I’m Allergic to Rejection… It Makes My Eyes Water

I'm Allergic to Rejection

I do not take rejection well. I am not a medical doctor, but I am quite certain I am allergic to rejection. Rejection tends to make me less productive on the day I am exposed to rejection, and occasionally it makes my eyes water. The frustrating part about rejection is that it has no season like typical allergies. Rejection can strike at any time of day… even on what was a good (or great) day. The effects of this rejection allergy can last a few hours, or occasionally up to 30 hours.

I have not found the best cure for my rejection allergy. Sometimes I consult a glass of wine to reduce the effects of rejection, but I typically turn to long hikes and/or running to burn off the debilitating effects of the rejection allergy.

Case: Yesterday I received my second rejection from an academic journal for my master’s paper. It’s not that it was turned down… it was rejected without even being sent out for review. The explanation letter said my research was highly important but unoriginal. Being “sent out for review,” for the non-academics, means that my article is sent out to two or three people for them to evaluate and send feedback to improve the article. The instant rejection means I have no feedback to even improve the article (other than it being important but unoriginal). I only spent 18 months working on this …

So now here I am on a sunny afternoon… trying to overcome my allergy to rejection. I plan to go run… but I am waiting on a phone call from a relative. After the phone call I will run… and hopefully reduce the impact of this irritating rejection allergy.

So how do you deal with rejection? Is this an allergy that you have conquered? What are your secrets? I would love to hear from you.

Have a great day, and thanks for reading!!

6 thoughts on “I’m Allergic to Rejection… It Makes My Eyes Water

  1. I’ve felt exactly that rejection. It was easier for me since it wasn’t my master’s paper. It’s probably easier for me, too, because, as a statistician, I can be on 6-10 articles a year. My most-similar rejection story was using my dissertation research as a presentation for a job interview and getting thoroughly ripped and discounted by the attending superstars in the field. It hurt. In a fun coincidence, my current boss was a not-yet-graduated student in that very room, watching it happen.

    Perspective: the paper did serve it’s primary purpose to get your degree. Actual publication is an awesome bonus, but only a bonus.

    – submit elsewhere, even if it’s just to present at a conference (it still fits on your CV, but in a less-prominent place)
    – adapt the piece as some form of replication and/or mild extension of existing work that happens to have X and Y different angles.
    – build on it later, when your ego has settled down, Perhaps it’s just a seed for future germination.
    – get grumpy for a finite, but satisfying, period. Rejection sucks and there’s no point in denying it. Accepting that it sucks can reduce the pain.
    – run/hike and know that you can out-athlete whoever that infernal editor is.

    1. I just finished the phone call with my relative. She is highly intelligent and means well… but the purpose of her call was to point out the flaws in my master’s paper. I did not mention to her that it had been rejected yesterday from a publisher.

      That is interesting that your current boss was not yet graduated and saw your collision with the superstars. I have presented my masters paper once so far. I was nervous so my presentation was bad, and two people walked out. However, people who remained seemed really interested in my work… so that helped my ego somewhat.

      Perspective is important. The point of the master’s paper was to get the masters degree, not to win the Nobel Prize. Thank you for that reminder 🙂

      P.S. — I just returned from a run… feeling better, but going to grab a glass of wine later tonight 🙂

  2. I found that a Don Draper–smokes and Old Fashioned’s–type of afternoon is the best cure for receiving criticism. It’ll dull the sharp edges.

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