This morning I finally received a letter (pictured) telling me that I hadn’t been selected for the Australia 2020 Summit. Gosh. I’d already figured that out from not being on the published lists of those who were going.
Apart from the rather late arrival of the news and the traditional passive-voice bureaucratic writing style, there’s two interesting points about this letter.
- I left the “title” field of the nomination form blank, since I don’t use them. I think titles like “Mr”, “Miss”, “Mrs”, “Ms” etc are an archaic way of labelling people. Nevertheless they felt compelled to use “Mr/s”, even though I had filled in the gender field.
- The official website said that people who applied via email, like me, would receive an email reply. They can’t even follow their own published procedure.
I really am trying to find good-news stories about the Summit, I really am…
2 Replies to “Australia 2020 rejection letter finally arrives”
Probably the result of some database/mail merge-related intransigence. It’s depressingly easy to throw a spanner in the works of bureaucracy. It causes people enough heartache that I don’t have a middle name or a landline telephone number.
I’d never really thought much about the gender/marital status labels before. But now that you mention it, surely in most situations, these things shouldn’t be important.
Besides, it’s a pain in the backside for all involved when gender isn’t readily apparent from the addressee’s name, but etiquette dictates that a title must be used. It often results in somebody making an embarrassing wrong guess.
Just out of curiosity, how would you suggest people be addressed in letters/formal situations, if the traditional titles were done away with/ made optional? For example, should a new, gender-neutral title be introduced, or should we just be addressed by our given/family/preferred name?
@Sweet Sister Morphine: I agree that unusual examples screw up bureaucracies. But then a good bureaucracy (if that’s not an oxymoron) will have taken all that into account.
When I first got my only-one-name sorted with Medicare, a programmer there was proud to say they’d researched how names worked in Australia and she was confident the system could cope with anything thrown at it. Whether the data entry operators know how to deal with that was another issue, of course.
My passport has one name, no title, and no questions were asked.
How do I reckon people deal with letters and formal situations? Well, I have no problem with using a given name, since that’s something everyone has. The family name is, well, the family‘s name. Or just avoid the issue with a salutation of “Good morning”, which is what I do if unsure. If a bureaucracy, then perhaps that’s a field on the form: “preferred form of address”.
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