7 Career Tips From Someone Who Snagged Their Dream Job (After Being Rejected Over 12 Times This Past Year)
“Being an over-achieving, Type-A person since a kid, rejection is something I’m not familiar with. So, when I was handed a pink slip, I went into a tizzy…”
Getting fired is one of those rite-of-passage moments of adulthood that no one prepares us for.
When it happens, it can send us into a whirlwind of self-pity, guilt, and questioning all our life choices (including why we got take-out last night when we could’ve saved that money, instead). In my career spanning five years, I’ve gotten fired twice and I’ve faced over a dozen rejections for my pitches and job applications in the past year alone. When this would happen, I would wallow, feel super anxious and later, I’d feel guilty because of what I’d gotten myself into. Over time, I developed a contingency plan for ‘When-Things-Go-South’. It came in handy, especially during the pandemic this past year, when I lost two of my biggest clients. To be honest, I took it pretty well.
Here are seven things to do if you ever find yourself in a similar position.
1. Don’t Take it Personally
Being an over-achieving, Type-A person since childhood, being fired or rejected was something I was not familiar with. So, when I was handed the pink slip for the first time ever, I almost went into a tizzy and completely blamed myself for not having worked harder. However, getting an insight into the inner workings of an organization through the years taught me that there are multiple factors that go into the decision to down-size, that have nothing to do with me as an employee. Factors like the company’s goals, strategies, or slim profits force employers to let go of their employees — even the over-achieving ones.
2. Be Hungry For Feedback, And Work On It
Having been rejected multiple times, I’ve learned to pick up on the ‘Sorry-but-not-really-sorry’ tone HRs or Managers use when they’re giving me bad news. I always take this opportunity to ask for feedback. Considering they’re not under any obligation to be fake-nice with me, I usually receive some of the most honest feedback on these calls. One of my earliest clients told me that me not adhering to deadlines was one of the reasons why they were letting go of me. I’m happy to report that I’ve not missed a single deadline since then.
3. Keep Your Loved Ones Informed, Especially If Your Finances Affect Them
One of the most daunting aspects of getting fired is telling other people about it, especially if it affects them. Once I began working, a significant chunk of my income would go into taking care of expenses at home. Getting fired or rejected would cause me extra anxiety especially because I couldn’t fulfill on this responsibility for the foreseeable future. However, having a conversation with my family ASAP not only helped ease my panic but also come up with a plan for how we could handle things together.
4. Invest Time In Building A Network, And Reach Out
Looking back on my freelance writing career, I’m pleasantly surprised that some of my best clients had all reached out through personal recommendations. Over the years, I’ve made it a fun ‘stalking’ activity, if you may, to go through LinkedIn profiles casually and reach out to people I find interesting. When I’m out of work – I always rely on my little network to get by and I’m rarely disappointed.
5: Take Time Off
A firing decision in a company doesn’t always come unannounced. It often starts with subtle, ‘We are going through a tough time’ messages or rumors across the organization. I never wanted to be one of the people who got laid off, so I’d work myself to the bone. Taking time off before I can start applying for new jobs again helps me recover from the burnout I’d just experienced and get the creative juices flowing, once again.
6. Make a Note of All The Things You Did Right
Getting fired or rejected inherently feels like a gloom-and-doom package from hell. However, with every job comes an opportunity to learn and grow in some capacity. I realized I never made a note of how rapidly I was growing at work while I was busy criticizing myself for not doing better. Making a list of, ‘Things I’ve Done Well This Time’ doesn’t just make me feel good for having done a good job, but also makes me confident in my abilities.
[Editor’s Note: A list like this can also be super handy for when you are self-shaming yourself for job loss, or just feeling down in the dumps, overall. Reminding yourself of all the things you’ve done right (as well as filing all the positive feedback from fellow colleagues, former bosses, clients and/or customers), is great to look back on, and reflect on, during tough times].
7. Let Your Next Job Be More Challenging
I’m a believer that a job doesn’t have to come with a side of Monday Blues. Once I’m in a headspace to get back to work, I try to look for jobs that are more challenging than the last. ‘Challenging’ doesn’t include longer work hours or a compromised work ethic – rather, it’s a wonderful opportunity to look at skills I’d like to learn. If getting rejected so many times has taught me one thing – it’s that when you’re prepared, your next job is always more interesting, more challenging and a lot more fulfilling than the last.
Jagruthi is a freelance writer based in Hyderabad, India. She is passionate about being vocal for social change and is an avid zero waste enthusiast. You can check out her work here and follow her on Instagram @jagruthimaddela where she documents all her 3 AM thoughts.
Image via Unsplash