Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts on Rejection

Last week was a rough one in Jessica Land. I faced a lot of rejection last week, some expected and some unexpected, and it really wore me out.

The expected rejection: I received a pink slip. This is my 5th year teaching and it was my 5th pink slip. I don't have tenure, and they aren't planning on giving it to me any time soon. Last year a teacher with tenure from another school in my district transferred to my school and bumped me out of my job, but a few days later someone at her original school unexpectedly retired, so she decided to stay there and take the retiree's job instead of mine. I wanted to send that retiree flowers, because I was thisclose to joining the ranks of unemployed teachers. This year I don't know if anyone is planning on bumping me, but I know of some situations at work that are making me really nervous for my position. I'm trying so hard to stay positive about having a job next year (I got hired back four times already, right?), but it's hard sometimes. I mean, when can I just KNOW that I'll stay employed for awhile?

The unexpected rejection: I didn't get into the MFA program I applied for. I never took it as a certainty that I would be accepted, but at the same time, it didn't really occur to me that I wouldn't. I tried to prepare for the idea that I might not get in, but that was like preparing for a flood or preparing for the end of the world in 2012. It was a possibility that lived in the back of my mind, but didn't really seem like it would happen.

But it did.

I believe strongly in the Law of Attraction. You get back from the universe what you put out there. I thought nothing but positive thoughts about this. I pictured myself there. I thought happily about all the things I would get out of the program. And I didn't get it.

So that leads me to this thought...it wasn't the right thing at the right time. I don't feel like I'm not qualified for a good MFA program. I don't. I KNOW I AM. So there's just some other reason this didn't happen for me right now. I don't know what that is right now, but I am trusting that I'll figure it out eventually. But now? And this? It wasn't right. It just wasn't. Because if it was right, it would have worked out for me.

There were other small rejections sprinkled throughout the week (I got declined for books on NetGalley!), so by the time Friday came around I was totally exhausted.

But I wasn't defeated. I wallowed for a day after the big MFA rejection. I ate an entire Chipotle burrito and three spoonfuls of Nutella. I cried on my private Twitter. I vented to my writing group in our chat. My fellow temp teachers and I sent a string of irritated e-mails back and forth after pink slip day.

But now I'm over it. The MFA thing just wasn't right for me right now. There's nothing I can do about my job. I even requested the NetGalley books again, just in case. I'm not going to let this make me feel like a bad writer. I'm not going to let this make me feel like a bad teacher. I'm going to keep on teaching and I'm going to keep on writing, and I'm going to get better, even if a school or some suit at my district office doesn't think I'm worthy.

And this week has already turned around! I got a signed ARC of Wildefire in the mail, thanks to Karsten Knight. And I won a query crit from WriteOnCon. So it's only Tuesday and this week is already kicking last week's ass.

Rejection sucks, but it can't be the end of you. I really believe that things will work out the way they are supposed to. If my job doesn't work out (I'm really scared this year, guys), that's because something else is in store for me. This MFA thing didn't work out because something else is going to be right for me instead. I'm just staying positive, putting positive energy out in the universe, and trying to grow stronger from these setbacks.

Things will work out the way they are supposed to. I trust this.

I debated not even posting this on here. An aspiring author's blog is a place to be shiny and happy and to show what a team player and normal person she is, right? But this blog is about my journey, and this is about my journey. It would feel wrong not to include my speed bumps. 


  1. I love your note at the end, because you're absolutely right. And I think you did a great job of showing the hard parts without coming across like a crazy person :-) The key is in identifying the process and showing how you cope with it. Obviously you're a positive person who can put things into perspective. That's plus points in my book :-)

    Also, I LOVE your blog layout!

  2. Awww...so sorry last week was so tough. I do believe that when one door closes another, better door will open. Hopeful the MFA rejection prevented you from starting something that would be wrong for you right now. I'm crossing my fingers you'll get accepted to the one that's meant to be--and that your job will be safe!

    And congrats on the query critique win!

  3. I really admire your positive attitude. I'll keep my fingers crossed--legs and eyes crossed, too--and send job vibes your way. Congrats again on the query crit, and I hope this week continues kicking ass and taking names.

  4. You have the exact right attitude. And I think posting things like this is totally acceptable on aspiring writers' blogs---we're all in for a long haul, and that comes with as many (if not more) lows than highs.

    I will be thinking of you and hoping that your job situation ends up all right. (HUGS)

  5. I am so impressed with your outstanding attitude through all those trials. I can only imagine how difficult it was. *hugs*

    And I totally agree, some things are allowed in your life, no matter how difficult, simply because there is something better on the other side. Whether it is something a quiet as a stronger you, or something more outwardly obvious.

    This post was SO encouraging! Thank you for sharing your triumphs, as well as your struggles. It only makes me respect you all the more! :) *sending heaps of love your way*

  6. Oh man, this sucks but you are so brave for posting it. For whatever reason that MFA program wasn't right at this time. Maybe another program is better for you, or maybe there is something else about to happen.

    A couple years ago I didn't get into law school and I was so upset at the time. Now I work at a law firm and realize I would have hated being a lawyer... and wouldn't have had any time to write either. So it was a blessing in disguise.

    Anyway I'm sorry you have to go through so much suck (and all in one week - bleh), but I'm here if you want to gchat or meet over coffee to talk about stuff, or something.

  7. Thanks for sharing Jess! So sorry to hear you had a rough week, but your outlook on the ways things are shaking down is just perfect. You're amazing :)

  8. So sorry to hear about the pink slip and MFA program. I agree with you that these kind of things happen for a reason. When my husband didn't get into grad school the first try, he was very upset, but he ended up getting so many great opportunities the following year that in the end we were glad it happened that way. You've got a great attitude, and that alone will take you far!

    And congrats on winning the query critique, that's awesome!

  9. Aw, so sorry! You really did have an awful week! Fingers crossed that you'll be back at your teaching job next year, and I think you're right: that the MFA program just wasn't right for you. I'm dealing the rejection of a different sort right now, and it's easy to get stuck in that "this will never happen for me!" mindset, but I have to believe that someday it will. Otherwise, I'll go crazy. :)

  10. I'm sorry to hear about your rejections :(. I really hope things work out at our job. Your attitude is really admirable. I'm sure things will turn around, and it sounds like they already have (query critique win? awesome!). Stay positive!

  11. Oh, Jessica, I'm so sorry you had a crummy week! Props to the good attitude, though - I'd still be moping around. Everything always works out, and I'm sure this will, too. In the meantime, we're all here to listen to whatever is going on in your life.

  12. I'm so glad you were able to move on and be so positive about this. You're right - rejection sucks, but it's in our best interest to learn from it and not get hung up. You're an awesome writer and an awesome person, and I know good things will happen for you!

  13. So sorry to hear about your job and the MFA program. That really sucks. I am glad you posted this. You were being honest and you can't be all shiny and happy all the time. I think you have a great attitude about everything that happened and I really like what you wrote. I am going to try to remind myself to think more like that next time I face rejection.