3 teenagers walking. 1 boy looks dejected.

A reflection on rejection

This brings to mind a stanza from Paris, 7AM by Elizabeth Bishop. Though it’s completely unrelated to what I’m writing about, it has a similar rhyme to my title. It’s the kind of rhyme that bounces around your brain for years:

It is like introspection/ to stare inside, or retrospection,/
A star inside a rectangle, a recollection

Right, now back to rejection, the thing as inevitable as death and taxes. We could get into the word’s etymology. I could tell you it has been used since the 1550’s and comes from the Latin root “reiectionem,” or that, in the 19th century, it meant “excrement” (at least according to this site).

Actually, I could go places with excrement. Because rejection feels like sh@t. On that note, I thought I’d share some rejection emails I’ve gotten over the years from jobs, exes, and literary agents. Sharing kind of takes the edge off, you know?

Recent one from an “entry-level” job:

Thank you very much for your interest in the Central Time Producer (entry-level) position with W—-. I am sorry to have to tell you that your application is no longer under consideration.

We wish you success with your job search and appreciate the time and energy you invested in applying for this position. Please keep us in mind as future openings occur at W——.


Human Resources Associate

Another one from a low-level job within a department where I’m already employed on a contract basis:

Dear S—,

Thank you for taking the time to interview for the part-time Clerical Associate for the S—— position.

We were impressed with all of the candidates.  Each presented a unique and attractive set of skills and abilities.  After evaluating the feedback and recommendation from those involved in the interview process and careful deliberation of each of the candidate’s potential contributions to the position, we have selected another candidate who we believe best suits our needs.

There is much to be admired in your record, and we hope that you will keep M—- in mind for future employment.  Please feel free to apply online for other positions that are of interest to you.

We extend our best wishes for a successful and rewarding career.



Human Resources

2 unicorns, 1 rejecting the other
Photo courtesy of Nicoflare at deviantart.com

This is back when I was querying literary agents with a manuscript. This lady is in love with commas, isn’t she?

Dear S—,
Thanks for sending along the opening pages of S—-.   With regret, though, I’m afraid the material didn’t draw me in as much as I had hoped.  I’m pressed for time these days and, what with my reservations about the project, I suspect I wouldn’t be the best fit. Thanks so much for contacting me, though, and for giving me this  opportunity. It’s much appreciated, and I’m sorry to be passing. I wish you the very best of luck in your search for representation.



This agent couldn’t even be bothered to hit send on a form rejection. So she had her assistant send one:

Thank you so much for sharing your work with P–. This isn’t a good fit for her list at this time. We can’t wait to see your work on the bookshelves!

Inbox Assistant

This agent actually pretended to have read what I sent her. Too bad I can see right through her:

Hi, S—-,

Thank you for your query. While your project certainly has merit, I’m going to pass. As I’m sure you know, it’s important that your agent be totally excited by/committed to/passionate about your project, and I’m afraid that just didn’t happen here. But opinions vary considerably in this business, and mine is just one. I’m sure you’ll find others who feel differently. I hope so!

I wish you the very best in your search for representation.

Warm regards,

L—- K—–

I’m sure she truly hopes I get my manuscript published elsewhere–and truly regards me warmly. Her authenticity really shines through, doesn’t it?

(To be continued)




9 thoughts on “A reflection on rejection

  1. Arthur Plotnik has a whole page devoted to sh@t in Elements of Expression and it’s etymology is also similar but it’s such a versatile word. You know your on the right track when you keep hearing no. Unfortunately, you only know that path is there and your time although valuable is also free. It reminds me of that maths lady and her 37% rule. Companies actually have a quota to automatically reject a certain amount of applicants/projects/doohickeys my previous company it was in the thirties but she applied it to dating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: A reflection on rejection (cont.) | Prog Chik

  3. Damn! Those are the nicest rejection letters I’ve ever seen…although have to admit that one I got from Trevor Lautens a long, long time ago was pretty nice..
    You should be proud, that is a fine collection…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I can appreciate a legit rejection letter. Given how fast the world moves, it’s become uncommon to recieve even automated notices of non-interest, so getting one that someone took the time to write out and be constructive in can still be useful for your own development… but most of these people shouldn’t have even bothered.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Really, I’d rather not have a chapter full of rejection letters, thank you very much. However, it is a good post subject due to its (sadly) common occurrence among us working stiffs and writers.


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