Category: Career Advice


How to Deal With Job Loss and Interview Rejection

Rejection can be difficult, especially career rejection. I applied for A LOT of jobs when I was looking for my first “real job” right out of grad school in the late ’90s. About 75 to be exact. And I got about 70 rejections.

Multiple rejections makes it nearly impossible to keep a positive attitude. Especially when you’re young and you’ve never experienced job rejection before.

I knew I had to find a way to not let it get me down, or else I’d develop a negative attitude that would be evident in my interviews. Going into a job interview with a negative attitude was sure to guarantee further rejection. I had to break the cycle before it started.

I decided for each rejection, I’d tell myself I was one step closer to the job that’s right for me. It also helped to think to myself, “If they don’t want me, why would I want to work for them?”

The Result of Positivity When Dealing With Rejection

I finally did get a job offer. It was working in two of my three areas of interest within my industry. I was promoted a year later and got to work in my third and favorite area, career development.

Interestingly, I originally applied for a director position even though I knew I wasn’t experienced enough since I was just coming out of grad school. I decided to apply any way, just to see what would happen.

While they rejected me for the director position (for obvious reasons:  lack of experience), they called me and said the assistant director position was also open and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for it. I was, I did, and I was hired. A year later I became a director.

This goes to show sometimes you can apply for jobs you’re not fully qualified for because you never know what can happen!

The Power of Positivity When Dealing With Rejection

My mantras made a huge difference not only in my level of positivity, but also in my confidence. They worked so well, I’ve used them in other areas of my life and career. I repeat them when I don’t land I client I want to sign, or when a relationship doesn’t work out like I want it to.

I never knew at the time just how powerful this positive mindset would be throughout my career.

I’ve always worked as a career adviser in various capacities. Often I have to encourage my clients who’ve been laid off from their jobs or who are experiencing rejection in their job search. I share with them the same mantras that helped me. Also I remind them, while they’ve lost their job, they haven’t lost their ability to work.

One client in particular felt very angry about being laid off. But after sulking for a few days, she decided to change her view of her situation. She decided instead of calling herself “unemployed” she’d call herself “funemployed!” I loved this and encouraged her to embrace this kind of attitude.

Allow Yourself Time to be “Funemployed”

Periods of unemployment can provide you the time to get some much-needed rest, spend more time with your family, improve your health, be creative with your time, and explore your passions. Consider it a gift, and take advantage of it while you can. There will always be more work to do.

Are you at a place of career transition where you need some guidance? Have you lost your job and need help with the job search? Or do you need help exploring other viable options rather than going back to work for someone else?

Let’s talk! Click here to complete the paNASH intake form and schedule a complimentary “Path to Purpose” session. I look forward to hearing from you!

Related Posts:

rejection

4 Reasons Why the Holidays are a Good Time to Job Search

The holidays are often a time for a mental break from all the hard work we’ve put into our jobs throughout the past year. But if your only job right now is looking for a job, you can’t afford to mentally check out.

Believe it or not, the holidays are actually one of the best times to conduct a job search. Here’s why:

1. Time to reflect during the holidays

The close of the year is a good time to reflect back on what you’ve accomplished the previous twelve months.

Focusing on what you’ve accomplished will boost your confidence in your abilities. It will also provide you with ideas of things to add to your resume.

2. Networking opportunities during the holidays

Holiday parties and events are great places to reconnect with people in your network and to meet new people. But be very careful not to make people feel like they’re being networked! Instead, focus on developing and maintaining your professional relationships. (See my blog post entitled “How to Be Realistic About Networking“.)

Remember to also go easy on the eggnog when attending holiday events. You don’t want to tarnish your job search by developing a negative reputation people will remember long after you’ve recycled your Christmas tree.

3. Holiday deals on interview attire

Day-after-Christmas sales are a great time to find a quality interview suit at an affordable price. It’s also a good time to try on suits since you’re likely to be at your heaviest weight then. You can always tailor down if necessary (because you can’t tailor up!). Most department stores provide free alterations with purchase.

