Thumb charlie chaplin the rink 1916 copy

We're All Failures

Seven scholars reflect on what they learned from their many brushes with defeat.

On Rejection: Jim Lang

My earliest aspirations as a writer were to write fiction. So my first efforts to publish my work came in the form of short story submissions to literary journals, beginning with the student magazine at the University of Notre Dame. I still have that rejection letter in a folder in my home office file cabinet. Many, many others f...

On Rejection: Kelly J. Baker

I was on the Metro riding away from the annual meeting of American Academy of Religion, and for once, I felt hopeful. I had a few conference interviews, but one particular interview went remarkably well. I was finally on the path to getting that tenure track job that I wanted so desperately. Everyone keep telling me that this wa...

On Rejection: David Perry

Celebrating failure is the privilege of those who have succeeded. I have tenure at a university I love, and so my failure narratives fall into the "it all worked out" category, but it's vital to realize that academic culture can be highly abusive. We're told to just work hard enough and we'll get a job, publish our way to R1 scho...
Thumb 09222014 rees

Dealing With Disappointment

Arbitrary decision-making by the powers that be is common in academia. So what can you do if you’re the victim of an official’s whim?
Thumb 08072014 leejcobb

A Way to Work Angry

Now that I'm in my terminal year, I just can't shake the chip on my shoulder. Fortunately, being mad doesn't mean I have to be ineffective.
Thumb 08052014 ambush


It’s easy to look down on less-than-stellar colleagues who claim to be shocked when they’re cast aside. But really, it’s their managers who need to learn a lesson.
Thumb 07112014 leagueoftheirown

In Defense of Crying in Baseball

In the academy, nearly all of us have to make difficult concessions. So why the insistence that we avoid admitting to grief about those sacrifices?
Thumb 06202014 radiotuning

Why Search Committees Go Radio Silent

Can’t figure out whether you’ve been rejected or just stuck in limbo? You’re not alone. There are plenty of reasons why status updates are hard to come by.