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How you handle rejection could get you accepted

Kristen Asleson says using it as a learning experience will take you further.

Women at Work - Kristen Asleson column sig

You go to work, day in and day out. Your job description and job duties started out specific to a particular position, but as time went by, you took it upon yourself to learn aspects of the business and perform duties you really were not required to learn or do.

When a job opening came up within your company that included much of what you already did, you thought you would apply and be a shoe in, right? Sadly, all your efforts, extra work and taking on the accountability to do a job that was not in your job description to begin with go unnoticed, and the job goes to someone else.

Sound familiar? Whether it was a promotion or a lateral move you really wanted, being passed over stings. It is difficult to not hit the pavement and start looking for a new job, but is that really the right move?

No. Now is the time to settle down and look at why you may have been overlooked. This is not a setback that needs to cast a dark shadow on your career.

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever heard was one I overheard a good 20 years ago. My daughter, Lindsey, swam competitively for a decade. Occasionally, she would get angry with her performance or another swimmer and would sit and stew. Unfortunately, once or twice, she would throw a punch.

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One day, fed up with her behavior, her coach looked at her and said, “If you would learn to channel your anger into the pool and your performance, you would win every race you are in.”

Learn to redirect your emotions. It is normal to feel what you are feeling, but redirect your anger and channel it to more appropriate matters and you will come back stronger and more successful than before.

Take the weekend, be with friends and family, or recharge in whatever way works best for you, but return with renewed focus and energy.

Once some time has passed, and it does not need to be months, let your curiosity get the best of you. It is fair to ask for feedback. Like a performance review, this may make you a little bit nervous, but on the positive side, it will tell you how you can move toward getting the next promotion or career move you want. It may also tell you how the leadership team within your company makes their moves.

Asking for feedback sure beats laying in bed night after night replaying in your mind why Maude down the hall got the job and you didn’t.

But what if the feedback you get doesn't sit well in your head. Were you passed over because of office politics? Favoritism? Bad timing? If the feedback you received didn’t expose concrete evidence of the other person being more capable, then it is time to figure out a next step, and maybe that step takes you away from your current company.

It's time for a clandestine meeting with yourself and time for contingency planning. It's time to plan your next career move.
Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com .

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