Napoleon Hill said, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” Nowhere is this more applicable than the rejection Brian Acton, cofounder of Whatsapp, received from both Twitter and Facebook. These days, Brian is laughing all the way to the bank, because Facebook, the company that once rejected him, recently purchased Whatsapp for $16 Billion.
While it’s a big win for Acton, Dr. John Sullivan, professor of management at San Francisco State University, and an expert on recruiting and staffing, views it as a ‘colossal recruiting failure’ by Facebook. “The most costly recruiting error in recent history…”, he said. Well, it depends. If you are Facebook, probably; if you are Acton, certainly not.
Many of us have faced rejection of some sort or another at some point in our lives. Sometimes it’s a job offer that went to someone else; a promotion that didn’t materialize, or a response to an email rebuffing your subscription to a job board. The reality is that whatever the rejection, its initial impact is never pleasant. We begin to play the blame game or beat up on ourselves.
I remember how devastated I felt years ago when I lost out on a job that I thought had my name written all over it. After I got the bad news, I held a pity party the entire afternoon. I was the only one in attendance, and didn’t I spend the time beating up and second-guessing myself?
At some point, I faced the reality that wallowing in self-pity wasn’t going to help me. I brushed myself off, took an introspective look, and decided that I had too much to offer to spend the time moaning and groaning over a lost opportunity. That self-assessment was the first step that helped to change the trajectory of my career and my life.
In my book, No Canadian Experience, Eh? I mention that the more No’s one gets, the closer one is to Yes, and one ‘Yes’ is all that’s needed. As a job seeker, you may have received your quota of rejections, but this is not the time to give up. It’s time to redouble your efforts. Count your No’s as stepping stones to Yes! Here are three tips to help you deal with a job rejection:
- Assess yourself. Review the situation to see what went well, and look for opportunities where you need to grow.
- Be courteous. Notice that Acton’s tweet paid a compliment to the people he met at Facebook. He didn’t engage in any bad- mouthing).
- Follow up with your interviewer. Sometimes the candidate they chose didn’t work out, but because of your professionalism and lack of bitterness, they could decide to offer you the position, or at least give you a second opportunity.
Just in case you believe you will never rise from the ashes of a rejection, below are some individuals who faced rejection in their lives, but went on to achieve great things:
- Oprah Winfrey was told she wasn’t fit for television.
- Jack Canfield & Mark Victor Hansen received 144 rejections from publishers for their book Chicken Soup for the Soul.
- Jay-Z had big dreams to become a rapper, but couldn’t get signed to any record labels. He created his own music empire: Roc-A-Fella Records.
- J.K. Rowlings got fired because she spent her time writing stories on her work computer.
- Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He went home, locked himself in his room and cried.
While your story might not be as well-documented as these celebrities; while you might not aspire to such heights, you could change the direction of your life if you view rejection as an opportunity to start over.
Bob Marley, in one of his songs, says, “As one door closes, another one opens.” Don’t continue staring at the closed door that you miss other windows of opportunity.
Are you ready to step forward after a rejection? Share your thoughts or your story below.