Let's just say, I've been rejected quite a bit over the past (nearly) 45 years. The first thing that comes to mind is probably romantic rejection, right? While, yes, that's happened a few times and was especially awesome when I summoned up the courage to do the asking out only to find out the guy I liked, liked guys; I've certainly been rejected more in my day-to-day life.
Everyone always says that rejection builds character. Rejection gives you a thick skin, people say. I must have the skin of a turtle. Of course, turtles have a shell so that must be what I have. No wonder I never get asked out. People say that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince. I've kissed - well, we'll just move on.
As a professional fundraiser, or as my dad fondly says, professional beggar, I hear rejection on a daily basis. "No, I don't want to give you any money." "I'm sorry but I can't give you anything this year." "We really like you but my budget is gone for the year, how about this chotskie no one else would buy, for your silent auction?" To be fair, I do hear quite a few yeses but, of course, hearing no rings louder.
One of my best rejection stories is about how I got fired from a hotel front desk job - on my birthday - over the phone. Even though I totally deserved to get canned, did it have to be on my birthday? Couldn't she have looked at my file or something and maybe picked a different day? I actually don't remember what birthday it was - 22 or 23, I think. So, I was old enough to drink it off which I'm sure I did, which is why I can't remember what birthday it was.
The latest story in the seemingly long thread of rejection tales is when I got canned from the mall earlier this month. I had taken this job for some extra cash to pay down my debt. A seemingly easy gig with decent hours that I had no qualms about handling. My only concern was figuring out time to get to the gym in between all the gift card selling and my regular job.
The week after Thanksgiving I walked in to said mall job and heard my 'boss' summon me into his office. He didn't really summon me; he said my name to which I stopped at his office door. Now keep in mind, this was the second conversation with my 'boss' I'd had since hiring on in September. I stood at his office door and he awkwardly looked at me and I realized he actually wanted me to enter his office and have a seat. What a goofball. Anyway, I sit and he tells me 'that it's just not working out' and that I needed to turn in my key and leave, right then. The movie "Office Space" came to mind and I thought about a red Streamline stapler and a dark basement. I said, "Seriously?" He proceeded to tell me that he was going to pay me for that night but I needed to go. What the fuck? At this point, I got a little angry. Okay, a lot angry. I asked him why and all he could muster was that I had left the gift card drawer unlocked and that this didn't mean I was a bad person or anything.
In the nine shifts that I had worked at this silly job, I had made about three seemingly egregious errors. I had left the drawer unlocked - once. I had messed up an entry into the gift card software - once. And on my first day, I had given away, unbeknownst to me, the wrong, poorly labeled door prize to someone. Clearly, all horrible, fireable offenses. As I left the building, I immediately thought about what a horrible person I must be. I had just helped raise $55K at a Turkey Trot fundraiser but couldn't quite handle running a credit card machine or selling tickets to see Santa.
After a couple of days of feeling like a total loser, I went back to my normal headspace of 'everything happens for a reason' and I got over it. I didn't, however, get over what an incompetent 'boss' I had at that job. If an employee is screwing up so badly don't you think they deserve the courtesy of knowing how they're messing up? It appears that the full-time gal that gave me my 20-minute training has also been axed. Clearly, something else was up and I got caught in the crossfire. Or, I'm just a loser that can't handle a credit card machine.
On to 2013, I say! 2012, on many levels, was not a good year for many, many people. So much heartbreak and pain, death and destruction. Even though I, personally, was not touched by the numerous tragedies that took place this year, I think everyone is peripherally affected. Tragedy on the level we saw this year seeps into a person's soul. I've cried at my desk way too many times this year as I read about the latest killing spree or gang rape or car accident.
I don't have a traditional New Year's Resolution today, just the sense that I'm going to try a little harder to be less judgmental, more loving and to tell the people I care about that they mean something to me, for what it's worth. I'm going to try to be more mindful of this moment because as I heard someone say last night, 'this' moment is all there is.
Happy New Year!