Odds are, if you are visiting this website you were not sitting at the “popular” table in Jr. High School or High School. At some point you might have tried to fit in with the IN crowd and were quite likely rejected. But as the old saying goes “Where are they now?” Many of the geeks, nerds, and dorks of the past became even more invested in their passions. They practiced their scales a little more because they didn’t have any band members to play with. They read a few more books because they didn’t have as many friends. Or they spent more and more time working on their jump shot because they were rarely picked to play street basketball. The side effect of rejection is removal of distraction.
This is not to say that all relationships should be avoided but there is certainly a time cost associated with maintaining a social status. You have to establish relationships and keep them up. To be really effective you have to spend time with people and invest in their lives. But if you have been cast out of the predominant social group you can put that time to use in improving your skill or working further towards your goals.
See in the silver lining in this case is as easy as looking at the group themselves. If the group you were seeking to be a part of was actually a good fit, then you would most likely be accepted. Logically, if you are not accepted then it is either a failure of the group to see your merit, or a oversight of yours at valuing a group that is not best for you.
The same goes for a job. Rejection also shows you your aptitude. Some people desperately try to get better at things they are not equipped to accomplish. To override this inadequacy they may cheat, or traumatize themselves under rigorous training methods. It is possible that the difficulty could be reflecting a needed change in course. If you want to me a physicist, yet, you are not naturally good at math you either need to work your tail off to override that inadequacy or decide that you should be a philosopher instead.
If you want to be an artist but you are not a good sketch artist, you can either choose to spend time countering that lack of aptitude or pursue abstract art over realism. This is not to say that when things get tough they are simply not meant to be. It is instead to say that you need to listen to yourself, and understand your goals and desires. This comes from a strong sense of identity and purpose that once attained. You may not even want to hang out with the “popular” kids.
One other element of this metaphor is compromise, if you are a passionate person, you will not easily sacrifice your ambitions to others. Instead you may try to reform the group to fit. This is also an option but is altogether different than shifting your priorities to fit in.
When the hiring manager stops returning your emails and follow up inquiries. You can take it upon yourself to wait outside the bosses office or you and take it as a sign that this may not be the job for you. But each of us should be seeking the opportunities that best fit ourselves and who we want that self to be. The bigger question is why do we want to sit at the “popular” table in the first place right? Perhaps something like sense of tribe or community, but is that community the one we should aspire to participate in? Or would you instead prefer to be a part of an elite music ensemble, or academic club, or varsity basket ball team?
The choice is your but where you land my very well be where you belong. Whatever that means.