When friends and family ask you what you’d like for Christmas, tell them you’d like department store gift cards or cash so you can pay for you new interview attire.

4. Prepare for an interview in the new year

The new year is when many job opportunities come open. This means you need to be prepared for interviews as early as the first week in January. Preparing for job interviews takes time since you have to conduct research on the industry, the companies you’re interested in, and yourself.

You’ll need to research industry trends and issues, company culture and mission, and how your skills and past experience line up with the skills in the job ad. Use any available down time you have during the holidays to do your research.

You’ll also want to use this time to prepare your answers to behavioral interview questions and other commonly asked questions. I recommend the online tutorial Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety to help you get ready for the interviews you’ll have in the new year.

Conclusion

The holidays can be stressful. But being unprepared for an interview can be even more stressful, especially if you’ve used the holidays as an excuse to slack off during your job search.

As with anything, make sure you find balance. Schedule a certain amount of time for your job search (at least 20 hours per week). Then, prioritize your remaining time for what’s most important: family and thanksgiving.

Related posts:

holidays

How to Create the Life You Want to Wake Up To Every Day

Life would be grand if you didn’t have work getting in the way of it, right? You’d wake up every morning (even Monday mornings) loving life instead of dreading your soul-sucking job. But we all have to work to make a living and to make a contribution to our world.

However, there are ways to create work opportunities which allow you to develop the life you want to wake up to every day. Work that allows you to blend your life and job harmoniously instead of it taking over your life. How do you create such a life?

Meet Dorothy

Photo of Dorothy by Lily Darragh

I just finished working with a client named Dorothy who is 58-years-old and has spent over 25 years of her career in the corporate world. Looking back on those years she was able to see how stuck she was. She wasn’t moving forward or up as she had expected to in the corporate world, and therefore also wasn’t increasing her annual salary. When she came to me, she had just left corporate for a much-needed break and not sure what her plan was next.

Because her outside hobbies include competitive body building which requires a lot of training, her friends told her she should be a personal trainer and coach others. They said it made perfect sense, especially since it’s something she’s excelled at and is passionate about. Dorothy agreed this could be a real possibility since she loves working out and has the body to prove it. But she wanted to get some guidance first to make sure. Thank goodness she did, because she made a very surprising discovery.

Photo by Lily Darragh

Wake up and make the investment

Dorothy admitted she’d never before considered spending money on herself, not even for career coaching. At least not until she found herself in need of some direction. Now having gone through paNASH’s program, she says she’s now able to see the value of it and the return on investment!

The first step in creating a career and life you want to wake up to is to decide you’re worth investing in yourself. (Because you are!) It may seem scary at first to make such an investment, especially the unknown part of it. (The unknown is always the scariest.) But, you can learn a little about what to expect by following Dorothy’s progress below.

Also, there are ways you can start with just a small investment to test the waters. This includes spending only a few dollars on a Kindle or paperback copy of my book on Personal Branding, along with the time it takes to complete the exercises in the book. Or you can get it as a free download with your purchase of the Personal Branding on-demand video course at yourpassioninlife.com/ondemand.

Dorothy was pleasantly surprised to see how such a little book was packed with so many powerful exercises that helped her in discovering her direction and her new path.

Wake up and trust the process

Whether you choose to start small with the book or decide to go big like Dorothy did with a one-on-one coaching package, you’ll need to trust the process. This is the second step in creating the life and career you can’t wait to wake up to.

After her first couple of sessions, Dorothy was wondering why she didn’t have answers to her questions about her career path yet. Since she’s a competitive body builder, she’s used to seeing almost immediate results after working out in the gym. Results like improved muscle tone are visible when she looks in the mirror. But this isn’t the case with career development.

I had to remind Dorothy this process of discovering her authentic career path is a marathon, not a sprint. However, she was on track because she was moving through the homework with as much discipline as she does when preparing for a competition. I promised her if she kept moving through the personal branding exercises at the rate she was, she’d see the results come together. But they wouldn’t be visible until she got closer to the end of the program.

