May 11, 2010

Life Coach

From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...

Stupid emails are a common part of my day. I'm used to people emailing me asking for information that's readily available on our website. I'm used to stupid questions like "is your school good?" (The answer is yes, but if it wasn't, what do they think I would tell them?) But today I got the craziest email I've ever received (at work), subject heading: What Should I Do with the Next 10 Years of my Life?

This person eventually would like to graduate from our program, but can't decide if s/he should apply now or in ten years. I ran this by my trusty G-chat friend G who advised me to respond thusly: 1) Don't procreate, 2) Learn to think for yourself. It's a good start, but as I'm sure you expected, I've got more:

Dear Clueless,

Why the hell would you ask me such a question? You don't know me. You know nothing about me. I know nothing about you. Granted, I am the person to talk to if you want to know how to get admitted to our program, but when I answer admissions-related questions, I assume the people asking them know for sure that they want to come to our program, and are planning to do so pretty soon. Maybe that was naive of me, I don't know.

And dude, I can't even answer this question for myself. I can't decide if I want to stay at my current job or look for a new one, I can't decide if I should start saving to buy a place, I can't decide if I want to order a freaking dress from ModCloth! (I was leaning towards yes after two glasses of wine but then a friend told me it looked like an apron, so now I'm back to square one.)

I do not make enough money to be giving out life advice; I'm a bureaucrat. I can tell you how to navigate our admissions system and apply for grants, but I can't tell you how to live your life. I'm not Oprah or Dr. Phil. If you want to pay me an Oprah or Dr. Phil salary, I'll start handing out misguided life advice, but until then, get your shit together and come back when you want to know about letters of recommendation.

In solidarity,

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