Famous Rejection Stories

Famous Rejection Stories

Were you turned down for yet another job? It’s not the end! These real-life stories are proof that “NO” stands for “Next Opportunity”.

Yes, we’re all human. And humans have feelings that can be easily hurt. The job-hunting phase (or phases, if you’ve been working for a while) is a time where our emotions can sometimes get the better of us. But fear not. Here are some stories from very different people about how they got over their initial rejections to ultimately change history.

The Beatles

The best-selling band in history (EMI estimates that the band has sold over 1 billion records worldwide) was no stranger to rejection. Before Beatlemania changed music history forever,  the Beatles’ hopes of securing a record contract were shattered very early on, having been turned down by numerous labels. To make matters worse, the band were struggling to get noticed. The Beatles spent two years playing 4-5 shows each night, almost every night, just to impress would-be producers and record label bigwigs.

One famous story involves Decca Records, who infamously turned the band down on New Year’s Day in 1962, saying “the Beatles have no future in show business”. Three months later, producer George Martin signed them to the Parlophone record label, and the first recording session took place at EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios. The rest, as they say, is history!

Michael Jordan

One of the world’s greatest sports icons, Michael Jordan is a great example of how anyone can overcome failure to eventually succeed. The man said it best. “I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." There is a lesson in his words: accept failure as steps towards success, and never give up until you get there.

Today, Michael Jordan’s record is a sight to behold. He ended his basketball career as a 6-time champion, and still holds 4th overall spot in the NBA’s ranking of all-time highest scorers (he is only behind 3 other greats to play the sport: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant).

Ben & Jerry’s

The names synonymous with ice-cream were at one point synonymous with failures. Ben (Cohen) and Jerry (Greenfield) were just two ordinary guys who climbed their way out of their individual setbacks to start a frozen confectionery giant. As luck would have it, Ben already had an entrepreneurial spirit, but his pottery business went bust. He also took on odd-jobs: cashier at McDonald’s, taxi driver, craft teacher, clerk, security guard… the list went on and on. Nothing seemed to work out.

Jerry was also in a similar situation. Having been rejected from getting into medical school, he found a kindred spirit in Ben, and they both decided to invest US$12,000 in the now-famous Ben & Jerry’s. Their initial failures, coupled with their love for ice-cream, prepared them for the challenges that lay ahead. Ben and Jerry worked towards turning the small venture into something they could be proud of. Today, it is a US$500mil company with 600 outlets in 35 countries.