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Author Topic: how do you survive rejections?  (Read 19371 times)
cacophony
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« on: November 09, 2012, 11:55:39 AM »

I've heard many times not to take rejections personally, blah, blah, blah... But it's not really possible not to, I think. Anyways, I got 6 wikijections this week and I'm not feeling terribly good.

So how do you deal with rejections, guys? Do you have any strategies? Do you drink? Get stoned? Run with your dog? I mean, how do you keep yourselves going?
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voxprincipalis
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 11:56:32 AM »

I've heard many times not to take rejections personally, blah, blah, blah... But it's not really possible not to, I think. Anyways, I got 6 wikijections this week and I'm not feeling terribly good.

So how do you deal with rejections, guys? Do you have any strategies? Do you drink? Get stoned? Run with your dog? I mean, how do you keep yourselves going?

You don't take them personally.

If you believe this is impossible, then you are sure to be right.

VP
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corny
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 12:16:06 PM »

Yeah, what VP said.

Others elsewhere on the fora have advised that one forget about every job application as soon as it's sent off, which is admittedly easier said than done, but useful. Just assume that you're never going to hear from them again. Then, if a rejection letter arrives, you say, "oh right, that job. Well, I didn't want to live in Topeka anyway" (or whatever. No disrespect to Kansas). And if they call you for an interview, it's a pleasant surprise!

Also, stop looking at the wiki. Seriously. It only brings bad news. I am so much calmer this job season because I'm ignoring the wiki.

For maintaining your mental health during the job search in general, it is useful to have other things with which to occupy your mind - teaching, research, hobbies, leisure reading, whatever. Maybe you could take up model train building? Also, exercise. It helps dissipate all that nervous energy.

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highwall
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 12:20:43 PM »

I used to get traumatized by rejections in my first year. Now I don't care. I don't think about it more than an hour . Rejections are probably the most common experience in academic life. Your goal is to secure one job, so some rejections along the way are natural.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2012, 12:22:38 PM by highwall » Logged
lowerninthward
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 12:32:16 PM »

I thank the universe for allowing me to dodge a bullet!
I try to believe that if it won't be good for your life, you won't get it.
I like to imagine that there is some unseen, core incompatibility that would have prevented my success in and/or enjoyment of the position; this often is actually the case.
I was once rejected after a campus interview for what I thought was a dream job in a dream location.
I bawled like a baby for one day.
Now faculty is on unpaid furlough and the school itself is at risk of being closed.
You dodge some bullets sometimes.
Congratulations for putting yourself out there! Each application puts you one step closer! ~lnw
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ruralguy
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« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 1:27:18 PM »

I do not agree with the "send and forget" strategy at all. You need to be ready for that 3pm phone call :-)
But what I would do is send in the app, perhaps do a little background research on town and dept, make some notes
in a binder or something. Then, leave it alone.

Get ready for a career of critique...student evals, referees on papers, etc. If you get all bent out of shape from a form letter that
says "We regret...", then, golly, will go to pieces when the eval forms are filled in every semester?
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zeeland
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« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2012, 2:22:18 PM »

Quote
Get ready for a career of critique...student evals, referees on papers, etc. If you get all bent out of shape from a form letter that
says "We regret...", then, golly, will go to pieces when the eval forms are filled in every semester?

+ 1

Also, if you could see things from "the other side of the wall," you would quickly realize that those that don't get the job are not necessarily inferior to the one that did get the job. There are a lot of factors at play which result in the process being imperfect.  When that rejection letter arrives, just know that the winner was a "better fit" than you... with "better fit" being judged by a committee of people that often have different ways of defining success and different priorities for the department. 

(All this assumes that you have a strong CV. If you haven't already, look at recently hired assistant professors at the schools you are applying to and and make sure your CV lines up before you apply.) 


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prof_smartypants
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« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 2:31:38 PM »

So how do you deal with rejections, guys? Do you have any strategies? Do you drink? Get stoned? Run with your dog? I mean, how do you keep yourselves going?

