Dear potential employers

Dear potential employers,

I would like to thank you for allowing me to apply for your job opening.

First of all, I was very happy after I found the job with the cryptic name among all the other jobs on your state’s HR website. Then, I created an account. I chose a username without any special characters but longer than 8 and shorter than 24 characters. Then I came up with a passport that was readily approved by your security system. It only had to include 8 alphanumeric characters of which 2 but no more than 4 are numbers, at least one punctuation sign and an equal mix of upper and lower case letters. After giving you answers to about ten security questions asking me for the first color of my car and my mother’s maiden name, just in case I can’t remember the secure password that I just created, I was given an account on your system. An account that I will most likely never use again after today.

Then I sat down and wrote my CV, my research statement, my teaching philosophy statement, my publication list and of course the cover letter, in which I emphasize that your institution is so much better than all the others I have applied to. Writing these documents was so easy, thanks to the stringent requirements you listed. In particular, I made sure that the margins are exactly 1 inch wide on a letter sized page, the font is Arial, the font size is 12pt and the line spacing is one and a half. The statements were of course within your page limits. Because every other institution has a different set of requirements and page limits, I ended up rewriting everything from scratch. I then merged all pdf files as you requested and named the file according to my e-mail address followed by a 64 letter hex string. The upload was very uncomplicated after I noticed that there is a file size limit of 1 megabyte and I rewrote my proposal once again.

I finally wrote several e-mails to four senior scientists in my field asking them to write a reference letter for me. They probably can’t wait to drop everything they are working on and write a detailed psychological assessment of me. But of course they had to wait for the 32 letter password I had to send them in able to be allowed to create an account on your website. I imagine that their registration process on your website will be equally enjoyable as mine.

In retrospect, I would like to than you for giving me such a great insight in how your institution works. Because assuming that there is at least some correlation between the academic life at your institution and the experience I had during the process of submitting my application, I’m not interested in your job offer anymore. Maybe you could simple say this next time: “Please send your CV and research statement in pdf format to by November 10. Please also ask for three reference letters to be sent to the same address.”.

Hanno Rein

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