Sunday, April 08, 2007

The most patronizing rejection letter of all time

Office Depot is looking like a great place for a career.

I received this message via e-mail today. I want to make this abundantly clear that this is NOT the school in east Tennessee that I interviewed with a couple of weeks ago. That rejection was over the telephone (I called them) and it was extremely cordial and professional. This rejection comes from a school in west Tennessee that I had interviewed with in January. Their text will be in normal text with quotes, and my comments in italics:

I wanted to update you on the search at (small crappy urban school)."
I interviewed with you in January. It is now April. Thanks for being so timely! What can I help you with?

"We have done some phone interviews and we have invited three candidates to visit (small crappy urban school)."

Well, since this is the first I heard about it, I guess I can assume that I'm not one of them. Thanks for the update and have a nice life.

"We were unable to include you on either list."

Aw now. I bet you were really "able" to, you just didn't want to. Which is it?

"However, the Search Committee still sees you as a strong candidate."

Uh, wait a second. You did phone interviews AND chose people to come to campus, but I'm still a strong candidate? But I thought you were unable to include me on the list? Was my name too long to fit within the margins and, therefore, you really were unable to include me? Will wonders never cease to be wonders?

"We don't want you to be left hanging around,"

Gee thanks. That's why I haven't heard from you since January. At a conference in which you wrote my interview time down on the wrong date and I had to chase you into the hallway to catch you and make you interview me.

"but if you would like for us to keep your name on our list, we will."

I thought my name was unable to be on the list? Now, it is up to me if you keep me on it? What the hell kind of school are you running? If I didn't make the cut, staying on "the list" will mean one of two things: 1) Sylar will come kill me and suck my brain out because he thinks I have special powers, or 2) you will not hire me. I think I'll opt to stay off "the list."

"The weakness of your candidacy is only your lack of teaching experience."

Only my lack of teaching experience. Well gee thanks. I know that (small crappy urban school) is the bastion of higher education excellence in the South. I'm sure hiring me would be a disservice to the fine upstanding kids of Memphis.

"Since (small crappy urban school) is such a small university, we need excellent teaching and we need our professors to be able to take off as soon as they walk into the class room."

For those of you who don't know me, I teach adjunct at a top-15 public research university. I don't teach at Asheville-Buncombe Technical College, nor do I teach at Wampler's School of Beauty. I have received excellent teaching evaluations (which this guy has copies of) from five different history professors and have outstanding student evaluations that are consistent over a three year period. This guy is absolutely bat-shit insane.

"I had the advantage of seeing your good presentation at the AHA, but my colleagues on the Committee have read applications of those with several years of teaching and with strong recommendations."

This guy is the dean of his college. He obviously has the authority of Jack Tunney or Bud Selig if he can't convince his colleagues that I gave a good presentation at the AHA. I also resent the fact that he is implying that my recs aren't strong. I have seen letters from 2/3 of my writers and they rate me very highly. I'm not trying to sound arrogant, but this guy couldn't manage a phone booth.

"We also know that our salary and benefits package isn't the best out there and we would like to keep all of our top applicants in the running, but without trying to mislead them about their chances."

I've read that sentence a few times and I really don't understand how the three clauses fit together. For the first clause, saying they pay crap is like saying that Jeffrey Dahmer is a bit unsettled. This guy told me in my interview that he doesn't believe in paying new people more than established employees, so he is only offering a salary that comes in about 12K below market value. I figured tha he would soon learn that no one is willing to work for that, but I guess that fact hasn't hit him yet. As for clause three, I think the first part of the letter lets me know the chances that I will go there, which are just slightly less likely than Elvis coming back from the dead and appearing on Celebrity Cooking Showdown.

"Therefore, if you want to remain on our list, we will let you know by April 23, if not sooner, if we can arrange an interview with you."

Gosh, I'm so honored that I have such an amazing opportunity! Thank you for giving me a choice in the matter! Pshaw!

"We do appreciate your interest in small crappy urban school, but we certainly will understand if you want to move on."

I understand that you are very patronizing, and I feel sorry for the educational experience that your students receive.


Rev. Joshua said...

I don't think they meant to insult your credentials as an educator. It seems they meant your experience was lacking in relation to the other candidates. I am, however, saying that with the understanding that drawing conclusions from their statements is dangerous.

"Therefore, if you want to remain on our list, we will let you know..."

Hell, I'd work there. They apparently do your thinking for you. What could be easier?

Nate said...

Wow. Just ... wow.

My personal favorite taken out of context quotes comes from this: "Since (small crappy urban school) is such a small university, we need excellent teaching and we need our professors to be able to take off as soon as they walk into the class room."

Prof walks in, "Alright ya'll, read the next two chapters of whatever we was talking about ... peace out, I'm taking off." Exit prof.

Either that, or it meant get naked.