Hunter Maats

I don't have a rejection letter but I do have a rejection story.  I was rejected by Starbucks for being "Overqualified."  That's why our tutoring company is called "Overqualified."

I'd moved out to LA in the summer of 2004.  The most convenient explanation is that I moved out here to act.  Looking for a way to pay my bills I decided to apply to Starbucks.  It seemed like the sort of thing an actor should do.

As I wandered to the interview my major concern was whether I'd be able to get a free latte this early in my Starbucks employ.  So imagine my surprise when Starbucks decided to reject me.  Their reasoning was that I was Overqualified.

Ultimately I managed to persuade Starbucks to give me a job only to prove to them that they were right not to want to hire me.  I quit after two months.

By then I'd started tutoring.  It was pretty obvious to me and many others what the problems were in education.  To that end, four of us in the class of '04 founded a tutoring company.  We named it Overqualified.

Tutoring teenagers is a rejection-filled wonderland, because most teenagers in America today reject the idea that they can be really smart. A staggering number of kids believe they didn’t get the math gene and they don’t have a natural ear for languages. No wonder so many kids don’t try in school. By dealing with all the rejections students dish out, you realize teenagers are pointing you to the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to fix education for zero dollars. Different, huh?

Rejection turns your world upside down. That’s exactly why it's so powerful.  I think there are two lessons here:

  1.  That if you're persistent you can always get a job you should be glad you got rejected by.
  2. You should always be on the lookout for opportunity and humor. :)