Grr. I am trying to write an email about a job possibility that I am regretfully turning down because the person offering it isn't going to know definitely for several months, and because I already have a job in Sweden. However, I simply can not find a way to phrase said email that will get past my correspondent's spam filters. I suspect they're aggressively blocking anything that contains keywords like job, opportunity, application and similar. Possibly growth is also a problem (it's a science job relating to studying cell growth).
And yeah, that's a dumb way to write spam filters, but really the people to blame are the evil spammers who have created a climate where it's hard to have any legitimate discussion about job prospects! When I was working at the university earlier in the year, I would have an automatic negative response to any application coming from Nigeria; my first thought would be, Nigeria, oh, probably just spam. Which is very unfair on real Nigerians who legitimately want to apply to Cambridge (happily I didn't have any say in the decisions, I was just filing stuff).
I have known spam filters to complain about an email where I used the words fantasy and adult, in the course of a discussion about fantasy novels for the young adult market. But at least those spam filters only complained, they didn't actually block my email from getting through.
So can anyone think of a way to say
Thank you for offering me a position to work with you on cell growth. Unfortunately the timing makes it impossible for me to take up this offer. I need the security of knowing I have something definite, rather than waiting for the outcome of our grant application before I can start making plans. For this reason I have decided to accept a different job, also related to cell growth as it happens. Thanks very much for all your help and support.
without confusing a stupid spam filter into thinking I am trying to fool gullible people with non-existent job opportunities?
Spam filters are silly. My worst encounter with them is when ordering something from Lush online, having to email them when it failed to arrive, only to find that their spam filter blocked the name of their own product. It proved very difficult to write a sensible email. I think I just phoned them in the end.
I'm thinking codes/deliberate misspellings/foreign languages/writing backwards for the problem words, with an explanation that you're doing it to beat their spam filter. But as you're turning down an offer, that might seem a little rude.
You could substitute 'position' for 'job', unless it rejects 'position' as well. 'bid' or 'proposal' for application. 'development' for 'growth', or would that be technically incorrect?
I must say I don't really see the point of spam filters that actually block, rather than just mark. After all, how long does it take to press the delete key?
It takes ages to press the delete key if you're sorting through hundreds of potential spam emails which have been redirected to a spam folder. You can easily delete something that isn't spam that way, too, especially if you don't recognise the name of the person who sent the message.
If a spam filter just redirected, then the person who sent the email wouldn't know that their email hadn't got through.
I've never actually come across a spam filter that blocks, but think it's a good idea, unless they're so overprogrammed that real emails can't get through. At work, we used to have one which filtered any emails with words like "job" or "application" into a folder which the IT guys had set up so that "management" could check to see that no one was using work email for job hunting. We knew that certain keywords removed privacy from our email, and so I didn't much use work email for personal letters.
wow! that sounds awful.. although at least you knew about it. did people just find out, or was it made quite clear? my workplace is pretty disorganised - they have a habit of changing the rules and not telling anyone and then going STOP IT OR YOU'LL BE TERMINATED! without warning. which is a bit rude. i dont think it's deliberately malicious, they're just a bit incompetent..
I had an e-mail bounced because it contained the phrase 'close, but no cigar'. Elegant rephrasing to avoid all hints of lewd Lewinsky references got me past the filter after several attempts with this:
Close, but no cylindrical sundried nicotania leaf-rolled combustion-aerosolisation device (readers in the United States of America and Trust Territories should note that brands sourced in CUba are cinsidered illegal imports; to be used with due consideration for those nearby if designated smoking areas are not available; consult your doctor about possible carcinigenic effects in lung tissue and a statistical risk of cardiovascular disorders).
I would be happy to rephrase your polite letter but I think that the solution to your particular problem lies in sending a Word attachment in a zipfile.
I'm shaken. I didn't realise anyone actually did have so unhelpful filters! If they're bouncing the message *anyway*, why couldn't they include a challenge/response message?
Is it possible to phone them? I hate phoning people, but (a) it will get through (b) the people might be genuinely unaware how much mail is bouncing -- if you had been able to work for them, would they have wanted you to be unable to contact them? They *might* be greateful to know.