Dear Prospective Employers:
Thank you for your interest in my application for your tenure-track, low-paying, stress-inducing position. I am all too aware that you are being swamped with applications because of the wrecked economy and tight academic job market, and that an application from someone like me probably ends up lining someone’s bird cage.
However, despite the fact that our paths may likely never cross again, I do request a few things of you. First, do not patronize me by telling me that the decision was “extraordinarily difficult.” Don’t pat me on the head and tell me I was a good (but not good enough) candidate. I’ve been wearing my big girl panties for quite some time, and I can deal.
Second, if I e-mail you to ask about the status of the search, don’t trifle with me. If my application is no longer being considered, say so. If I may get called for a phone interview or a campus visit in the event that the top ___ choices don’t work out, I wouldn’t mind knowing that, either. Above all, respond to my fucking e-mail, even if just to say, “We really don’t have an answer yet, but we’ll let you know when we do.”
(This is where I debut my pseudonymous field of research!)
Third, be realistic. If you say that you are looking for a culinary psychologist with expertise in oven technology, flour milling, kneading, and pastry making, who also has experience in prep cooking and dish washing, and who is a certified butcher in the state of _________, I’m going to be highly suspicious of you. Who in the hell has all of those experiences and qualifications? I’ll tell you who: NOBODY. It’s hard to believe that you are not 1) crazy, 2) stupid, or 3) trying to justify the hire of an internal candidate who probably only marginally meets these criteria anyways. In any case, if I still meet most of these criteria, I’m going to apply and then be kind of pissed when I don’t get at least a phone interview. Just sayin’.
Fourth, if you demand that the applications should be submitted at some ungodly early date (i.e., any time before December 1, in my field), you damn sure better get back to me before, oh, April, particularly if the answer is no. What are you doing to those stacks of paper in the meantime, building a fort?!
And finally, if your search is frozen due to funding, that sure would be nice to know. My sympathies to you for sure, but if you allow me to persist in the illusion that your job just might be a prospect for me, I’m going to be a bit wary of you and a hell of a lot less sympathetic.
I really do feel better now.