Email correspondence. I’m doing a lot of it at the moment, looking for jobs, seeking out volunteering opportunities, until recently corresponding with my dissertation supervisor and the like, but annoyingly those on the other end of my communications are variable and categorisable.

The first type of person on the other end of my emails is much like I aspire to be, and usually am – contactable by email most hours of the day and fairly quick to respond. Conversations can usually be completed within a few hours with these types of people. Usually I’m like this, although as my phone is in for repairs, I’m not as fast at replying as I’d like to be.

The second type is a little more laid back, usually quick to respond but occasionally will take a while, inevitably at the crucial point. Case in point – I recently got a tip-off that a company was recruiting, so I fired them off an email on a weekend asking what they had available. I get a reply the next day saying ‘yes, we have these roles, are you interested?’, to which I replied as soon as I saw it asking for an application form which, again, comes back almost immediately with an email saying ‘just send us your CV’, which I duly send and then…. nothing for the rest of the day, leaving me in limbo as to whether they even received the thing. Conversations tend to happen in parts, or acts, over a few days with these types.

Then there are the more automated ones – customer services of various companies for instance. You’ll send off an email, usually using a form in a website, which gets an almost immediate response confirming receipt of said email, and then an actual response to what you asked a day or two later. If you have any further questions you sometimes can respond directly to the email in your inbox, which then may or may not continue the conversation with the same person, or you may have to respond through the same means as your initial query, getting the same automatic response followed by an actual reply a couple of days later. This is the choice of communication of my phone manufacturer, HTC. It results in conversations taking place over several days and possibly weeks depending on the number of exchanges, and is the equivalent of chatting by postal mail.

In the same vein as these, are the individuals that only appear to check and reply to emails once per day, and with whom you can have a fast conversation with, but only if you can access your emails when they happen to be online. They almost inevitably prefer conversing by phone and conversation with these people is guaranteed to last several days, no matter how simple the enquiry.

Lastly is the job rejection paradox emails. The paradox being thus – the individual or company in question sends an email to the tune of ‘because so many people have applied, if you don’t hear from us in x days/weeks your application has been unsuccessful.’ Usually the extent of individuality in emails is addressing me by name, which begs the question of if you can set up a mail merge to automatically respond to people who apply with this drivel, why can’t you set one up to respond to the majority of applicants who are unsuccessful? Of course this is an entirely different crux to receiving a response like this from a vacancy that has been live a matter of hours.


About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

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