It’s hard to get rejected in life, nobody likes being told ‘no, we don’t want you’. But, I think it’s even harder to get ghosted. Not getting an answer is extremely anxiety-provoking. It’s something that can keep me up at night. I’ve been ghosted many times in the past several months by all types of opportunities. It’s hard to find peace with this feeling. I still consider myself as someone who is young and inexperienced. There is still so much in this world I have yet to learn how to deal with.
There was a specific case where I really was struggling. I felt so close to the finish line for this opportunity, but at the last minute, things didn’t seem to work out. I was very troubled as each week passed by without an update. I finally sent an e-mail to check-in, but heard nothing back. My mind and heart was pacing. Eventually, I decided to reach out to an old friend. He is my mentor and he was the first person who took a chance on me right out of school.
I met him at a local language meet-up. I just graduated from school and I was job-hunting. I was doing everything I can to expand my skills. I wanted to get better at speaking Mandarin so I joined this meet-up. The first time I went, I almost turned around to go home as I approached the subway. I wanted to chicken out because I was so scared to meet new people. But then, I pushed myself through, I said to myself: “What have I got to lose?”. When I got there, I looked around nervously and took a deep breath. Everyone there already formed their own groups and I awkwardly walked to the bar for some water. There stood a man who was much taller and older than me. I said hello and we started to have a conversation. He was there to practice Spanish, and I was there to practice Mandarin. I find it hilarious how we had different goals going there, but ended up having a great conversation about languages. He told me about his idea to launch his start-up. I was listening and intrigued. At the end of the night, he offered me an opportunity to work for him. For the next 10 months, I worked closely with him and helped him build his idea. I learned so much about life and career from him. I watched him work and I observed how he handled himself. To this day, we still remain as friends.
I asked him about what I should do about my situation. I wasn’t getting a response and I felt restless. As always, he answered my question with a question:
…Is this a battle worth spending time and energy on?
Nope, it’s not worth any of my time.
So your homework for now is to think of other ways that are under your own control that you can achieve … without involving anyone else
What wise words. So simple and effective.
So assume their answer is no and move on …What's the worst that can happen if you do so?
There is so much in this world not under my control, and because of that, it causes so much anxiety. We chatted for a bit more and it really calmed me down. I felt heard, comforted, and normal. I felt that I was trying to navigate my feelings in a tough time. I felt a lot lighter and relieved. He told me to not burn my bridges and keep my options open. Be respectful and just keep my cool.
I don’t have any useful tips to help with how to deal with ghosting. But, I just want to say that it does suck to experience it, and it does get easier like anything else in life. Maybe the pandemic mode has exacerbated my anxiety and like many other people, there is so much uncertainty we are dealing with in life. It really does suck.
At the end, the contact person did e-mail me back. They told me they had budget problems and will keep me posted. At that point, I made peace with it and already forgot about it. I was thankful they got back to me and appreciated that they took the time to give me an answer.
Nowadays, when things don’t work out with an opportunity, I adopt a diva personality and say: “Your loss for not hiring me for this opportunity, I would've made something amazing for you. Toooo bad for you!” 😂
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