Monday, January 31, 2005

Birdthday Rejection

Yes, it's true that today is my birdthday and yes it is also true that I have decided that I will NOT become a year older as most people do. My logic; if I can't have a job that actually pays a living wage like all the other adults I know, then I refuse to grow up at all!

Even though I am too ashamed of my current un(der)employment situation to tell anyone that today is my birdthday, I hoped that my friends would magically figure this out anyway and send me lots of great gifts in the mail. I checked my mail earlier than usual today, looking for all those wonderful cards and packages and colorful wrapping papers and cakes and pies but instead, I only found one letter. It was yet another rejection letter for a tenure-track position. Baaad timing, methinks.

But instead of receiving the typical rejection letter (pictured for ease of comparison) that usually consists of two or three self-esteem crushing sentences, I discovered the nicest rejection letter I've ever received (and after 18 months of job hunting, I have become quite a connoisseur of rejection letters so I am very capable of making this judgment).

I was so impressed that I decided to republish the text of the letter here. This letter is a great model for those of you who work in academia and are looking for polite ways to reject your job applicants without making them feel they are something disgusting and smelly that is stuck to the bottom of your shoe (all names have been elided to protect the guilty, of course);


Dear "GrrlScientist",

Thank you for allowing us to consider you for the faculty position in Biology at (elided). The search committee has now finished the selection process, and I am sorry to tell you that you have not been selected as a finalist for this position.

On behalf of the search committee, I wish to extend our appreciation for the time and effort you put into your application, and for making us aware of the skills, experience, and motivation that you might bring to a teaching role. We would like to keep your materials on hand, in case other opportunities arise.

Visiting faculty positions open periodically, in response to short-term needs, and Regular (continuing appointment) faculty positions open in late summer / early fall for the following academic year.

All our positions are posted on the Web site: (elided)

Thank you again for your interest in teaching at (elided). I hope we will be able to utilize your talents in the future.


Faculty Hiring Coordinator


Despite the fact that I think this is a very nice letter, I do have an editorial comment; the faculty hiring coordinator's secretary uses too many commas and capital letters, yet she has a job that pays a living wage (and I don't).

Hoppy birdthday to mee.


© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

8 Peer Reviews:

Blogger psuche said...

Happy Birthday Hedwig. Don't let the job thing get you down, they are just blind fools that can't see what a wonderful addition you would make to the faculty. If they can't see it then they don't deserve you!

12:46 PM  
Blogger Bastardo Del Federalista said...

You know what, that last one didn't make sense. Anyway, happy birthday. I am glad you are still posting.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

First, happy birdthday to you. I hope you go do something fun.

Second, remember, that even if you have an underpaid job which isn't what you really want, you _have recently landed a job in your field_. This is a big step, not only for you personally, but in your job hunting. Finally, you can point to someone else and say "see! They know I'm good enough!"

Here's to a good upcoming year.

6:15 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Happy birthday! Sorry it's not all you wanted. I wish you lots of job offers to pick from in the coming weeks.

8:05 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Thanks psuche, Bastardo Del Federalista and Megan for your hoppy birdthday wishes and for reading my blog! I was so happy to see people's comments today, this is so fun that maybe I'll have another birdthday next week, maybe on Friday! (and Joe you are so sweet to appreciate my silly little wordplay).

As for what I will do tonight .. I am going to write a lecture for tomorrow's class. I will try to do something fun, like birding, on Friday after all my teaching commitments have been met for the week.

8:17 PM  
Blogger Ms.PhD said...

happy birthday. I do the same thing- secretly wish I will get a big pile of presents. It never happens. =(

as for the job thing, I'm with ya. perhaps if we would learn to be happier with what we already have, we'd somehow deserve better?

Nah. I'm convinced it's all totally random, we have no control but there is no guiding hand, just the lottery balls of life.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, damn it! I wish I'd known in advance.

So Owl wrote . . . and this is what he wrote:


Pooh looked on admiringly.

"I'm just saying 'A Happy Birthday'," said Owl carelessly.
"It's a nice long one," said Pooh, very much impressed by it.
Hipy papy bthuthdth thuthda bthuthda from me.

9:15 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Hi Ms.PhD! Now that my birdthday is over, I am wondering why I didn't tell everyone and allow them to make a big fuss over me? I deserve it, especially now! But alas, the shame of unemployment prevents me from feeling that I deserve such a thing. And that ties in with your "everything's random" sentiment .. my feelings of shame make no sense; why should I feel ashamed of what I can't control?

Thanks for your wonderful Hipy papy bthuthdth thuthda bthuthda wishes, WW32! You make me laugh (in a good way).

11:08 AM  

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