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 Award-winning business author and broadcaster

Leadership trainer and coach

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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Tang

Guest Article: Rebekah Jameson - dealing with rejection

According to labour market research by the UK Parliament, 2020 saw a record-high number of job dismissals, the most since 1994. The number of employed people fell by 825,000, with unemployment rising to almost 400,000. Despite growing economic levels in recent months, there are still as many as 350,000 fewer people employed than before 2020. As a result, securing better opportunities at work has become more difficult than ever. Even with work experience in an existing career, many factors can affect your job position. Events may also not go as expected — be it getting passed over for a promotion or being removed from your position. Sometimes, this rejection is inevitable due to the high competition. Instead of taking these events negatively, you must explore ways to navigate, cope, and learn from rejection. In this article, we’ll tackle the ways you can deal with career rejection and how you can use this setback to your advantage:

Acknowledge negative feelings Career rejection can be brutal, often leading to many complicated emotions. Before you can truly recover from loss, it’s essential to sort through your thoughts and feelings first. An LHH article on bouncing back after a job loss explains that, if it’s your first time being laid off there can be feelings of embarrassment. However, future employers will want to know that you aren’t holding onto any negative feelings about the transition and are committed to bringing your value so you can build a future with them. To better prepare yourself for your new job and if you can afford to wait, settle your grief before engaging in interviews with target employers. Giving yourself time to heal can bring greater confidence and intent toward your future roles.

Find mental and physical coping strategies Upon recognising your grief, you must use good mental and physical coping strategies. As shared in our post “The Difference Between Reacting and Responding, and How to Do the Latter More!”, having a safe space where you can express strong emotions is crucial to moving on. If you don’t release your stresses, these negative emotions may build up much like a pressure cooker, leading you to possibly release them at an inappropriate time because your body and mind can’t cope with them any longer. To avoid consequences brought by these feelings, you can engage in healthier courses of action such as journaling, sports, or music to channel your emotions.

Turn rejection into a learning experience After being turned down for career opportunities, you must move past emotional pain and make it a learning experience. It can be incredibly frustrating if you’re not sure why you were turned down, so taking the initiative to ask for constructive feedback can give you greater insight into what you can improve on. For those who are already employees, you can approach your bosses or managers to ask about any gaps you may have in your skill set. Similarly, a Metro post on job interviews notes that newer applicants can also ask their interviewer for feedback via email or phone — although it’s up to the interviewer's discretion to provide their comments or not. Despite the situation, staying polite is crucial even when facing criticism, so be patient in hearing these people out. While rejection can be painful, following these steps can help you cope better. You can learn from these challenges and work toward a brighter future by acknowledging your feelings, using proper coping mechanisms, and reframing your mindset.

Article written by Rebekah Jameson

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