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The 5 Stages of Job Rejection

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Job Rejection

Many have written about the various stages of grief they go through at the end of a relationship. This has become the premise for many comedy sketches, books and movies like 500 days of summer (talk about stuck-up !).

Today, I would like to talk about the various stages of grief I went through. Well in my case, it was not about a relationship (that is for another day), but about rejection from a job application. I had applied for a position with one of the dream companies and got rejected after the fourth round of interview.

Denial

As a practice, I usually send out a “Thank You” to the panel members/HR on the day after my interview. I followed the same ritual this time too, well aware that it was the final and deciding round. The HR, who till that point had responded to my emails in lightning speed, had simply gone quiet.

Though this was the first indication, I choose to ignore it and decided to stay optimistic. I only checked my inbox every 40 seconds and then the spam box, for the response. They had hinted that I would know the previous day or early morning in case of a selection. Instead of assuming the worst, I choose to believe that the printer which was printing my offer letter was jammed and hence the delay.

False Hope – Maybe there was a mistake

I was in my office (yes, luckily I was already employed) when I finally got the rejection email from the HR of the company. I stared at it with open eyes. Not the kind you do when you see your first paycheck, but the kind you have when your student loan hits you.

My brain quickly jumped to its panic response – this is not happening, there must be a mistake. I read it again, re-read it, closed the mail, opened it again and read it. The mail hasn’t changed. Probably they mixed up the names. Maybe they would realize that they mixed up the names and send me the clarification in an hour. Or two.

Grief

After 6 hours of receiving the mail, I slowly realized that they hadn’t made the mistake while sending the mail. The rejection was for real. The pain shot up through my body like the boy who had accidently bitten his tongue. The memories came rushing in.

The big board rooms and open spaces I saw at the office, when I went for the interview. The smart boards and table tennis table will remain a dream. Now that I knew I lost it, I yearned for it more. I felt I had climbed up a mountain, only to fall freely from the peak.

Rebel or what the weak call “Acceptance”

Conceding defeat is difficult and it is even more difficult to accept it gracefully. This was the only part of the various stages that I enjoyed. This is when you stop being an adult and let out the inner child within you. It was 3PM and I decide to take an unauthorized, unscheduled ice cream break.

The report for my manager, comparing “Disc Bullets vs Circular Bullets in Sales Presentations” can wait. It was time for me to be with myself and have some ice cream, rebellious ice cream. Maybe I should start smoking too. Nah, that’s taking rebellion too far.

Moving on

Life has to go on and some failures have to be forgotten. The rebellious ice cream did help in cooling me down. I tell myself that it is not the end of the world and know there is something better out there for me. I look around and see the others buzzing around, few even smiling while doing their job.

Those must be the new hires. The pain slowly recedes as the day draws to an end. Some rest and a good night sleep should put me back on my feet. But before that I should complete my report on the relation between a “Sales deck’s font color and revenue stream”. The rebel stage did take up lot of my time and the boss is waiting…

Image: Shutterstock.com

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