Meet Rejection with Patience When Applying for Jobs

Getting a job was not like getting in to college. It was not like being in college either. There were plenty of challenges, and stressful evenings that stretched to 2AM under the buzzing lights of the library, but until I graduated, I was spared the grueling reality of looking for a full-time job. The shock of being spat out into the real world was like being born in the African Bush as a giraffe. My legs, which seemed fine in the womb-like world of college, were awkward and shaky, it was cold, and I had the sneaking suspicion that something big wanted to eat me.

I felt like I had to learn basic skills all over again. Simply talking to potential employers in formal and eager tones (but not too eager) was a jarring experience compared to talking to admissions offices five years ago. There is an unbelievable amount of competition for jobs. I applied to an editorial position at a press in NYC over the summer and found out that 171 other candidates had applied for it before I did. That pool of applicants, swarming around that one position, was a microcosm of how many people are graduating compared to how many available jobs there are. The ratio allows no room for error. Like running away from a ravenous lion, one wrong step decides your fate.

But we make errors. Always have, always will, and we will always face the consequences tailing them. The best thing to do is be grateful that we can at least learn from them. Being grateful for whatever comes our way is crucial, even the word, no. I, and 169 applicants for that NYC job are living proof that more people hear the word, "No" than "Yes." As discouraging as that is, we do not have to be wholly discouraged.

My aunt recently told me to always say thank you for the No. Statistically speaking, she said, there are simply more people than there are jobs so you are going to hear it. At least six times, you will not get the job you applied for.

"Think of it this way," she said, "if we all typically hear several no's before we hear a yes, then each no is just a step closer to the yes."

Whether or not the statistic is true, she makes a valid point. With each interview, we get practice speaking to potential employers. As with anything: writing, reading, singing, or polka dancing, practice improves performance. There's no sure way to predict success absolutely, but our chances get better with each opportunity to prove our worth.

Being grateful for the interview regardless of the result, is a better way to treat yourself than sinking into self-doubt and apathy. Let resentment be the old way of dealing with rejection, something you used to do. Say thank you for hearing no, even if you are only saying it to yourself. Not for nothing, but good bosses know the personalities of their employees. They're not going to choose you if you would not fit in with the other employees--no one wants to work with people they can't stand. In that case, a rejection sounds even more like a blessing, something you'd be grateful for.

Throughout your search, gratitude will evoke patience, and patience will bar you to where you are meant to go. "No" is not a dead end. It is merely a stop along the way.

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