Tag Archives: job searches

How to write, and read, a (job) rejection letter

Photos: Header: (part of) one of my many, many rejections.  Embedded image: the whole thing.

I’ve gotten a lot of rejection letters over my career.  Job rejections, grant rejections, manuscript rejections, fellowship rejections – you name it.  Every scientist does.  I’ve also written quite a few rejection letters – mostly, in my roles as an editor and as Department Chair.  I don’t like writing them much more than I like receiving them.  But if there’s a bright side to this coin, it’s that my all-too-extensive experience suggests that there are better rejection letters and worse ones.  I can suggest a few ways to steer the ones you write, and the ones you read, towards the “better” category (and please add your own thoughts in the Replies). Today, rejection letters for academic job applicants.  In a future post, I’ll tackle rejection letters for manuscripts. Continue reading

Populations sign for Gross, Nebraska (population 3)

Small-town mayors,functional traits, and the estimation of extremes

Warning: gets a bit wonkish near the end.

Have you ever noticed that the mayor of a small town is fairly often a bonehead?  There’s a simple reason we’d expect that to be true – and that simple reason has implications for academic searches, the traits we analyze in ecology and systematics, and lots of other things, too (please add to my list in the Replies).  The simple reason is this:  it’s really hard to estimate extremes.  It’s also really hard to understand why so many people act as if they’re unaware of this.

Let’s start with those mayors.  Continue reading