Wake up and be honest with yourself

When going through the process and doing the exercises, you’ll need to follow this next step of being honest with yourself. Once Dorothy got honest about what she wanted from her next career opportunity, she realized it was something different than what she originally thought.

Dorothy knew how much she loved working out and sculpting her body for competition. But she realized from the homework I gave her she did NOT want to train other people. She was happy to let others come workout with her and to help motivate them. But she did not want to have to hold others accountable nor chase people down for payment of personal training services. She realized this when she got honest with herself.

At this time Dorothy was also getting calls about jobs doing the same work she used to do in corporate. Since she realized she didn’t want to do the personal training all her friends were telling her to do, she started wondering if going back into corporate was her only option.

Body building is just a hobby and doesn’t bring in any income. But, the body building had previously led Dorothy to a talent agency and to some paid modeling and acting gigs which served as a side hustle for her. It brings in a few big paychecks every now and then for only a few hours of work. Because she previously worked full-time in corporate, she wasn’t able to accept every gig. Therefore, Dorothy viewed this endeavor as more of a hobby too. But after leaving corporate, she was able to say yes to more modeling jobs. She also started getting some brand ambassador gigs because of her modeling work and fitness competitions. This really opened up a whole new passion for her.

Photo by Randy Dorman

Wake up and stop worrying about what everyone else thinks

Even though Dorothy was discovering her excitement about brand ambassador work and how it fit well with her experience in modeling and fitness competition, she felt societal pressure to do the practical thing and respond to those offers for work back in corporate.

But Dorothy really knew she wanted to explore the brand ambassador opportunities more. She liked it because it allowed her the flexibility in her schedule she’d been missing out on for so long. It allowed her to meet new people in various fun and exciting settings. It allowed her to move from project to project with different companies instead of being stuck at one company. She could choose which projects she wanted and turn down those she didn’t. She also didn’t have to manage other people. And she was able to see the earning potential compared to her lower-rung corporate job offers.

I asked Dorothy two questions. One, “Are you able to earn as much money in a traditional eight-hour-a-day office manager job as you are in a few hours of being a brand ambassador?” And two, “If you were back in corporate, would you be able to accept as many modeling and brand ambassador gigs as you’re starting to get right now?” Her answers to both of those questions were, “No!”

With this realization and also knowing she didn’t want to do what her friends were telling her she should do, Dorothy stopped worrying about what everyone else thought. She stopped worrying about what society considers as practical. And she stopped worrying about what her friends would think. She said to me,

“Your program revealed to me my friends’ vision was not my vision for myself.”

Do you need to stop worrying about what others think about your goals and vision?

Wake up and understand your worth

Something else Dorothy said to me about paNASH’s program is,

“I now know my worth!”

She learned how her skills and talent were worth more than what she’d been making in corporate. And she learned from our work together how to negotiate higher rates for the brand ambassador gigs she’s continuing to land. This is the next step in creating a life you want to wake up to.

“At first I didn’t believe I could do any better but now I do!” she says.

Because of this, Dorothy has turned down the low-paying corporate job offers. She says the paNASH program gave her the vision and a path for her next career move. (Which does NOT include going back to where she was stuck before.) But she stresses to anyone considering the program, you have to put in the time and energy in the homework assignments. You have to be disciplined and be honest with yourself if you want real results.

“I have finally found my path!” Dorothy says.

Let me ask you: are you worth more than what you’re currently making? Are you worth investing in yourself to discover how you should use your talents and how much you should be making?

What will your new career path look like when you wake up?

Dorothy says she now has a career path she’s excited to wake up to every day. And she didn’t use age as an excuse to not pursue new endeavors. She’s 58-years-old but she’s never let age stop her. Not in modeling. Not in body building. And certainly not now in her new career path.

While Dorothy’s path may be very different from your future path, you likely have the same goals. You both want more flexibility and work-life balance in your career. And you both want to wake up to a life and career that excites you and energizes you.

