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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Excerpts from an Actual Application Letter

Or, why I will never be hired into the self-serious ranks of academia:

Now to the obligatory brag (self-promotion is not my strong suit, hence the hammy tone which we pray will endear more than annoy): I have the minimum requirements safely in the bag, with a bit of variety. I have the poetry MFA from a “Top 20” program. I have, in lieu of two years college teaching experience, six years of part-timing, including tech writing, composition at two levels, one half-semester of fill-in-for-Jacinda on maternity-leave fiction workshop, and at least eight sections of poetry at two levels. I have full command of ENG 203, but I’m bendy to whatever new pedagogical sorcery is in vogue.

Demonstrated record of excellence in teaching? Well, it gets pretty subjective here, but my two or three detractors have been drowned out by a chorus of positive reviews (yes, I’ve saved all my evaluation packets). I was “recruiter” for such current hopefuls as Jacob Helton and Ashley Watson, both featured in the latest Moon City Review*. Several students have testified, post-finals, that my class was “the best English class they’d had,” which may mean little or may mean lots, but always heartens, especially in the case of Paul Johns, a sixtyish English major who spoke thusly from his Santalike beard with grandfatherly authority. The gravitas of this sort of testimonial helps support the idea that I’m offering a quality product more convincingly than the all-caps “WOODY ROCKS!” that concludes one of my evaluation sheets, but I like that too. I also have Facebook contact with Brian Brown, one of my past students who now writes articles for the Springfield Free Press.

My legacy arrives in tidbits, and here’s the strangest one. Drive south on Highway 65. A few miles out of town, there is an Adopt-A-Highway sign under the name “ALPHA BATTLE DRAGON LORDS AGAINST FOREST FIRES,” a Dada-style group founded by two guys—Cody Walker and Rich Valerius—partially in protest of my departure from their fiction class when Jacinda Townsend returned. Unfortunately, their preference for me was so strong that they essentially heckled a pregnant woman in the emotional aftermath of childbirth, which I did not endorse. At semester’s end, my wife and I had dinner with Jacinda and family at Garbo’s, and she appeared undamaged. Cody teaches English at a local high school, and says he will soon write the whole story of the ABDLAFF. He also claims their adopted mile of 65 is “the dirtiest mile of highway in Missouri.”

Oh well. If you can't get a respectable job, you can always be a detestable slob.

Just kidding. I fixed a rooftop A/C unit today. I'm more of an indispensable slob.


Sam said...

What the Hell is a "Now to the obligatory brag." (Count the errors in this sentence.)

Chad Woody said...

An obligatory brag is when you inflate yourself as per the conventional "I'm hot shit" attitude of an application letter. Let my ironic meta-quasi-bragging be a lesson to job seekers everywhere. Don't be like me, kids!