Ask Luci ““ 5/5

In today’s Ask Luci, we have a question dealing with one of my favorite subjects: People who don’t extend some common courtesy. Let us know in the comments if you have any other input!This spring, I was applying to go back to grad school, and I asked an old boss to write a letter of recommendation for me. My boss totally flaked, and even though I was able to get my application in on time – I had a backup letter-writer, which to any future applicants, is a must-have – I’m not sure how to handle the situation with the boss. We’ve stayed fairly close, and not only did he fail to write the letter, he didn’t respond to my very gentle just-checking-in emails. Basically, our communication went from, “I’m so excited to hear about your grad school plans, and I’d love to help!” to ::crickets:: Mutual friends say he’s still at work and seems to be fine, although of course that may not be the case… my first instinct is just to drop it, but I don’t want to completely lose touch with this person. Any thoughts?

Oh man, I had a similar situation when I applied to grad school. In my case, my former boss did write my letter of recommendation, but late. That was even after I told him I could find someone else, because it was clear he didn’t want to write it. When I got accepted into grad school, I wrote a little thank you note letting him know and thanking him for his help, and I have never heard from him since. I suggest you do the same. I have little patience for people who can’t or won’t extend a simple common courtesy, such as saying, “I am sorry, but things have gotten really busy, I want to be able to put in as much thought as possible for your letter of recommendation, and I just don’t think I am going to be able to do that with how my schedule is right now.” When people can’t be arsed to even do that, especially when it’s something that affects another person’s future, such as grad school, I say forget about it.

I suppose if this person is really important to you, you could update them letting them know you got into school (no thanks to them. You probably shouldn’t include that, though) and checking in with them. But from my standpoint, I wouldn’t bother. Focus your energies on maintaining your relationships with the people who actually DID write you letters. Those are the ones you want to keep around for networking and references, anyway.

And, great tip to future grad-school applicants – ALWAYS have at least one back-up letter writer in case someone bails.

That’s it for Ask Luci today! Remember to send your questions to lucifurious at, or you can submit anonymously.  See you next week!

By Luci Furious

There are no bad times, only good stories.

2 replies on “Ask Luci ““ 5/5”

I’ve learned to accept that people sometimes just don’t want to do things. That friend who was supposed to meet up and who ignored your texts? Just didn’t feel like answering. There’s no changing that sort of person, no matter how much logic you confront them with or how easy the initially ignored task was.

Oh MAN did I learn this one the hard way. Former boss as well. He at least responded to me when I asked, but things were going so badly, I ended up drafting the letter myself (man that sucked), and it STILL got in late.

I realize this is partially my fault, because after working for him, I should have known it would take him forever. But still – backup letter writers are a must!

Luckily, I got in, so there’s no lingering bitterness (which there might have been if I’d been rejected for completing my application late…) and I’m writing him a lovely thank-you note tonight.

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