Admit it. We’ve all faced some sort of rejection in our lives. Sometimes, it feels a lot like failure, but in reality, it can be a blessing in disguise.
I never really liked paying attention in school. I tried…I really did. Honestly, there were just too many distractions. But by the time I got to college, I knew I had to buckle down and so, I decided to graduate at the top of my class.
However, the truth is, none of that stuff matters if you get a degree, go out into the work place, and decide after doing this job for x amount of years, that underneath it all, it was definitely not what you thought it’d be.
No one ever tells you about all the red tape associated with being a teacher. There really should be classes on handling policy changes, curriculum changes, then going back to the old way you taught, then handling the parents, and, well you get my drift. It wasn’t the teaching that I didn’t like. I loved the learning and the beautiful children I taught. It was the fact that I had absolutely no creative control what so ever. Period.
It didn’t matter if I got on the curriculum planning committees, which I did, if I went to all the meetings on “brainstorming” new ways to teach this material, which I did, if I became a chair of a few teams, again, did that. Nothing seemed to change. Year, after year, after year.
So the same thinking was yielding the same results and it really was very difficult to live in this situation. I decided to take a year off, and by that time, I was already dealing with health issues, so it really seemed a good time to think about what was happening in my career.
3 Lessons I Learned:
- Sometimes, rejection is a new lesson in what you don’t want. I decided that I wanted to help a non-profit in some sort of form…at least I really thought I did. As I looked at tons of job listings, I found one that looked “too good to be true” as it appeared made for me. After applying, I thought to myself, why did I just do that?? I panicked. I wasn’t ready for this big job. I was actually called by a head hunter and had about 3 interviews, before the 2.5 hours interview in person. The head hunter loved me…and at least one of the ladies in the panel seemed to love me. The two who I would be working with; however, did not. My ideas were too radical, except for the part where they were taking notes and saying “I’ve never thought about it that way.” I got a gut sensation that for whatever reason, the head lady instantly didn’t like me. I was much better off as this job was actually 40 minutes from my home.
- Trust your gut feeling. So I wish I had just turned around and walked out upon shaking the CEO’s hand, but I was actually invited to a lunch after…when I knew that I would never want to work there even if they offered me the job. Energy never lies to me. I stuck it out to make a good impression, and because honestly, I have manners. Just because she was a prickly witch didn’t mean that one day I wouldn’t run into one of those people…somewhere down the line. I knew it wasn’t right for me, but I stayed for my peace of mind. Not theirs.
- Turn the lesson into a positive one. Do NOT think about what you could have done differently. That is what you are doing, isn’t it? Instead, think about the ways in which this has taught you something. For me, it taught me that I was actually one of the top three with almost zero experience for this really high-powered job, because I believed I could do it. I had some of the qualifications and a true passion for what the organization was about. That didn’t actually turn out, but to be a top three, the head hunter, who does this type of thing all the time, said my answers were the best. I was still proud of myself. And ermmm to be honest, I was proud of myself for not answering snarkily to the really dumb questions that I was being asked. I could tell they were trying to catch me off guard, but I just kept on answering. Two and half hours. <<< I can’t get that back, but it taught me to stay cool.
I hope whatever your rejection is, that in the end, you see it really is pointing you in a better direction!
Note: You might like this post on using gratitude to move forward.