The Reject


The word “rejection” was first used in 1415.The original meaning was “to throw” or “to throw back”. It sounds like fishing–a way to eat and survive.

rejectSo, guess you may have figured out I got my first rejection letter today! Strangely I read it with excitement—even when I got to the middle where it said “unfortunately”. Then I sat, re-read it, and pondered why I had butterflies in my belly. Perhaps it was that I submitted it over four weeks ago and had thought it fell off the face of the earth (I kept testing my e-mail the first two weeks to see if it was working properly—like e-mails break or something). So, the acknowledgement that my query was received and reviewed was exciting. I was in somebody’s slush pile and they took a few minutes out of their day to read my query–and then a few minutes more to reject me. And what of the rejection part? Why doesn’t that hurt? Perhaps because I put myself out there so much in life I am used to rejection, and the small and great successes I have had make up for it. But I think the biggest reason is that I choose my problems.

When I worked at my last corporate job there was a lot of pressure on me daily. I was accountable to strategize, connect with and engage the demographic within our industry community, meet people with a smile on my face no matter how I felt, and later be grilled by three bosses daily (OK, one of them was freaking awesome), and then suck in a deep breath to walk into the president’s office for a private conference with corporate big Whigs on the phone and tell them why I failed (if I did) and how I planned to be successful in the future (and the corporate future is like five minutes from now). They had a list of every phone call I made daily (along with recordings)—and if there was a lapse in call time and I wasn’t sitting with a client what was I doing?  I felt a lot of pressure, but then I would look into the president’s eyes and then my boss’s eyes and see that this was nothing. They were absolutely getting grilled and crushed more than I could imagine because, let’s face it, their salaries were higher than mine so with more money came more responsibility. They learned to fake a smile, so I did too. I gained some weight at that job (the last 20 I am still stripping off), gave up personal and physical hobbies, and replaced it with junk food to feel relief  in the moment without regard to how it would affect me the next day. Not many people were healthy in that environment. We moved millions of dollars every year—so it came with the territory right along with dress suits, fake smiles, and ties. I don’t want to be unappreciative. I got a high paying job three months after college graduation being the youngest person to work at the company. I got benefits for myself AND my domestic partner, and my co-workers were awesome. All this when my family and friends had lost their jobs in an economic downturn so I was grateful, and still am for the amazing professionalism, discipline, and personal accountability I learned. I know it will serve me well in my career choice.

Within two years of taking that corporate job I am suddenly in Hollywood (a place I never really wanted to even visit), working on movie sets (yes, and the bottom of the totem pole) helping other people accomplish their dreams (a script with actors attached to it, a budget, a crew who is all pulling it together, and seeing how something is made from inception to completion and having played a part in it)! “Hey, I wiped the blood off that dude, or I got her water!” And even on days where it goes into the fifteenth hour I stand there and remind myself: I chose this. And I get to meet amazing people, make insightful connections, and learn within my wheelhouse.

So, when I opened this rejection letter today I thanked God and the Universe that I am doing what I want with my life and that I choose my problems now—that they aren’t handed down to me by some corporate initiative or sergeant in the military (not that it’s wrong for anyone else). I am responsible for my own happiness, for where I live, and what I do, and I get to write every single day. I also have to give things up to live this way. Let’s see: regular trips to Sephora, often a diet of nothing but cereal and eggs, financial freedom (I’ve had to rely on others a time or ten or take some jobs for nothing) a gym pass (I hike now instead), living far away from the love of my life so I can learn about the world I want to be a part of while he learns about his world, and much more.

Perhaps the most satisfying part is that the rejection letter was sent well over 10 days ago and I hadn’t even checked my e-mail until now. Some small growth from the obsession I had over it weeks ago.

Bottom Line:

I am a lucky girl to be playing the game I want to play. Win or lose. For love of the game alone. Anything else (representation, seeing it published, making a buck) is all just a bonus. The only way to learn from mistakes is to make them (or watch others make them and try to do it differently–I like to opt for that one all the time).  I am not one to let advice go idly by. You can only get closer to your dreams if you put something out there to get rejected.

OK, so wish me luck in shooting out more queries.

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One observation on “The Reject
  1. Cheryl Sim

    Sarah, you are truly an inspiration. Your positive attitude and general philosophy about life will help you to achieve anything. Thank you for sharing your most personal thoughts.
    Cheryl Sim


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