I recently received a rejection from a entertainment company, a big one, regarding a writing program they operate. I know what you’re thinking, “You! REJECTED!!??!!” I know. Sit down, breathe deep. You’ll get over it soon.
What gets to me about this rejection letter, and it is not the first I’ve received that is like this, is that it is poorly written. It makes the following statement:

“Unfortunately, because we received so many wonderful entries we are not able to accept you into our program. This is not a comment upon your writing, but is a reflection of the popularity of our program.”

A few thoughts.
How is the number of entries connected to whether or not I got in? If you don’t like my writing you don’t like my writing. Do they really want me to believe that if a few less people had applied I would have made it? Do they take hacks into the program if not enough good writing shows up?
Better yet, how is “the popularity of the program” supposed to make me feel better?
Finally, this is a REJECTION. Of course it is a comment on the quality of my writing. THAT’S WHAT A REJECTION IS.
Rejections like this burn me, and not because they are rejections (rejections, in and of themselves, depress me). They burn because they are trying so hard to not hurt the writer’s feelings, and in doing so they pat themselves on the back. You want to turn me down, fine. But don’t do it by blowing your own horn. A simple, “Thanks, but no thanks” would do it.
I don’t sound bitter, do I?

2 thoughts on “Rejection

  1. I agree that they shouldn’t coddle people whose writing is poor; but, if they only have a set number of places available in their program, then it is valid to say that you didn’t make it because they received “so many wonderful entries.” If they have 50 openings and they received 75 great entries, there are going to be 25 good writers that got turned away.
    True, the 25 who get turned away presumably are not as good as the 50 that were accepted. But that doesn’t mean they’re not good. A rejection letter that claims, “if only we had the room” seems fitting for that 25.
    But… if you prefer the black and white of “good” versus “bad,” without any nuances, then my comment for your post is:
    You’re totally fucking wrong, idiot!

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