E-mail I just sent to a potential employer

Y’all, I hate applying for jobs. I hate it. There’s something about it, about posturing and spinning and pretending to be important, that I can’t stand. Maybe some deeper underlying psychological issue is at stake here. All I know is, it’s awful.

So, I have real important things happening in my life, and real profound thoughts too, but after about two weeks’ hiatus this is the writing project I’ve worked on for the past hour.

Lyndsey Janelle <lyndseyjanelle[at]gmail.com>
1:44 AM (0 minutes ago)

to commonwealth[at]pavementcoffeehouse.com
Dear Commonwealth:

Today I walked past your store and, having a keen interest in coffeehouses and recently-finished construction projects, looked longingly into the window. Or I tried to, but I was distracted by a fairly small sign that said, “WE’RE HIRING!” It also directed interested parties to “send an email” to this address, which I found to be rather cryptic. What kind of email? Is there a password I am supposed to know and include? I thought about sending a blank email, but I suppose while we’re communicating I’ll tell you why I think you should hire me.
First of all, I can get things done, and I have common sense. So, for instance, (not to criticize necessarily), if you asked me to make sure the world knew you were hiring, I would not print shouty caps on a small piece of paper and tape it in a window. I would at least print shouty caps on a big piece of paper. If nothing else was going on, I might even mount a full-scale advertising campaign by placing an ad on craigslist or using a font that communicated what kinds of people I wanted to hire. But only if I didn’t have better things to do.
That is the second reason you should hire me: I am very efficient. I know when I have better things to do. I know which things are urgent, important, and completely unnecessary. I have found this to be a rare quality in humans – the ability to prioritize, especially under pressure. Perhaps you, too, have trouble finding these kinds of humans.
The third reason you should hire me is that I like being nice to people. I find that I am happier when surrounded by happy people, and so I work proactively to make the people around me happier. Just yesterday I walked down several flights of stairs just to bring my housemate a cup of tea. I would derive unimaginable joy from handing cups of tea to people only feet away for hours at a time. You might think that I am being snarky now. I am not.
Because the fourth reason you should hire me is that I am grossly overqualified, but I still want this job. Having worked in my life at numerous leadership and management positions, creative projects, and important-sounding things, I am now a Master’s student in theology at BU. I want a job that is the opposite of my studies: a job where I do things, concrete things in reality, that are clearly worthwhile. Creating a delicious drink and placing it in the hands of a tired, determined, or celebratory customer fits the bill perfectly. I’d like to be known as the Treat-Bearer.
But the fact that I am overqualified does not disqualify me from possessing a quality level of qualification at barista skills. I make great coffee. I work hard. And, having worked for a year in a food pantry, I am a customer service Hercules. I have wrestled the Cerberus of customers. And I’ve come to appreciate the nice ones more than ever.
Finally, you should hire me because: I am normal-looking at times, but do not worry that I might disturb the urban vibe or get blandness in the coffee; I am also quite capable of cultivating an appropriately quirky appearance. Sadly, I have no tattoos, but I do possess many cardigans, trendy hats, and pairs of glasses. I also have blue eyes and freckles and fancy myself an ideal candidate for some shy plaid-wearing poet boy’s (or girl’s, who’s counting?) unattainable (because they’re so shy) crush. They might buy more coffee as a result.
My resume is attached. Thank you for your time if you’re still reading. I really would, in all sincerity, like to work for Pavement.
All my love,
Lyndsey Graves
PS. I hope I haven’t offended you about the urban vibe. I don’t say any of this as a judgment on your coffeeshop coffeehouse; just making conjectures based on my past encounters with baristas. I’ve honestly never gone inside Pavement. I can’t afford coffee right now. So hire me and share the joy. Thanks.
Leave a comment


  1. I’m a bit confused by the name flips. Janelle…Elle…Lyndsey…

    Is this a serious/genuine cover letter/email or a joke one? I am not sure where your “ministry work” (as mentioned on the About Me page) ends and your need to get a “real” job begins.

    Right from the start you’re a person of many words like me:P Questioning every little aspect of the hiring process. It would be a challenge to read this for most I presume.

    And then, you double talk in the letter which many would tell you should be omitted to “enhance” your psychological profile. Keep those ( ) thoughts to yourself.

    Why make happy people happier when you could make less happy people happier?

