The worst rejection letter I received

While reading another post I was reminded of perhaps the cruelest rejection letter I have ever received and to this day it still bothers me. The reason it bothers me was because it was exceptionally cruel and evil.

I have years of writing experience. I wrote for the school paper in high school, college and graduate school. Besides that I have written various other papers and other writing jobs. I mention this because right after graduate school I saw a paper 20 minutes away or so was hiring. I was going to mention the particular newspaper along with the town, but may later on. The city has a population of over 25,000 which isn’t that much but more than where I currently live. The paper there was hiring for a features writer and I fit all of the requirements so I sent in my samples. A couple of weeks passed and I received a rejection letter. Usually I get rejection letters like “thank you and while you are qualified we don’t see a perfect fit”. Oh no, this one said something like this “we looked at your samples and you are not a good writer. We will not call for an interview and don’t bother trying again”. I can’t remember the exact wording but this was close to the words. I am a strong person but this rejection made me extremely depressed and hopeless. I cried that whole night.

Why did they send such a mean letter? I honestly don’t know but while researching the paper I found out a former boss was an editor there. The former boss was my boss at a radio station and he basically jerked me around at the station for months. I was hired with the idea that even though I was starting Sundays eventually I would move to full time on air. I know this is how radio is so I accepted being a producer for religious programming on Sundays from 6am-11am and doing one hour of on air broadcasting from 11am-12pm. I hated the hours but was happy to have a radio job. However while I was there I kept hearing that I was just this one guy’s replacement and that once he came back I was out of a job. I asked him and he never gave me a legit answer so I never brought it up again. Weeks passed and next thing you know I see my one hour of on air broadcasting cut and I was told I was only going to be the producer for the religious shows. Meanwhile they did hire a man who got the on air job that was originally mine. Long story short I got tired of it so I sent an email to the boss telling him I quit. Maybe I should have given two weeks but I was so disgusted. I can’t prove this guy is the reason I got that letter but suspect so.

This letter was in 2004 but it did affect me a lot. After that I quit doing a lot of writing because I was so depressed and felt if they said I was bad, then maybe I was. I did apply at another newspaper since then and never got hired because they only hire relatives (this told to me). I also made sure never to subscribe to the paper and when they have called asking me to I always mention the newspaper and the rejection.

If they weren’t interested I could handle that, but being exceptionally mean was immature. Sadly after this I never got neither a radio nor newspaper job again but was offered a job teaching journalism at a nearby good college. I turned it down to take the last job I had, which I hated. I wish I hadn’t turned this down but too late now.

7 thoughts on “The worst rejection letter I received”

  1. Is there a nice way to tell someone that what they have to offer doesn’t meet your needs? It may well be a question of disliking style rather than content. You might enjoy the movie “Trainspotting” but find Irvine Welsh, the author of the book on which the movie was based, utterly unreadable. The transition from high school reporter to paid journalist is a big transition, but it sounds like these people were jerks. A secondary consideration was that you were applying that job as the death of journalism was well underway.

    When I was in graduate school, one of my professors told me that my writing was very terse. This was a holdover from working in laboratories and writing presentations where I had to boil subjects down to bullet points. Now, you might well be wanting me to boil it down, which is fair.

    1. I’ve actually had a paid writing job for a newspaper so I had the experience. Otherwise I probably would have felt unqualified to apply, like I do when I see the Sun-Times or Tribune hiring. I also know that there are different styles of writing depending on the section, for example this was features which requires different writing than news or sports.

  2. This is what you get when you hire a monkey…and this is what happens when you let the monkey compose and write correspondencre. Pity.

    There are tons of examples of rejection letters on line; check them out if you don’t quite know what to write. And I am sure that all of us has received a rejection letter at one time or another, including the person who sent that rejection letter to you. That person doesn’t remember the gist of the letter and isn’t able to recreate it? Very sad.

    1. The funny thing is the person who got this job is someone I knew and someone who had no business getting the job over me. This person had terrible grammar and when I would read the articles online (wouldn’t pay)I would be horrified by this person getting the job. I wouldn’t have been upset if the rejection had said something like “while you are talented you don’t fit our needs” but this one was cruel.

      1. Well, there ya go!

        This is what you get when you hire the unqualified.

        I can just see what kind of mess that this hire resulted in. If that person was that tactless with you, imagine what that person was like when it came to a customer or one of the head employees.

        I don’t know why the hiring managers fancy these unqualified candidates. Only they can explain why they hired that person.

        1. I suspect they like them because they think they can mold them. I doubt the person who got the job sent the rejection but you never know.

          1. Mold them?

            You can’t get lead to bend. and that’s in any type of a mold.

            Usually the person who gets the job sends the rejection. Either that or it’s somebody in an HR department. IF this was a very small company then it likely is the person who got the job.

            This is why the job search is dead and why the job market breathed its last years ago. The ads are full of dead little companies like the one you just described.

            Today I saw an ad on line and in our local daily — a very well known — and very rich — company in our area is looking for an admin and office manager.

            Judging from the ad, you can see that this is going to be low level nonsense and no doubt they will want several interviews until they go with who they choose. The job will probably pay 50K tops. So this is no big deal.

            This sounds like nothing but a catch me all position. They fully expect the person to do collections and accounting, also

            They probably also want a bloodline that extends back to Louis XVI — and they probably want the candidate to know “off the books” the original translation of Beowulf. That, at least…in addition to the Canterbury Tales in it’s original content.

            Trite silliness and nonsense, as usual. Nothing new here at all. Very sad.

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