Dealing with Rejection
Just today, I received an update for a job application that started off with the following words:
Thank you so much for your interest in [redacted] and for taking the time to participate in our Software Engineer Code Test. After careful consideration, I'm sorry to say that we have decided not to proceed with interviews at this time.
Even though I didn't actively scout out this role and only applied because some recruiter on LinkedIn pinged me, it still kinda hurts knowing that I didn't perform well enough. Dealing and facing rejection doesn't come easy, and people like Jia Jiang even made it a point to actively seek rejection in order to overcome his fear of rejection.
A Little About My Relationship with Rejection
I don't think I've overcome rejection as Jia Jiang did - I'm still afraid of failing and rejection in many ways. Even though I tell myself that each rejection doesn't matter in the long run, in the short term it usually puts a damper on my mood. And if the rejection was for something that I didn't expect to get rejected for, it's even worse - it shows that I had either overestimated myself or underestimated the task.
I know that failing and getting rejected is essential for success, but the fear of getting rebuked or laughed at is just... sometimes too hard to overcome when you haven't been doing it for a while. I know that most rejections don't make a material difference in my life, but facing it head-on for the first time can still be hard since it forces me to re-evaluate myself. Taking a good introspective look at oneself is never a comfortable thing since you know yourself best, and doing so unveils all the dirty little things that only you know about yourself.
I acknowledge the fact that this is one of my weaknesses and is one of my greatest roadblocks in achieving something greater. If I were more daring to receive criticism and rejection, I would be experimenting much more and showing myself to the world more often. I shouldn't be afraid of showing my work to the world. If it's bad, no one will remember it after a few days anyway. And if it's good, I get to bask in the glory of my hard work.
In a way, writing on Hive has been helpful in helping me slowly overcome this fear. I don't pride myself on being a great writer, but I continue to write on Hive because it helps me to get accustomed to showing my work. If what I've written is good, it shows in the engagement and upvotes. And thankfully, I realized that I wasn't too bad of a writer even though some articles were absolute flops. Above it all, I realized that I do enjoy creating things - and writing was just one of the creative outlets that spoke to me.
Facing Rejection Head On
The way to overcome rejection is to face it head-on. No excuses, no hiding, be true to yourself. And with this failed job application, I've come to terms with a few things:
- I'm not good enough at general software engineering yet
- I'm not ready for technical interviews
- I need a lot more work if I'm aiming for a top 1% software engineer job in the market
These are things that I've tried to avoid for a while. Especially since I'm already employed with a decent-paying job, I feel like I've gotten a lot more complacent with regards to my core software engineering competencies and have been content with being a web developer monkey.
I do intend to jump jobs sometime later this year, so this job application result has grounded my expectations moving forward, as well as serves as a timely reminder that I need to get my interviewing and technical skills up to par before I start my job hunting.
In a way, even though I'm a bit bummed I didn't get past even the coding screen for this application, it helped me to sit down and reflect on where I am currently, and how I can move forward from here on out.
Facing rejection is never easy. It's uncomfortable and unnerving. I hope that my little story here helped you to rethink your stance on facing rejection.
How do you deal with rejection? Let me know in the comments below.