Workplace Rejection

Don’t Let Workplace Rejection Get You Down

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Did you recently get passed up for a big (or not so big) promotion? Did you ask for something at work and were flatly turned down? It happens – to all of us at some point. Things do not always go your way, and rejection is part of life – all aspects of life – both personal and professional. How you handle workplace rejection can serve as the cornerstone for short- and long-term success. It’s time to ‘man-up,’ as they say!

Of course, nobody wants to be rejected. But if and when it happens, you should take the bull by the horns, as it were, and use the experience and opportunity to pursue other things, learn from the experience, and, of course, try again.

FACT: The Rules In This Game Are Different

You are worthy and can recover from rejection in the workplace. They don’t say ‘it’s just business’ for nothing. The rules of engagement are different in a professional environment than any other. While you might be angry and upset, this is the time to take stock of the situation, evaluate your feelings, and put some perspective around things. Now is the time to review your past performance and identify areas for improvement. You can use this as an OPPORTUNITY instead of feeling sorry for yourself.

It’s Over – Move On (But Get Focused First)

Evaluate situations to make measurable improvements. In doing so, you will find there is always an area (and sometimes more than one) that you can change. Maintaining a positive and proactive attitude will allow you to quickly recover, move on, and set new goals. The renewed focus will serve to improve your feelings about the situation and take corrective action.

You are your own worst enemy. Make new plans and goals and don’t dwell on situations that cannot be changed. Attitude is more than 90% of ensuring you recover gracefully. The sooner you come to terms with the situation you will be in a better position to make changes to ensure future success.

As the saying goes ‘life is not a spectator sport’ and professional growth, or lack thereof also falls into this category. Package up the anger and resentment you might be feeling and toss it out the window. There is a definite sense of liberation when you can come to terms with a situation and move on. Regroup and start anew.

No Excuses! Build Your Next Plan Of Attack

Create your strategic plan; establish your goals and work toward positive improvements that will generate the results you desire the next time. Overall, the decision to move beyond the situation is yours. Your effective (or lack thereof) handling of the matter will set the tone for future performance. You can control your career as well as the ups and downs that come with performance expectations.

What to do now?

  • Determine Your Mission
  • Establish Objectives
  • Set Your Course of Action
  • Implement Your Plan
  • Maintain and Enhance Your Skills and Knowledge

Achieve career success!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Debra Wheatman

Debra Wheatman, president of Careers Done Write, is globally recognized as an expert in advanced career search techniques. She helps clients obtain highly desired interviews for competitive positions.

2 comments

  1. What about a situation where it’s not my performance, but something totally out of my control? I work for a private, non-profit college that follows a corporate model (“it’s just business”). Employees are all on annual contracts which are renewed (more or less) every spring (i.e., no tenure).

    I was initially hired as a full-time professor (teach 3 classes per quarter, 9 per year). Further, all faculty are expected to fill 30 seats and satisfy 90-100% “Seat Utilization”. Then, because of low enrollment in my classes (due in large part because they are all electives and do not satisfy any college or major requirements), I received a reduced course-load contract for only 2 classes per quarter (6 per year) with a similar 30% reduction of salary (because low Seat Utilization numbers make the Chair/manager “look bad”).

    It seems at this point that the only change I can make “to ensure future success” is to move out of this unhealthy organization entirely and get back to what I love to do — teach (which is exactly what HR said was their bottom-line expectation of me when I was hired). Needless to say, I have already begun my job search in earnest.

  2. Really great info!! Thanks for the uplifting and motivating advice.

    We all receive rejection at some time in our lives….thanks so much for such awesome direction!!!

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