The Mighty Logo

Coping With Rejection in the Workplace With Bipolar

Rejection can hurt anyone, a profound human experience that we all have dealt with in some capacity.

I was hypomanic because of jobs: looking for jobs, interviewing, getting noticed and all the stimulation and masking that I had to do to be the perfect candidate. It made me hypomanic. I had severe goal-driven behavior, applying to 60 plus jobs in one day. It didn’t matter where or what it was, I just wanted to move. Some people cheered on this behavior, even though I’d stay up an entire night looking for jobs, and my mind circling like a shark ready for attack. It was everything to me.

I landed a very good job. It had benefits, the primary occupation that I wanted, and it was close enough that I could drive there with minimal anxiety. Part of my issue is that I have agoraphobia and so it is extremely difficult for me to drive to a place where I have never been. It is also just the fear of leaving a job I had been at for nine years, ever since I was 16.

This hypomania became worse once I started this new job. As I worked, I became obsessed with completing my goals in record timing, doing everything to the detail, and elevated mood. I was saying hi to everyone, introducing myself, and being a charming persona that really isn’t my authentic self. There was the god-complex that I loved and hated because everything made me feel unstoppable. I slept very little, using my prescribed sleeping pills on the weekend to catch up all the missed sleep I had gotten during the work week.

Why I spoke about rejection earlier is because two weeks in I was pulled into the office and said that I was not the right fit. I asked politely for more feedback and they said to contact HR. I thanked them for a wonderful opportunity and that I was thankful for how much I learned. Once again, I asked if they had any feedback moving forward in my career. I remember every little detail, their surprise I was taking this so well, their looks of astonishment that I presented myself as someone who wanted something out of this conversation. I took this opportunity knowing that it would grow me in difficult situations, but in the two weeks I was there I was never given feedback. They finally told me that it was my personality, which seemed unusual because as far as personalities went…I was at an all-time high. Let me remind you that this was still the probation area where they could fire you for pretty much anything up until the four-week mark. I didn’t take this personal, because I truly believe in myself and my ability to move forward.

When I left the office, I left with my head held high, smiling, and chatting with coworkers that I have only known for two weeks. My personality was bright, charismatic, and inspiring to work with as a team member. Rejection meant nothing to me because they are not rejecting me. Why would someone reject me? I was on top of the world, I was meeting all the goals and expectations that they had for me.

I called my husband in the parking lot, perfectly calm. He was devastated for me, because he knew that typical moments like this could lead into a downward spiral. But no. I said that I was fine, everything was going to be fine, and really they are missing out on a fantastic human being that could only add to their company. Again, hypomania. I think anyone in this situation of being let go from a company would have some type of sadness. Instead, I was just looking ahead, energized to contact HR and begin my job search.

I gave a sort of peacefulness that Monday that they fired me. Tuesday, I started looking for jobs, even though that was the only thought I could think of was money. This hypomania was very much money motivated because I was making a considerable amount more than what I was before. I talked to my mom, some of my siblings, and my uncle. I was not sad. I was optimistic about the future. I was wild about finding something new where my abilities would be more appreciated.

That Tuesday, just one day later after being told I was not a good fit, I applied to 40 jobs. I did email HR asking for more details and was given none. I connected with people, trying to network to find something. As I logged into LinkedIn, I noted that about a lot of my coworkers had been let go that day and that meant…it was not me. It was companywide.

The next morning, I received a phone call about a possible job opportunity. It took a week and a half for me to accept their offer. It was what I wanted to do, close to home and close to where my husband worked. I also was being paid the same for less work.

I don’t shed tears when I am rejected because rejection is only part of the story. There is so much more than just these two weeks in the years that I’ll live my life. All I can do is move forward.

Getty image by 10’000 Hours

Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home