Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Silence: Worse than Rejection

If you seek advice about working as a creative professional, you'll hear one thing quite often: "Get used to rejection. Don't take it personally."

You hear it a lot, and it becomes a mantra. It's not you that's being rejected, just your work. It wasn't the right fit. It's not the right time.

Okay. This is fine. I can handle this.

What you don't hear is that rejection happens less often than silence.

Rejection implies someone took the time to review your work, evaluate it against their needs, and decide it wasn't the right fit. Silence provides no such implication. Silence could mean they never received your work in the first place. Or maybe they did and they ignored it. Or maybe they actually went through it but didn't like it.

You'll never know.

I'm trying to get new business right now and the silence is deafening. I contact potential clients every day. I send out resumes and portfolios. I email. I follow up.

Once in a while, I get a response: "Thanks for contacting us. You'll hear back if we're interested." No timeline. No idea of how long I must wait before giving them up as lost.

But that's the rare exception. Mostly I hear nothing.

There's nothing quite as terrible as an empty inbox.

I hope that someday I won't have this problem, but I know too many creative professionals to delude myself into really believing that.

So I'll continue to slog through the continually defeating task of checking for responses that will never arrive, and sending more requests for work out into the great void of silence.

Better luck to you.