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Professional Perseverance: You Don’t Always Get What You Want

by Aubree Hiscox, Career Coach Jan 17, 2022

When I turned 16 my parents insisted I learn how to drive stick shift before getting my drivers license. Thinking back, I thought it was the stupidest rule.

All I needed to learn was automatic; however, my parents wanted me to learn stick shift in case I was ever in a position where I needed to know how to. It was a hard process. I stalled the car many times and had scary moments of driving uphill with impatient cars behind me, but with time I got better and grew in my confidence as a driver. By my senior year, my father’s best friend trusted me with driving his Corvette around our development at my graduation party. The sense of accomplishment was palpable as I reflected on the difficulty I experienced learning how to drive stick leading up to that day. 

So, why did I share that story? It is because, by definition, perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. Perseverance is applicable in all areas of life, especially regarding your professional development.

Have you ever gotten turned down for an internship, received a rejection in the job or graduate school search, or have been declined for a raise or promotion? Chances are you have and will in your future. It’s part of life; you don’t always get what you want. 

No matter how hurtful these disappointments are, we’re forced to face how we respond to them. 

The answer, friends, is professional perseverance. 

I’m not saying it’s easy, but every day we make active choices in how we respond to situations that don’t go our way. Do you see that situation as something that’s happened for you rather than to you? 

Notice the difference.

The first way provides a positive, almost hopeful, view on the situation. The second way looks at the rejection through the lens of a victim mentality with a sense of finality. 

Friends, that one slap in the face is not going to stop you; it’s not the end of your professional journey. I would argue, it will only help further your career because it forces you to reflect on the situation by asking yourself some hard questions and coming to resolutions.

  1. Regarding the internship example: How can I improve myself as a future candidate?

  2. Pertaining to the job or graduate school rejection: What can I do to better prepare for my interviews?

  3. Referring to the raise or promotion declination: Is this the right company for me long term? Or I’m not going to let this disappointment impact my work.

Wherever you’re at in your self-reflection, please know, we’re here for you in the Career Development Center. We want to help coach you through the best and, arguably, the worst parts of your career journey. Schedule a time to meet with one of our trained Career Ambassadors or any of our Professional Staff . We’d love to coach you through that process!

Ultimately, you may not always get what you want, but you have so many reasons and resources to help you pursue professional perseverance. Keep your chin up and knock 'em dead, Bulldogs!

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