In September 2015. I had just turned 25 and not to sound cliché, but I faced self-doubt. “What am I doing with my life?” I asked myself over and over again.
What was I doing? Life was great!
I was volunteering as much as I could for things I supported, was recently engaged and I enrolled in a photography class for fun.
However, I felt I hit a wall in terms of my career status. Was I happy with what I was doing? Where was my career headed? I couldn’t confidently answer that.
That’s when my job search started. I avidly checked countless job sites. I started researching companies I’d like to work for, was actively networking, and had my resume updated. I had a concrete plan. I was ready for my career to take on a different path.
I submitted applications for jobs I genuinely wanted at companies I liked and I applied for jobs for which I was either under or over qualified for. I didn’t have anything to lose. I was scheduling interviews and things were on track. I was going to find a new job!
Now cue the dark and heavy curtain of rejection.
“Felicia, your interview went well. You have a great skill set. However, I can’t offer you the job. We need someone with more experience, especially relating to *insert insanely specific and unrealistic skill set*”
“Hello, this is Employment Services Coordinator from Company. Unfortunately, we won’t be offering you a second interview. Thank you for your interest.”
“Dear Felicia, Thank you for coming in last week for an interview. We were impressed with your enthusiasm and knowledge. We can’t offer you the position at this time. Please keep in touch.”
Since September 2015, I have applied for 22 jobs, had five interviews and was offered two jobs (which I had to unfortunately decline). Hearing no or sometimes not hearing anything at all, over and over again, was tiring. Staying motivated and positive was tough. I started second guessing myself.
Is my education and experience not enough? Maybe sharing my weaknesses was too honest. I shouldn’t have said that in the interview! Should I go back to school?
What was I doing wrong? I became too familiar with rejection so I had to start looking at it differently.
I learned to not take rejection personally. As I prepared for interviews, I often got emotionally attached. I invested time and energy to prepare. I even thought about how my commute would be different if I got the job and that I’d have to find a new place to pick up coffee. Silly, right? At the end of it, I had to separate my emotions from it. I had no real idea of who their ideal employee was.
Rejection happens for a reason. After receiving those calls or emails, I had to look past that moment of doubt. Canadian singer Joel Plasket sings this verse “Good things come to those who wait”. That became my mantra. I became patient and made effort for self-improvement. Rejection helped me grow – it made me stronger!
I’ve faced rejection since the dawn of time. This pain isn’t new. I’ve been rejected from big and small things like universities, relationships, buying concert tickets and that last pizza slice. I’ve moved on from that pain before and will continue to.
Getting feedback also helped me deal with rejection. It was often hard to hear but it’s crucial. It helped me on my journey to self-improve. It also gave me an opportunity to build relationships with whoever interviewed me. I built a new network of contacts.
It’s now May 2017. I know I will continue to face rejection. I’m grateful for my family, friends and colleagues who support me as I continue to job hunt. I don’t dwell and know that patience is key. I have faith things will work out. A slice of pizza from your favourite restaurant or a bowl of ice cream can help too!
Felicia (Caggiano) Van Dyk
– Tourism & Travel, 2010
Follow Felicia @Felicia_VanDyk