Rejection is never easy and you’ve got to believe that there’s another path you’re meant to be on. Still, it’s not easy hearing “No.”
I was a mere 18 years old when I was fired from my first “real”job as a secretary at Bonnette Associates*. The office was located on quaint, tree-lined Seventh Street in Garden City, NY. As one of four secretaries, my job duties included typing letters, making photocopies and getting Paul’s coffee. I was also expected to get Ms. Cauffer’s husband coffee when he visited the office. Fitting in also meant playing “cheerleader” at their annual golf events and dressing up as a bear for their winter costume party. So, when Ms. Cauffer said, “I don’t think you’re a right fit for this company,” the day she fired me, she couldn’t have been more correct. This didn’t make it any easier to accept. I actually loved the other secretaries and associates I worked with. I loved going to lunch at the Newport Grill or Orchid. I loved that we had a snack room with pretzels and mustard. I was 18. So for the next few hours, after cleaning out my desk, I cried to my sister as she worked a shift folding shirts at the Gap, in Roosevelt Field. And then I booked a trip to Florida to visit family and get some perspective.
As tough as it was to deal with this rejection, if it hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have ended up finding a job with Bell Labs and working with 3 amazing women in the advertising department. Each of them had gone to college and landed a job they loved. While I was once again a secretary, the company atmosphere was a lot different. My boss, Cathy, VP of Advertising, did not expect me to fetch her coffee. When we had clients come in for meetings, I was introduced as the Media and Promotions Assistant rather than secretary # 4. I was invited to review promotional products and my opinion actually mattered! Sorry to the artist whose song “Peaches” didn’t make it into our commercial!
At our 6 month review, Cathy brought me into her office to go over my work. She complimented my organization, my initiative and my intelligence. Her words have stuck with me all this time. “Go to college. You’re too smart for this.”
I enrolled in a writing program at LIU 3 months later and the rest is education history!
So, when I received the email from the recruiter for Qatar schools saying, “Unfortunately, the school has decided to move forward with another candidate…” my heart ached and my head swirled and my eyes burned. I didn’t find the need to flat out sob, but that was due to having my husband and babies around to make me feel better.
I jumped on the computer as soon as I had a moment to start applying to other jobs abroad. I found a few schools looking for teachers directly and sent out my resume and registered with a few more sites to keep my options flowing.
Less than 24 hours after that email, I got a few text messages from fellow candidates I met in the New York City interview for Abu Dhabi. “I got an email!” “I’m moving forward!” “Contracts will be sent out within the next few weeks!” I updated my email screen a dozen times until my email came. I took a deep breath, read the words and sighed in relief. I’m on to the next round with Abu Dhabi! I have no contract, so this is not set in stone, but it’s a very good sign!
Rejection just means there’s another path you’re meant to be on!
*Company names have been changed for privacy