liz_marcs (liz_marcs) wrote,

Dear Random Stranger from Linked-In...

I have a professional profile on Linked-In, primarily because I need some kind of online profile for my RL identity.

[I should note that ol' Lizbeth Marcs, my nom de Internet, has an online identity going back to Usenet days. My RL identity? Is barely a blip.]

In any case, this random person who I do not know, have never heard of, and lives nowhere near my geographic location randomly emailed me for "career advice" about becoming a technical-medical type-writer in a poorly worded, bad-grammar email several days ago. I should also mention that this individual is a recent graduate with a PhD.

Aaaaand that's all I know about him. Nothing else.

Now, as it so happens, I've, y'know, been just a tad busy between a tight deadline at work and the 'rents health issues and trying to get my life in order because I've been busy between work and the 'rents. I was planning on responding to him when I had the damn time to put together a thoughtful response, starting with, "I honestly can't give you any advice, except maybe you need to really improve your basic writing skills."

Of course, I was going to be more polite than that, but wording that kind of criticism takes some thought.

Well, not even a week goes by and I get a "Seeking Career Advice: 2nd Message" from the same guy. Yes. He actually titled it "2nd Message."

To make matters even worse, "2nd Message" is worded exactly the same as the first. No changes. At all. Just word-for-word the same message, like he couldn't be bothered to do more than just hit "send."

Allow me a moment to wham my head against a desktop.

Look, I understand the economy is scary, scary, scary out there. I do. I even sympathize. I doubly sympathize if you just graduated with an advanced degree and are facing the very real prospect that your first job will be flipping burgers at McDonald's while those ol' college bills just pile up the interest.

But if you're randomly reaching out to people on the internet for advice and help, people you don't know and have never so much as exchanged an email with before this very moment, maybe waiting at least a week or week-and-a-half might be a good idea? Especially when, geographically speaking, you live nowhere near the person you're emailing and aren't likely to ever interact with that person again once you get what you want.

Here's a pro-tip:

People have RL things they've got to do and sometimes they can't actually go check that email address or site they've set aside for professional real-life things. And, yes, a week may in fact go by before they do manage to check either one of these. Sometimes people are so busy at work because they're doing the job of 2.5 people because of a hiring freeze. Sometimes they're juggling both these things, and as a result they're so far behind that they'll never catch up.

It isn't that people (like me) aren't willing. It's just that some of us (like me) would like to sit down and think about our response before shooting an email off to you, but before we do that we have to carve out the time to do it. Please refer to the paragraph above this one for the myriad of ways our time may be in short supply.

And I should add: I am not human resources person or a corporate recruiter or a career coach. No one is paying me to vet your resume or tell you where the jobs are. No one is giving me the spare time I need to give you "tips and tricks" to landing you your dream job. If I do it, it's out of the goodness of my heart and because I carved out enough spare time to help you.

Sending me a "2nd Message," with that heading no less, and without bothering to change the wording of your request to reflect that this is, in fact, the second time you've pinged me, is not making me inclined to help you. At all.

And just because it's worth mentioning one more time: It would help if your email was actually written well using good grammar and was at least a little formatted to make it easier to read. I'm not talking about anything big here. A line space between paragraphs would be an excellent start.

What I'm saying is: If you can't put one iota of effort in your attempts to ask me for help, not even to slightly reword your request for that "2nd Message," why should I put any effort into helping you?

Furthermore, if I knew anyone who was hiring, I'd pass the information on to people I know and trust. In fact, I have done this in the recent past. It was just my bad luck that over the past 6 months when I've done this, said companies (including mine) instituted a hiring freeze in the middle of the interview-resume review process.

I don't even know you, you random emailer you.

And, oh, by the way, I did respond to an email from a job seeker. Just before I received yours, in fact. He sent me one email. One. It took me 2 weeks before I could get to it, but I did get to it. I couldn't help him much, sorry to say.

But here's the thing: his request was polite, well-written, he acknowledged that we didn't know each other, he explained where he got my name, and the email had basic formatting so it was easy to read.

Funny thing is, I didn't realize how important those tiny things were when a complete stranger pings you for help, but as it turns out, they kind of ARE important.

Look, I'm not expecting someone to slobber all over me when pinging me because of some professional network-y type thing. I'm really not.

In fact, if I know you and we've at least had minimal interaction, I'm more than willing to do anything I can to help on the job front (and there's several people here on LJ who'll back up that assertion). Hell, if I know you, you probably don't even need to say "please."

But if I don't know you, I'm thinking that, saying "please" and making your email easy for me to scan should be the minimum requirement. And to actually send me a "2nd message" without bothering to re-word said message in any way? And to send your "2nd Message" mere days after you sent the first one? Can you say entitlement? Can you say, "You're actually making it less likely that I'll help you?"


Sorry for the rant. It's just that I know so many people who are getting their assess kicked because of the economy — either because they're unemployed, underemployed, or overemployed (because they're doing more than one job at work) — but who manage to at least adhere to the minimum of netiquette and etiquette.

Then this little twit....

*grumble growl snarl*

It really set me off.

ETA: Ooops. It set me off more than I thought, because I did email Mr. Entitlement a shorter version of the above rant.

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