It’s one of those facts of life we all struggle with. Be it getting turned down for a date, not getting that job we were supremely qualified for or as is the case is for me right now falling short at the last hurdle for project funding. It never ceases to be one of those moments professionally that kicks sour in the gut, no matter how much intellectual ablative armour we’ve stacked up before it.
Then again it comes back to the old adage that to have failed to try, would have been the real failure. You have to look at the lessons you learn from rejection. Where it’s the job, you have the opportunity to reflect on your own skills base and career aspirations; and even just how much you really did suit that job or organisation. I know when I’ve been knocked back from jobs, that by the time I’ve read the letter or come off the phone these days I’m shrugging my shoulders and thinking about just how awkward it would have been to move on or even all those niggling little doubts I had about the post in the first place.
And in many ways it is the same for this bid. So this time we didn’t make the grade. There’s only so much funding in the world to go round, and like the sack race somebody’s gotta be last. (As a side note in the sack race when I was at school it was me, as for the three legged race – well there I was the champ!) Today it’s us, tomorrow it might be again but not every time. Despite what fiction might tell us – not everyone wins, and even those sure-fire bets (I’m thinking here of Susan Boyle as a recent example) that everyone thinks are shoo-ins can fall at the last.
What I am taking away from this rejection is a real sense of how my team came together to develop a bid. At how much work they all put in, all the creative thoughts and ideas that they mashed together; let alone the excellent input on the formal project process. That it’s the first bid I’ve headlined personally, well that kicks in the gut a bit more than when previous bids on which I’ve just been a contributor have fallen. All the same, I’ve been involved in a number of very successful bids so I know this time…well it just wasn’t our time.
As professionals, as librarians how we react to rejection or any other kind of setback or failure is a measure of us as individuals. We can allow ourselves a moment of regret, of irritation, of annoyance. But then we need to move on. Take the lessons we have learned and apply them in our future endeavors.
Because next time, it’s going to be someone else’s turn to fall at the line. And I know that I’ll redouble my efforts to make sure it’s not us.