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Coping With Rejection in the Workplace With Bipolar

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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.

• What is Bipolar disorder?

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

Originally published: October 24, 2022
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