Rejection And Why It Stings So Much
“We’re moving forward with another candidate.”

“It was really great to meet you, but we’ve found someone who has more direct-to-consumer experience.”

“You’re just not a cultural fit for our team.”

“At this point, we won’t be extending a job offer to you.”

Actual rejection quotes from this week. Clearly, it was Rejection Week and I missed the official notice.

Three clients got rejected for jobs they really, really wanted. I got rejected for a project proposal I submitted to work with a team of managers to create career plans. In the five minutes after receiving the rejection email, I experienced sadness, fear, anxiety, annoyance, judgment and hurt. Rejection stings, and this one caught me at a particularly vulnerable time. As one of my clients said “I know I shouldn’t take it so personally, but I am.”

This got me wondering about how rejection affects our psyche, especially during a job search. So I did a bit of research.

This article explains it better than I can, but just know that when you’re feeling less resilient, the emotional wound of rejection can have a bigger impact. The author’s example of a ball tossing experiment reminded me of every single application/resume a job seeker sends out where they don’t get a reply. Silent rejection. We know it’s not rational, yet we feel rejected.

The job search process is chock full of rejection – from the very obvious “You’re not what we’re looking for” to the more subtle unanswered inquiries, discouraging conversations and not hearing back after an interview. No wonder people hate job searching. It’s a total set-up for rejection. My unscientific observation tells me that many people put off looking for a new job because of the risk of rejection.

Have you heard of the guy who invented the Rejection Therapy game? He turned rejection from being something he feared, to something he wanted. I love this concept – especially for anyone who is feeling stuck career-wise. There’s a whole lot of fear that creeps into a career change, and anything that helps set that fear aside gets my vote.

In the spirit of this being (unofficially) Rejection Week, my hat is off to anyone who’s been rejected. Let me personally welcome you to the Rejection Club, where the price of admission is putting yourself out there and taking a risk. Well done. Now go and celebrate.