Success & Failure

A professor colleague of mine recently reflected on a “revise and resubmit” decision she had received from a journal: “why does success so often feel like failure?” Although her article had not been rejected (success!), the external readers or editors found things with which to quibble (failure!) And because publishing an article is one more step on the road to tenure, wavering on that path, even a bit, causes anxiety, shame, envy, fear, what have you--a whole bevy of negative emotions. Or was that just me? Success has a very narrow definition in academia: PhD, tenure-track job, dissertation revised and published as a monograph or article series, publication in highly ranked journals, tenure. Missteps, detours, and layovers can delay the journey to success, of course, or make it an unpleasant…
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