Job Market Hijinx

{The following from the first guest blogger at WITW. We’ll call him “Applicant.”}

Here’s the PFO letter from [a large research university in the U.S.]:

Dear Applicant:

Our search committee has now reviewed the applications of approximately 600 candidates for our Comparative Literature open rank position.  I am very sorry to have to inform you that you are not on the short list of candidates who will be invited for a campus interview.  We had many exceptionally qualified persons apply for the position, and were hard put to settle on a small number of them to be looked at more closely. This decision by no means reflects the quality of your work or the strengths of your dossier, but is based upon our current departmental needs.  We know from painful experience how imprecise and unfortunate these sorts of judgments frequently are, but had no choice but to proceed as best we could.

Thank you very much for your interest in the Humanities Center and {University}.

Isn’t that last sentence of the body paragraph hilarious? What are they saying about their colleagues??

It’s nice that they did their best, though. It makes me want to ruffle their hair affectionately. I think their best is best represented in part of the letter is what I didn’t send you: the open, viewable list of applicants in the “To:” portion of the letter.


That made them go crazy and send out the following email:
Dear Applicant:

There appears to be a mailing glitch into which is being researched.  A portion of the recent letters sent to the Comparative Literature applicants were sent not delivered as anticipated.
Uh, OK. Followed by this:
{Proper name of Administrative Assistant} would like to recall the message, “Comparative Literature Application: {University}”.
I would also like to go back in time.

Followed by this:
Dear Applicant:

Yesterday, an unintended but unforgivable administrative error was made and you received an e-mail revealing e-mail addresses which should have been part of a list of undisclosed recipients. We deeply regret this terrible mistake and offer our sincerest apologies. This should never have happened. We thought we had done everything throughout this long process to guarantee absolute confidentiality and are profoundly dismayed that this lapsus took place in its final stages. Measures have been taken to prevent its repetition, but, alas, this does not diminish the damage done and we fully understand if you are deeply offended. Please accept our apologies.



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