If you're a lady, chances are every time someone writes you a letter of recommendation they say you're "caring" or "sensitive," especially if you threatened to rip their balls off if they didn't. There's your problem: too caring and sensitive!
Don't blame me: it's science. A new study that analyzed hundreds of letters of recommendation for college faculty positions found that women got all the weak, Strawberry Shortcake, "She's so caring and nurturing" recommendations, while men all got called "assertive," "confident," "aggressive," and shit like that, which is the hardcore shit that employers look for, in faculty members.
In theory, both sets of words were positive. There's nothing wrong, one might hope, with being a supportive colleague. But the researchers then took the letters, removed identifying information, and controlled for such factors as number of papers published, number of honors received, and various other objective criteria. When search committee members were asked to compare candidates of comparable objective criteria, those whose letters praised them for "communal" or "emotive" qualities (those associated with women) were ranked lower than others.
Sorry, ladies. We do have some positions open in the Babysitter's Club, though!