You too can discover how to achieve these goals in your own unique way through paNASH’s Personal Branding program, either through personalized and in depth one-on-one coaching, the on-demand video tutorial, or the book. Visit yourpassioninlife.com to learn more or click on the links above. It’s never too late to strive for a better life and career!

Related posts:

wake up

How to Make Smart Investments in Your Life and Career

With the end of another year AND another decade nearing, it’s time to get serious about your life and your career. You don’t have to have a lot of money or even a lot of time to invest in your future. But, you do need to start somewhere. There are several little things you can do to make smart investments in your life and career. These little things will add up. And by the end of the next decade and even the next year, you’ll see a BIG payoff!

Let’s break it down by various areas of your life. We’ll use the seven major areas as outlined in my Goal-Achievement Plan, a free download when you subscribe to my newsletter at www.yourpassioninlife.com. Don’t let all the following suggestions overwhelm you. Instead, just pick one or two to start with. The results you see will motivate you to make the same kind of investment in the other areas of your life. Pretty soon you’ll see an overall improvement in your life and career.

1. Spiritual investments

Getting centered spiritually, regardless of what it looks like for you, is probably the most important investment you can make in your life. Setting aside time at the beginning of each day for small habits such as prayer or meditation, reading, and journaling can get your day started off on the right foot.

Eleven years ago I started getting up an hour early each morning to do just that. I can’t even begin to describe what this has done for me, personally and even professionally. But now I can’t imagine starting my day without it. This habit is truly my daily bread. It’s helped me to make smart decisions in all the other areas of life listed below. The return on my time and emotional investment is priceless.

I encourage you to do the same. If mornings seem impossible for you, then at least commit to this habit every night before bed. Just know though, it will be harder to stay committed once you’re already tired. This is one reason why I recommend doing it in the morning. The other reason is because you’ll have the armor you’ll need to face each day’s challenges with renewed strength.

2. Investments in family

This one is sometimes hard for me to manage since my family is located far away. You may have the same situation too. Taking the time to speak to each other on the phone or via FaceTime on a regular basis (instead of just texting) can strengthen family ties.

When together in person, resist the temptation to play on your phone or on social media, especially during a meal together. Instead, put the phone away and invest your attention in your loved ones. Be fully present with them.

If the phone does come out, let it be to share some recent photos with each other and to take some new photos together, creating new memories to look back on ten years from now. Who knows what new technology will be available in ten years to let us share these photos and take new ones?!

3. Smart investments in your health

If you haven’t heard this yet, health is the new wealth. Being able to enjoy your life ten years from now will depend on your current health habits. Your bank account will also depend on your health. Will you still be able to work ten years from now based on how you’re currently treating your body?

The past ten years I’ve developed new eating and exercise habits. While the addition of these habits to my routine has been incremental, I’ve already experienced numerous benefits. I can’t wait to see how my habits and results improve in the coming years.

In addition to investing time in regular exercise, it’s good to invest a little more money in healthier foods. Although healthier foods still cost more than unhealthy foods, think of the money you’ll save in doctor bills in the future!

You may have seen the story on Facebook about the elderly woman who was able to reverse her dementia by eating foods like blueberries and walnuts. She’s not Super Woman, but what she’s eating are super foods! Super foods are those foods found in nature containing more nutrition than any other foods.

The top ten super foods are avocados, blueberries, broccoli, eggs, garlic, honey, lentils, quinoa, spinach, and walnuts. They’re best for you when eaten with other super foods. Every morning I need 30 grams of protein so I don’t get hungry again too soon. I’m usually able to incorporate three to four super foods in my high-protein breakfast.

In addition, there are several foods that can lower your cholesterol. They include fish, olive oil, whole grains, berries, avocados, beans, nuts, spinach, red wine (in moderation), vegetables, citrus fruits, soy, green and black teas, and (my favorite) dark chocolate. I also get at least four of these in my high-protein breakfast.

Try incorporating some of your own favorite foods from the items above in your diet to go along with some fun form of exercise you enjoy most.

