To all my friends out there facing rejection, this one’s for you…cheers.
During one of my kindergarten years, first or second, the two classes at 10th Street Elementary School had a sleepover. OK, before I proceed, is it odd that I was in kindergarten for two years? Is that normal? I’ve always been a bit older than my friends; hmm. Anyways…Towards the end of one of these kindergarten years, the two kindergarten classes combined for a fun-filled night of sweatpant-wearing, hide-and-seek-playing, pizza-eating, soda-drinking, PG movie-watching, off-brand ice cream sandwich-eating, and little-to-no sleeping. I’m sure our mothers were thankful for all these activities, especially the lack of sleep and crankiness that ensued the next 24-48 hours. I’m sure I had many goals in mind that night: eat as much pizza as possible; hide out in the girls bathroom; drink as much soda as possible, maybe even pass a kidney stone; fight the tired-eyes and refuse to sleep. [From this point on, for anonymity's sake, I will not use the actual names involved in the following story] One ultimate goal I had in mind, though, was to score at least one kiss from Ashley Smith. Ashley and I had had a checkered past up to this point. We had experienced our share of love and hate. We were basically the Kelly Kapowski and Zach Morris of the 10th Street Elementary School kindergarten classes. I knew, though, that this being a sleepover, at some point our teacher’s and chaperone’s resiliency to stay awake would wane and I would be able to, at the least, sneak a peck on the cheek under the dim gymnasium lights and glow from “The Little Mermaid” on the dingy projector. My plan had gone smoothly for most of the evening. I think I let Ashley “tag” me once during hide-and-seek, and I may have even given her the last of the RC Cola (don’t quote me on that one, though, I needed the caffeine if I were going to succeed…). Things were going well until we gathered in the gym with our pillows and sleeping bags to wind down with Disney’s depiction of “A Fish Called Wanda,” a.k.a. “The Little Mermaid.” A friend, who we’ll call AC, because he really was like AC Slater and our relationship really was similar to that of he and Zach’s, hijacked the only open spot on the floor next to Ashley. Even though we hadn’t verbally discussed my plan for the night, he very well knew what I was up to. Was it jealousy that drove him to spite me? A competitive edge? Who knows. I do know that I was irate, at least for 30-45 seconds. Then, thinking like the playa that I was, I found another dame to pursue, and all was right in the world.
I’m pretty sure I never got a kiss that night, and I’m pretty sure AC didn’t get one either. What I laugh about now, and actually admire, was my ability to bounce back from the missed opportunity to “make a move” on Ashley. Sure, AC had beat me to the punch and landed a spot next to her. Had she truly wanted to sit by me, though, she could have easily given AC the “keys to the street.” I was faced with rejection, and I took it like a champ. I sulked in pity, very briefly, but then I picked my head up and looked for the next opportunity. I, like many, am on the search for a full-time job. I have been for a few months, and as you can probably gather, I’ve faced some rejection in the forms of “Thank you for your time, but we’ve decided to pursue other options” or, “Thank you, but we’ve selected another candidate.” There’s a lot of great people out there looking for jobs, and kudos to the ones that have received the positions I’ve applied for and essentially been competing with. Not that it’s necessarily a dog-eat-dog world, but hey, the employers can only select one person for a given position. Nonetheless, it still stings a bit to hear a “no,” especially more than once…or twice.
Being on the receiving end of these rejections can have its rewards, though, and I experienced just that yesterday at a Job Hunters Workshop here in Indianapolis. Peter Dunn, a.k.a. Pete the Planner, organized and hosted the event which featured guest speakers Gerry Dick (Inside Indiana Business), Chuck Gose (Director of Business Development and Social Media at MediaTile), Scott Jones (Founder of ChaCha, GraceNote, the guy invented voicemail for crying out loud!), Abdul Hakim-Shabazz (attorney, radio personality) Kathleen McDonald (President & CEO of Career Investments, LLC) and Peter Dunn (radio talk show host, financial planner, money analyst). You can probably imagine, just from this list, that this was a well-spent $10 and two hours of a morning. All of these individuals shared tips and advice, from their own personal and professional experiences, on job searching, positioning and branding yourself, financial planning, and more.
Now, had I already landed a job prior to hearing about this event, I probably wouldn’t have attended. I probably would have never even heard about it in the first place. Because of my circumstance…cough…unemployment, though, I had the good fortune of attending this event, learning A LOT, and meeting some great people. During Chuck’s speech, I tweeted how much I was enjoying hearing from him and within minutes we were connected on LinkedIn, Twitter, and even met after the workshop.
So, was I at this workshop due to rejection? Yes. Was it rewarding? Very much so. Maybe it’s a “glass half empty or glass half full” scenario. It definitely has something to do with perspective and attitude, though. If you’re reading this and facing rejection but still feel like your glass if half full, right on! That’s not always the easiest outlook to have. If you’re feeling like it’s half empty, perhaps it’s just because you’ve taken a few sips, a few chances on opportunities, and they haven’t panned out they way you thought they should have. I say, keep on keepin’ on, know you’re not alone, and if the glass starts feeling a little more empty, add a few ice cubes and they’ll eventually melt and add more liquid to the contents of your glass…