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Job rejection letter inspires snarky grammar correction letter

When a job candidate gets a sloppy rejection letter, she edits and publishes a correct version on Twitter, sparking laughs and criticism alike.

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Candidate publishes sloppy rejection letter

Thrillist Media Group is a digital media company with a popular website geared towards men that emphasizes food, drink, and technology. Sounds like a cool gig. Journalist Megan Mester must have thought so too when she applied for an Assistant Editor position with the company. Things took a sour turn when Thrillist Media responded to Mester with a poorly worded rejection email.

The email had some pretty serious grammar issues and Mester took it upon herself to respond to the rejection email by correcting it, emailing it back to Thrillist Media, and subsequently posting it on Twitter for all to see. Ouch. Thrillist Media Group has yet to respond publicly on the matter.

Her post (below) has received mixed reviews. Some find her persnickety reply hilarious. The application process is tough and receiving such a sloppy response for a job requiring the very skills lacking in the company email would be annoying. On the other hand, at least she got a reply. That’s more than most get.

Media companies should “take pride” in their communications

There are others who wonder if Mester would have responded the same if the email had been offering her the job. Mester has spoken out to ABC News about the email saying, “I wanted to share it because of the humor and the irony of it. I don’t see anything detrimental about encouraging an organization to instill pride in their employees in terms of how they respond to others. It’s important to teach grammatical rules, especially if you’re in a media company.”

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This opens up a whole host of questions regarding grammar and style usage in our new age of communication. If you understand the message the writer is trying to convey, does a grammar error really get in the way? Technology is designed to move quickly and communication is often short and to the point. With things moving so swiftly, there will not be someone behind every company email examining each line with a fine toothed comb. There will be errors.

It’s never a good look to publicly insult someone’s intelligence over grammatical errors in an email. It’s also important for companies to know that they will be judged if they send out such sloppy writing. What do you think? Did Mester take it too far or did Thrillist Media Group deserve the grammar hammer?

#GrammarHammer

Emily Crews is a staff writer at The American Genius and holds a degree in English from Western Kentucky University. Reading, music, black coffee, and her two little girls rule her life. She sees herself one day running a tiny bookstore at the end of the Earth. In the meantime, she is thrilled to write for AG and also does copy editing (team Oxford comma) to keep her brain from turning to mush.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Karl

    February 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    I think it’s great what Mester did! What is the company telling her? Basically, that her skillset and experience wasn’t as good as someone else’s. Well, she’s resposnding that their communication leaves a lot to be desired, too. The company clearly needs to work on and improve their grammar. Turnabout is fair play.

  2. Staceyb

    February 19, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    As a former HR professional and recruiter (who no longer works in the field due to declining pay, increased dangers and increased demands for speed and quantity of candidate selection over quality), I really do think that she was justified in sending the correction to the company and in posting it. However the posting should have omitted the actual company in question. The important thing was to start a conversation about declining standards even in media not about humiliating the company. The last was less than professional and is now permanently plastered on the internet.

    The reality is though that they probably subcontract the recruiting for the company. They probably don’t care. The letter is probably a badly designed email template that has been uploaded into the HRMS system and is rarely used by the more careful recruiters. She was lucky to get a response and she is lucky not to be working for an organization that doesn’t care what impression it makes on potential hires and competitors. On the other hand..she needs to take a close look at ethics, professionalism and the importance of presenting the larger picture if she is to be successful in media.

    I wish her the best with her career path.

  3. Pingback: Grammarly is the Chrome extension that's going to save your tail - The American Genius

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Big retailers are opting for refunds instead of returns

(BUSINESS NEWS) Due to increased shipping costs, big companies like Amazon and Walmart are opting to give out a refund rather than accepting small items returned.

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Package delivery people holding deliveries. Refund instead of returns are common now.

The holidays are over, and now some people are ready to return an item that didn’t quite work out or wasn’t on their Christmas list. Whatever the reason, some retailers are giving customers a refund and letting them keep the product, too.

When Vancouver, Washington resident, Lorie Anderson, tried returning makeup from Target and batteries from Walmart she had purchased online, the retailers told her she could keep or donate the products. “They were inexpensive, and it wouldn’t make much financial sense to return them by mail,” said Ms. Anderson, 38. “It’s a hassle to pack up the box and drop it at the post office or UPS. This was one less thing I had to worry about.”

Amazon.com Inc., Walmart Inc., and other companies are changing the way they handle returns this year, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The companies are using artificial intelligence (AI) to weigh the costs of processing physical returns versus just issuing a refund and having customers keep the item.

For instance, if it costs more to ship an inexpensive or larger item than it is to refund the purchase price, companies are giving customers a refund and telling them to keep the products also. Due to an increase in online shopping, it makes sense for companies to change how they manage returns.

Locus Robotics chief executive Rick Faulk told the Journal that the biggest expense when it comes to processing returns is shipping costs. “Returning to a store is significantly cheaper because the retailer can save the freight, which can run 15% to 20% of the cost,” Faulk said.

