Monday, April 26, 2010

The Thin Envelope

Oh, rejection. You are a bitch. Here's a piece in today's Chronicle of Higher Education soliciting people's strategies for coping with job market rejections. I tend to default toward self-recrimination. What did I do wrong? Why didn't they pick me? I used to keep my rejection letters in a folder and then decided that was pretty pathetic. You'd be amazed how therapeutic a shredder is in moments like that. I now keep a folder labeled "Good News Letters" on the tab. It's my little happy corner where I can dwell on the decisions that went in my favor. Let us know here at BANDIT what you do to help ease the sting of rejection, or what I consider FAR MORE DAMAGING, total silence. What is that about?!? God, people, send an email and put me out of my misery.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Okay, I'll be the first to post a legitimate comment. Perhaps because maybe I'm the only follower with so much rejection experience?

    Similar to one of the people who commented in the Chronicle piece, my grad department used to have what was called the rejection wall - every time someone would get a rejection letter, they would tape it up on the wall of the dissertation cube room. At first, I thought this was awful - who wants to see all of those letters as you struggle to write your dissertation? But I realized that the point of this wall wasn't to make people feel like the job search is impossible, but instead to realize that lots of very good, gifted people get rejected. And lived to tell about it. And then got a job.

    So I think one of my first pieces of advice is talk to others who are out there and remind yourself that the market is full of really smart, competent people who do interesting research who don't get every job they apply for.

    One other thing I have found helpful is spying to see who actually got the jobs I applied for but did not get. By spying, I mean the clever tactic of looking at the dept website in the fall. I guess it is closure, but also it makes me feel better to see that the person who got the job usually rocks. There's no way I am the only person who spies, right?

    BTW, does everyone know about the phys anth job wiki page? Next to this blog, of course, best thing to happen to phys anth job search ever!


  3. Lauren, thanks for sharing your experience and your tips. I think it is so helpful (and weirdly empowering) to remind ourselves that many really talented people are in the mix. I will post the link to the bioanthro job wiki, a site that I stalk regularly. Thanks for the reminder!