Cultivating a professional network is generally believed to be beneficial

Context: Your classmates could be important business contacts as you progress through your career. Cultivating a professional network is generally believed to be beneficial; however, it could also result in uncomfortable or delicate situations, such as being asked to provide a recommendation for someone whose skills or other attributes you do not respect.

Situation: You are a couple years out of college and working for a successful marketing firm, Sunrise Enterprises, in Chicago. In fact, you are already an assistant director in the design department and supervise five other employees. It is early Monday morning and you are sifting through emails as you settle into your desk when a sense of dread comes over you. You see an email from James Smith, a former classmate of yours, in which James is asking you to write a letter of recommendation for him for a position he is applying to in the Chicago area. He lets you know that the position involves a high level of collaboration, and he believes you can speak to this trait since he was on your C204/5 team.

You’ve kept in touch with James through social media and would like to continue to do so, but your memory of his skills as a team member are far more negative than positive. You felt that he did not contribute his fair share of the work to your team project, gave up quickly when the tasks were difficult, and created tension on the team by talking behind teammates’ backs.

Task: You’ve decided to decline the request for the letter and now must figure out how to respond. Write an email to James and include all elements you think are necessary for a professional response. You may create additional information as needed, but do not change the facts of the situation above. Please write in Microsoft Word and then upload.