This Baby Boomer had been looking for a better job for two years. His major mistake is a common one: He wasn't using rejection as a mechanism to receive feedback on aspects of his job search. In fact, he had become downright phobic about rejection, avoiding applying for opportunities which could land him the best job he ever had had.
It was the brutal rejection of not landing assignments after I pitched in-person in Manhattan that forced me to admit that my age was against me. Finally I had the data and insight I needed to begin to market differently. No, I no longer went after work for which I had to be on the front lines. My aging face and body were, in the youth-centric culture of Manhattan communications, a negative. Big Time.
Eventually I even decided that being near New York was no longer worth the high cost of living. I re-located my communications boutique to the lower-cost Southwest. A side benefit of that has been picking up clients in California. When I was based in the Northeast I couldn't penetrate that market.
More recently, I have been rejected again and again for assignments in doing book reviews. No longer do I take the deep dives in analyzing a book that I had even five years ago. Obviously, then, I should stop pitching for those kinds of assignments.
Without rejection we would miss a lot of data about the marketplace and how we are approaching it. That's exactly why executive coaches recommend that, when looking for work, reach out to as many organizations and individuals as we have time for. That's exactly the way we will get a handle on what's going on out there.
Reflection: On my first corporate job, in the annual performance review I received feedback that I had to correct many behaviors in order to "fit in." Had I analyzed that data, instead of being crushed by the information, I would have gotten it that I was the entrepreneurial type and should hang out a shingle. It wasn't until 7 years after that trauma that I finally started my own business.