The CV of failure

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You constantly hear people talking about their academic successes, let it be in the workplace or on social media. The cool conference they visited abroad, the paper they published so easily, and the job they got despite 500 high-potential competitors. It’s very easy to hear and read about what worked well. But no one talks about failures and how long publishing that last paper really took. A while ago, I started writing a “dark CV”, a Curriculum Vitae of Failure so to say, which is all about the rejections I received during my career. After all, these rejections show that I at least tried to be successful, they prove dedication to my work, and persistence despite my work being rejected and that’s why I found them equally worthwile not take note of.

I am early in my postdoc, so my dark CV is probably not as long as the one of a tenured professor but I am working on it ; ) The dark CV reaches back to my postgraduate studies and right now it contains:

Rejections for:

  • Summer schools (2)
  • Manuscripts (9)
  • Jobs (3)
  • Grants including travel grants and fellowships (4)

But isn’t this awesome? It means, I hit the paper-submit button 9 times! Who cares about the outcome 😉

I would be interested to hear about your dark CV! What was the longest time it took you to publish a paper? The longest period to successful job application?

It would be great if we could handle our failures the same way we show off with our successes. And be proud of them comparably.


She in STEM admin

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