I turned in my editing this past Friday and didn't hear from my potential employer until today. While I was in the middle of an afternoon class, my phone made the little defecating noise that I've assigned to arriving emails. I risked a peek, saw it was from Metatron, and forced myself to wait until class was over to read it.
Cutting to the chase, then: Metatron has spoken, and its answer is a polite no. While that's disappointing, it's also not surprising. It could well be that I made a few mistakes while editing that huge document. There's also the issue of competition: I wasn't the only one applying for this position, which put the odds against me. It could also be that Metatron's rejection email was telling the truth. Let's talk a bit about that email.
I said it was "a polite no." In fact, it has to be one of the politest rejections I've ever received from anyone, be it from a company or from a woman. I can't repeat the email here, word for word, because that would make the thing too easy to Google. So instead, I'll offer a bullet-point summary. Au fond:
• There was no mention of how I did with my editing—no critiques, nothing. The email began with "We have taken a look..." but not a look at my work, apparently: it was a look at Metatron's own budget. According to the email, Metatron doesn't have the budget (the "resources") for a full-time managing-editor position.
• This state of affairs is subject to change in future. For the moment, Metatron regrets that it must pass up the chance to bring me on as a staffer.
• If this is agreeable, Metatron wishes me to stay in contact as a possible consultant for freelance proofing/editing work.
• Such work would be paid on a per-project basis.
• Metatron wishes me best of luck with all future endeavors.
COMMENTARY: The rejection is formulated as a classic breakup note: "It's not you, love: it's me." Metatron is placing itself at fault for not having foreseen the tightness of its budget. How true or plausible is this? I'd say not very: Metatron is a rich company, given the property it owns and its location near Gwanghwamun in Seoul. I seriously doubt that the editing position suddenly became unavailable because of an unforeseen budget shortfall. The other alternative is that Metatron just wants to spare my feelings. Is that because my editing sucked? It would be depressing to find out that I was not enough of a language Nazi when it mattered.
Metatron's statement that things may be "subject to change" later on is a politic way of saying "Don't give up hope quite yet. Yes, we've kicked you in the nuts, but if you manage to stand, you have the chance to be kicked in the nuts again, which is character-building." Upshot: I can probably re-apply for the position later, which may imply that I didn't completely fuck up the editing job I'd been given.
Lastly, there's the offer of freelance work. I'm not sure how to take this. On the one hand, it seems to mean that Metatron found my work of sufficient quality that the company might use my services in a time of need. On the other hand, in offering me the possibility of freelance work without revealing anything more specific or substantive, Metatron has committed itself to nothing, which is no different, practically speaking, from an outright rejection.
So all in all, I think I got the boot in the politest way possible. I'll say this for the company: it's classy, and it's obvious that it traffics in the realm of international politics. Seeming to offer something without actually committing to anything is about as politician-worthy a move as a company can make. For what it's worth, it was interesting, for a time, for me to see how the big boys operate. Working at Metatron would have meant working in a completely different business climate and culture from the one I've gotten used to. I'm glad to at least have had a glimpse of the stratosphere.