This time, the rejection letter was personal. Not only did it dash any hopes of working for a major newspaper, but it also was delivered in the mail and actually signed by hand. In an era of rapid-fire e-mails, the signature made the rejection by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Executive Editor David Shribman somewhat personal.
The Post-Gazette was the first job I applied to after getting my walking papers June 24. Expecting the demise of the Observer-Reporter earlier this year, I compiled my favorite clips - newspaper jargon for stories - and placed them in a manila folder. They sat there untouched for about four months until I pulled them out again and mailed them to the P-G on June 25. This was my opportunity, I thought, to work for a major newspaper and remain in my hometown. But with newspapers across the country slashing payroll, it shouldn't have been a surprise that there are no positions available at the paper. Shribman told me exactly that in his letter.
But the thing that caught me is he actually signed the letter. It wasn't written with the typical printed fake signature most companies use. I could see the divots in the blue ink he used to scrawl his name. That made me wonder: Did he actually review my clips? Did he personally reject me? Does he know my name? I don't need answers to any of those questions. Rather, they were just thoughts that rattled around my head for a few minutes.
The question now, though, is where am I going to apply to next?
4 months ago