I have been applying to get into academia for quite some time. I have been rejected for all offers on board without assigning any reason to me!
I am not naming the “latest rejection”, but I feel that documenting my failure would help me to keep things in perspective. It is amply clear that the selection committee had not looked into this blog, social media presence, my publications, present acceptances for international conferences and the like.
While they want a “team player”, it is apparent that socio-cultural contexts and issues would play out in adapting to the new scenario. If I were in their shoes, it would be more comforting to deal with the knowns than the unknown. Letters of recommendation hardly capture the interest and motivation of a candidate. Those letters are stuck in a time-warp. They were a reflection of how I was a student or a professional then. How I am now, is a different story altogether.
It is usually the professional networks that lead to word of mouth recommendation and hence landing the required fellowship or job.
I wouldn’t consider this as a loss under any reasonable set of circumstances, but I was sure that I fulfilled their requirements in more abundant measure than they had bargained for. Since this was a call from international prospects as well, I am sure they must have been able to zero down to a more competent candidate than myself.
I genuinely wish them good luck.
I had earlier spoken out Twitter as well- it is persistence that is required to push for a career in neuro-oncology. It is not easy to deal with shortened life spans, familial expectations and their anxieties. However, the work remains incredibly exciting with vast potential for translational research. Many drug combinations with radiation therapy are being tried out with rapid accruals- yet I stay circumspect because alternative radiation sensitisers and fractionations still need to find their ground on stronger footing.
Failure is only temporary, and I am sure I am going to land in academia, someday because I crave for an intellectual challenge.