Ah, rejection!


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Sara Shiffman, a Chicagoan who has been looking for jobs in public relations for eight months, will be guest blogging occassionally on The Job Stalker about her quest to find a job in Chicago. If you like her, give the girl some props. Or better yet, a job.


Ah, rejection; the oh-so bitter, constant companion of the unemployed. As if my self-esteem wasn't already hovering somewhere in the negative millions, now I have to deal with people telling me I suck to my face. Or at least to my email's face. Would you like me to pop into your office so you can punch me in the stomach at the same time?


I'll admit that by society's measures I am, in fact, an adult - so, I understand that rejection is part of the process, and I accept it as such. I'm actually OK with blatant rejection. At least then I know where I stand. But much like Paris Hilton or modern art, it's the subtle nuances of the brush-off that I can't seem to comprehend.

One of the more frustrating types of rejection is the sound of silence. I find a job that looks promising, send off my resume to the appointed place and then wait. And nothing happens. Then weeks go by and finally months and still that job appears on online job boards. So I wonder, maybe I should apply again, maybe they didn't get my resume the first time and I think seriously about sending it again. But still nothing happens. I understand that there are a lot of applicants for any particular job, but does that mean that none of us are worthy of at least a standard form email telling us we'll never amount to anything and to never call them again? This rejection is also hard because although the logical 90 percent of my brain knows that after months of nothing I am being metaphorically shown the door, there is still that 10 percent that believes in fairies and goodness and wants to believe that this could still be the job for me.

The silent rejection comes in varying degrees. In the slightly less silent version, the email goes out, but this time the vast nothingness is preceded by a "we received your application, don't call us we'll call you" email. Hey, at least they acknowledged that I took the time to send in my information. But then I still never hear from them again.

But the rejection that might be the hardest to take is the one that follows actual human contact, most often with an HR representative. You send off your resume and then, like a minor league baseball player, you get the call. You are heading to the majors, an informational phone call with said representative. And at the appointed time you end up having a great conversation. You sell yourself and your background; you talk about how the recruiter's cousin's best friend went to the same high school as you; you both share you common love for olives, and you think, "I am so going to get an interview." But then nothing happens. You follow up and still nothing. I know you are busy, but we bonded! Are the employed that afraid of catching the dreaded disease unemployment that they don't even want to talk to you? Seriously?!?!?

Now you have heard my feelings on rejection, let's hear some of your thoughts.

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  • Back in college we used to call the rejection letters and e-mails FOAD's (F*** Off An Die's). The more industrious (bored? bitter?) would see if they could cover an entire wall of their dorm room with them.

  • The disturbing "silent rejection" trend extremely rude and unprofessional. My last job interview was on September 9...as of late I still haven't heard anything. I have since sent TWO e-mails inquiring if the position has been filled (the second one last sent a week ago) and still no response.

    Like you, I would rather know SOMETHING than not know anything at all. I'm perfectly okay with "thanks, but no thanks" because as you've said...I know where I stand. When companies choose the silent route, they are implying that they don't care about your time and you will eventually "get the hint." Newsflash: I will "get the hint" when I pick up the phone to call you to get my response. After all, e-mail's way too easy to ignore.

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