The Rejection That Changed My Life: 25+ Powerful Women on Being Let Down, Turning It Around, and Burning It Up at Work (Paperback)
From the groundbreaking author of Mistakes I Made at Work, comes the perfect book for anyone who needs inspiration after dealing with rejection, failure, or is searching for a new beginning in the workplace. Featuring fascinating interviews with more than twenty-five women, including Keri Smith, Angela Duckworth, and Roz Chast, The Rejection That Changed My Life provides an exciting new way to think about career challenges, changes, and triumphs.
Rejections don't go on your résumé, but they are part of every successful person's career. All of us will apply for jobs that we don't get and have ambitions that aren't fulfilled, because that is part of being a working person, part of pushing oneself to the next step professionally. While everyone deserves feel-better stories, women are more likely to ruminate, more likely to overthink rejection until it becomes even more painful—a situation that the women in this collection are determined to change, and in so doing, normalize rejection and encourage others to talk about it.
Empowering and full of heart, the stories in this collection are diverse in every sense, by top women from many cultural backgrounds and in a wide variety of fields; many of their hard-earned lessons are universal. There are stories from engineers, entrepreneurs, activists, comedians, professors, lawyers, chefs, and more on how they coped with rejection and even experienced it as a catalyst for their own personal professional growth. Powerful, motivating, and endlessly quotable and shareable, The Rejection That Changed My Life will become the go-to book for women at any stage of their career learning to navigate the workforce.
About the Author
Jessica Bacal is director of Reflective and Integrative Practices and of the Narratives Project at Smith College. She leads programs to help students explore identity and find resilience in community. She also teaches a course called Designing Your Path, which guides students to consider questions like: What is your story? Where have you been and where are you going? What matters to you? What skills do you need to pursue what matters? Before her career in higher education, she was an elementary school teacher in New York City, and then a curriculum developer and consultant. She received a bachelor's degree from Carleton College, an MFA in writing from Hunter College, and an EdD from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her husband, two children, and two dogs.
"The Rejection That Changed My Life is an essential read for anyone currently struggling with rejection or anyone wanting to know how to learn from rejection. During COVID, many women have lost their jobs or had to leave the workforce to care for their children and are now facing re-entry. For these and all women, Bacal’s book provides important tools for how to grow stronger in the face of rejection. The stories in her book show that even successful women experience rejection and discrimination in the workplace. The book imparts the skills and outlook necessary to not only overcome rejection but to feel empowered doing so."
"This book is a balm for anyone smarting from a 'no,' a downturn, or a skinned knee. Jessica Bacal and the parade of rockstar women she interviewed will turn your attitude around and coach you, soothe you, and inspire you in turn. Jessica Bacal has written a book made for the moment, and I learned a ton—for both myself and my clients."
—Rachel Simmons, New York Times bestselling author of Odd Girl Out
"This is an inspiring, entertaining read about strong women who persevered in the face of rejection – often by practicing a growth mindset!"
—Carol S. Dweck, PhD, author of Mindset
"Illuminating, encouraging reading for anyone who has felt stymied by rejection ... This affirming book is sure to provide career women with the courage to not only move forward from rejection, but also mount necessary challenges to the masculine bias in the professional world."
"[Bacal's] message of normalizing setbacks comes across most powerfully in a conclusion considering universal themes of struggle and renewal. This affirming compilation will make a good gift for early-career women seeking to find their footing."
“This is quite readable and interesting, and well worth including in any library from public to graduate school level."