Photos: Olu Eletu via Unsplash; William Iven via Unsplash; Bào- Quân Nguyen via Unsplash
“We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.”
– Maya Angelou
A few months ago I got a job rejection that cut deep. It was for this amazing dream job that would have meant starting a career in marketing communications. A three year contract that would have allowed me to spend each year in a different country.
I did not make it to the interview stage. I was disappointed. I was upset and I cried in my pillow for roughly half an hour before picking myself and my broken heart and starting a fresh.
This was not my first job rejection and I doubt it will be the last. I had gotten rejections from other jobs before. But as much as I have experienced them, there are some that have you so invested that they feel like they feel like the recruiters have actively rejected you, deeming you a failure.
I’m in a different position now.
Since that day I have sent plenty of job applications, I have had a few interviews and am thinking even more about what I want out of a career. I have been spending the last few months at university focusing on my studies and taking part in volunteering activities and projects that make me happy.
Now I have an internship coming up once I graduate this summer, and I’m awaiting a response from a number of organizations and companies, some in London, some elsewhere around the world. The options are genuinely endless.
Getting rejected was painful, and for a day or two I felt like my life dreams had been crushed forever.
But now I feel like that rejection was one of the best things that could have happened to me and here are the reasons why.
1. Drawing board
I’ve gone back to the drawing board and have discovered things about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise taken the time to discover. I have had the time to reassess the direction my life was taking and truly think about what it is that I want. Do I want a career in marketing communications, in consulting, in politics or in the legal industry?
I’m interested in all of the above options.
2. I now have a better plan – that is actually flexible
When I was a child I wanted to be a doctor and for the longest time that’s all I ever saw myself doing. But since deciding not to study medicine I’ve been a bit lost about what career trajectory to take. I’ve tried marketing and I’ve tried law. Now my plan is to figure it out as I go, apply for things that interest me and start with something. Not only I’d be able to learn new skills and work full-time but I’d also be able to decide on my next steps once I get to learn what I like and what I dislike in a particular job or industry.
3. I’m stronger
I believe that what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. Yes, I was upset. Yes I cried. And yes I was scared because I had no clue what I was going to do next. But now I’m more adaptable to change. I have some things that ground me still: my studies, my blog, my writings. But I’m definitely not as afraid about the future and change.
I have joined a literary contest and I should find out soon whether my work will be published or not; I’ve applied for a job on the other side of the planet; I am starting a new project that I’m genuinely passionate about; and I’m learning Korean in my spare time.
That job rejection made me feel awful for a while but it has made me strive to be better and I now feel like I’m ready for a new adventure.
And I guess that’s just part of being an adult.
Maya Angelou has once again be an inspiration to me.
Do you have any experience that has made you rethink about your future or has made you stronger? I would love to know!