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How to deal with rejection while job hunting

“Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”
~ Sri Ramana Maharshi

January 6, 2021

Today I don’t feel like writing. But I am going to write anyway because this is what the writing challenge is.

I caught a cold, have a dry cough and a headache, but I will be squeezing the words out of my mind because I know that if I stay here long enough, the state of flow will appear sooner or later.

Today I had a call with one potential employer. They arranged 3 interviews in December and then vanished. It was even more alarming considering that the CEO of the company was the one who approached me in the first place.

I had to follow up on New Year’s eve to find out that there was a mistake in scheduling made by his executive assistant.

From the candidate’s perspective, the candidate's experience was horrible. And a bad candidate experience is always a red flag. Why? Candidate experience becomes employee experience.

As a worker, I can understand how appointments get missed all the time in this busy world.

As a man though, I know that nobody misses stuff if they think it is important enough for them.

And that is something all job seekers must understand in the first place.

You have to knock on doors, you have to follow up, you have to remind hiring managers about your existence. Why?

Because you are nobody’s priority.

I’m aware that this might sound harsh. But I am not asking for forgiveness. Sometimes we need to hear harsh things that would sober us up.

We can sit and wait for good things to happen to us, or we can get out there and make things happen.

Of course, the balance must be maintained. It doesn’t mean that you should step on faces and walk all over people.

Keep your manners in check and be a gentleman (or a gentle lady), but always keep in mind that in order to get some apples, you’ve got to shake some trees.

There is no truth in the world of men. Only perspectives. So today I am writing to share mine. These are the mindsets that I use to flip the narrative to make myself more effective in this rollercoaster of job hunting.

Mindset 1. “Act without expectations”.

This is a quote by Lao Tzu.

Work with the end goal in mind but do not be attached to the result.

In job-hunting or in anything else, we must maintain clarity on the things that we control and things that we don’t.

  • We do control the quality of our resume and cover letter. We do not control the way they will be perceived.
  • We do control our appearance and our presentation, the level of our preparation, our sincerity, honesty, and authenticity that we bring into the conversation when we network with others. But again, we do not have control over the people’s perception of us.
  • We do not control what happens in the time we wait. But we do control our own definition of patience.

I will share with you one of the mantras that I use to operate in this world.

Do what you have to do, with what you have, where you are, using your best judgment that stems from your current level of consciousness, and let whatever happens to happen.

Sow the seeds, and try not to stress out too much about what grows out of them. You have only partial control over the quality of your seeds, and you definitely do not control the quality of the soil your seeds fall into.

Mindset 2. There is no rejection only redirection.

Use your life to find your own experiential confirmation of this simple truth.

How many times in your life you’ve had situations when you thought that your world is crumbling.

How many times you thought that you’re on a brink of a mental breakdown, convincing yourself that things cannot be worse than they already are.

And yet you’re here.

In all those moments you thought you could no longer endure the adversity that befell you, you didn’t quit. You persevered. And you made just one more step that was required of you. You kept living.

Today, looking back across the years, you know that these times were precisely the moments that have forged your character. Those memories might have left some scars on your soul, but today you carry them as badges of honor.

You know that the moments when you had to make the toughest decisions, the moments when you had to discover strength you didn’t suspect is present within you, were precisely the moments that redirected you to the path you are taking now — your path.

What you are going through today is no different. Being immersed in the current situation might feel like the world is shrinking on you trying to squeeze you like a lemon. But these are all mind games. Do not be easily deceived and intimidated by your own mind.

Accept every rejection you get. Make rejection your teacher. Choose to always see it as a signpost. Follow the direction it shows to you, and just keep going. One step at a time.

Mindset 3. Rejection is subjective.

“Rejection doesn’t mean you are not good enough; it means the other person failed to notice what you have to offer.”
~ Mark Amend.

This quote sounds a bit cheesy but the message is right.

When people reject you it speaks just as much for what they are as it speaks for what you are. In most cases, even more.

Put it another way, what you see in me is yours. And what I see in you is mine.

You don’t know what kind of biases and mental distortions are at play during the interview. A hiring manager can reject you and you will never be able to understand what was the thought process behind the rejection.

People arrive at conclusions the path to which they can’t themselves explain.

Let me offer you another meditation, this time it is the words of Marcus Aurelius:

“A person who doesn’t know what the universe is, doesn’t know where they are. The person who doesn’t know their purpose in life doesn’t know who they are or what the universe is. That person who doesn’t know any one of these things doesn’t know why they’re here. So what to make of people who seek or avoid praise of those who have no knowledge of where or who they are?”
~ Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 8.52

How many people do you know who wouldn’t be able to give you a definitive answer if you asked them a question: “Who are you?”

How many hiring managers are like that?

If you know who you are, if you’re deeply grounded in what is constantly true for you, no criticism can agitate you.

Of course, you should be able to distinguish between constructive criticism and destructive one.

Use constructive criticism to make adjustments in your behavior, but stay unflinching being hit by the words of those who lack knowledge about themselves let alone competence to judge you.

Bear in mind that we should not use this meditation to feed our own ego. On the contrary, it is something we should think about to remain in the place of this calm, unchanging, unshakable humility.

4. Remember the Law of Space.

The Law of Space states:

“If you want something beautiful to enter your life, you must first create some space for it.”

You have to break up with the partner whose presence is toxic for you, in order for you to find a person who will finally lead you to the discovery of your true definition of “love".

Similarly, you have to separate yourself from the company that is no longer in alignment with your values, to find (or found) a company the will become a place where you truly belong.

You have to believe that the Universe always has something better for you in the store. Because if you believe, it does.

The world is abundant, but its abundance is only accessible to those who can conceive it in the mind. And this is not some kind of esoteric preaching of the infamous Law of Attraction. It is simple physics.

You can’t create a computer if you do not have an idea of a computer in your head.

In order to create your reality, you must first conceptualize it in your mind.

In the famous words of William Arthur Ward:

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”

5. “Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.”

That’s the name of the book written by Richard Carlson, but I’m sure you’ve heard this saying somewhere before.

Every time you feel that you get consumed by your life events, do this little NLP exercise.

“Zoom in and Zoom out”.

Imagine that you’re sitting in a chair on the surface of the moon 🌘 looking at the planet Earth with all its people and their petty problems.

Marinate in this perspective. Accept this new vision of things.

After doing that for some time, try zooming in.

Imagine that you’re a little spider 🕷️, crawling about his spider business in your own apartment, looking at the human you with your human problems. What would this spider think? What would he say about all the things that the human you is stressing about?

Whatever you’re thinking. Unthink it.

You are not in control of the thoughts that pop up in your mind. But you’re always in control of the thoughts you dwell on.

Observe the thoughts that bring you down. Choose to stay longer on the thoughts that make you feel lighter.

Your perspective is always in your hands.

While I was writing this essay my friend texted me. She shared a job posting and said that she can make a referral as she knows the HR person in the company.

This is how this works — one lead falls through, another new one pops up.

The job was posted 5 hours ago, and there are 76 applicants already (on LinkedIn alone). The competition is brutal.

And that is when all the mindset-pieces must fall together:

  • Apply for jobs but act without expectations.
  • You’re never being rejected, only redirected.
  • Don’t take to heart the imperfect judgments of imperfect people.
  • Create space for everything you want to manifest in your life.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s all small stuff.

Good luck!

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