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I have an unusual situation

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So I'm not sure if this has happened to anyone yet but I may have an issue with my referee...

So I had asked them to write me a reference back in June and they had agreed. I tried to reach out to them around August to figure out where they were at and get an update but I received no reply. But I decide to trust them and wait it out. A couple weeks go by and I finally cave and find someone else as a referee. The original referee ends up contacting me so I keep them as a referee. Fast forward to this past Saturday where I attempted to get an update again, and the original referee doesn't reply again. Again I wait it out until today when I call them and they don't pick up. At this point, I am getting worried and so I contact the backup again and remove the original as a reference. The original ends up contacting me again and I explain to them the situation, they end up explaining their circumstances (which I obviously can't go into too much detail about), which ends up making me feel terrible as I should have trusted them. So now what do I do? I have possibly ruined my relationship with this person forever. Is all their progress lost on the reference forms? Is it possible to get it back? 

I apologize for the long post or if this belongs elsewhere. Any advice is appreciated. What would you guys basically do in my situation? 

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I think it’s difficult to remedy this situation easily.

 

You could consider explaining to the original referee, that you apologize, and should have given a clear outline on your needs (both the having the reference letter, and the timing you needed it by). That you recognize that you failed to clearly define the timeline at which the letter had to be complete for you to feel prepared for the application. Then you can explain that you were worried by the lack of email response, and recognizing a lack of clearly agreed upon timeframe of when the letter needed to be completed, that you had change your reference request and unfortunately the system only allows permanent removal of the referee, and only one person to hold a position as a reference at a time. Of course you feel terrible, but the reference should hopefully understand that you were in a compromised situation as they had not provided you insight into their situation until a week before the application was due. This might not have been in their control, but it certainly wasn’t in your control either. 

 

As for why you should have trusted them? I’m not sure I understand. It’s difficult to know why you should have trusted them, unless they explicitly said “I will be hard to contact, and I might not have the reference complete until a week before its due”. It seems like its a huge burden or trust and vulnerabity on you otherwise. 

 

Hopefully you wont have to worrry about this in the future as this application will be successful. Good luck!

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The referee abused your trust by not being available in a timely manner despite your best efforts. You acted sensibly and properly throughout, while the referee did not regardless of circumstances. You should not feel badly, the ex referee should! If the relationship is ruined, it is due to lack of understanding by the ex referee,  it by anything you did. If said person is no longer in your corner,  hock this up to life experience where things happen beyond your control, but you certainly acted appropriately. This person should be only too happy to protect your interests in the future and if this is held against you, it speaks badly for this person.

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11 hours ago, MountainAmoeba said:

I think it’s difficult to remedy this situation easily.

 

You could consider explaining to the original referee, that you apologize, and should have given a clear outline on your needs (both the having the reference letter, and the timing you needed it by). That you recognize that you failed to clearly define the timeline at which the letter had to be complete for you to feel prepared for the application. Then you can explain that you were worried by the lack of email response, and recognizing a lack of clearly agreed upon timeframe of when the letter needed to be completed, that you had change your reference request and unfortunately the system only allows permanent removal of the referee, and only one person to hold a position as a reference at a time. Of course you feel terrible, but the reference should hopefully understand that you were in a compromised situation as they had not provided you insight into their situation until a week before the application was due. This might not have been in their control, but it certainly wasn’t in your control either. 

 

As for why you should have trusted them? I’m not sure I understand. It’s difficult to know why you should have trusted them, unless they explicitly said “I will be hard to contact, and I might not have the reference complete until a week before its due”. It seems like its a huge burden or trust and vulnerabity on you otherwise. 

 

Hopefully you wont have to worrry about this in the future as this application will be successful. Good luck!

Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it. This person ended up telling me to message them the next day and they 'will' get back to me in the evening. Unsurprising but yet again they did not reply. No matter the reasons for her being busy, I gave this person plenty of time. They did mention they would be on vacation but I made the deadline very clear from the beginning. I did not expect them to take this long. 

I'm thinking of abandoning this referee and using my backup instead, although it is on such a short time frame I have no other choice, unfortunately. 

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10 hours ago, Bambi said:

The referee abused your trust by not being available in a timely manner despite your best efforts. You acted sensibly and properly throughout, while the referee did not regardless of circumstances. You should not feel badly, the ex referee should! If the relationship is ruined, it is due to lack of understanding by the ex referee,  it by anything you did. If said person is no longer in your corner,  hock this up to life experience where things happen beyond your control, but you certainly acted appropriately. This person should be only too happy to protect your interests in the future and if this is held against you, it speaks badly for this person.

I agree 100%, I guess at the moment I was just made to feel bad by them because of their reasons. Thank you for your encouragement, I suppose I have to use my back up referee and hope they can get it done on time. 

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