O employers! Hear my plea and prayer: If you don't think I'm good enough to do the job for you, go ahead and tell me so. I'm a big boy; I can take the bad news. Besides, I might need to know for other reasons.
Before I sat the bar exam, I applied for a job with a very small firm downtown that will remain nameless. I did everything needed to apply, sent everything I needed to send in plenty of time, and then heard--nothing.
OK, no big deal, I thought. It's been a while, and I'd been busy studying for and taking the bar exam. Months rolled past, and I thought I should follow-up. So, in November, four months after the July bar exam, I sent another e-mail to the partner to whom I had sent my application. This was a friendly note to let him know that I'd passed the bar and expected to be sworn in very soon. "Congratulations," he said. "you'll hear from us soon."
I never did.
In January, I heard that this particular partner was once again looking to fill substantially the same position. I re-sent all my materials, with copies of the correspondence of the past few months. This time, the partner invited me in for an interview. The interview was about as good as these things ought to be; I was genuinely interested in the work, and he described, with great earnestness and obvious pride the practice he had built up.
The same afternoon, he sent me a message asking for my references and a writing sample. I obliged him immediately. That was at the end of January. There has been no reply.
I had to find out that the position had been filled by asking a friend of mine at the same firm, who told me that the partner in question simply hadn't been sending out messages lately.
While I'd been waiting for the man who never wrote back, I took a temporary gig at a much bigger firm downtown as a non-attorney proofreader/paralegal. Tough, but hey, we've all got bills to pay, right? Well, I've been working that job since around December, and I've given it my dead-level best to show them that I've got at least some attorney skills in me. The attorneys seem to like me. The Of Counsel took me aside and told me he wanted to hire me as a regular attorney. "We hire attorneys here after an interview of what, a few minutes? You've been here a few months. We know what we're getting. I think you're a much better hire because of that."
Naturally, there's a hitch. Since I came in as an agency temp, the firm can't hire me without paying the agency a hefty fee.
Well, Of Counsel promised he'd do his best, but he never got back to me, either. This project's almost over, and there's not much left for me to do. But he hasn't said anything about whether or not the firm had decided to take me on as a proper attorney. I suspect that he might--shockingly--be a bit unwilling to deliver me bad news.
Neither of these eminences grises wanted to tell me, man to man, that I didn't get the job. Of Counsel probably isn't telling me because he's too full of the milk of human kindness; the small-firm gent may have forgotten what human kindness was. Either way, I would have appreciated a bit of candor, out of professional courtesy if nothing else.
Besides, I can take being rejected. Lately, I've had an awful lot of practice.
The immutable system engenders rot
- Just give me the bad news.