But, returning products to physical stores isn’t something a lot of people are wanting to do. According to the return processing firm Narvar, online returns increased by 70% in 2020. With people still hunkered down because of the pandemic, changing how to handle returns is a good thing for companies to consider to reduce shipping expenses.

While it might be nice to keep the makeup or batteries for free, don’t expect to return that new PS5 and get to keep it for free, too. According to WSJ, a Walmart spokesperson said the company lets someone keep a refunded item only if the company doesn’t plan on reselling it. And, besides taking the economic costs into consideration, the companies look at the customer’s purchase history as well.

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Google workers have formed company’s first labor union

(BUSINESS NEWS) A number of Google employees have agreed to commit 1% of their salary to labor union dues to support employee activism and fight workplace discrimination.

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Google complex with human sized chessboard, where a labor union has been formed.

On Monday morning, Google workers announced that they have formed a union with the support of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), the largest communications and media labor union in the U.S.

The new union, Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) was organized in secret for about a year and formed to support employee activism, and fight discrimination and unfairness in the workplace.

“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who’ve committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively. Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade,” stated Program Manager Nicki Anselmo in a press release.

AWU is the first union in the company’s history, and it is open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company in the United States and Canada. The cost of membership is 1% of an employee’s total compensation, and the money collected will be used to fund the union organization.

In a response to the announcement, Google’s Director of People Operations, Kara Silverstein, said, “We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course, our employees have protected labor rights that we support. But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.”

Unlike other labor unions, the AWU is considered a “Minority Union”. This means it doesn’t need formal recognition from the National Labor Relations Board. However, it also means Alphabet can’t be forced to meet the union’s demands until a majority of employees support it.

So far, the number of members in the union represents a very small portion of Google’s workforce, but it’s growing every day. When the news of the union was first announced on Monday, roughly 230 employees made up the union. Less than 24 hours later, there were 400 employees in the union, and now that number jumped to over 500 employees.

Unions among Silicon Valley’s tech giants are rare, but labor activism is slowly picking up speed, especially with more workers speaking out and organizing.

“The Alphabet Workers Union will be the structure that ensures Google workers can actively push for real changes at the company, from the kinds of contracts Google accepts to employee classification to wage and compensation issues. All issues relevant to Google as a workplace will be the purview of the union and its members,” stated the AWU in a press release.

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Ticketmaster caught red-handed hacking, hit with major fines

(BUSINESS NEWS) Ticketmaster has agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after hacking into a competitor’s network specifically to sabotage.

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Person open on hacking computer screen, typing on keyboard.

Live Nation’s Ticketmaster agreed to pay $10 million to resolve criminal charges after admitting to hacking into a competitor’s network and scheming to “choke off” the ticket seller company and “cut [victim company] off at the knees”.

Ticketmaster admitted hiring former employee, Stephen Mead, from startup rival CrowdSurge (which merged with Songkick) in 2013. In 2012, Mead signed a separation agreement to keep his previous company’s information confidential. When he joined Live Nation, Mead provided that confidential information to the former head of the Artist Services division, Zeeshan Zaidi, and other Ticketmaster employees. The hacking information shared with the company included usernames, passwords, data analytics, and other insider secrets.

“When employees walk out of one company and into another, it’s illegal for them to take proprietary information with them. Ticketmaster used stolen information to gain an advantage over its competition, and then promoted the employees who broke the law. This investigation is a perfect example of why these laws exist – to protect consumers from being cheated in what should be a fair market place,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Sweeney.

In January 2014, Mead gave a Ticketmaster executive multiple sets of login information to Toolboxes, the competitor’s password-protected app that provides real-time data about tickets sold through the company. Later, at an Artists Services Summit, Mead logged into a Toolbox and demonstrated the product to Live Nation and Ticketmaster employees. Information collected from the Toolboxes were used to “benchmark” Ticketmaster’s offerings against the competitor.

“Ticketmaster employees repeatedly – and illegally – accessed a competitor’s computers without authorization using stolen passwords to unlawfully collect business intelligence,” said Acting U.S. Attorney DuCharme in a statement. “Further, Ticketmaster’s employees brazenly held a division-wide ‘summit’ at which the stolen passwords were used to access the victim company’s computers, as if that were an appropriate business tactic.”

The hacking violations were first reported in 2017 when CrowdSurge sued Live Nation for antitrust violations. A spokesperson told The Verge, “Ticketmaster terminated both Zaidi and Mead in 2017, after their conduct came to light. Their actions violated our corporate policies and were inconsistent with our values. We are pleased that this matter is now resolved.”

To resolve the case, Ticketmaster will pay a $10 million criminal penalty, create a compliance and ethics program, and report to the United States Attorney’s Office annually during a three-year term. If the agreement is breached, Ticketmaster will be charged with: “One count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusions, one count of computer intrusion for commercial advantage, one count of computer intrusion in furtherance of fraud, one count of wire fraud conspiracy and one count of wire fraud.”

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