While a wealth of evidence exists about failure in organisational settings and the emotions evoked by failure, researchers have paid less attention to failure and its related emotional consequences in academic life. Given that failure is often a cause of significant stress, which in turn can lead to damaging consequences, we argue that this is an issue deserving of greater consideration. In this article, we adopt Ashkanasy’s five-level model of emotion in organisations, and explore the potential role of emotions in academics’ experiences of failure at five levels: within-person, between-persons, interpersonal interactions, groups and teams (and leadership), and organisation-wide. In doing so, we draw on findings from scholarly literature, anecdotal evidence, and our own experiences as academics to build arguments. Following discussion of the model, we suggest how academics might begin to normalise the experience of failure in academia and to build resilience in the coming generations of young scholars.