Posted On December 16, 2014 By In Internet, Lifestyle, The Scene

Reading Between the Lines: Employers & the Shitty Emails They Send


You know how sometimes you get text messages from friends that just kind of irritate you?

Maybe it’s a hostile “K” or a passive aggressive “:)” or maybe it’s just a “hahah.”

And you think, “Hahaha?” That’s not a response. Those aren’t words. Those are sounds. You sent me sounds. How am I supposed to respond to that?

Right, so texting has become this enigma of conversation where we laugh, but aren’t actually laughing and send smiles when no smiles are actually occurring and that’s all fine and well because at the end of the day, it’s just texting and it doesn’t really matter.

Lately, however, I’ve noticed this rise in uncomfortable emails being sent from the would-be professionals of the working world, where it DOES matter, and these employers are totally freaking me out.

I’m going to give these pant-suit wearing, Americano-drinking, crossword puzzle in pen doing posers the benefit of the doubt though, because maybe they don’t realize the panic they are inducing with these absurd email tactics.

So here are just a few real life examples from my inbox to your eyeballs.



The Rejection Without Causation

Recently, I’ve been applying to teach English abroad. For the most part, employers or recruiters have either not responded or did so with follow-up questions or materials they need from me.

The other day, however, I received a response to my resume/cover letter that simply said:
“I’d say no!”

That was it.
No “Dear” or “Sincerely” or signature of any kind. Just those three little words…

“I’d say no!”

Now it’s fine that he or she said no, but the thing is, they didn’t indicate a reason why they said no…or even WHO or WHAT said no, as the resume was sent to a general address for the company.

And let’s talk about that exclamation mark for a second.
Because they didn’t just say no, they apparently EXCLAIMED no!

There’s hostility in that exclamation mark.

The response seemed absurd to me, but I decided to email back anyway with just a “Thanks for your time blah blah blah.” That way I seemed poised and grateful, but also so I could give them a chance to clarify in case the “I’d say no!” was some kind of obscene mistake.

They never wrote back.



The Acceptance and Rejection and Acceptance and Rejection

When I was finishing up my undergrad, I applied for a weekend-trip that would help fulfill service credits I needed to graduate. At the time, I was unaware that the trip wasn’t simply “sign-up & go” so I was surprised when I received an email that said, “Congratulations! Out of our many applicants, you have been selected…blah blah blah.”

I didn’t realize that there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to go, but I was happy to see that I got in.

A few minutes after receiving that “Congratulations” email, I received another.

“Sorry, due to the many qualified applicants, we were unable to accept everyone and that includes you…” Essentially, it was a “Thanks, but not thanks.”

I realized this one had been sent by mistake, so I waited a few minutes for another, “Whoops! Sorry! That email was meant for the scrubs that we rejected. Please disregard.”

But no such email came.

So I emailed them.

“Uh…this is awkward, but I received an acceptance letter and a few minutes later received a rejection letter, so I just wanted to get some clarification.”

To my surprise, they responded with something along the lines of, “Sorry! We accidentally sent them both out. It’s the first email. Unfortunately, we can’t take everyone.” It sounds like they’re rejecting me, right? But they said it was the FIRST email, which technically, said I was in.

So I emailed them again.

“Sorry, I don’t want to make this awkward again, but actually, the first email I received was the one that said I was accepted. So is that the right one? Or is it the one that says no?”

And they responded simply with: “It’s the one that says no.”



The Dot…Dot…Dot… 

Earlier, I mentioned the hostility behind exclamation marks. (And don’t even get me started on emails or text messages that look ANYTHING LIKE THIS.)

And perhaps this comes from reading (and reading between the lines) too much, but I don’t think employers understand the little hairs that stand up on the back of your neck when you end a sentence like this…

Ending your sentence in an ellipsis indicates that not everything was said…
It’s threatening and your inner-voice immediately changes to that low, guttural tone you hear in murder-mystery movies.

For approximately seven weeks, I had an employer, (who was a crazy psycho, hence the seven week employment) who wrote every email like this…

She would start it with, “Kelli…”

Are you addressing me or breaking up with me?

This employer would also throw random quotation marks around words, which would make me question the legitimacy of whatever it was she was quoting.


When you come in tomorrow… have my “tea” ready….


(Yes…that is how she said, “Thanks.”)

She says “tea” as though that’s allegedly what it is. But fret not, I did indeed make her tea every…single… “day” and I would steep it with the hot tears I shed from crying over my wasted student loans.

It’s because of these people that I experience minor anxiety every time I open my gmail account.

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Kelli Johnson is an aspiring writer and the current (self-proclaimed) most kickass substitute teacher of all time. Her obsessions include coffeehouse chatter, Radiohead on rainy days (aka Rainiohead), and coming up with alternative tag lines for the Real Housewives. When she's not molding young minds or crying over her student loans, she can be found watching Golden Girls reruns or frolicking with her sweet tortoise named Spartacus.