Busted Halo

Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.

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January 31st, 2011

Coping with Rejection


2011 started out how past New Year’s have: surrounded by friends and family with numerous hopes and resolutions made. After ending 2010 with a much coveted interview for what I thought was my dream job, I was confident 2011 would be my best year yet.

Unfortunately, I soon found out I didn’t make the cut and I was devastated. I quickly began questioning my life and career choices as well as my own abilities. Why am I so passionate being a music journalist? Why would God give me this writing talent only to be accompanied by numerous failed job interviews? No one likes rejection and I was trying my best to see the silver lining, but had a much harder time than I care to admit.

So, of course I turned to music. Oprah Winfrey just launched her OWN network a few days before and one of her first aired shows, Master Class, featured Jay-Z discussing his life, struggles, failure and the importance of staying true to yourself. He knew when he was writing all his rhymes and rehearsing them as a child that he had something special that the world had to hear. He didn’t shy away from failure and instead, it motivated him.

“When I first started making music, that’s when I first realized that I was tapping into an emotion and I knew there were small pockets of people all across the country that I spoke to directly. But I didn’t have the vehicle to get to them. I didn’t have a record label at the time so I tried to get a record deal.  And I couldn’t get a record deal,” Jay-Z said.

Winfrey summed it up best: “Being turned down from a record deal didn’t stop him, it propelled him,” she said.

Jay-Z continued his story.

“The record company would be my bridge to them and they didn’t give me that bridge.  So, it was a very important part of my career that we didn’t give up right there. That belief in myself and belief that I had something to offer. So, we built our own bridge and I started my own record company.”


We all face obstacles and rejection at some point in our lives and we have two choices: rise above them or settle and accept them. After watching Oprah’s Master Class with Jay-Z, I realized it was time to move on to the next big thing. Maybe I don’t need a full-time job writing about music. Maybe I’m supposed to continue to develop my journalism skills and venture out of my comfort zone to discover new genres and perfect my first-person articles. Whatever the reasoning this job didn’t work out, I wasn’t going to let 2011 get off to a bad start.

“I believe that everything that happens in life is there to build character and is there to be learned from. Everything that I base my life upon has worked out that way for the most part. I believe that things happen for a reason. That’s just the way of the world. [The] most important lesson to me is just to be true to yourself,” Jay-Z concluded.

True words to live by. What do you think? How have you dealt with rejection? What lessons have you learned?

The Author : Annie Reuter
Annie Reuter, is a freelance writer and music blogger who covers concerts and music festivals around the country. In constant pursuit of the next show to attend and band to interview, Annie keeps up her own music blog, You Sing, I Write, where she uncovers what it's really like to spend the day with a rock star.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Alisha

    Aww, Annie, I can relate! I had dreams of being a journalist and my focus was on music, too. I wrote for my university paper, landed a sweet internship at VIBE, graduated, and then, nothing. Okay, not “nothing” per se, but very little. A brochure, a few freelance gigs, a story in a textbook, then, nothing. Lol. My last published work was three and a half years ago.

    My writing only comes out in my blog now, and it’s a bittersweet feeling. I still wonder why I never “made it” and keep a copy of Langston Hughes’ “Dream Deferred” in my desk at work, reminding myself to not “explode”.

    But I have to think that when one door closes, another opens. I stayed at my glorified secretary job instead of playing starving artist, and I met my husband. We’ve been married two years and now we’re expecting our first child.

    Keep moving forward and you’ll meet success, even if it takes a different form. I personally think a dream deferred is not a dream denied. :-)

  • Chelsea

    Farrah-Wearing a Star of David in the South causes alot of double takes, I’ll tell you that much. Along, with weird looks and blunt questions.

  • Annie Reuter

    Thank you all for your kind and insightful responses!

    Chelsea–I admire your courage to honor your Jewish roots and wear a star a David despite the prejudices you face on a daily basis. Keep those strong beliefs and don’t let anyone tell you what you should be wearing or where you should worship.

    Farrah — What would I do without you as a roommate and most importantly, friend?! Thanks for listening through all the laughs and tears. I’ve learned so much about Judaism this year because of you and have definitely felt my faith restored because of it.

    SrGayle — Thanks so much for sharing your story. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and God has other plans in store for me. I will continue to listen and be thankful for unanswered prayers. I’m so glad you are at a job you love.

    Sierra McConnell — I just read your comment aloud to Monica and Farrah and we don’t want you to give up. Don’t lose that passion for writing! Rejection is hard to deal with, but how can anyone judge your story on just one paragraph? Don’t throw away a year and a half of work just because you lost one contest. Sometimes, losing is a test to see how passionate you are for something. Persevere and finish that book. We want to read it when you’re done!

  • Sierra McConnell

    I really thought I was supposed to be a writer. I’ve wanted it since I was a child. I’ve been working on my book for a year and a half, and I submitted a paragraph into a contest, with the thought that if this is for me, God will let me win the contest. Because everything else has been guided by God.
    I lost to an ANON submission. And the ANON replied basically with a “Sucks to be you all :P” response. I’ve been broken since, and I just don’t know what else to do. I just don’t feel like writing anything ever again. Why would God tell me not to write?

  • SrGayle

    About six years ago, I got a tip that a job I’d coveted was going to be opening up. I brushed up the resume and sent it in as soon as the posting went out. I got an interview, thought it went well and then had to wait weeks before the rejection letter came. Then began a horrible summer of interviews for positions I was not interested in just to get a job. Finally, a voice of reason suggested a volunteer internship to get real experience in the field. I negotiated one and months later ended up with a real position with a team, which I love. I would have been on my own with the other job. I was so devestated with the first one, but God had plans. Keep trying and listening to the Spirit and thank God for unanswered prayers. :-)

  • Farrah Fidler

    Wow Chelsea, I really feel for you being rejected by your own community. I’m really interested to know what it’s like wearing a Star of David in the Bible Belt.

    And Annie – the year is young. Your dreams are as endless as your talent. This is just another test to make you stronger so you can handle that Rolling Stone interview :)

  • Chelsea

    I’ve experienced much rejection in the “Bible Belt”. I even had one person have the gall to tell me “oh, don’t tell me you’re a Catholic”. He tried to make it seem lighthearted but he came from a baptist church in my hometown with a history of rejecting anyone who wasn’t white and baptist. If you are a woman and have any history of having worn pants you are rejected as well. I having Jewish ancestry inherited from my Mother, though I chose to be Catholic, chose to also honor my Jewish roots by wearing a star a David. In a baptist populated South how I defined myself did not go over very well. It’s also hard to have two sides of yourself the Catholic side and the Jewish side and question where you belong in the mix.

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