Sometimes I find it hard to compose a letter for a student who has only done so-so work. I want to reply back to them, "Really?" when I see the request. But I'm a "sucka" and try to piece something together that doesn't overtly say, "I recommend that you find someone other than this person."
The other pain in the arse is that rec letters take so much time to write. Many times the letters are never used. Then I think, "wow I might have been able to try and have a life, thanks "student" for taking 30 minutes of my life for something you're not entirely sure about" - x 20/semester. It would be great if the students all composed a LinkedIn/email rec letter for me in return (hint, hint) ;)
As for the grad school and internship recs -- it's difficult to compose letters that don't have the old "form letter" feeling. I actually prefer to give a phone interview to a written one. As I know (or assume) that most often the letter is a formality.
Does anyone know if academics can get into the same legal trouble as professionals on saying "too much" or on being weary of saying negative things in fear of litigation? The world of academics is very different from the corporate world. But I'd have to imagine the same rules to hold true on answering questions from the HR peeps.
Do you know? What are your feelings/thoughts.
Well now that it's 9:17 on a Saturday night - I think I'll pack up and go home and finish my syllabi for the semester. Fun, fun, fun. I really do love my job - I do.