Friday, November 9, 2007

An Open Letter To Job Committees Everywhere! (The Season Is Truly In Swing.)

For the past few months, and perhaps even longer than that, I have agonized over the job market. For weeks now I have driven myself; my wife; my family; and, quite possibly, my two cats crazy because I have been stressed to the max, ensuring that all of my letters to you are properly formatted and proofread.

Letter addressed to the right person? Check! References the appropriate job? Check! Uses the term “postmodernity” instead of “postmodernism”? Check! Duplicates the exact same bullshit that is in my CV, teaching statement, writing sample, list of prospective courses, and sample syllabi? Check, check, check, check, and check!

And, oh, by the way, is placed on the table next to my checkbook so that I can pay the Post Office an ungodly amount of money to send this stuff to you, knowing that many of you will never acknowledge receiving it? Check and double check!

So what do I get in return? I’ll tell you what: some of the shittiest letters of acknowledgement from about the two percent of you who have responded to me so far. Do you really think that I enjoy—anymore than you do—getting letters of acknowledgement that were so obviously not proofread by anyone?

Honestly, I’m not making this up. I’ve gotten letters referencing jobs that I haven’t applied for; letters telling me at the top, in the first paragraph, to send more stuff only to tell me at the bottom, in the last paragraph, that my application is complete; and letters telling me to send the same damn stuff that I’ve already sent.

So please, do me—and all of us prospective job seekers—a favor: Practice what you fucking preach, and do your homework. Proofread your shit, which is exactly what it is when it’s not proofread.