Do you want to know the scariest time during an adult’s career? It’s Performance Appraisal. Yep, I said it. That quarterly, semi-annually, or annual time in which you meet with your boss to discuss your work ethic thus far. It’s the one time my brain works in overdrive to try to remember every single accomplishment I have made within that time frame. I learned early on in my career that it is very important to document our successes within our job roles, so when that time rolls around to be evaluated, you have examples to validate any argument needed to be made on your behalf. As for me, I’m petty and I am also liable to walk into my meeting with a 3 ring binder’s worth of accolades armed and prepared for anything to pop off sideways.

During my career, be it this early on, I have been blessed to have some amazing jobs. I’m talking suit jacket and skirt, Aldo pumps wearing like-positions. But I find myself humbled when I ponder over the in-between gigs, side hustles, and let’s not forget that very first job that you refuse to even include on your resume. Some positions I have loved, while others I found myself pleased with the fact that it produced a check for me every two weeks like clockwork. I was like the millions of people going through the motions in this rat race called “trying to make ends meet” and if your circumstances were anything like mine falling short was not at all common. Hence the popular concept of “robbing Peter, to pay Paul.”

When I was in my mid- twenties I was hired at this huge financial investment banking firm. It was the stereotypical, stuffy, traditional company that lacked a drop of diversity (except for the call center) and cared the slightest bit for their employees. High turnover was the norm and once people started the job, they soon realized that the pay wasn’t at all worth their peace. Nonetheless, I started on a high note with a fresh set of eyes, vibrancy, and lots of ideas! However, the light soon turned dim when I began to take on various other job roles (besides what I was hired for) upon my supervisor’s request making it unrealistic to do my core job efficiently.

The sad part about it is that sometimes in careers, just like relationships, we fill like we are in too deep. The pay is too good, the benefits are life changing, the bonus is…right on time! It just makes since to hang in there and “ride it out” as my dad would always like to say when we would cry to him about sucky jobs. I don’t know if he wanted us to simply develop a tough skin or the fact that he didn’t want the problems that he could inherit financially if any of us quit our jobs. Who knows? (Kanye shrug)

After exactly one year of sunshine and six months of pure agony, it was time for my performance appraisal. I walked in with my “notebook of praise and accomplishments” for the last six months, but to my surprise, when I sat down I felt an eerie feeling. You know? The one you get when “ish” is about to hit the fan. Or in others words when things feel as if they are about to take a turn for the worst. My supervisor, in the most fraudulently empathetic voice expressed her concerned with my ability to manage my work load. She went on to even recommend that I look for another career path. Me?! Look for another career path? After spending several thousands of dollars in student loans you are telling me I am in the wrong career path? I was so angry I could feel steam coming from my ears. Everything I brought in to talk about was null and void as I, at that point, was ridiculously hurt.

I’ll admit it. I may not have been the most efficient in my work, but I was doing my very best to try and balance the additional projects that was passed around like hot potatoes in the department, only to land on my desk. I was devastated and without realizing it began to cry. Till this day, I am upset that I shed a single tear, because I felt like I allowed her to take a piece of my confidence and value away. As I began to crumble in despair, I walked back to my desk and prepared to go home only to replay the entire conversation in my mind over and over… and over. “I hate myself! I thought. Why am I never enough? Never smart enough. Pretty enough. Confident enough. Ugh! If only I would’ve done things differently. If only I were perfect. If only I were like some of my other co-workers that she seems to praise for things as simple as sneezing and breathing!”

The interesting thing about rejection is that usually it’s not the experience that hurts the most but the emotional pain that comes as a result of it. It’s the pain that a lot of times we subconsciously inflict on ourselves due to the rejection. How you ask? Speaking negatively, thinking less of ourselves, or maybe being overly critical allows the opportunity for a subconscious spiral down a slippery slope of self-destruction. It is a sure fire “one-two punch” that will knock anyone out leaving emotional and psychological damage. This was just ONE instance of rejection in my life, not counting the 3,543,231 other moments that I will spare you in mentioning. Trust me, I am doing you a BIG favor.

Just think, if we allowed rejection to get the best of us every single time it occurred, we would be an emotional wreck. I’m talking a Love and Hip Hop reunion special type of mess. You may also find bad habits and traits develop with a negative mindset like jealously, insecurity, resentment, low self-esteem, pessimism, or hatred. And those are just a FEW. Sisters, believe me it could get uglier! So the question now is, how do we manage our emotions when we are rejected in our relationships, friendships, career, or in any aspect of our lives? What can we do to keep our minds positive and our hearts warm?

The first thing I’d do is instead of writing all of the things I did wrong, I’d highlight the good things about myself. It has always been easy to identify my faults afterwards and chastise myself for every single thing I did wrong. I now intentionally work towards reviving my self-worth and speaking positive things over myself, even when I may not believe in it that moment. I recently stole an idea from the hit show Being Mary Jane and began putting affirmations on my mirror to read daily.

Lastly, I proactively try not to be so punitive and self-critical. In fact, I force myself to laugh at the circumstances. Yes, laugh! A lot of times we take rejection so seriously and personally, when it may not be the case. There are so many things that can result in a rejection, such as “fit,” circumstances, or maybe, just maybe (whispers closely with intimate concern) it’s not your time! Sit back, chill out and know that this one “NO” will not stop a future “YES.”

Truth of the matter is every time I thought I was rejected from something, I was actually being directed to something better.