Friday, April 18, 2014

Declaring Success Shortfall

I have talked much of declaring success lately.  My life and career have been pretty damned amazing lately.  The new job is still cool even if it is no longer new.  The new book is flying off the shelves (at least in my imagination).  I have been traveling far and wide to give talks based on the new book, meet up with old friends and meet new people, and, um, ski. 

Yet I am still in the academic business where rejection is always out there, ready to take a bite.  The only way not to get rejected is not submit stuff, not to apply for grants, etc.  And yesterday, rejection bit me hard, as my next project will have to wait for funding as I didn't get funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council this year.  The odds are lower than they once were as the agency went from a model of some money for three years for many people to more money for five years to fewer people.  The project, which seeks to understand how legislatures among the world's democracies vary in their impact on their respective militaries, is an important and interesting one.  I will eventually get some feedback so that I can revise and resubmit.  I can pursue it with less money but more slowly, and I will look for other sources of cash.  The good thing is that I can do work without heaps of funding, just not this project.  If I was in the hard sciences, a lack of funding would be semi-catastrophic.

On the bright side, I have other projects that are awaiting my attention, having been put on the shelf while finishing books 3 and 4.  So, I will keep busy while I seek funding again for book 5 (and perhaps book 6).  But it is a drag.  No doubt about it. 

I am sharing this tale of modest woe because I lack any sense of discretion.  Also, I think it is important for successful academics to show that the road is sometimes bumpy.  Rejection is inherent in the enterprise.  It still hurts, it still causes anger, resentment and jealousy.  Then I look at the success of my friends and I consider how sweet things are in my life and in my career, and I just cannot get that worked up.  Oh, and I still have that trip to Paris next week, so, yeah, grant-writing sucks, but then you fly.

1 comment:

SamStanton said...

Beef bourguignon at the "White House Cafe" (my English translation of the French) in the Latin Quarter, preceded with escargot (says my wife). Enjoy Paris, I'll enjoy it the first time I don't get at least one funding rejection per project.