Paper360 - March/April 2016 - (Page 62)

intouch | YOUNG PROFESSIONALS Battling Rejection Burnout KAITLIN SPRINGMIER Hearing "no" can be hard. It gives the impression that your thoughts and opinions are not welcome... I've developed a toolbox for developing, presenting and following up on proposals that can turn that outright no into a yes. 62 Paper360º MARCH/APRIL 2016 Many young professionals struggle with presenting new ideas to their team. This can be because they are in a new environment, struggling with imposter syndrome or are scared of hearing the dreaded "no." I work for an institution that prides itself on its historical and traditionalist reputation, which can make it hard to propose new ideas. Many times, an idea I thought was sure to be approved was shut down with "we've tried that before and it didn't work," or "that's not welcome here." Hearing "no" can be hard. It gives the impression that your thoughts and opinions are not welcome. After so many rejections, you might become discouraged and give up proposing new ideas entirely. This happened to me in a previous job. Since then, I've developed a toolbox for developing, presenting and following up on proposals that can turn that outright no into a yes. First, a little history. Before I decided on library school, I worked for a chain of used bookstores. I started as a part-time bookseller and within a year had climbed to a position as assistant manager. My promotion came with a change in location, which meant new coworkers, new responsibilities and a new boss. In my two years as an assistant manager I proposed a lot of ideas, and I was shut down a lot. That rejection made me feel like I was not accepted, appreciated or respected. When I put in my two weeks' notice, I had turned into a person who was jaded, discouraged and unsure of my ideas. It is only in reflecting on what worked and what didn't that I can give recommendations on how to approach and innovate in a culture resistant to change. Here are five tips I've learned that can greatly reduce the rejection of new ideas or the burnout you feel after hearing no. 1. Find your wolfpack. The hardest thing to do is change a culture all by yourself. When starting at a new place, find people who have a similar mindset. They will be a great asset in supporting you and your endeavors. This means asking people out for coffee, dropping in on committee meetings or just sitting next to strangers at staff meetings. Once you've found a support system, see if they'll help you propose new ideas. If your bosses see a team interested in trying something new, they are more apt to say yes. 2. Ask why. Don't let someone tell you no without an explanation. Learn what it is about your idea that's getting the no, and tweak it. Is it manageable? Is there funding? Is it in your job description? Once you understand why you got the first no, you can tweak your idea to something that is more likely to get a yes. 3. Work within the system. Propose in a way that seems to benefit your superiors more than you. When crafting your proposal, ask questions like, "How does this align with the company's strategic directions?" and "What benefit would my supervisor find in this?" Explicitly speak to these in your proposal. By doing so, you are acknowledging that your ideas are inspired by the directives that your superiors have labored over. 4. Keep a work-life balance. Not every great idea comes from the office. Sometimes, no matter how great your idea is, your company won't have the time, resources or support you need to make it happen. When this is the case, see what you can do to make it happen in your own life. 5. Find a new job. Realize when it's time to get out. By the end of my time at the bookstore, I knew that my only relief would be to move on. And while I miss my bookstore job every day (so much so that I've begun to volunteer at my local bookstore), I know that I'm now in a work environment that fosters creativity, innovation and happiness. Make sure you find the same. Kaitlin Springmier is the first resident librarian at the University of Chicago, and previously interned at TAPPI headquarters in Norcross, Georgia. This article was adapted from her post at

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - March/April 2016

Over the Wire
Engineering: A Continuing Evolution
RISI’s European CEO of the Year
Sappi Europe: Serious About the Future of Paper
Reliability and Maintenance Beliefs – Part IV
Discovering Hidden Causes of Converting Problems
Barrier Technologies: The New Revolution in Food Packaging
Standard Bleaching Sequences Including an Ozone Stage – Part I
TAPPI Journal Summaries
Consolidation Watch
SWM Gets Faster ERP Financial Data
Battling Rejection Burnout
Association News
Index of Advertisers

Paper360 - March/April 2016