The Sting of Rejection (Part II)

It shouldn’t be too difficult to write rejection letters, especially in this day and age when there are templates available online and ample time to carefully word a polite and concise email. A little kindness and consideration goes a long way, whereas rudeness, on the other hand, reflects badly on the person who wrote the offensive mail and ultimately the company.

I’ve become somewhat of an expert in receiving rejection letters, be it from literary agents, potential employers, or competitions. Either way, it doesn’t really bother me. On the contrary, I simply move on and try harder next time. With many of the applications I sent out I was well aware that they were a long shot, but my counsellor at the employment agency said it doesn’t hurt to try, and so try I do. I am perfectly at peace with knocking on closed doors, because I know the right one will open when the time is right. Patience is the name of the game, and endurance is key.

These are difficult times we live in, and anyone else who is stuck in the same boat as me i.e. over 50 and not possessing a post-graduate degree, will understand the frustration I am experiencing at the moment. It doesn’t help that Berlin is currently one of the frontrunners for Germany’s COVID hotspots, which means my inbox is full of “thank you for your application but please understand that under the current situation our recruitment process takes much longer than usual…” This I can easily deal with, or even notification that the posted job has been taken down due to the pandemic, and so on.

Whereas December was pretty lax in terms of job-hunting, I picked up the slack this month and pressed forward with full carajo. I’m tired of the life of luxurious idleness and although there is really not much that can be done given the global circumstances, there are still plenty of interesting options out there. This being Europe, the continental etiquette in written communication is pretty much followed 98% of the time, but every once in a while the remaining 2% rears its ugly head. Corporate communication in Germany is particularly formal and structured, sometimes blunt, but rarely offensive. Up until this morning I have been spared the rudeness and insults in a rejection letter, but when I opened my mail and found a response to something I sent out yesterday, I almost fell off my chair in shock at the utter shameless and callous rudeness of the communication. Wow, I was basically called ignorant and imbecile – and this from an established architecture firm. Well this is Berlin after all, where rudeness comes first, but it was still a shock. I debated for a few hours whether to reply with an equally blunt retort, but decided that it simply wasn’t worth my effort. In the end, this reflects badly on the person who wrote the mail and the company itself, and I refuse to stoop to their level of mud-slinging war that could result in even more unpleasantries. Who on earth would want to work for them anyway if this is the way they treat applicants? Mind you, I did my due diligence and checked out their website beforehand, and the lacklustre quality and shabby presentation of their work should have been a red flag already, but I went ahead and applied because of the proximity to my home.

Live and learn folks. Live and learn.

Related entry:

The Sting of Rejection


  1. Oh wow, I’m sorry that happened to you! I learned a trick I’ve since heard a few times from folks in the police and in the military which is this: Desperate people resort to personal insults AND those insults actually communicate more about that person’s deepest fears than any kind of truth about you. So, yes, consider yourself fortunate not to have that person as a work colleague!

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I completely agree with you and with the benefit of hindsight, I am glad I didn’t allow myself to be goaded and retaliate.

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