How to Handle a Job Rejection
I'm about 10 years late but recently, I've been binging on The Great British Bake Off. I know, I know, but now that I'm watching I am obsessed with it. As a hardcore action and murder mystery fan, I needed a break from watching crime scenes, kidnappings and bad guys getting kicked in the face (kidding, will never get sick of that last one).
One thing I love about the show, besides how it inspired me to dust off my kitchen-aid mixer, is how the contestants handle being sent home. Competition shows are a lot like going through the interview process. We all want to win the grand prize, but sometimes it's just not your time and you need to pick up your rolling pin and cookie cutters and go home.
At the end of every episode when they interview the baker that gets sent home there are generally two different responses:
1. The devastated one - They are heartbroken, they really felt like they could have made it further. They can barely choke through the interview because of the tears and frustrations. They beat themselves up over their mistakes and they "would of" "could of" "should of" all over themselves with regret.
2. The grateful one - While they aren't stoked to be going home, these are the contestants who are thankful for the journey, for what they learned, and for the opportunity. Their feelings are hurt but they are so proud of how far they've come and talked about going on to continue baking.
You see where I'm going here.
When we get rejected from a job, it's understandable to be upset and feel defeated. No matter you sugar coat it, a reject is a reject and it's very hard to not take it personally. However, staying in this defeated mentality for too long does more harm than good. A rejection letter does not define who you are and all that you have to offer. There are so many different reasons why you may have not been their choice even if you were a perfect candidate.
"She just didn't have the right vibe for me. But it may be because wore the same perfume as my ex-wife"
"The other candidate went to a fraternity and so do a lot of our ideal clients so..."
"It's really close between these two, but this candidate doesn't have a LinkedIn page, that's a little odd, right?
I've heard it all on why a great candidate was not the "perfect candidate" and it sucks, but it isn't always you.
After the initial sting has worn off take a moment to reflect before seeking out that next opportunity. What did you gain from this experience? What did you learn about yourself? What would you do differently if a similar opportunity came through? These questions are not aimed to make you overly critical of yourself but to remain open and flexible to any positive changes. Even if you are the cream of the crop (and I know you are, you wonderful meringue, you) there is always room for improvement.
One thing to keep in mind if you get past over for a new position or to become Great Britain's best and brightest baker, you were chosen as one of the top choices for the role. They had to pour through tons of applications and only spoke to a handful of those applicants and you made it through the ranks. That's a great accomplishment! Dust the flour off your shoulders and get ready for something really amazing.