On rejection

I’ve been rejected for a lot of things. My inbox’s jobsearch:denied tag has 173 items in it. That’s at least 173 jobs that someone or something didn’t find me fit for, whether because I met the qualifications in a way that wasn’t immediately obvious or because someone couldn’t get past my unusual resume. I was in many clubs while in school, and I ran for offices and applied for membership in many clubs; I got rejected from more than I got accepted to. This was quite a feat considering the acceptances. 69% of the people who visit this site leave after viewing only one page. The path to publication is paved with rejection slips. Every writer who has gotten past the “publish a novel to get rich and famous” phase knows that.

These rejections can hurt. They sting, sometimes on a personal level. It’s not hard to brush off a rejection letter that’s obviously a form letter, but the letters that a human definitely wrote and may have hurt them to write are the ones that sting the most. I got one of these a few months back from someone hiring for my dream position at my favorite place in the world. I was already fired up, thinking my interview had gone well. I didn’t have quite enough experience for the position, just a lot of ideas and passion and as much knowledge about the organization as the people interviewing me. Since I would have had to move for the job, I even started reading about the area and figuring out possible neighborhoods to live in.

So when the rejection email came in, I was hurt, not because they had hired someone, but because somehow I just wasn’t good enough. Again. I let myself mope for a few hours (as you should be allowed to do when someone else gets your dream job), but a meal and shower improved my mood, and more importantly I moved on and kept putting myself out there.

The rejections keep rolling in, some days in droves. It’s easy to feel like a failure when three rejections enter my inbox in a day like on Friday. (None came in today. Guess even recruiters like taking Sundays off.) Today I read a blog post by Hunch CEO and philosophy Ph.D. dropout Chris Dixon about rejection. The premise was simple:

If you aren’t getting rejected on a daily basis, your goals aren’t ambitious enough.

Since I didn’t get a rejection today, that must be a sign to start ramping things up. We’ll start with a nice game of Rejection Therapy. The first rule of Rejection Therapy is to talk about Rejection Therapy. The second rule of Rejection Therapy is to get a rejection from a human every day. I’ll be keeping track.

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