How to Recover from Rejection

You have to face facts: not every job will be yours to have or to keep. There are going to be gigs you want, and simply don’t get chosen to do. There will also be some that you have and lose, too; it is all part of the drill when you gig for money.

Being able to recover quickly from rejection and march ever onward, is the true test sometimes of a gigger’s fortitude. It can also be the difference between being successful and otherwise, because in the gig life, rejection is just a part of doing business and should be expected. Even planned for.

One simple way to think about it, might be to use a common euphemism for learning how to fail, better.

Get Back on Track

Nothing quite says relevance today like a railroad reference. Yet it is easy for any generation to understand how a train coming off the rails could certainly wreak some havoc. Likewise, how bringing that bad boy back on track, is going to be a thing worth doing for everyone.

If you liken this as a metaphor to the gig life, you might think about it in terms of having a long-term client – a gig allowing you to really chug on the rails for an extended time period. They wreak havoc on you by knocking you off the rails and taking your gig away.

Or maybe you were on the rails and a shiny new opportunity has you flying off in another direction.

Maybe you are simply the train, now wreaking havoc on some unsuspecting town and its passersby. However the metaphor truly shakes out for you, there is some unsettling happening because of the lost momentum: be it from missing potential in a new opportunity or in losing stability from a long-term gig.

In situations like these, it helps the career gig-meister to stay focused, and be the consummate professional:

  • Don’t Take It Personally: Business evolves. Change, and only change, is constant. It’s not always you, or anything you could control. Do your best, but don’t obsess. It’s just business.
  • Be a Grown-Up: Don’t hijack their stuff or take out your frustrations on the offending business. Make it easy for them to transition to their next position with your help. Smile, no matter how angry or hurt you might be. Treat them with respect and dignity, even if not fully reciprocated.
  • Look Forward: As the euphemism of getting on track implies, you want to focus on the future, not the pains and chaos of the past. Leave behind the havoc and the mayhem and get your train back to chugging along – maybe even on a brand-new set of tracks if needed.

Roll With It

There is no doubt, losing a long-term engagement often hurts in myriad ways, from financial through emotional. And other solid long-term engagements are not simply lying around, waiting to be picked up.

It can also feel quite discouraging when your momentum is stalled or misguided by an opportunity that does not manifest itself, fully.  Spending a lot of time chasing something and losing it, can feel like a train exploding off its tracks.

However, as a gigger, you must be able to roll with gut punches like these, because they WILL happen.

You cannot control how often a gig might be lost or an opportunity missed, but you can control your own reaction to it happening. Getting back on track does not have to be a feat of strength or a measure of endurance, it’s often more a test of your humility, guided clearly by self-will, realism and determination.

Don’t sweat rejection; you will recover and get back on track, because that is what a gig life is all about sometimes.


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