Essay / Culture

A Much-Needed Gap

Recently I read a witty novel written entirely in the form of letters of recommendation. It reminded me of some spoofs I’ve seen in various places, which I would describe a satires of the genre of recommendation letter. These things have floated around in photocopied form since before the internet, and I can’t trace their authorship. So here is pastiche of the best lines I’ve seen, a compilation that I hope is The Most Ambiguous Recommendation Ever.

Dear Committee Members,

My student Nomen Nescio has asked me to send you a letter of recommendation. He is an incomparable student, literally in a class by himself.  I cannot say enough good things about him or recommend him too highly. I commend him to you as a job candidate with no qualifications whatsoever.

During his time here at university he has demonstrated his abilities completely, leaving none of us in doubt about how much he was capable of. I was always surprised at the amount of background information he knew about anything, and in truth I sometimes reflect that there was nothing I could teach him. He wrote a unique senior thesis that the entire faculty agreed is not the sort of work you expect to see in this day and age, and his research definitely filled a much-needed gap in current literature.

I really cannot recommend him too highly. In some ways his talent was wasted here at university, and I think you will find that his true ability is deceiving.

My classes require punctual attendance and long hours, and in this setting a student like Nomen is always hard to find. He really did not care how many  hours he had to put in to complete a task. It seems to me his career is just taking off. When he left our department, we were very satisfied.

You will be very lucky indeed if you can get him to work at your company. Literally nobody would be better for this job than him. I urge you to waste no time in interviewing him, and I have no doubt that after his time with you, Nomen will move on from your company just as he came to it: fired with enthusiasm!


Professor etc.





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