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  • Robb Conlon

Coping with Rejection...

We've all had it happen to us hundreds if not thousands of times...

We get an email that says., "Sorry, we found another candidtate."

Maybe sometimes we don't even get that.

Maybe it's just radio silence after 6 months; and sadly, we know that those opportunities often don't resurface.

It's easy to feel down and depressed when jobs say they don't want you, and you know what?

That's OK. It's OK to be sad.

Recently a friend of mine opened up about the loss of his younger brother and used that phrase plus a bit more.

"It's OK to not be OK."

Many times throughout life we have happiness, and it's generally good to go through life happy rather than sad. Denying the negative emotions and the actual emotional swing of going from happy to sad though is something that we need to prevent from denying ourselves.

It's ok to show emotion, especially in your job hunt.

I have no doubt that you are doing your absolute best right now, and there are probably a few jobs that you've seen that really pique your interest.


Apply for them, and you know what? If you don't get them, it's OK to be bummed out!

The trick is moving beyond the sadness and disappointment phase.

There are many ways to do this, all of which we could not hope to detail in a blog post, but the following 3 are my favorite methods to cope with rejection and to help get through tough times:


This method simply has you ask yourself the question, will what I am worrying about right now matter in 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years?

So when you're upset, ask yourself. "Will what I'm really upset about right now matter in 10 minutes?"

Depending on your answer, you may find some closure to the situation, but if it will matter in 10 minutes, for example, being terminated at a job, then you progress to the next question....

"Will what I'm really upset about right now matter in 10 months?"

It might, it might not, and it begins to give you perspective on how something that seems really large and problematic right now, like a job rejection letter, might well be forgotten about in less than a year.

There are some things that do matter long term, and again, it's ok to be proportionally upset about them for a reasonable amount of time. This begs the question...

"Will what I'm really upset about right now matter in 10 years?

It might. A diagnosis of a major illness or disability that takes your ability to work might matter big time in 10 years.

Again, it's ok to not be ok. The goal of this method is to teach you to be appropriately not ok based on the situation. Don't get me wrong, some things in life are sad and reacting proportionally and rationally to them is important.

The Trouble Tree

This one was introduced to me by my father, who was a dentist for 35 years.

One of Dad's patients once told him about "The trouble tree" and how it helped him de-stress after work or when life got tough.

Every day upon returning home from an event that made him stressed out, (hopefully not after visits to my Dad's office) the patient would get out of his car and walk to a tree in his front yard.

He'd then lay a hand on it, take a deep breath and as he released the breath he would say aloud "I am leaving my troubles here for the day, I will return to pick them up tomorrow".

This one is a mental exercise and the verbal release of stress coupled with the deep breath can definitely help make one feel more relaxed.

It doesn't matter what your "trouble item" is, only that you leave your worries with it.

Building on failure

This one is a bit more abstract, but can reap the biggest rewards.

A trick I use to get myself to cope with rejection is to look at the battle plan for next time.

It's almost a vengeful mindset, bordering on "getting even", but it's more of an "I'll show them".

Case in point: a while back I had applied for a job, which appeared to be a pretty good fit on the surface and even had a great chat with one of the VPs at the company.

Things went a bit radio silent despite a few followups from me, until one day, one of the OTHER VPs who was actually doing the hiring at the company messages me on LinkedIn and begins an impromptu interview over social media.

This is all well and good, and I referenced that I had talked to his colleague about their social media customer service division.

The hiring VP replied immediately that he has no idea what I'm talking about, that he's looking for a videographer, and that "social media is easy". Our interview terminated shortly there after with me quite bewildered as to why this person would reach out to me if not for the position I had identified to him at first, and why he'd insult my skill set to boot.

I admit, I was really mad after the conversation, I kept everything professional as what I saw as a great opportunity crashed and burned in front of me all because this guy was talking to the wrong potential candidate for the position, and felt the need to belittle the skills I brought to the table.

Now, I could have ended the LinkedIn connection right there, and never seen him again, but I kept the connection, because now, every time I see his name in my feed, it reignites that fire to show him that I can make it in social media and that it IS hard to make it, especially without a large marketing budget.

Use the negativity others feed you to fuel your success. Nothing is better than the story of the phoenix, who rises from the ashes.


There are tons of ways to help yourself cope with rejection, and finding the ones that make you feel better are going to be unique to you. Be sure to have multiple ways to do so, as each of the above solutions is not a silver bullet fix or a one size fix.

Keep pushing on your job hunt, the rejection resistance you face today helps build the acceptance you find tomorrow.

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