How do you deal with a rejection? What effect does it have on you emotionally and how do you go about with proceeding forward from it? This is a topic that I’ve been meaning to discuss for a while, and after the events that have happened in my life over the past few days, now feels like the right time to finally touch on the subject. Rejection comes in several forms, and it’s something that can never be truly avoided by anyone, but for the sake of the matter, I want to focus in on the rejections received as a creative person… and/or as a Millennial; for these are the rejections that follow along the “make or break” kind of deal.
Rejections in the Creative Life
Anyone who is a creative person- regardless of whether you’re a writer, a visual artist, an actor, singer, dancer, and so on- already knows that there are bounds of rejections to be faced and have yet to be faced. With so many wonderful artists out there who are also trying to accomplish exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, automatically lures you into a competition, regardless of whether or not that’s something in your nature. You’re all trying to get the attention of an editor, a curator, a director, an agent, or whoever it is that is in power, and because there are so many people trying to do the same thing, only a few will be chosen, from gig to gig.
Sometimes it might have nothing to do with you. It could be that you are super talented, but the kind of art that you’ve created is not exactly what the higher power is looking for. There could be cases where you’re turned down because your work might be better off somewhere else. There are also worst case scenarios, where the one in power is using their power not for good, and that they’re rejecting you for generally no reason.
But then there are times where it might have something to do with you. Perhaps you didn’t put as much effort into your art as you could have otherwise. Maybe there was something you could have done better. If you’re an artist at the beginning of your journey who decided to enter something for a really elite contest or something along those lines and didn’t win, maybe it was because you were reaching too high too soon and should spend some time developing your craft before you attempt again.
The possibilities for what your art was rejected are near infinite, but as anyone who has been in this “game” long enough, knows how it’s practically a way of life. It practically requires you to build thick skin and to get used to hardly ever having things go your way, with the exceptions of those becoming lucky enough to obtain that luxury. People may tell you not to let it get you down and not take it to heart but… sometimes it’s one of those things where it’s easier said than done, regardless of how many rejections you’ve faced.
Rejections in the Millennial Life
Perhaps before it didn’t click right away when I referred to Millennials receiving rejections. What I mean by that is the ongoing struggle that many people of my generation have to face. We’re getting to the point now where many of us are in the post-undergrad life, where jobs, possible grad life and just the general life of an adult awaits us… and the struggle is legit real for a lot of us, regardless of whether or not we’re trying to pursue a creative path. Look, many of us may embrace our generation for our handy ability at social media and technology of the likes and that we bring forth an attitude that’s almost obnoxious optimistic. Unfortunately, that’s not to say that real life is any more easy for us.
There are several factors into this reality that I’m describing, but one of them is the rejections many of us face from the work force. We look at positions, that may or may not fall under what we studied in school, and apply for it, even amidst the regularly recurring requirement that “you must have 3-4 years of experience in [insert type of work here];” when those 3-4 years for you may have been spent studying the field that you’re attempting to enter now. We apply again and again with every fiber of our beings, hoping that perhaps someone in upper management might have a mind open enough to give us a chance, and are stooped constantly when we’re turned away.
It’s truly frustrating, especially when faced with a generation that not only branded us as the Millennial Generation and label us as lazy and self-obsessed, but are also the very people who are not giving us a chance to enter the work force as their successors. Yes, rejections from jobs happen, but should it be to this extent where we’re being deprived of being able to make a proper income, in the field of our choosing?
Both of these cases- rejections as a creative person and as a Millennial- are what I’ve been faced with, especially a lot more so within the year since I finished college. I know what a rejection letter from The New Yorker looks like now, as well as from a multitude of companies who were looking for someone of my expertise. I’ve been told by others to not let it get to me, not to beat myself up, not to take these rejections to heart, to “smile even though your heart is aching…”
Stop for a second! We’ve been through a lot, so let us be Bing Bong from “Inside Out” for a moment and let Sadness in, as we vent our hearts’ woes from these ongoing doors slammed in our faces. It’s enough to drive someone almost mad, and we have a right every now and then and cry some candy out. To keep that kind of stress locked in can only result in scar tissue that only the vulnerable can see.
Once that’s done, against all odds, get back into it. It’s hella hard- trust me, I know, for I’m right there with you with the struggle- but eventually, someone will find you worthy enough, whether in the field of work you’re trying to enter, or in the creative world. Keep going, for yourself, for that future person who’s yet to find you, and to make the people who turned you away regret ever doing so.
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 12 reviews so I’m already just past the halfway point to my goal). Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.