One of the hardest things to work through in life and your career is rejection. It is a form of failure that can define you, albeit not so much the initial rejection but how you react to it. Even the most successful people are faced with rejections.
These are some common rejections within your career (as I am not qualified to handle how that pretty cheerleader or handsome quarterback broke your heart in high school):
- Rejection to a specific school or program
- Rejection on a job application, or worse yet, after the interview process
- Rejection on a grant submission
- A sales call rejection
- A committee spot
- A promotion or raise
I think you get my point, and the list can go on. An interesting point of conversation from Kevin Martin (Transova) on the last Coffee & Careers in Animal Science Webinar – We Are All Salesman: he said that if you do not ask, then the answer is always no. If you feel you are the best person for the job, then ask for it. But do your homework on the position, the company, etc.
If you do not ask, the answer will always be no.-Kevin Martin
I just received a rejection from the USDA to be on the Task force for Agriculture Air Emissions. Part of me is relieved as committees can be a time drain, even though worthwhile. However, ultimately, I must think of it from this perspective: it is the USDA’s loss and not mine. I will still be a passionate advocate for animal agriculture, and I still plan on continuing my work in sustainability for the industry. What if I took the other approach and let self-doubt build up inside me? Not only would I lose, but the animal agriculture industry would also be at a loss. There is always another door, another opportunity.
I have been working with several graduate students that want to get their Ph.D. as, in their culture, their country, it is considered very prestigious. The constant rejections are breaking their hearts. I am constantly telling them that they are already scientists, they are already making an impact in their communities, and that a degree does not define them. I commend them for continuing to try, but we must change how we over-exaggerate degrees and titles in our world. We are all in it for the good of mankind and our world.If you have recently received a rejection, just remember that, a lot of times, it is not a reflection of you or your body of work, but circumstances, and you need to look at it differently. The next opportunity will more likely be the right one. In the meantime, keep on doing your best, and keep on asking, because one day you will get your “yes.”