How To Deal With Rejection At The Workplace

Personal Effectiveness 4th December 2020 Work Better Training

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Handling rejection can be one of life’s toughest challenges, especially when it occurs at the workplace; where you spend at least a third of your day, and perform your job duties to the best of your abilities. Feeling rejected undermines your confidence and makes you doubt your worth. It can easily lead to deep anxiety about future rejection. Trapped by a horrible feeling of worthlessness, you might let your fear of rejection stop you from even attempting to achieve your dreams.

Here’s how you can cope with rejection at the workplace;


Most of the times, rejections are unintentional and impartial. Perhaps, the other person was more experienced than you are or he had a few certifications that you did not. Perhaps he had better professional relationships or years of loyalty to the organization in question. It is possible that the person concerned had a completely different perspective on it, or maybe something you did unintentionally led to this outcome. Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment and be absolutely honest while contemplating the issue at hand. This will teach you to manage things in a better way.

Tip: Take a moment to pause and assess if your actions or behaviour have led to the rejection in any way. It’s important to view rejection as an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. You get a chance to see if you could have handled the situation differently or maybe with a better approach.


Rather than suppress, ignore, or deny the pain, acknowledge the rejection and how you feel. Admit when you’re embarrassed, sad, disappointed, or discouraged. Be confident in your ability to deal with uncomfortable emotions head-on, which is essential to coping with discomfort in a healthy manner.

Whether you’ve been stood up by a date or turned down for a promotion, rejection stings. Trying to minimize the pain by convincing yourself, or someone else, it was “no big deal” will only prolong your pain. The best way to deal with uncomfortable emotions is to face them.


Seeking feedback is perhaps the best and the most appropriate way to figure out why you were rejected. Rather than weaving stories in your head, discuss what happened with your boss or manager. Getting to know the other side of the story will help you get an eagle’s eye view and a better perspective. It will help you better understand the reason for your rejection. Having an explanation will make it feel little less personal and more tolerable, thus enabling you to cope with the rejection in a professional way.

Let’s assume you applied for a promotion, interviewed with the hiring manager and discovered you weren’t selected for the promotion. Your plan of action would be to, contact the recruiter or hiring manager and schedule an appointment to talk with either one about your qualifications. Use the meeting to learn how you can improve your job skills or interview style, so you’ll be able to increase your chances for promotion the next time.

Tip: Be open to receiving feedback and if there’s criticism, take it constructively. Don’t blame, defend, or argue as it will defeat the whole purpose of it. Take positive action to develop or change the areas about which you received feedback.


We’re trapped in our egos, whether it’s positive or negative. We think about all of the different scenarios, and painfully focus on the most recent rejection. It is an unconscious defence mechanism many ambitious, driven individuals are probably prone to. It’s certainly easier to propel yourself forward in the face of major setbacks when nothing is ever your own fault. But in doing so, you are living in “duality”. Living in duality creates a lot of pain for ourselves and those around us.


Sometimes rejection is unavoidable. In those instances, try to understand why you were rejected and what you could do in the future to keep it from happening again. For instance, if you asked your manager for a raise right before the company announced it was going to lay off employees, then it’s likely a timing problem.

Tip: Practice maintaining a positive attitude and always aim to improve your reputation as a professional, competent, can-do employee.  If someone you trust makes a suggestion, implement it, and if you see a way to go above and beyond the call of duty, do it.  This won’t erase rejection from your life, but it will at least lessen the number of legitimate causes.

Rejections can have a profound effect on shaping you as a person. But there’s always a way to handle things at work; a good way and a bad way. The bad way would be to let it affect your self-esteem and feel sorry for yourself. The good way would be to learn your lesson, seek out feedback, and try harder the next time.


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