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The Rejection That Changed My Life


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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.

About the Author

Jessica Bacal directs The Narratives Project at Smith College, an independent women's college in Massachusetts with students from every state and from 60 countries around the world. Her programs motivate students to deepen their knowledge of themselves, explore their passions and personal capacities, and articulate their values and goals. Before going to Smith, she was an elementary school teacher in New York City, and then worked as a curriculum developer and consultant. She received a bachelor's degree from Carleton College, an MFA in writing from Hunter College, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in Northampton, MA 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."
-Ms. Magazine

"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."
-Publishers Weekly

"This is quite readable and interesting, and well worth including in any library from public to graduate school level."

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