By: Stephanie Hayman, Marketing Manager at TSYS
In January 2011, I received my first hard-hitting rejection from a company about a prospective internship I had applied for. I was in Manhattan for the day seeing a Broadway show with my family, and choked back ugly tears in the lobby of Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. thinking that my marketing career was over before it had even started. I spent the entire two acts of Mary Poppins wondering how there were candidates more qualified than I was.
Rejection is the worst. Or is it?
A few months later, I secured my first corporate internship at a company that wound up hiring me full-time prior to graduating college. I established my reputation, built a large network, and as an added bonus, I wound up meeting my fiancé there. Hindsight is 20/20, but I owe L’Oréal a big ‘thank you’ for kicking me to the curb.
Persistence is borne out of rejection. Sure, it is a huge let down at the onset, but it is powerful enough to let us dust ourselves off after a period of grief, and continue pounding the pavement. It teaches us that hard work and tenacity will allow us to reap the ultimate rewards. In addition, rejection is essentially a sign that we are being redirected towards something much better for us, although it may be difficult to see at the time.
It Keeps Us in Check.
You will never be the brightest or most talented person in the room (and quite frankly, you don’t want to be). That being said, there will always be someone who is better than you in all walks of your career. Someone who has a stronger bond with the hiring manager; someone whose project management skills are more fine-tuned; someone who is a mastermind when it comes to data analytics that surpass your basic understanding of pivot tables. Rejection shows us that we are not the best, but that we can strive to become better. It reminds us that we are human. The sooner we become accustomed to it, the sooner we can learn from it. Remember, there can only be one CEO at a company.
It Eliminates What Doesn’t Serve Us.
Remember, reverse rejection is also a thing – you are also allowed to say no to opportunities. Are you not being challenged? Are you not learning from your leader? Maybe it’s time to move on, and that is perfectly normal. There is nothing worse than spending 9-5 at a job that doesn’t serve you in all of the ways that you are looking for. Exiting an internship, job, side hustle or other opportunity may be tenuous at best, but in the long run, you will be able to spend that time somewhere that better-suits your goals and ideals.
I’ve had my fair share of career rejection, and in the moment, it is impossible to see past it. In retrospect, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. It keeps you hungry, it keeps you motivated, and allows you to shoot for the stars by bettering yourself for the next opportunity that comes along.