Write it yourself

Credit: Robert Neubecker

Want a letter? You write it for me

A few years back, I asked two colleagues for letters of support for my grant proposal. One colleague drafted a letter personally. The other, citing heavy time pressures, asked me to draft the letter myself. I was sympathetic, but I felt queasy pretending to be someone else as I described my own work. To appease my conscience, I wrote as myself: “I” meant me and “you” meant my colleague. This was risky. If the colleague simply signed and sent the letter, neglecting the required pronoun switcheroo, the letter would instantly reveal its true originator. I am grateful that the colleague saved me that embarrassment, and even added authentic language to the letter. (Read on at Science.)

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