What to do when you get rejected

An email I got recently —

10:27 AM, to bcc: Saya


[blah blah blah]

We got some stellar submissions this year (including yours!), and while we would have loved to have all of them presented, we had to narrow down the field. Unfortunately, your talk wasn’t selected this year, but we appreciated and were grateful for it and you.

[blah blah blah]

Warmest Regards,
[blah blah blah]

To anyone who has ever not gotten the job, the grant, the residency, the speaking gig, the whatever thing you would be perfect for…

To anyone who views my life through social media and thinks it’s magical and full of puppies, $250 first class tickets to Japan, and I get everything I want… (well, it is full of [foster] puppies)

For the 3rd, maybe 4th?, who knows at this point, year in a row, REJECTION. From the same source.

Was I salty? Yes. Am I still a wee bit salty? Yes. But for the most part, have I moved on, in a positive way? Yes.

Life of Yes℠ Steps to Dealing with Rejection

1. 1 minute of disappointment
2. 1 minute of surprise
3. 1 minute of eye-rolling and arm-crossing
4. 1 minute of indignation at the decision-makers
5. 1 minute of irrational loathing for and comparison to the selected, whomever they are
6. 2 minutes of being hurt and not feeling and wanting to punch the rejection’s “You’re still great!” sentiments
7. 2 minutes of “Why do I keep raising my hand, spending energy and time, and putting myself in this position?”
8. Lifetime of shrugging, truly believing “Their loss”, and upcycling rejection into reusable goodness

Related Saya Snippet

I applied three times to be a “Creative Mornings Audience Takes the Stage” speaker, where I’d get five minutes to be an “opener” for the main act.

“No, because we’d like you to be THE speaker.”

And that speaking gig was one of my most favoritest gigs to date.

So onwards and upwards, Cheese-Its. Wallow in your wallowness and then get up. No one puts us in the corner.

Related Saya Snippet

While above is all well and good, and sounds nice on paper, and I do believe you should follow and I do follow, wanted to also share that the fact that I didn’t get selected to be an Orientation Leader (OL) in 1998 while a Boston College undergrad to this day irks me and is still in my bones. And that I remember the interview and ensuing surprise and disappointment so clearly. And I still harbor negative feelings about the process, the people involved, and the outcome. And “I would’ve been better than [person who got selected]” is still a thought in my thoughts. And this photo and the matching polos and the color purple and gym shoes and people smiling still upsets me.

In 2018. Twenty years later.


I know. I agree. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people hold onto the past. I’m pet peeved with myself. But regardless, the negative, illogical feelings exist.

In case you’re also harboring something of the same variety. You’re not alone. Nothing is wrong with you.


Yes, better to completely move on. If you can’t, at least don’t let past ick negatively affect current and future you. Not being selected as an OL has not kept me from living my best life. When I think about the rejection, I shake my fist and roll my eyes. Then I get back to planning my travel-hacked, Fake Oprah Japan vacation and taking weekday 2pm naps and receiving thank you after thank you for connecting others to Jobs!, Significant others!, Friends!, Confidence!, and being unconditionally loved by Best Friend and paying my bills through uplifting, fulfilling, exactly how I want ways including sharing personal imperfections such as this.

Upcycle rejection into reusable goodness.


Reusable goodness a la reactions to this share —

“I flippin’ love this! I am screen grabbing this list and keeping it on my phone. Thank you for sharing!”
“OMG pure ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️. Right when I needed it. Amen. Amen. Amen. And Hallelujah for all of your upcycling rejection into reusable goodness. Onward!!! One of my 2019 “words” …”
“I edit an alumni magazine. Not the one for your alma mater, but I can spot an idea for a brilliant alumni essay when I see one. If BC’s magazine runs an alumni essay, you should submit a piece about how you’re still bitter, 20+ years later, about not being selected as an O-aide… I think so many people would be able to relate to the sting of early rejection!”
Will there be an update to the update? Like a link to my article in the BC Magazine?! The ultimate (not really) revenge! Stay tuned…