There is a lesson in everything

I received the kindest rejection letter the other day. It was such a polite mail, with just the right mix of information and hope without shattering my confidence.
Most interviewers in India, and I may be wrong, still use silence to speak *abundantly.
I am so touched by this letter that I am going to use it as a template to end relationships.

Dear Tatya,
Thank you for taking the time to speak to me a few weeks back — it was a pleasure.
After a number of interviews, I have decided to move forward with other candidates and will not be asking you for a [book] proposal at this time. It was hard to decide among the candidates, since each person would provide a unique perspective on XXXX & XXX. Please know that I keep every résumé on file for one year because you never know what else might come up.
Thank you very much for your interest in XXX and XXX. Good luck with your other projects and adventures!

Polite rejection letter writer who has my heart

Thank you for the past few weeks/months/years — it was a pleasure.
After a number of dates, I have decided to move forward with other friends/partners/roommates and will not be taking this relationship to the next level. It was hard to decide among the candidates, since each person would provide a unique perspective on life, the universe and beyond. Please know that I keep every phone number for one year because you never know how desperate I may get in the future.
Thank you very much for the affection and company. Good luck with your other projects and adventures!


*While I’m thinking, “Why haven’t they called? Was it that joke I made? Should I call? Would I seem needy? Do I write a e-mail instead? What’s a respectable waiting time? Maybe they’ve found someone else. Someone who doesn’t make jokes. THEIR LOSS! WHO WANTS TO BE WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR?! I’ll wait till _day and just casually call to see if they are considering me. And pretend I already have another offer. Yeah! I have another offer! And they’ll have to act fast if THEY want ME.”


19 thoughts on “There is a lesson in everything

  1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but this does seem like a ‘template’ rejection letter, one you can buy on the internet for a couple of bucks. Trust me I know, I have seen these before. Surely you deserve a better rejection that this! 🙂

  2. Saritha took my words. It’s a standard rejection letter. Perhaps this person is a visitor from the civilized world on the desi job scene. I dread asking, but what would be a typical rejection letter there?


  3. It was a prospective US employer. There is no rejection letter in India. They just don’t get back to you. You are supposed to get the hint. Sometimes, they don’t even reply to your e-mails, asking if there will be another level of interviews, etc.

  4. There are rejection letters in India. For book and short-story proposals at least. I know because I have been the recipient of one ( the only time I found the guts to send one out). Mine was pretty decent too. Only the polite words didn’t manage to massage the wounded ego much.

  5. You did say that they “still use silence abundantly”, which means they never get back to you! And if you got that sugar coated letter this time, it’s too obvious that it was from a US employer, or a US influenced Indian employer.
    I think it’s the Indian way – to not say anything. Whether it’s a job situation, a relationship, etc. We are not trained well to say no and we are not trained at all to say no politely. We take pride in making our rejection feel like rejection, it’s what we are all about – being direct.

  6. When it’s the matter of a job interview, I think it’s polite to let the person know they haven’t made it to the next level, and if possible, why.
    Because sooner or later, you are going to bump into each other, and then I’ll have to be “direct” to you. Then you’ll refuse me a job again.
    Before you know it, our clans will be warring, your son will make my dog pregnant and Anupam Kher will have to devise a plan to make it all right.
    It creates a situation in which only Subhash Ghai wins.

  7. Double tuts at G and dons grammar police-hat … It’s ‘since [xyz]’ or ‘[xyz] years ago’. Since and ago don’t go together…

    You are right about the since [point in time]

    (Changes police hat for a hard hat and scoots for cover)


  8. @G: Note both of the cited articles in the Guardian and NY times are quotes from people. I reckon the editors can’t correct a quote, whether or not they are grammatically correct.

    I do agree with your point about [a point in time]. It would still make the usage awkward to say the least.

    Here’s a basic primer from Cambridge University press:


    I love you too KK.. Don’t tell muh wife.

  9. aa: Here’s one from the BBC for you that’s not a quote: .

    Primers and grammar books make good guidelines for beginners; I hate to think of them as rule books for advanced users. In ET’s example above, since-ago is not the most elegant of choices – I’ll give you that. I don’t agree, however, that it’s grammatically incorrect. I can think of instances where I would actually prefer the “since-ago” construction to “for”.

    What do you think of a sentence such as this one: “The transistor has changed dramatically since its inception 60 years ago”?


  10. @G: I guess I am partial to rule books because I am a bit of a swot :-). I must disclaimer that I don’t mean to be argumentative and should have known better than to be flame baiting with my comments.

    However, I forge on fearlessly:

    Your example is a perfect case in point. *That* sentence is perfectly grammatically acceptable. The ‘sixty years ago’ in the sentence qualifies the ‘inception’ , and doesn’t fit a simple since [XYZ] ago construction. You would not be able to fit in a ‘for’ in that sentence instead, which is what I am getting at.

    So, here’s the deal, I’d very be willing to concede that it isn’t incorrect if you can point me to an ‘advanced’ rule-book that says so, and thank you for the education.

    @Tatya: Sorry for the mess we’re making in your comments page- nothing like a tangential argument eh?

  11. aa: Tempting as that deal is, I got nothing! It doesn’t help that 12 years of “education” in India have made me averse to hard rules – I am probably not looking hard enough. In any case, we’ll have to leave that deal open and agree to disagree for now. I’ll leave you with this quote from a faculty member at Rutgers: “Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over IBM versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi and boxers versus briefs.” – Jack Lynch

    ET: You may now resume control of your blog.


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