4. Smart investments in your career

Without making the above smart investments in your life, it will be difficult to be successful in your career. Career success also depends on your ability to sharpen and update your current skills while learning new skills. Doing so requires an investment of time, and sometimes money.

If your current employer pays for professional development or continuing education, take advantage of it! But go a step further and seek out additional educational and personal growth opportunities that can prepare you for a promotion or possible future career change. You can find these opportunities in local continuing ed programs and online, most of which are typically very affordable. Having this additional training can give you leverage when starting your own business, asking for a raise, or negotiating a salary offer for a new job.

Speaking of salary negotiations, career success also depends on how well you can negotiate a fair salary. This is something I teach my clients how to do tactfully.

Let’s assume whatever the salary offer is, you’ll get at least the average cost-of-living raise each year, which is typically 2% to 3%. Let’s say you get an initial offer of $80,000 and accept it without countering. Do you realize in five years, you will have lost out on as much as $27,340 in salary increases by not asking for just $5,000 more? (An additional $5,000 is the most you can usually ask for without the hiring manager having to seek additional approval.) Raises compound just like financial investments do!

5. Financially smart investments

If you’re able to negotiate a higher salary, then you’ll have more money to invest now which will grow over time. But financial investments don’t just include putting your money into a 401K or into the stock market. They also include learning how to be more financially responsible. This begins with investing the time to creating a budget, monitoring your spending habits, figuring out necessary spending cuts, saving for an emergency fund, taking the time to pay off debts, adding to your emergency fund, and learning more about smart investing.

This may not sound like fun and may even sound difficult depending on your current financial situation. Taken all together, it does seem overwhelming and impossible. But when you break it down into baby steps as financial expert Dave Ramsey teaches in his book The Total Money Makeover, it not only becomes easy but also motivating!

While I don’t subscribe to everything Ramsey teaches, I will say his baby step method to financial freedom does work! By following this method, I’m on track to have my car paid off a year early. And this feels good! It’s motivated me to set bigger financial goals like contributing more to my mutual fund and IRA and giving more to causes meaningful to me.

You can start small today by making payments on your smallest debt and then using the snowball approach Ramsey teaches to tackling your remaining debt. As a result your debt will be paid off faster than you think!

6. Socially smart investments

Like smart investments in your family, it’s also important to invest in others through your network and your in-real-life social connections.

I’ve written numerous blog posts on the importance of building professional relationships to grow your network. This takes a lot of investment of time and energy. It requires you to be the kind of contact you’d like to have. It also requires you to be realistic about the time it takes to build and nurture these professional relationships. As a career coach, I cannot stress enough the importance of growing your network!

In addition to creating strong ties in your professional network, you want to do the same in your social life. The best way to create and foster new social connections is by getting involved in activities and causes you’re drawn to. This includes getting involved with a group interested in the same form of exercise you enjoy, volunteering with others for a cause you find meaningful, or joining a small group in your church. These are just a few examples, but they do help you find your “tribe” so to speak.

I’ve personally made friends with people just from my passion of stand-up paddle boarding, my participation in a weekly dinner with my small group, and from volunteering alongside people I otherwise would’ve never met. What are some things you can get involved in to meet and bond with new people?

7. Investments in personal growth and education

Similar to professional development that sharpens your career skills, it’s important for your personal development to invest in some lifelong learning on topics outside your career. Investing in classes on a subject just to learn more about it or to improve your knowledge can have a great return on investment! In addition to increasing your knowledge on a new subject, it can exercise your brain and reduce your risk of age-related diseases. It can also expand your network and your social circle. It can even help you discover a side gig or another revenue stream!

I’m always trying to learn new things and improve on the things I already know. For instance, last year I took a paddle clinic from former canoeing Olympian and QuickBlade owner Jim Terrell to improve my stand-up paddling skills. I’ve also taken classes on topics like financial success, self-defense, small business marketing, and much more.

