Handling job rejection Part 2
The loss of social relationships, circle of influence and the feeling of making a meaningful contribution can lead to negative thought patterns. This in turn can affect health, leading to depression and serious medical conditions. The effects are not always readily apparent, but they can be quite serious.” – Mark Van Vugt, PhD. Last week, we began looking at job rejection psychology and touched on “Loss of Social Status”, which is ranked high as a common effect of long-term job rejection.
Today we look at Social Isolation. Whether it’s being picked last for the cricket team, excluded from a social event with colleagues, dumped by a boyfriend or rejected by a potential employer, the feeling of rejection is the same. Naomi Eisenberger, PhD, at the University of California, Los Angeles, Kipling Williams, PhD, at Purdue University, and colleagues, found that social rejection activates many of the same brain regions involved in physical pain. (Science, 2003).
Recently, a seasoned professional who has attained the highest academic accolade, expressed his feelings of inadequacy when he received a response from a potential employer stating that his application was placed in the “employable list” after undergoing weeks to vetting and interviews for a particular position. When asked whether he had taken the rejection personal, his response was “How could I not? I feel I am being punished for being overqualified. The loss of daily interaction with colleagues, embarrassment of announcement interview invites and then having to convey that I was rejected, shame of not being able to land a job despite searching for an extended period, inability to engage in normal social circles because of lack of finances have forced me into social isolation and dealing with that is painful.”
Social rejection increases anger, anxiety, depression, jealously and sadness. This was explained in an article titled “Current Directions in Psychological Science, 2011” by C. Nathan DeWall, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Kentucky. He further explained that it contributes to aggression and poor impulse control. Also, people who routinely feel excluded have poor sleep quality, and their immune systems don’t function as well as those of people with strong social connections.
As you maneuver these challenging economic times that have been made harder by the COVID-19 pandemic, do all that is humanly possible to manage the effects of job rejections. As a job seeker, do not let the rejections define who you are. The more positive you are, the less it will sting. Infuse your mind with positive affirmations. Seek inclusion from family, social groups and friends and work on building high self-esteem.
As a potential employer, use tact to deliver bad news and good judgement in your selection. These aren’t times to be practicing nepotism.
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