What am I supposed to do with this?

A poor soul demonstrates how not to inquire about a job.

Due to various technical reasons, sometimes people mistakenly think I’m some sort of decision-maker or maybe some sort of information clearinghouse in the South Asia Studies department at Penn. They ask me about classes given, want to sell me teaching aids or try to apply for a position (real or imaginary) through me. When the message passes a certain quality level, I forward it to whom I think is appropriate person. I can remember some instances where people have clearly asked some question about learning Hindi or about admission as a student. In those cases, I’ve forwarded the messages. This morning, I got a message without a subject line (which is already grounds for immediate deletion), which went like this:

Sir, I would like to about vacancy for the post of lecturer in Sanskrit at your esteemed University. I am [name deleted to avoid embarrassment]. I am teaching at university level for two years. My studies for doctoral degree are also going on.

This is the entire message, unedited except for the deletion of the sender’s name! (Just to be clear: there were no attachments.) Sending an application (calling this an application is a stretch, I know) to the wrong person is already a sign of mental confusion on the part of the applicant. Now, it has happened that people asked me which person they should talk to. There is nothing wrong with clearly stating “hey, I don’t know whom I should talk to; can you help me?” I normally reply to those emails. Maybe this specific email is an unfortunate mistake… maybe it was supposed to read “I would like to learn from you which person I should talk to about the vacancy…” Somehow, based on the overall package, I doubt it. This email is the equivalent of coming into the department in flip-flops and sweat-pants and asking the first passing person about some possible vacancy.

The sender breaks at least a dozen basic rules of job search but what broke the entire deal here, as far as I’m concerned, is the rule that the applicant should do everything possible to reduce the workload of the people processing the application. Yeah, there are grey areas but we are not dealing someone being in the wrong shade of grey here but someone who has happily stepped into a great black abyss. For, indeed, the poor guy has made it certain that someone who would want to consider his application will have to ask for more information! That requires more work than necessary. That’s a no-no!

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