As stated earlier, many of these courses are offered through continuing education programs and are usually very affordable. I encourage you to check out the Nashville Community Education Commission to see what classes they have you might be interested or curious in. This is a really fun way to invest your time and money to better your life and your career!

Related posts:

smart investments

Did You Get Ghosted After Your Interview? What to Do Now (re-post)

This is a re-post of a previous blog of mine on the topic of interview ghosting. The post has gone viral on Medium, and I was interviewed by The Wall Street Journal about the same topic this past summer. Since tomorrow is Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to share it again, especially since so many job candidates experience this phenomenon!

Have you ever been ghosted? You know what I’m talking about, when someone unexpectedly ceases all communication with you with no explanation. It’s almost like they dropped off the face of the earth.

This phenomenon typically happens in personal relationships such as romantic liaisons or fledgling friendships.

But it now also exists in working relationships, including the job search. While it’s extremely unprofessional, it does happen.

Job interview ghosting

Most of the time it happens following an interview process. A candidate spends time going through a cumbersome online application process, researching the company, preparing for the interview, traveling to the interview, and sweating through the interview.

The candidate is told at the end of the interview they’ll hear something soon. Then they hear nothing but crickets.

They follow up first with a thank you letter like every good candidate should after an interview.

Still nothing but crickets.

The next week they email to find out if a decision has been made.

Still more crickets.

Another week later they call, only for that call to go unanswered.

This has probably happened to you at one point in your career or another.

It’s happened to me before too, both after a job interview and with a couple of potential clients.

There’s no way to know the reason for the ghosting. All you can do is follow up one more time and then move on.

Console yourself by realizing you probably dodged a bullet since you likely wouldn’t want to work for someone who treats people this way.

What to do next time: a preemptive strike against ghosting

In your next interview, there are some things you can do to try to protect yourself from ghosting, or at least reduce the chances of being ghosted.

This begins in the very first interview. When it’s your turn to ask questions, one of your questions should be about the timeline for the hiring process.

You want to be as specific as possible in your question in order to receive a specific answer. For instance, instead of asking “When do you plan to conduct second-round interviews?” you should ask,

“What is your deadline for scheduling second-round interviews?”

“Is that deadline firm?” and

“Are you going to let those who didn’t make it to the second round know they won’t be moving forward?”

In the final round of interviews, instead of asking “When do you plan to make a hiring decision?” you should ask,

“What is your deadline for making an offer?”

“How firm is that deadline?” and

“Are you  going to notify each person being interviewed of the final decision as a courtesy or just the person receiving the offer?”

These questions are for your own sanity so you can know what to expect and so you’re not sitting around wondering why you haven’t heard anything back.

Click here to find out what other questions you should ask in an interview.

Know when to move on

Keep in mind however that sometimes companies tend to underestimate how long the interview process might take them. Or, deadlines might get pushed back due to other priorities in the company.

Continue to follow up 1–2 weeks after their original deadline.

If after that you still haven’t heard anything, assume they either hired someone else or put a freeze on the hiring process. 

Then move on.

And try not to take it personally so you can maintain your confidence. You have to keep your confidence in tact as best you can for your next interview.

Other things you can do

There are several other things you can do to reduce your chances of being ghosted.

First, avoid doing the things that irritate hiring managers and recruiters. For instance, don’t be late for your interview and don’t be dishonest in your answers or give canned answers.

More importantly, don’t interview for a job you don’t intend to take just to get interview practice. This is unethical and word could easily get around in your industry about you doing such a thing.

Also, indicate at the end of the interview you want the job. So many people fail to say they want the job. Those who do increase their chances of getting the call with the offer.

Next, send a thank you letter to each person you interviewed with, reiterating your interest and what you have to offer the company.

Finally, even if you’ve been ghosted by a company, don’t do the same thing to another company. Just because unemployment is at an all-time low and you may have your pick of offers, this doesn’t give you an excuse to ghost recruiters or hiring managers.

Conclusion

While you can’t completely prevent a company from ghosting you after your interview, using some of the strategies above can help reduce your chances of it happening.

Related posts:

ghosting