I found two interesting things in my mailbox at school yesterday, along with all the usual academic junk mail. One was a burnt copy of the Drive By Truckers' new album. I have no idea who left it for me, but some kind-hearted mystery person must have known this is the time in the job market cycle for alt-country, and also that if I kept listening to Calexico's "Garden Ruin" my slide into alcoholism would pretty much be a done deal. Thanks mystery person! My liver thanks you too!
The other thing I found was a PFO from a school I interviewed with at the APA. Obviously PFOs aren't normally interesting. But this was wasn't a form letter. Or at least, it wasn't completely a form letter. It had a single dependent clause that was directed specifically at me.
It was still a PFO, and it was still telling me I wasn't going to get a job I really, badly wanted. So it still hurt. But apart from the rejection, there's something deeply dehumanizing about having nothing but a wash of crappily-written form letters to show for the work you put in to your applications. You spend months putting together an application package that says who you are as a philosopher, and when you're done you've got no sign any of it registered with anyone. It's like you're shouting out into the darkness, and you never hear any response but echoes of your own voice.
Well, this PFO was like a voice calling back, letting me know someone heard me shouting.