I once heard a actor describe his profession as a constant job interview where you’re always dealing with rejection. Every audition for a role can seem like a judgment on who you are and your value, so getting past that is important if you’re going to succeed and have your craft pay the bills.
Anyone who’s worked in sales will tell you the actor was making an example of how the Law of Averages applied on a personal level. Working the Law of Averages in sales involves a lot of hard work because for every successful sale you make, you’re going to rack up a number of staggering losses.
The examples go on and on but the principle in job searches is this:
Get used to rejection and learn to overcome it.
The most frequent way to get past rejection I see is to quote the movie The Godfather. In one of it’s more quotable scenes Michael Corleone states “It’s not personal, Sonny. it’s strictly business”. It’s a very stoic way to handle rejection- don’t internalize it. When somebody says ‘no’ it’s not about you but just a business decision.
This works on a business to business level, but in a job search the rejection can feel all too personal. Why? Because we’re human! What we’re selling is our personal competence and value so it’s perfectly natural to take it personally.
So what’s another way to deal with the rejection? When Fred Rogers (of PBS’s Mister Rogers Neighborhood) was a young boy he was bullied for his weight and shyness. He recounted how his parents told him just to ignore the bullies and that this was a turning point for his young life. Rather than ignore his feelings, he made it cornerstone of his life’s work to teach people that feelings shouldn’t be ignored but rather acknowledge and addressed.
A job search is long game and takes a lot of effort and courage. So give yourself a break when you’re rejected and don’t give up! So take Michael Corleone’s advice and understand it in your head, but in your heart remember that Mister Roger’s knew something we should always remember: it’s okay to have feelings.
For more on Mister Roger’s I recommend you check out the excellent documentary “Mister Rogers & Me” which inspired this post.