Project Management

Overcoming Career Disappointment

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

During my career, I have been rejected a lot. I’ve applied for jobs, sought contract opportunities or responded to requests for proposals that I was absolutely convinced I was a strong candidate for…and then got nowhere. I’ve been through lengthy interview processes and felt confident about how they went…and then found that a “more suitable candidate” was successful.

But I’ve also had my fair share of successes, and I think a lot of that success is because of how I was able to respond to the disappointments. Let’s face it, there aren’t many of us who will manage to get through a career without being rejected at some point.

Being turned down for an opportunity should be seen as a positive. Sure, it’s going to generate some immediate disappointment, but it’s also an additional data point that you didn’t have before. And if you know how to use that data, you will be able to increase your chances of future success.

From a career growth standpoint, applying for a new position is an attempt to leverage the skills and experience you have for greater reward. That’s partially a financial reward, and partly a positional reward through a job title or additional authority; but in large part, it’s the increased satisfaction that comes from a new and bigger challenge combined with the opportunity …

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Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.

- Arthur Conan Doyle