The other day I received one more rejection letter. The first word I find in the emails that I get now is “regret”. I should have been used to it by now and let it go just like I did so many times earlier. But I could not. This hit me. Hit me hard.
This was a position I was very interested in and hopeful about. I wrote one online assessment.
At the second stage, I created a quiet space to write my test from home. My home is usually messy and noisy with a four-year-old either springing or screaming. I pleaded a friend in my bubble to tolerate and take care of my son as I wrote this rather straightforward test.
I waited. And I waited for months. Then came the call for interview which raised my hope as I saw it as the door opening wider.
I prepared. I spoke honestly about things I knew and admitted what I did not but demonstrated my earnestness. When we ended the interview, I had a smile on my face.
While the Government of Canada has acknowledged the important role that immigrants play in maintaining a vibrant economy, the job market is not exactly welcoming for immigrants who are not “essential workers”.
My exaggerated experience of refusals, a rather newcomer immigrant without the so-called “Canadian experience” should have prepared me for what was coming. Yet I wasn’t.
I wasn’t the chosen one.
I went into self-destructive mode. I found all the junk food I had and started eating while staring at my computer. I consoled myself with chocolate. Chocolate was not the answer to dejection, but it felt good.
This was not the first time I had been told that I was not one of the people they were looking for. And this will not be the last. At least not in Canada, a place I made home about three years ago. I knew it would be a challenge. I was moving to a new country and trying to find a job that will pay my bills and provide me with the mental stimulation, a community, a sense of purpose. That wasn’t coming.
A lot of us have been through rejections, particularly, in the past one year when jobs have been lost and lives altered. While the Government of Canada has acknowledged the important role that immigrants play in maintaining a vibrant economy, the job market is not exactly welcoming for immigrants who are not “essential workers”.
It is easy to get wrapped in sadness of dejection. However, with every demise of our dream we muster up the courage to weave a new reality.
Here’s how I have dealt with rejection:
- Acceptance: Accept that there are people who know more than you, who are better suited than you for the job that you were vying for. Rejection is a part of the job search process.
- No hard feelings: Having a beef with the recruiter is a one-sided emotion. You can be sad and angry, but the other side is not aware of it. There are faceless, nameless emails generated or fed through the systems and your emotions can only affect you.
- Don’t wallow in self-pity: While it is natural to be saddened, do not get sucked into self-pity.
- Self-talk: I have mastered the art of talking to myself. At times such as this when I feel extremely lonely and sad, I listen to a Ted-talk. Or Ted-talk-to-myself!
- Begin again: Find new opportunities. Clean and tailor your resume. Every time you review your resume there are things you can improve.
- Learner for life: Remember you are a student in this school of life. Make it a mission to learn a new thing every day, whether it is a new word, cooking a new cuisine or tasting one. Do something new.
- Keep upgrading your skills: There are many courses available online that will help you link to professionals and learn, many of them free. Take advantage of those.
- Take care of yourself: Take some time off to decompress. Do things that are fulfilling to you other than looking for jobs be it reading, painting, dancing, listening, running.
- Work on your digital persona: Review your LinkedIn profile to see how you come across online. Maybe there is a need to show what you are really all about, what your values are. Display them.
- Surround yourself with inspiration: What kind of people do you surround yourself with? Cut out what does not serve you. Create an environment that you like being in.
- Take a day off: Reset your mind. Restart.
- Move: Listen to music that you like. Dance. Go for walks. Hike.
- Reflect on what you did right: Take notes, journal and over time there will be a repository of things.
My strategies might not work for everyone, but I hope it helps you find what works for you.
This article was written by Meena Kaini.