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Ask Tuffy – Kind Words of Hate Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Posted by Tuffy in ask tuffy, tuffy.

Case in Point

Dear Tuffy,

I’m in an awkward situation, Tuffy, and I need your help. I bit the bullet and asked my old boss, who I HATED, for a recommendation because the job I really want asked me to get one. The old boss, as usual, was completely unaware that I wanted her to die in a hail of fire ants and syphillis. She’ll do it for me, but she wants me to write one for her, too. (Gee; they don’t want her anyone? I’m too shocked to write another word.)

I really don’t want to write this recommendation, but I really want the job. What do I do?

Riled in Reseda

Dear Riley,

She really demanded tit for tat? What makes you think she’ll follow through on a recommendation anyway? This does not sound promising for you; I can see why you approached me.

It’s not a great situation you’re in, but you’ll make it through. You’ve got an option if you want to get this recommendation. Your old boss sounds totally unaware of the world around her and definitely wouldn’t know faint praise from the hole in the ground where she comfortably rests her head most days.

Therefore, she is a prime candidate for a rare but delicious ploy: the coded recommendation letter. If you use the right terminology, you’ll be able to slip your message through while still meeting her onerous requirement.

Below is an example of the type of recommendation you could provide. I would suggest you write your own, but… hell, she’ll never know. She doesn’t even know she’s not wearing pants at this moment or she’s in the shower drowning again.

“Dear Sir or Madam,

(boss) managed me at (place) for (duration). During this time, she provided me with many moments. Often, I found her leadership to be extant. It was a source of inspiration to have her in charge.

Once, I saw her complete a series of tasks. This was an impressive feat for her that won her accolades from her team. We threw a party.

Also, I know you will find her people skills. Often, she works with others. Her reign as our manager brought terror to our competitors as she tortured the abused assumptions of the past to create a bleak future for those that would challenge the market share of the S.O.S. (company name).

She knows how to work through adversity. Once, she identified a deficiency in her ability to consistently locate the posterior region of her person. She was able to apply a GPS satellite in that region through the exuberant help of her staff and was then able to find it much more easily.

In conclusion, she has the keen ability to dress herself, usually communicates in complete sentences, and not soiled herself in a work environment terribly often. Her ability to convert oxygen into life-giving carbon dioxide is a boon for any organization that believes in a green workplace.

Quite sincerely,




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