This thread has taken on a life of its own, on a rather different tack from my original posting. I had really just wanted to draw to pet owners’ attention to the fact that not all prospective sitters see their postings at the same time, and that the first in first served, early bird catches the worm approach to applicants can disadvantage those who, for one reason or another (being in different time zones, whatever) aren’t able to immediately press the apply button when a posting is listed. Waiting say one or even two days would allow a somewhat more equal playing field as it were. At the end of the day though, of course pet owners are free to make their choices based on whatever criteria they wish!
This also relates to what has become the main topic of discussion. There are really two issues – TH’s role in the automatic generation of messages (and I agree that TH could potentially do a better job with this, as several people have suggested), and individual reaction to rejection; and I agree with those who advise not taking failure to secure a specific position personally – no matter how much you might have been hoping for it, or how stellar your qualifications and reviews might be, I see no point at all in letting this rankle. There are a large number of excellent pet sitters out there!, and pet owners may have any number of considerations, personal or otherwise, in choosing a pet sitter. It’s also up to them how much communication they might want to have with unsuccessful applicants, and when a personal note is received, one can just be grateful for the courtesy, There’s always another posting just around the corner!
Pet owners take a leap of faith when they invite us into their own homes and “trust” us with the care of their pets, and that’s something for us sitters to celebrate, and be grateful for the opportunities we’re offered for some amazing experiences.