Post Academic

The Rejection Resolution: Getting Your Mojo Back After a Rejection

PhotobucketSome people take rejection harder than others. If you’re one of them, remember what Psychology Today said about Tylenol? How about a stiff drink? After one rough Hamster World rejection that involved an inside candidate, I played the iPhone’s iamsamjackson app for a solid hour. And, yes, listening to “That doesn’t suck!” repeatedly actually made me feel better.

But, if you’re not into motivational bon mots from Samuel Jackson, try the following:

Apply for something completely different. Look for jobs or even part-time gigs that you’re qualified for but wouldn’t usually do. You might discover a hidden talent or learn a new skill.

Go after rejections. Kiplinger offers counter-intuitive advice: Pursue rejection. As in, aim to be rejected several times a week. I knew a guy who applied to medical school, and he taped his many rejections to the wall in the hall by his dorm room door, where everyone could see them. At the time, I thought he was a masochist, but he got into an excellent medical school, and he’s a doctor now, so it clearly worked for him.

“Crying Is Okay Here” stencil posted by Miss O’Crazy from Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

Keep your standards high. Take a long look at your qualifications. If you are truly qualified for the jobs for which you are applying, then don’t lower the bar. (You shouldn’t have to if you build up an emergency fund.) Don’t assume you’ll get a job just because you accept a lower-paying gig. Good companies don’t want to hire people who are overqualified, and bad companies might take advantage of you.

Remember that everyone gets rejected. At the time of a rejection, it will seem like you’re the worst of the worst, and no one can feel as terrible as you do. But that’s how it is for everyone. Sure, there are some people who seem flawless, but they’re probably just better at hiding rejection than you are.

3 Responses to 'The Rejection Resolution: Getting Your Mojo Back After a Rejection'

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  1. James said,

    This is a great tip. I have read some of the world’s big sales trainers and lots of them teach that you should actually plan on being rejected everyday.

    That way, you are more willing to take risks which also results in you getting jobs and clients that you would never have had the courage to approach if you insisted on only doing things you were sure you could positively do.

    Try it. Send 3 emails every week to someone you wouldn’t expect to be interested in you–for a job, or for advice, or for an interview on your blog. I harass people all the time—I have had some rejections, most will just ignore you. But I have also met some great contacts (my interview with a former editor which I turned into a blog post was just from me asking him) and now rejection doesn’t bother me.

    In fact, you’ve inspired me to harass some more people this week—in 10 days, I will post another comment with the results.


    James from

  2. James said,

    My God. This is embarrassing. I said I would post again in 10 days, and procrastinated. But I actually did do it (see my comment above). And the results were:

    1. Contacted someone who kinda offered me a job, but then went silent. I had already bugged him a few times (with emails). After reading your article, I sent him one more email. He responded. He didn’t have any work, but he did give me a little mentorship and has been sending me resources, helping me out. So a partial good rejection story.

    2. After reading your article, I sent out two emails for interviews for my site. I didn’t get a response for one. But the other one was a yes, and I’m interviewing him Saturday.

    So one no, one yes, and a maybe. All in all, I think I need to send out more stuff, and get more rejections.

    Thanks again. Get out there everyone and get some rejections!

    James from

  3. I was wondering what happened with your plan! I thought it may have fallen the way of other New Year’s Resolutions. I am so glad that it worked out for you. Sometimes, partial rejections can be more helpful than an acceptance. Thank you for the update!

    (I should be honest … I haven’t put myself in a position to go after more rejections, but you’re inspiring me to try it. I have a few manuscripts to dust off!!)

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