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I have read on many websites that Good luck finding a new job is sarcastic and not a well-intentioned wish.

How do I make it well-intentioned and still use finding?

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    "Good luck finding a new job" can be sarcastic, e.g. if said to a colleague who is planning to do something foolish that may put them in bad standing with the management, or result in dismissal; it is not sarcastic if said to a colleague who has announced that they are leaving to seek a new job. The situation and tone of voice make the intended meaning clear. Commented Jun 17 at 14:32
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    I’m voting to close this question because whether "Good luck with that!" is sarcastic or sincere is nothing to do with changing the actual words. It's a matter of context and delivery. Commented Jun 17 at 15:41
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    I just enjoyed watching the new movie Inside Out 2. At one point, the adolescent brain discovers the use of sarcasm, depicted visually as a "Sarc Chasm," a great canyon. Characters shout messages to other characters on the other side of the divide, and their well-intentioned meanings come out inverted by a sarcastic tone. While written language has "tone," it creates it through context and leading clues. If you are giving little context, you have little control to steer the tone. Commented Jun 17 at 17:28
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    I'd avoid it and use a different construction instead.
    – alan2here
    Commented Jun 18 at 10:34
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    Sarcasm in English comes from tone not from an expression per se. An expression like this one.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 18 at 13:22

8 Answers 8

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I don't think 'Good luck finding a new job' is necessarily sarcastic and not a well-intentioned wish.

As @Michael Harvey rightly said. It depends on the situation and our tone.

Some interpretations may just be taking this informal definition of "good luck" with no bad intention.

2 informal → used to say that one thinks what someone is trying to do is difficult or impossible

Sense 1 of this dictionary says

1 → used to say that one hopes someone will succeed

How your message will be interpreted has nothing to do with the gerund-participle finding.

I believe if we convey our goodwill sincerely, the listener would not misunderstand.

Edit

I prefer Good luck with your job search which has many more hits. Good luck with finding a new job is fine too.

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    The point is that "Good luck!" can be sincere or sarcastic regardless of what you are wishing the person luck with. Commented Jun 17 at 15:11
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    What I like about this answer is that, while it's true that the phrase isn't always or automatically sarcastic, there are patterns that sarcastic uses stick to, like "Good luck with that." Disrupting the pattern just a little should avoid the danger of being misunderstood, like "Wishing you good luck finding a new job!" Personally, I'd go with "I hope your job search goes well!" Commented Jun 17 at 17:31
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    @AndyBonner - best of luck prising the gin bottle out of Mother's hands - sarcastic or sincere? Commented Jun 17 at 20:11
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    @MichaelHarvey sincere wishing of good luck, whilst expressing skepticism about the achievability of the task.
    – Brondahl
    Commented Jun 18 at 13:45
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    @Fattie, I've never heard this before and it sounds nuts--there's a huge element of luck in job hunting! Commented Jun 18 at 15:40
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Context is Everything.

"Good luck finding a new job" can indeed be read as sarcastic. By itself, that's probably how it will be read.

"I was so happy to work with you. You taught me more than anyone else and I was devastated to learn you were leaving. Thank you for everything. Good luck finding a new job!" ...will generally read as sincere, unless the first part is blatantly false.

If you are concerned about coming across as sarcastic, add a little bit more language to indicate that you are sincere.

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I'm going to disagree with most of the answers here. It's hard to imagine a context where "good luck finding a new job" doesn't have a negative tinge to it. There's something idiomatic about this phrase, at least to me. If could be where I am from, my age group, or something like that. I would never say that to someone. There's too much risk it will be taken as a 'dig'.

I don't know how to explain it exactly, but if you say:

Good luck finding your next job/role

It feels unambiguously supportive. I think it's the implicit assertion that the subject will find a new job.

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  • Here is a context: a colleague of mine has already given formal notice they will leave the company, though they haven't found a new job yet.
    – Doc Brown
    Commented Jun 19 at 11:08
  • @DocBrown And in that context, it could be interpreted that they have maybe made a mistake. I think part of the issue is there's a cultural assumption that luck is in opposition to skill or talent. The implication that luck is needed is a bit of a slight. It's not completely logical. Wishing someone luck on an exam is totally fine.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 19 at 15:39
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Frame challenge: "...finding a new job" is the problem. I'd replace with "Best wishes for your future". I'd also avoid email is at all possible, as your way of speaking says more: sound sincere.

