Rejection is normal in academia.
One could take that as depressing, I suppose, but one shouldn’t. Rejection is normal in most everything; if you go through life without being rejected, you’re definitely not trying hard enough. But this can be hard to remember, especially when the stakes are high – when you’ve submitted your first paper, or applied for your first job at a university you’d love to join. It’s only human to find such rejections weighing you down (and perhaps confirming your imposter syndrome). One way to lessen the impact is surely to see your own rejections in the context of other peoples’ – and that’s the idea behind the “shadow CV” or “anti-CV”. (Here’s Jacquelyn Gill explaining the same idea, but better.)*
I don’t have a complete shadow CV, because I haven’t kept track of every time I’d had a paper or a grant rejected. But I was sifting through a filing cabinet and discovered that I do have a pretty-much complete list of the (academic) jobs I’ve been rejected from. Continue reading