    Overqualified? ‘Smells of ego. Shouldn’t they judge that?

    Ugh! Greek mythology references?:P Were we separated at birth?:) Unless the place is known for liking Greek mythology like an English teacher, why include that? What if the reader is not the geek type?

    Why would tattoos be important? I am glad you don’t. And, yes, I’d probably be the shy guy if you were my type:P But, it wouldn’t make me buy more:P

    Love? You signed with “love”?

    So…yea. Those are my thoughts. Interesting post.

    • that is quite the critique, thanks

      • Too much? 😀 Your thoughts? No response?

        I seriously was a tad unsure how to respond yet compelled to do so. I also had to look at something else written by you to compare notes…which is why I mentioned the “ministry work.”

    • Decent comment, writingbolt, but a couple thoughts:

      Right from the start, I can tell you are cascadingly generous with your critiques, just like me. Questioning the smallest details of any and every blog post. Kindred spirits. 🙂

      Putting “ministry work” in scare quotes can imply that you don’t believe she really does ministry, or that her “ministry work” is a joke. Uh oh!

      Next… ‘Smells of ego? What omitted letters does the apostrophe signify? I’m struggling to think of a word that ends in “smells” and could possibly be contracted that way.

      I also question your simile in the 6th section which compares “the place” and “an English teacher”. It seems dubious to claim categorically that English teachers are lovers of Greek mythology.

      The use of emoticons as punctuation is a bit inconsistent to me. Why are they used in conjunction with question marks in section 6, but actually replace the periods in section 7? Many would ask: “Do emoticons really have a declarative function, yet lack interrogative properties?”

      Finally, 5 smiley faces combined with the “shy guy” and “separated at birth” comments seems kind of flirty… watch out!

      That’s all I’ve got. Great comment, keep it up! Hope I didn’t overwhelm 😉

      • I wasn’t sure if she was just a comedienne or serious. So, I put that in quotes. I realize anything I say can and will be taken out of context or the wrong way.

        “‘Smells of ego.” versus “It/This smells of ego.” The apostrophe replaces the proper start of the sentence which is otherwise a fragment. Am I wrong? It’s not a contraction.

        A simile? I think not. I essentially said English teachers would be the ones who gravitate toward a use of Greek mythology like hers. An employer who has not expressed any particular interest in Greek mythology would not likely respond well or care to read that bit. Nor would an employer appreciate my doodles of cartoon characters in the margins if I wanted to be silly. Maybe not all English teachers like Greek mythology. I didn’t say ALL did. Did I?:) My teachers taught me well to avoid absolutes. All I know is my teachers were into the weirdest of topics/interests. So, any use of transformation, gore, sexual abuse or mythology was sure to be a hit even if it was not the right topic for the paper. They were warped like that. And, my specialty was psychology.

        I have developed a habit of emoticons in a chat style of responses. It’s a tough habit to break. Wanna dust for fingerprints, Sherlock?:P Book me. Don’t get so technical unless you’re just trying to give me a dose of my own medicine.

        What’s wrong with a little friendly flirtation?:)

        Uh, yeah. I hope I gave you a thrill. Now, go do whatever you do when you get thrilled. 😀

  2. meldenius

     /  September 7, 2013

    This made my morning “elle,” “janelle,” or whoever you are. And the first reader response only made it so much better. I’m laughing so hard inside I’m about to burst. But seriously, this is a rare and costly gem.

  3. Omygaaaaaawwwwd. Baaahhahahahahaha

  4. LOL, thank you for this.

  5. Jacqueline in Atlanta

     /  September 16, 2013

    @ writingbolt: in my experience most English teachers only like themselves. Historians like Greek mythology better than English teachers. Or archaeologists. (Just speaking from my own limited, unhappy experience with the breed.)

    As for the letter, she probably scared off the coffee people. They thought, “Oh my gosh, if we hire her, we are going to end up with a stand up comedy house instead of a coffee house and then we will have to get a liquor license! Do we want to get a liquor license? I thought we wanted to sell coffee. But I like martinis. Do you like martinis? What about coffee and 50 martini flavors?” at which point they all went off to bartender school for 3 weeks which is why the coffeehouse was late in opening. Then they came back and realized they didn’t need their bartending license because they were just going to make lattes and frappes and warm, chocolate chip cookies! Now they are all in therapy.


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