I recently applied to work at an amazing start-up.
I know everyone says that about an organization they love, but really, these people are inspiring, kind, innovative and committed. They’re the team behind a great product millions globally know, use and love. Their company culture is revolutionary. Their values make you want to be a better person. And when you listen to them talk about anything, their work, their teammates, their failures, their successes, you simply want to be around them and learn from them. They’re the kind of people you’d want to hang out in your living room. I’m not sure how many companies anyone can say that about.
Sooo naturally I wanted to work with this team! They receive 1500 applications per month so it was a slim chance, but I figured I’d try anyway. All I could get was a [soul-crushing!] no, right? Well, I did get that no. Not even asked to be a part of the first round of interviews. Bummer.
Yet as I reflected on the entire experience, I realized how much there is to learn from being rejected, and from the company itself. I came away with 5 things [generally useful for life, not just career rejection]:
1) How to graciously say “No”
This is how they told me I wouldn’t be moving forward with them:
Now if that isn’t gracious, I don’t know the meaning of the word. They treated me like a human being. Not just another applicant with a number, not just another resume they had to look at.
Long story short, we all have to say “No,” several times a day probably. There’s no reason why we can’t remember that people are people and be gracious while we do so.
2) You can always be learning, growing and changing. And everyone can teach us something.
One of this company’s core values is “Listen first, then listen more.” And they’ve shared the above quote by Dale Carnegie a few different times; I’m still chewing on it because it really is a big lesson to integrate into my life.
Here’s to more of us using our ears to listen and asking more questions to learn all we can from each other.
3) Read everything.
For those of us who remember the awesomeness of Matilda by Roald Dahl: “All the reading she had done had given her a view of life that they had never seen.”
At this start-up that I wanted to work at, they have a policy about self-improvement with one of the foci being on reading, and with good reason! Books and words open worlds of perspectives before us that we never would’ve been exposed to otherwise. Furthermore, with nifty littles like Kindles, audiobooks, etc. what reasons do we have not to read something?
4) Find your next thing.
It’s been often proven that when everything has failed, creativity rises to bring success.
One of the co-founders of this start-up I wanted to work with labored on another start-up for two years before moving forward. And the idea behind this now rapidly growing [amazing] start-up came out of a Twitter scheduling dilemma.
The point is we try different endeavors, but we never really know what will work. We never really know what’s next, and the fact is we can’t plan for every contingency. So, when the unexpected and the worst-case scenario plays out, we have to be ready to mine our minds and churn out some new ideas and strategies that we are able to and passionate about working on.
5) Smile widely and often.
One of the reasons why the community around this start-up loves its team so much is because they’ve made positivity a central part of their identity. They often use :-)’s and !’s in their messages, and they’re just so friendly! Of course, positivity isn’t only about smiling, but it’s a good first step!