"Failures"

The work and career of a researcher is never smooth, and is typically littered with rejections, wrong turns, and (in retrospect) not very smart ideas.
I strongly suspect that this is true also for other fields of human endeavour, however I lack direct experience of most of them, and would not like to unfairly tarnish them with the same brush!

Inspired by the example of others, I'll try to summarise various unsuccessful job applications and funding requests. The oft-repeated mantra that we "learn from our mistakes" may be true, but they can none the less be frustrating and disheartening.

My message is that you need not give up ideas of a research/teaching career after a few rejection letters: it's quite normal to get many!

IF you are able and willing to put up with years of wandering around on short-term contracts, wondering what will happen in the long-term, you MAY "strike lucky" and find yourself applying for the right job, in the right place, at the right time.
This is not a healthy situation for young researchers (and especially their families) to be in, but I fear we will be stuck with this system for a while. I tried to make the most of this situation: living and working in different countries and collaborations can be very enriching, and can widen one's horizons.

On the other hand, don't forget that particle physics research is but an infinitely tiny part of human activity, and that there are many other opportunities out there for you to apply your skills and experience.

Unsuccessful applications

(almost certainly incomplete)
2000, 1999: graduate scholarship @ university
2001: Postdoc @ national lab
2004: About one year without a contract, while waiting for a promised one to appear...
2005: research fellowship @ international lab
2007: lectureship @ university
2009: researcher @ national lab (2nd place on backup list)
2010: researcher @ same national lab (1st place on backup list)
2011: researcher @ same national lab (not on backup list)
2012: scientist @ national lab; research grant
2013: Recently started new job, so no time to apply for things!
2014: lecturer @ university
2015: research funding; research fellowship; scientist @ national lab; lecturer @ university
2016: research funding
2017: research funding
2018: research funding