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New book explores the rejection letter

A new book touches on the art of the rejection letter. Those who have been unsuccessfully looking for a job might appreciate the sentiment.

If the old adage is true that misery loves company, and you happen to be someone who has been unsuccessfully looking for a job, then you might like the new anthology, Other People's Rejection Letters: Relationship Enders, Career Killers, and 150 Other Letters You'll Be Glad You Didn't Receive.

First let me say that I hate to be a Pollyanna here, but consider yourself lucky if you received any kind of notification at all from a company you've interviewed with. What I'm seeing more and more of lately is the absence of any kind of closure on a company's part after an interview. I've heard of people receiving the ole thanks but no thanks months after having submitted a resume or taken part in an interview. But most of the time, things just dissolved into the ether, never to be heard from again.

A couple of historical examples Bill Shapiro includes in the book:

  • Before his noted career officially began, Andy Warhol donated a sketch of a shoe to the Museum of Modern Art. It was soundly rejected and he was asked to come and get the sketch at his earliest convenience.
  • A young artist named Mary Ford applied for an illustrator job at the Walt Disney Co., in 1938. The rejection letter explained, "Women do not do any of the creative work with preparing cartoons for the screen." But "girls are qualified to trace the characters on clear celluloid sheets...according to directions." Ford ended up being a middle-school art teacher.
  • Aerospace engineer Clay Anderson received 15 rejection letters from Nasa before he was finally accepted into the training program. Anderson says he considers these rejections badges of courage and he's proud of the fact that he never let them deter him from his goal. Of course, it might have helped that the rejection letters weren't written in a soul-crushing manner.

Rejection letters are tough to receive but it's much better, in my opinion, to get one than never hearing anything at all.

(By the way, if you're an IT manager reading this blog and need some pointers for crafting a good rejection letter, you can download a sample by clicking here.)

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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