In professional discussions with a number of colleagues, a common comment from those I talk to is that I’m very successful and productive for the stage of my career. While I do consider myself a productive and (thus far) successful early career researcher (ECR), such productivity does not come without failure. In fact, depending on how one wishes to measure academic productivity and success, my failures either match or supersede my successes. At times, such failures can weigh heavily on graduate students and ECRs (as well as veteran scientists), and can result in severe impacts to mental health, often driven by imposter syndrome. Having experienced imposter syndrome-driven anxiety and depression personally, I have elected to join the small number of academics who have confronted their failures and have made them publicly accessible. My hope is that more researchers – including “famous” experts and others leading their fields – will publish their CVs of failures to dismantle the idea that scientists (even the most famous) rarely fail. Ultimately, I hope that such CVs will provide graduate students, ECRs, and any other researcher struggling with their competency with an understanding that most (if not all) researchers fail, and that failure and success are not distinct attributes of researchers.
Disclaimer: I am not the first (and hopefully will not be the last) to publish a CV of failures. The idea was introduced by Melanie I. Stefan (check out her website and follow her on Twitter) in a 2010 Nature article. More recently, Johannes Haushofer published his CV of failures online as well.
I will strive to keep this CV updated as much as my CV of accomplishments.