It was a hold-over from the days of affluence, the time in which we Baby Boomers spent the lion's share of our careers. With so much opportunity around, back then it was considered bad form to act hungry during a job search. WASP manners, that is gentility, prevailed.
So, in applying for a part-time plum writing job today, I kept my professional cool. The powers that be requested that I put together a writing sample based on a news clip. In an hour. That I did.
Then the stunner. An email back stating it wasn't in the ballpark. Gone were the vestiges of good form. I called. Yes, I picked up the phone. I asked with great intensity for feedback, in detail. What in my sample didn't align with their requirements?
I countered, nicely but with intensity, every item. Then the editor brought out there was a lack of agreement between subject and verb in the very line of the first paragraph. I indicated that I had spotted that after I had sent the draft, corrected it and immediately sent another. I noted that I had explained that in the subject head.
Then, I asked for links to what their preferred tone was. I said I really needed to identify where I had been off. The links would be sent soon, was the reply.
Instead of links, I got the job offer. The contract came several hours later. From now on I will push for work. Maybe most of us had done exactly that and just didn't realize it when we were after what we fingered as a plum opportunity.