Dear Members of the Search Committee:

Well, here we are again. I am sitting in my sunroom, listening to the robins, crows, and jays, and I’m trying to type out a list of all my achievements so that you will like me enough to invite me for a Zoom interview and possibly a campus visit.

I already have a teaching job at a small college in South Georgia. You may not know this, but the reason that I can’t leave the South is because I live in Florida (about thirty-five miles from the school where I have taught for the last fifteen years) and Florida is a “men’s rights” state, which meant that after I got a PhD and left my abusive ex, I wasn’t able to move anywhere without giving up custody of my children, which I would never do.

My job isn’t terrible, but I’m underpaid, and I’m looking for better opportunities. You may be wondering why I’m even applying for jobs if I can’t really leave the state of Florida. Good question. I’m applying because maybe my ex will die.

Just kidding.

I’m applying because if the teaching load is a 2/2, as advertised in the Chronicle of Higher Education, I can fly there once a week, because I will schedule my courses back to back. I am really hoping for a campus visit. In fact, I have borrowed three suits (one black, one fuchsia, and one white) from my friend Melanie, who is a lawyer and has a lot of “lawyer clothes.” I figure it’s probably not worth it for me to buy a suit, as I would never wear a suit anywhere except during a campus visit for an academic job.

Yesterday, I read this on the internet: “It is impossible to impress on someone how psychically ruinous it is to receive some thirty rejections over the course of a few months, watching your employment prospects dwindle to zero, and see it happen to so many talented others at the same time. This profession feels over.” When I read this, I felt so melancholy (and I probably shouldn’t reveal this in my cover letter) that I fantasized about quitting academia and becoming a landscape architect. I have this theory that we could bring back Medieval Gardens and that some very rich people or museums could pay me to construct these gardens (walled, of course) and that I could spend my days, as it were, on the other side of the sunroom, with the birds rather than separated from them writing this letter.

Oh, and by the way, I did teach a class at Bennington College on Medieval Romance Poetry. My favorite of the poems we read was Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, which, to be fair, probably shouldn’t even have been included in the course, but I’ve always loved Gawain’s journey and long admired his faith that if he just did what he was supposed to do, then his head wouldn’t get chopped off.

But I digress. I’ve also chaired the promotions committee, and I’ve been the speaker of the faculty senate. It makes me sad that there are people out there who will never be where you are, and frankly, I can sort of include myself in that because all of you are teaching at a finer institution with more resources.

That’s why, of course, I’d love to join you. I would be delighted to bring my administrative and teaching experience to Other State University. I look forward to discussing this position with you in more detail soon.

Sandra Simonds