December 11, 2012 § 6 Comments
Bleary-eyed and still shaking off sleep-induced confusion, I checked my e-mail on my phone. 10 new messages awaited my attention at 6:03 a.m. As per usual, the plethora of e-mails were not as urgent as the subjects suggested. I highlighted message after message, selecting these for eradication. “Save 40% storewide TODAY ONLY!” “A special gift for you, A.Hab.!” “Your 20% coupon to Spas Unlimited awaits you!”
Ugh. How do these people find me?
Just as I started to click the “Delete” button, my brain began to sift through the cobwebs and exclaimed, “WAIT!” I paused a moment. I had highlighted a message with the subject “regrets”.
“Don’t you think that looks curious?” mine brain urged.
“Uhm…yes?” I supposed. Frankly, I was eager to return to that last dream I had been having before my alarm so rudely roused me. I was not really curious about anything.
“Then let’s open it and just give it a look.”
Shrugging to no one but the cats, I clicked on that unassuming, all lower-case “regrets” to find this message:
Suddenly alert, it dawned on me what this unassuming e-mail had accomplished in so few words and with utter absence of personalization: eliminated a possibility from my potential professional future.
I read and re-read the message a few more times before responding with a much more polite e-mail, this one addressed to its intended recipient, and thanked the university for its consideration.
For the remainder of the day, I considered two things: the first, how very like applying to college it is to apply for a job within academia; the second, how surprisingly unscathed I was by my rejection.
Tackling the latter first, perhaps it is because I am already hired for a teaching position next semester that I do not feel the same amount of soul-crushing defeat I once felt when rejected from educational programs. Perhaps it is because I was rejected from a job that was not my top choice. Perhaps it is because I am still not entirely convinced that this is what I want to be when I grow up. Whatever the reason, I am not eager to dwell on it for fear that I will begin to feel defeated.
As for the similarities within academia between applying for programs and applying for professional jobs…the overlap is eerie.
Materials required for both types of applications:
–3 letters of recommendation
–Writing sample (longer page requirements the higher you climb through the educational system)
–Curriculum Vitae (CV)
The only differences I noted in my application materials were my statement of teaching philosophy and my teaching portfolio. (Although I did not submit a full teaching portfolio during my initial applications, it has been recommended to me that my portfolio be ready if requested.) While I recognize that my recent graduation from my doctoral program should indicate that I have reached the inevitable telos of my academic pursuits, somehow I feel uncomfortably tied to my 17-year-old self who anxiously attended the college fair at her high school, unsure if she would measure up in the first place.
Following sage advice from peers and professors alike, I applied for all job postings for which I was qualified. Unfortunately, that left me with sending out a paltry six applications. Thus the academic job market and demand for Shakespeareans. With last week’s rejection, I am left with five jobs from whom I have heard nary a peep. It bodes ill for me–I am under the impression that I should have heard more if they were interested in additional materials by now. In a different post, I will explain the way that the American academy handles professional hirings for those who may not already be familiar with it.
Suffice to say in the meantime, the process is similar to applying for educational programs, replete with frightening deadlines and the need to impress faceless names.
If I receive more rejections, which is likely to happen at this stage, I will make a six-part series of it. Then we can all compare the best of the worst rejection letters.
Have you ever had a surprising or unanticipated reaction to rejection? Have you ever received a form rejection letter?