How do you move on when a paper you have worked for three years on is rejected, and the reviewers have identified fatal flaws?
How do you get over it when your grant proposal is rejected?
How do you bounce back and persist when you are overlooked once again for a promotion, or if you are still on a temporary contract after multiple years?
In December, we hosted our third webinar of the Women in Research 'Small Wins' series, discussing how to deal with setbacks, adversity and rejections as female academics.
More than 300 women in academia registered for the webinar, and 100+ women joined us live!
A very special thank you to ARC Laureate Fellow Professor Alexandra Aikhenvald and ARC Centre of Excellence Director Professor Janeen Baxter, who so graciously participated in the panel and shared their practical tips on resilience, summarised below:
Sharon's summary of the evidence:
Change how you think about adversity with the ABCDE model of optimistic thinking: Adverse event - Beliefs - Consequence - Disputation - Energization
Proactively build high-quality connections and support networks: https://www.transformativeworkdesign.com/post/high-quality-connection-and-we-re-not-talking-about-the-internet
Re-frame how you reflect on setbacks, adversity and rejection by seeking and building social support
Tips from Prof Janeen Baxter (University of Queensland):
Strategies that might work for you as an ECR, may not be the same strategies that you use later in your career (and vice-versa).
Things don’t always work out as you planned, and that's okay.
Getting rejections is part of our work [as researchers]. To deal with rejections take the feedback on board, accept the bits that are useful, and try again.
Seek advice and support from your mentors and confidants – they can be someone outside of your discipline area.
There will be times where you feel down, and that is normal. Employ strategies to try and turn the situation around.
Exercise helps with reducing stress.
Tips from Prof Alexandra Aikhenvald (James Cook University):
Hire a babysitter when you're travelling to conferences with kids
Focus on your work during work hours
Decide on how long you're comfortable with being away from your family - and prioritise accordingly
Work out your optimal schedule using the Urgent-Important Matrix
Delegate your tasks to focus on your research
Go on writing retreats