All of the above (although I don't get stoned anymore). You just keep going. You finish your dissertation. You work on articles. You present at conferences. You work on your materials and your interviewing skills. I'm about to sound like a Nike ad. Ray Lewis does it better (http://www.nfl.com/videos/a-football-life/0ap1000000061655/A-Football-Life-Ray-Lewis  start at :23 seconds)

"People say, 'how do you keep goin'?

"What do you mean? It's just life."
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cacophony
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« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2012, 2:54:39 PM »

Thank you all.

Well, I'm trying not to take it personally because I realize that there are many factors coming into every SC decisions. And it's true that a rejection doesn't mean that I was worse than others - it can mean only that I wasn't a good fit.

I keep working (or at least I try very hard to), play my banjo and stare at my cat to make myself feel better by thinking about things that have nothing to do with jobs.

Good point about dodging bullets. Who knows, maybe I did dodge some indeed.

It's hard for me because I have only this one year. If I don't land a job, I will have to leave the country which I don't want to do. I'm not sure whether applying for jobs in the US while living in Europe will make a lot of sense. Anyone has any experience with something like that? A Skype/phone interview can be arranged in such cases, of course, but a campus visit?

In any case, thank you. It's a difficult period and it's good to be able to share some of the problems with people in a similar situation.
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cacophony
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« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2012, 2:59:48 PM »

And I removed Wiki from my bookmarks. It's right that no good news can come from there.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2012, 3:26:06 PM »

I play Scrabble and win most of my games.  It keeps my spirits aloft, and allows me to think I'm fabulous, even if I'm really not.
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melba_frilkins
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« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2012, 3:27:20 PM »

Wikijections?

Does that mean you found out your paper application did not make the short list?

If so, I don't even see that as rejection. Instead when I was sending out apps, I'd assume that I would not be among the lucky 5-10% who would be short-listed. So I didn't feel bad about any of them. But then, I was in the pre-wiki era so you didn't have the luxury/misfortune of crossing jobs off your list as they filled the position without you. Instead you had this constant feeling of "oh, I have apps out there, maybe something will turn up".


Rejection after an interview can be tougher, I'll grant that.
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tonight
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« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 3:31:59 PM »

Thank you all.

It's hard for me because I have only this one year. If I don't land a job, I will have to leave the country which I don't want to do. I'm not sure whether applying for jobs in the US while living in Europe will make a lot of sense. Anyone has any experience with something like that? A Skype/phone interview can be arranged in such cases, of course, but a campus visit?

In any case, thank you. It's a difficult period and it's good to be able to share some of the problems with people in a similar situation.

I don't know how common or uncommon this is, but I do remember in one of our most recent searches two out of the three finalists were flown in from Europe for campus visits...  Anyway, hopefully you'll get something this year and that won't be an issue.
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scampster
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« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2012, 3:41:21 PM »

Thank you all.

It's hard for me because I have only this one year. If I don't land a job, I will have to leave the country which I don't want to do. I'm not sure whether applying for jobs in the US while living in Europe will make a lot of sense. Anyone has any experience with something like that? A Skype/phone interview can be arranged in such cases, of course, but a campus visit?

In any case, thank you. It's a difficult period and it's good to be able to share some of the problems with people in a similar situation.

I don't know how common or uncommon this is, but I do remember in one of our most recent searches two out of the three finalists were flown in from Europe for campus visits...  Anyway, hopefully you'll get something this year and that won't be an issue.

I ended up getting a job in Europe and withdrew from my other searches, but I was already being shortlisted in the US, despite my European return address. These were research universities.
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anisogamy
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« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 4:08:31 PM »

Indeed, nothing good comes of checking the wiki. I understand well its lure, but you're better off if you can avoid it.  Good on you for removing it from your bookmarks.

You might also wish to check in for suggestions and ideas on the Surviving the Job Search thread.
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A little compassion is better than kicking people when they are down, regardless of who has suffered more and longer or whose bad job market has the biggest dick.
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