Hi all, I wrote an article about an unusual way to manage rejection that I thought might be of interest here, especially in light of the competitive market for jobs that a lot of EAs pursue (e.g. this recent post about the costs of rejection and this post about how many nos one EA faced down until they finally got a job in Congress).
The basic idea is to create a system to log, share, and celebrate rejections with a relatively small group of people. (I personally recommend keeping it small so that everyone in the group feels invested in one another's work/well-being.) The piece unpacks why rejection is so tough, illustrates how this system came to be, and what about it helps people effectively manage rejection.
For years, I used a different system to cope with rejections: I kept a private record of my rejections in a running Google doc (which I called "Valiant Efforts"). While it made rejection sting a little less, I’ve found this collective system way more motivating. Some things it could do for you:
- Give you perspective on how much other people are getting rejected and, in doing so, take much of the shame out of rejection
- Encourage you to apply for more things and take bigger risks
- Provide community during the often-isolating experience of rejection
If you'd like to start a group, there's an example of a rejection collection and spreadsheet template here and more info about rejection collections in Barbara Sarnecka's book, which she's made freely available here.
And here’s my article: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2022/01/celebrate-your-rejections-failures/621327/
Great post! Relatedly, Johannes Haushofer (of GiveDirectly fame) published a CV of failures... maybe we should have that as a community norm.
I love this! +1 on encouraging this more.
Also Luca Righetti. Kudos to Johannes and Luca for setting such an impressive example.
Yes, his CV of Failures is very related! I actually quoted it in the piece.
Always been a fan of your writing—so excited to finally see it here on the Forum!