my career when I saw too many challenges in one specific role, to find a better fit role. And, I have helped team-mates likewise change roles for the same reason.
3. Plan for change. Probably some aspects about your career path/vision will happen similar to what you plan and also there will be any number of changes or ways your career will evolve which may have been hard to anticipate in advance. So, just plan for change. It's healthy and can be very positive: we learn more from those changes.

Cheers,
Andy
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Kamron’s Answer

This is something I've had to deal with a lot recently! Applying to jobs and school is always nerve-racking and you somehow always end up fantasizing about a new life with the job or school applying to. In my experience, keeping a realistic attitude about the possibilities has helped. Always hope and dream for the best because that in itself will help your odds. Speak it into existence that you will get hired or accepted! However, know that they can't hire everybody, and it's rare that you will new get rejected. So, have a backup plan and know what you will do if it somehow doesn't work out.

In regards to keeping these feelings separate from the rest of you life, know that its okay to be down about something that had you excited and something that you really wanted. But life will go on and sitting around moping about it won't raise your chances the next time you're applying for something. Take that failure and learn from it! Use the constructive criticism (if its a job, ask the employer what you need to work on!!!!) and use it to get better!

Hope this helps, and the best of luck to you!
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Liz’s Answer

Hi Stephanie! This is a really great question and one that pretty much everyone has to deal with throughout their lives. You've already been given some great advice! I'll say that handling rejection is MUCH easier for me now as an adult than it was when I was in my teens and twenties (though I'm not going to pretend it's easy now) and here's what I wished I'd known when I was younger:

You've already been given the advice not to take it personally and that's great advice, but it's a lot easier said than done. Rejection feels personal, no matter the actual reason. So HOW do you do that? Andy's advice around re-framing and focusing on your mindset is definitely the right path to not taking rejection personally. What I have to tell myself a LOT is that it's usually not about me. In fact, it's rarely about me. There are a zillion different things it's probably about that are totally outside of your control... but it's not you. Keep going.

I don't necessarily think that "everything happens for a reason," but my experience has been that sometimes I just get a feeling where I KNOW, deep in my being, that the school or the job or program or... whatever I'm applying for is the right fit and anytime I've felt that, it's ended up with an acceptance.

Trust your self and project confidence in yourself and your dreams. You've got this!!!
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Lalitha’s Answer

Failure/rejection is part of life. It is hard to accept the rejection. What is important is to keep the perspective. Every field is highly competitive now. Objectivity is essential. Be realistic if the job/school was truly within reach. how did you perform in the interview? Do you have the right skills? Ask for feedback. Stay positive, write down lessons learned, and what you can do better the next time. Think about what differentiates you from others? Why should someone hire you over other candidates. Stay focused and persist in your goals. Each of these failures/rejections will teach you to become better and appreciate your successes later. It will also teach you to be other skill sets like empathy, resilience, persistence etc. Dont give up!
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Mohd’s Answer

You need to focus on your goals and not be disheartened by rejection by schools or companies. It only takes one yes to get you a foot in the door so you must never tire. Obviously applying to the right schools and jobs is important and for that you need to make a self assessment about your goals, aspirations, work experience etc. Don't shy away from B level schools or temporary positions once you graduate because learning something new and gaining experience is the most important asset.
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