I tweeted recently about the idea of keeping a “failure resume” which was recommended by an article published in the New York Times.
If I have learned one thing in academics, it’s this – you have to develop thick skin.
Success in scientific journal publication is built on a pile of rejections. For every trainee and junior faculty member out there, know that your mentors have survived countless rejections (failures) to get to where they are today.
Rather than bemoan these rejections, perhaps we should celebrate them instead. Each failure can be a learning opportunity. I dug through some old emails to find a few of my favorite rejections and happily share them below. They fall into one of two general themes.
Theme 1: “It’s not you. It’s me.”
Theme 2: “It’s not me. It’s you.”
Don’t let these rejections get you down. Good research and good writing will eventually find a home in a journal. If you get stuck, reach out to a mentor for guidance. When you see your article published finally, you can look back at those earlier rejections as badges of honor and proof that persistence pays off.