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Ever put your heart and soul into applying for a new job and into the interview process only to hear nothing back? Like ever? If you’re ever a recruiting manager don’t be that person, I’m sure you wouldn’t. Here’s how one person has been tackling rejection fatigue…

by Fran Tindall

“Rejection fatigue” this phrase popped up on our Comms Unplugged What’s App group and all of a sudden the flood of responses about this condition, mental, emotional state made me realise I was not alone.  I felt immediately relieved and uplifted.

Only that morning, I had told a kindly enquiring friend “It’ll probably be another rejection” only half self-deprecating.  When I saw the phrase rejection fatigue I realised I was experiencing something quantifiable that other communications professionals – in work and looking; out of work and/or freelancers were also feeling. 

Later that day I received another rejection. However by far the nicest, in person from the hiring manager, who told me I was the best candidate. They were not going to offer me the job however, because it was only a 12-month contract and I would probably leave if I was offered something better. Hmm they were right! A lesson learned about checking in with my motives before applying.

Is there also such a thing as “Rejecting Fatigue” I wonder?  This could explain why so many online applications go unacknowledged, so many agency screening interviews require chasing and even post interview it feels like pulling teeth to get anything more concrete than “there were other candidates more suitable”.  I could whinge on about the anonymity of the online application process, the time invested and getting invested in each application, hoping and waiting eagerly…then desperately…then reluctantly resigned or rather accepting that this is just a process and not personal.

People say that I am resilient, positive, doing all the right things, an optimist.  One even went so far as to say I had an annoyingly Pollyanna attitude.  Thank goodness I say to myself and what else can I be grateful for to get me through my none-work /life balancing act?  My puppy, my garden, my Comms Unplugged virtual massive, friends, family, my adorable nephews, swimming, nature and long walks – all the things I will miss indulging in when I DO get a job.

You see stress can be brought on by too little work as well as too much.  When in work we all struggle with this.  Now I’m hungry to be purposefully busy rather than making my to do list stretch to fill the chasm of hours ahead of me.  Then I wonder when did the struggle with work/life balance tip into none-work/life balance?

I went travelling to Nicaragua during my first month of redundancy and totally decompressed – so much so that I didn’t want the feeling to end.  I came home to summer: bright, endless days, my first vegetables growing: there was always something to do in the garden and I relished every day.  June…July…and my puppy, Chimba, arrived!  (Chimba is a truncation of Diakachimba, a Nicaraguan street greeting that means “I feel great!” and I did.) 

Since 2009 I have, oops, my role has been made redundant five times. Each time I found another role within three months so I was not overly concerned.  I was just so, so grateful for my redundancy package; the time to relish new things, my puppy, new people and do new things especially when Comms Unplugged came along in Sept. 

October half-term came and went and it was getting dark. Signs of Christmas appeared in the shops – how can this be – I am still nowhere near a job offer?   I get employment envy on a wet Monday morning in November, as I see the commuters file past my house – can you believe that?  Reframe that I tell myself – just one of the constant effortful things you have to do continually to stop yourself sinking.  I reframe and tell myself – the right job is still out there – be grateful for this break.

Can re-jection become re-creation?

However this break isn’t restful anymore. The compression is setting in again for a plethora of negative reasons to do with none-work.  I am missing team, purpose, identity, I let go of holding onto my redundancy and begin to think of financial contingencies. 

What is wrong with me? What is different this time? The external context has changed – austerity, Brexit uncertainty? Have I lost my edge?  Do I need to refresh my skills? I’m well into my third decade of work, am I too old? Will I get to the point where I consider returning to London? I don’t want to descend to this, having spent four idyllic years in Cheltenham, the previous five trying to get out of London and 13 before that loving working in London.  All of these thoughts pop into my head several times a day.

Then I go to the comms2point0 UnAwards and begin to fill up again surrounded by a community of like-minded people.  I read the WhatsApp thread and I realise I am not alone. I realise all the talented, creative, warm, hardworking, professional, Comms Unplugged people discussing “rejection fatigue” are all really amazing comms people. I’m one of them and I’m OK.

Whatever 2020 brings I’m choosing kindness, gratitude, re-entry and re-creation.

Fran Tindall is a senior head of communications. If you would like to talk to her about work opportunities give her a shout on LinkedIn here.

Image via Fran

Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

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