Dealing with Rejection at Work


How do you handle rejection at work? Wow, this is a charged question that many associate with an emotional response. However, I have learned that “no” may really be a blessing in disguise.

You’ve heard the adage, when one door closes, another opens, however, sometimes the door just closes. So what do you do? For example, if you have been a hard working, loyal employee and you apply for a transfer or a promotion or to be project leader of a special project and are faced with rejection, it may be time for reflection.

We’ve certainly faced rejection at work over the years but it is how we deal with it that can help us moving forward. In my case, I realized that there were some sponsors/supporters of my work that didn’t want me to leave for a new department. Selfishly, they wanted me to stay where I was. It was that understanding that helped me know that I needed to branch out within the organization and find new sponsors who would help me when future opportunities arose.

In the following video, I explain further how I handled rejection at work. It took time and work but eventually that “no” allowed me to become more relevant and desirable so that when the next opportunity arose, I was ready.

Donna Wiederkehr, CMO of Dentsu Aegis Network wrote an article for Fortune offering 6 Ways to Deal with Rejection at Work:. Here are three of her suggestions:

Don’t let it define you
Fail fast and get over it. Remember that rejection is something that happens to everyone–even the most successful people. No one is perfect and that’s the beauty of it. Keep things in perspective and remember that you’re much more than a project–or even a career.

Pause and assess
Is there a lesson to be learned? Every rejection is an opportunity to take a step back and genuinely assess if you’re on the right path project-wise, career-wise, or if there’s a better approach you could take next time you face a challenge.

Don’t hide it
Talk about your rejections with trusted advisors and mentors, as well as with the staff you lead. It gives you a chance to process the situation and get outside opinions on what you can do differently next time. It also sends the message to younger talent that rejection is a part of life that we all deal with, and that there is strength in honesty and accountability.

We all face rejection at work during our career. Don’t give up. Don’t despair. Don’t take it personal.

View the rejection as an opportunity and try again!

IMG_5268cJJ DiGeronimo, keynote speaker for women, based in Cleveland, presents keynote addresses on women in leadership, diversity in business and advancement for women.

Check out JJ’s new book Accelerate Your Impact by downloading three free chapters.accelerate your impact

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JJ DiGeronimo

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