My Response to Cat Tales Zoo

26 Oct

Dear Ms. Hunter,

Thank you for returning my e-mail.  I am writing this e-mail because I was very eager to volunteer at your zoo.  I was pleased with my visit, found the zoo-keepers informative and friendly, and badly wanted to gain experience within a zoo setting.  I was so impressed that I wrote your e-mail contact and gave a very good review on Yelp, not to mention several personal recommendations to my friends and co-workers.

Unfortunately, I have been confused and misinformed throughout my quest to volunteer at Cat Tales Zoo.  When I went to get the physical volunteer application there was confusion on the part of the keeper at the check-in gate, as well as those in the gift shop.  I had to wait twenty minutes for them to track something down.  As excited as I was to volunteer my time, I overlooked this.  The formal application did not say anything about letters of recommendation, let alone specify the preferred format for them.  Also, the (friendly) keepers that found the application did not mention the necessity of letters or what format such letters should take.
Though, my initial e-mail correspondence did mention letters were needed, I trusted the application more then a faceless internet response, because I did not know who was returning my first request for information.  When I turned in the application, which I completely filled out, including the required reference names and phone numbers, I was allowed to meet Brandi.  I am not sure of her title or qualification, bus she seemed important, and was confused why I did not have my three letters of recommendation.  Considering these were not specified on the application itself, or by the keeper who handed it to me, I found her attitude that I should have already known off-putting.  Still, wanting to gain experience in a zoo setting, I again overlooked the mis-communication and poor attitude towards me.  I knew my dedication and superior work ethic would win everyone over once I was admitted to a volunteer spot.  Wanting to get the letters in as soon as possible I asked Brandi for an e-mail address to send the letters to.  This would get them there faster, and let me volunteer sooner.  I would think if letters were not welcome in an electronic format Brandi would not have provided the e-mail address or told me what to put in the subject line, “Attn:  Margaret Hunter.”
Ms. Hunter, I found your response to my legitimate e-mail featuring my three letters (which I had in my possession because I had just finished my application to veterinary school), as well as an invitation to follow up with each of those letter-writers, disheartening.  Writing SPAM in a subject line is not only unprofessional and un-diplomatic, it is downright abrasive.  Instead of being treated like an enthusiastic pre-veterinary student wanting to help the zoo and wild animals within, I was treated as some sort of charlatan.  Saying you need ORIGINAL, signed letters implies that I forged my letters (I did not) and that I could not properly follow instructions (none were provided).  That whole communication made me disappointed to the point that it would not be fair to me, the zoo, or for the animals to volunteer my time.  Your consistent lack of clear communication, and, especially, your severe response sapped all my motivation to work for free at your zoo.  As such, I will not be mailing my letters of recommendation.  I suggest communicating expectations of volunteer requirements to your entire staff as well as making them clear on the application so that other hopefuls such as myself do not have to go through this same negative experience.  Thank you for your time.
Sincerely,
7aurel 7ehl
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