Use Job Rejection As a Motivation to Strive Forward

Oh, the sting. Applications conveniently land in limbo – one after another. How many were there? 20? 100? A thousand? Should one even keep count? Interviews led to radio silence, no offers, and no explanations. – An echoing defeat. The subliminal (or rather explicit) message reads: “You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. You don’t qualify. You have no skills. We don’t want you.” Surely, we can intellectualize the negative outcome, list all available determinants, do the math, and then reach a rational conclusion: “I must be terrible at this.” – It’s an option. Downward spirals are always more than happy to accommodate human self-doubt and self-loathing. But is it true? Game over? The emotional vortex of “job rejection 101” is rarely a joyous affair. But here’s the truth: the game has just begun. Here’s how to use job rejection as motivation. Onward, we say!

The reflex

It’s no secret; humans intuitively avoid situations that can potentially threaten (or rattle) their emotional apparatus and ego, our “default modus vivendi – or operandi.” That said, with the ever-changing dynamic and our beloved fast-paced environment that could potentially consume one’s entire being, applying for a job almost seems counterintuitive. Professionally speaking – it’s a rejection minefield. Now, that’s the most challenging part – embracing reality. Rejection is an infelicitous, albeit essential, part of human existence. We all experience it at some point – in our professional trajectory, social circles, or personal lives. From a meta-perspective, we fail to realize that its purpose is anything but malignant at its core. Rejection is a teacher. A benevolent one, at that, and it can help us overcome a blocked mindset. How, did you ask?

sign reading "mind the step."

A door to self-reevaluation

It is paramount to remember: rejection is so much more than our ego’s playground; it’s a learning buffet. Granted, it’s a painful experience. Inner bruises and tears are pretty standard. However! When we hear “THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME” repeatedly, something brilliant happens – we start to listen. We start paying attention. And we want answers. – Why? Feedback to go, please. “Your soft skills are very on point, but when it comes to your performance, you seemed a little disorganized, and the task took longer than expected.” Again, painful? Surely. But we now have helpful information that can be used for further self-improvement. Note to self: apply for course XYZ and seal the skill airtight. So the next time you say, “I need to look for a new job,” after moving to Maryland (or any other state), it’ll be an entirely different story.

Resilience protein

It’s a competitive world out there, borderline monstrous at times and exceptionally Machiavellian. Survival of the fittest. Times are changing in a non-linear manner, and we better get into its atonal groove. Technology innovation is accelerating, and companies across the globe have no choice but to put on their Gazelle suit and race against disproportional progression. Agile, flexible, and ruthless. Resilience is paramount for professional success; there’s simply no way around it. Through the ring of fire, we go. So, how do we use job rejection as a motivation? Instead of seeing and experiencing setbacks as an existential failure of epic proportions, we should reframe rejection and perceive it as a challenge and an opportunity for personal growth. Remember: in today’s world of uncertainty, bouncing back holds more power than linearly moving forward—Disappointment-proof; the way to success.

"fall seven times stand up eight" sign on wooden tiles portrays a way to use job rejection as a motivation

A new trajectory

Rejection is often a blessing in disguise. It comes in different forms and sensations, anything from a gentle nudge to a maniacal push down the stairs. All the same, its sole purpose is to present us with a sign: “What if that’s not what YOU want?” Now, that’s an interesting take. We’re notoriously good at ignoring hints and signals, red flags, even. 

And so it happens, a predestined painter struggles through banking school, and first-class quarterback material ends up applying for an internship at a commercial law firm. Life, hey? Potential and talent are withering away at a tremendous speed. Good thing we have rejection as a tool, no? Yes, it’s painful,  but it can help us realize that the job we applied for may not fit our talent and potential. Moving experts from A2B Moving and Storage Maryland share: “The majority of our clients are young professionals whose career trajectories are anything but linear.”

Patience is a skill

I’ve spent all those hours, days, nights, weeks, and months writing cover letters, sending resumes, and emails –  and it was all for nothing?! Yes, of course, rejection can be of devastating proportions. It can break our spirit. Frustration, depression, anxiety, self-loathing – it can, indeed, take a toll on our mental and emotional health. How many noes can a human being accommodate before imploding? Luckily for us, the truth is not bleak: each rejection has a lesson. So, what does this teach us? Patience is not a given. It’s an experiential kind of virtue that implies ego bruising. It takes time, but it’s an invaluable asset for professional and personal growth. “No” shouldn’t be perceived as something of permanent value – we may not get what we want straight away, but if we’re willing to put in the work and wait for the next wave – it will reward us without exception. It will take us where we need to go.

man in a black wetsuit with a board on the beach observing weather conditions

Final words on how to use job rejection as motivation

As painful as it may be, we should perceive rejection as a gentle shepherd guiding us toward the ultimate version of our best selves. Instead of viewing it as detrimental to our existence, we should use job rejection as a motivation to explore new opportunities, invite change, and look at our objectives with new eyes. Finally, its final message is that we’re only human and can’t control everything. And that’s fine. Panta rei. (Heraclitus) If you want to learn more about maximizing your career potential, visit, the free go-to source for career exploration of the web.