3 ways to keep rejection from bringing you down at work

Whether your manager didn’t like your idea in a big meeting, or you didn’t get another position you applied for, dealing with rejection at work can be exceedingly difficult. Here’s how to get better at it.

Photo: Kyle Glenn

Whether your manager didn’t like your idea in a big meeting, or you didn’t get another position you applied for, dealing with rejection at work can be exceedingly difficult. Here’s how to get better at it.

Figure out why it happened

Or you might just end up back at Square One.

Susan M. Heathfield, a professional facilitator, writer, speaker, management and organization development consultant, HR expert and trainer, writes in The Balance that you should “look for an opportunity to ask for feedback and to gather information.”

“Maybe you do drive your coworkers or your manager crazy with your negative approach to work. Perhaps you do expend so much energy on picky details that project teams don’t want to work with you. Maybe you have bragged about your successes and goals so often that coworkers avoid you and don’t support you,” she writes. “Now is the time to figure out why you were rejected. If you are open to receiving feedback and demonstrate this openness to coworkers, you will receive a lot of feedback. If you argue, deny, blame, or attack the person giving you feedback, that well will instantly dry up.”

Ask about any potential bright spots

It can’t hurt.

Rich Moy, a content marketing writer at Stack Overflow, writes in The Muse that when your manager doesn’t buy your idea, you should ask, “what would make you say yes to this idea?”

“Instead of accepting defeat, ask questions like ‘What would make you say yes?’ and ‘Is there any part of the idea that did resonate?’ ” he writes. “Those answers will help you understand what worked and what didn’t. Then, use that feedback to come up with something else that’s more impactful and even more difficult for your boss to shake her head at.”

Don’t beat yourself up about it

There’s no point.

Amy Morin, an author and psychotherapist, writes in Inc. about how “mentally strong people” get through rejection — one of her points is that “they treat themselves with compassion.”

“Rather than think, ‘You’re so stupid for thinking you could do that,’ mentally strong people treat themselves with compassion. They respond to negative self-talk with a kinder, more affirming message,” she writes. “Whether you got dumped by your long-term love or blindsided by a recent firing, beating yourself up will only keep you down. Speak to yourself like a trusted friend. Drown out your harsh inner critic by repeating helpful mantras that will keep you mentally strong.”

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.