Job Talk: Rejection note came 10 months after job interview
Dear J.T. & Dale: An airline had me in for an interview and said they would get back to me in two weeks. After the two weeks, I followed up multiple times, with no response. After three months, I gave up. Ten months after my interview, I received an email saying 'No thanks.' Gee, what a surprise! I understand that companies may be stretched, but a brief call or note would leave the candidate with a smattering of self-confidence and without a bad feeling about the offending company. — Carolyn
DALE: J.T. has on her tough-love face. Steel yourself, Carolyn.
J.T.: I do understand your frustration, but your last sentence frustrates me — "a smattering of self-confidence"? Let me ask you this: When you shop for a major appliance or a car, you probably visit several companies. Do you contact every salesperson you met with to say you didn't choose their product? No. And yet, how would you feel if you heard they were offended that you didn't follow up and that their self-confidence was shot because of you? I would argue that your gut response would be: "They're in sales. They should be able to handle rejection." Well, you are a business-of-one, and you are selling a company on your services. It's not their job to make you feel better. In fact, turning you down by calling you won't make you feel better. You'll still feel rejected. The solution lies in not taking it personally.
DALE: "Don't take it personally" is right up there with "don't worry," "cut out sweets" and "just don't look" as perfectly good advice that is almost impossible to implement. It's impossible to implement because it suggests that you not do what is natural and automatic. The way out is to give your mind something else to occupy it. In the case of skilled salespeople not taking rejection personally, they do two things: First, they ask themselves questions like, "What can I learn from this?" and "How can I get better?" Next, they get right back to selling, moving on to the next prospect.
J.T.: They know that with every rejection, they are one step closer to making the deal. They don't stop. They try and try, and then try again.
DALE: It's important to note that they have lots of other things to try; that is, they have dozens of prospects in various stages of the sales pipeline. You, Carolyn, need to be so busy working on your other job prospects that you don't give yourself time to get angry and frustrated because you didn't get a rejection letter. Here's the mind-set to strive for: "Their loss. I'm moving on. I'm too busy to take it personally."
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Dear J.T. & Dale: My boss is a health nut. He works out every day and eats the healthiest stuff I've ever seen. Meanwhile, I'm slightly overweight and have a penchant for junk food. Recently, my boss saw my lunch and said: "Wow. That meal is going to put you to sleep this afternoon. Remind me to give you some mindless tasks to work on." I'm starting to wonder if my choice of food is hurting my career. Am I crazy? — Fast Foodie
J.T.: Is your diet hurting your career advancement? Yes. Your boss clearly sees healthy eating as part of the ability to do the job. While he might not be conscious of it, I'm certain it's a criterion for promotion.
DALE: With a sigh, I have to agree. Picture this: Say yours is a job where you can measure your output, and you go to your boss and say, "Look at these numbers — I'm a top performer." Will he think: "Zowie! I should promote this guy!"? No, he'll think, "I wonder what he could accomplish if he took care of himself." The point is that in his mind, you'll always be an underachiever ... unless you try something like this: Tell him you want to try a healthier lifestyle, and ask for his advice. He'll start to pay more attention to you and will see your success as his success. Someday soon, your check will be bigger and your waist smaller. Oh man, why does that make me want to have a doughnut?
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