How Sharing Your Professional Rejections Can Spark Joy
When I didn’t get a job I thought I was a shoo-in for, I didn’t call a friend to vent my frustration. I didn’t ask for a pep talk. In fact, I told exactly no one what had happened, instead falling into a private tailspin of doubt: I really thought I’d be chosen? How mortifying. Keeping my rejection a secret seemed like the best way to protect myself from further humiliation.
In hindsight, though, I wasn’t protecting my feelings so much as deepening the emotional wound. I was letting someone else’s decision determine my sense of self-worth. But I don’t entirely blame myself for thinking this way: Amid a sea of chirpy “personal news” tweets and Facebook announcements about “officially accepted” offers, it’s easy to conclude that only our professional successes are worth sharing. After all, potential job recruiters, future co-workers, exes, and the girl who was mean to you in high school are all watching and judging. You don’t want any of those people to see your failures.
Being rejected more also means you’re putting yourself out there and working hard to achieve your professional goals.
But you should. If you really want to succeed in your chosen field, you should try to rack up as many rejections as possible. And the next time you get a horrible, demoralizing, earth-shattering rejection, you should shout it from the rooftops.
I know it’s easier said than done. No matter how sure of yourself you are, rejections can sting. Who would want to wallow in that feeling when you could just pretend it doesn’t exist?
But the more I read about how to deal with rejection, the more sense it made to me that racking up a ton of rejections should actually be the goal. Being rejected means you’re putting yourself out there and working hard to achieve your professional dreams. I started telling people what had happened, and it felt freeing.
It also felt comforting. Support can make a big difference when you’re hurting: A 2014 study published in Psychological Science found that sharing your pain can help strengthen social bonds.