At the beginning of the month, I was contacted by an organization to do some part-time work doing social media strategizing. Flattered and excited, I'd immediately written back that I was definitely interested and got to work putting together a presentation that I was sure would "wow" them. After spending a few late nights at Starbucks, getting to know the organization's website and and perfecting my proposal, I nailed the interview. As far as I could tell, the job was in the bag. Until I got the an email from them. I could tell by the subject line that I didn't get it--it was too generic, neutral, and succinct to be a "Come join our team!" message. Boo.
Now, I'm thankful that I didn't need this job, something I almost feel guilty about. I know there are lots and lots of people desperate for work, and I've already got a job I'm crazy about. I guess part of me was feeling a little greedy (more work= more $$ = new Frye boots!), but it was also about having an opportunity to gain new skills and experience. I had decided 2011 would be the "year of work" and that I was fine with committing myself to a 55+ hour work week.
So, even though it's probably best in the long run that I didn't get this job, the rejection still stung a bit. As soon as I read the email I felt myself getting defensive, telling myself I didn't really want this position anyway. But really what I was feeling was inadequate. What had I done or not done to miss out on this opportunity? I went over my words, my proposal, my resume, trying to think what had been the kicker misstep. Basically, I was trying to find my own screw up.
We can tell ourselves not to take rejection personally--that it has nothing to do with us, but it's the circumstances or the other person or some other thing out of our control. But in the end, we're stuck with our rejection, trying to figure it out. It's perfectly understandable that we might immediately jump into self-criticism because a lot of times we don't get any answers and we're left to our devices to make sense of it all.
At first I wished I hadn't told anyone about the interview. I knew I was going to be asked about it, and I didn't want to admit to anyone that I'd been passed up. I felt embarrassed. So, when I did get asked about it, I pulled the, "Well, it really wasn't a good fit for me anyway" line. I didn't want to say, "My feelings are hurt that I didn't get it." Rejection is hard on its own, but it's even tougher when there's an audience. I feel like I've got to toughen up, get over it.
And in a few days, I did. But I didn't deny myself that bit of time of just feeling bummed out. It's good to get excited over possible opportunities and put our hearts and head into it. I'm glad I felt invested enough to feel the sting of rejection a bit. And I'm thankful for family and friends who remind me that I'm good at what I do, second job or not.