You don’t have to be a freelancer for very long before swallowing the bitter pill of fail: freelance job rejection. Frankly, I’m good with it: Don’t want me in your club, I don’t want to be a member.
In that vein, I got a good laugh a few weeks ago. A representative of a custom publishing company—which had declined me as a freelancer sometime around the holidays—inadvertently copied me on an email…which said some unflattering things about me!
I chuckled, then proceeded to forward it to a few of my freelance pals who had also applied and gotten dinged, as well as one who’d reached the second round and was so appalled by their byzantine and awful process that she declined.
A day or two later, the sender realized what she’d done, and sent me a pleasant apology, and I responded to the effect of “no worries, thick skin, made me chuckle.” Bottom line, I can’t get too worked up over such things.
So, the reason I bring this up is the recent social-media-induced kerfuffle over an editor who sent out an epic job rejection letter to 900 applicants to a Craigslist classified ad.
- Gawker: Here’s How to Condescend to 900 Job Applicants With a 3,000-Word Rejection Letter (darn, link no longer works, so please visit…)
- The Guardian: “The Job Rejection Letter to End All Others”
Check the links and you’ll see what went down. Personally, my take is that it was presumptuous of him to approach it the way he did, not to mention a violation of short email conventions. 1) He could have avoided a lot of the flak by simply including a link to a page that contained his 42(!) pointers. 2) It makes no sense at all that he sent it to the second-rounders as well as the rejects.
That said, the backlash is over the top—I can’t believe people don’t have something better to do than hit “delete.” Spend the time cold calling, doing your taxes, or screwing around on Twitter. And for that matter, the whole affair underscores how Craigslist isn’t an ideal hunting ground, since you’re competing against such a large audience. (For a better route, here are some great tips from a Jenn Mattern guest post on “Where Can I Find High-Paying Freelance Writing Jobs?”)
In the comments: Would you rather get a detailed explanation of why you didn’t get a freelance job, or is “thanks but no thanks” enough to go on with your life?