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);
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.
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