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    Or other similar wording such as, "Good luck with your job search" / "job hunting".
    – fdomn-m
    Commented Jun 18 at 8:35
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    This answer is unclear. Why is it a problem to say "...finding a new job"?
    – kaya3
    Commented Jun 18 at 23:17
  • @kaya3 If the speaker (1) thinks the other person will be fired, and (2) that other people won't want to hire them, and (3) wants to convey this to the other person in a hurtful manner, then there is no problem at all. Commented Jun 19 at 1:11
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    You've written that your answer is a frame challenge, but I don't see how this answer challenges anything in the question. And your comment seems to say, in fact, that you agree with OP's assessment of the original wording. So what is it about the original wording which conveys sarcasm, and how does your proposed alternative avoid the problem? And if the words "good luck" aren't the problem, why is it necessary to change them to "best wishes"?
    – kaya3
    Commented Jun 19 at 7:15
  • @kaya3 "what is it about the original wording which conveys sarcasm,..." There is your problem: the words don't convey sarcasm, but they are open to a sarcastic interpretation. Sarcasm is often a matter of tone, and convention. I suggested changing the words to make that interpretation less likely. Commented Jun 19 at 9:11
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The other answers at this point in time1 have largely not addressed the formal requirement of keeping2 the gerund "finding". So, to that end:

Finding a new job can be challenging in these hard times, but I absolutely wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.

1 I hate that phrase.

2 I worked in a second gerund.

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"Good luck finding a new job" isn't always, or even usually, sarcastic. It's very context dependent. If the person you are writing to knows you as someone who wishes them well, and everything else you write is positive, you don't need to worry that they are going to take it as sarcastic.

In the absence of context the easiest way to remove any possibility of misunderstanding is to add a personal subject.

I wish you the best of luck finding a new job

is very unlikely to be taken as sarcasm.

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    It carries the implication that the person will need luck to find a job rather than themselves being obviously employable, which is somewhat disparaging even if meant sincerely. Commented Jun 18 at 7:30
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    @PeteKirkham No it doesn't. At least, I wouldn't generally take it that way, and I suspect (though I have no proof) that only a minority of people would understand it the disparaging way without something else to suggest that's the intended meaning.
    – David Z
    Commented Jun 18 at 8:27
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    "Good luck [doing x]" is colloquially the same as "Best wishing" or "I hope [doing x] goes well" - it's generally not considered that you need to be lucky. Job hunting can have some inherent base in luck, eg that you apply just at the right time
    – fdomn-m
    Commented Jun 18 at 8:37
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    If you take the line that "anything can be sarcasm" then you would never say anything at all for fear of misunderstanding. Or would you? Maybe I meant that sarcastically? Or maybe only that last part? Commented Jun 18 at 15:22
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    "I wish you the best of luck finding a new job" this seems cold from my (US) perspective. It has a "you are dismissed" vibe.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 18 at 17:03
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I would just say ;

"Best wishes for your future endeavours."

It is not necessary the person would be doing another job, maybe he want to take a break, or maybe create his own business or write a book or take an early retirement.

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    Perhaps "for endeavours" is idiomatic in other dialects of English? It sounds very wooden to me. I've always heard it said as "in your (future) endeavours".
    – TimR
    Commented Jun 18 at 9:10
  • @TimR Whether this particular phrase is particularly idiomatic, or not: The idea to use a more general phrase is, I think, the proper one. "We regret that Mr/Ms X is leaving us and with him/her all the best for his/her future" or the like is unambiguous. Commented Jun 18 at 12:15
  • @TimR I actually meant that, I must have had what you call a "brain fart" and forgot to type it. Commented Jun 18 at 13:03
  • Best wishes in your endeavors. for endeavors is not grammatical.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 18 at 13:23
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    You can just correct the text directly. No need to keep the mistake.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 18 at 20:08
-1

Best of luck finding a new job.

Best of luck with your job search.

I have never heard "best of luck" used sarcastically.

P.S. In American English

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    Sarcastic use of 'best of luck with [that/some action or hope]' is very common indeed in the UK and Ireland. Best of luck with getting a response from Ryanair Commented Jun 17 at 17:20
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    I would have called that just plain rudeness. An unforgiveable way to behave to a guest in your home and your country. If that is 'snark', then I can see why you might very well dislike it. By the way, when I was a boy I saw a cartoon in an American science fiction magazine which showed an astronaut being shown a cabin in a spaceship. It contained a ladies' dressing table with a mirror surrounded by bulbs. A sign on the door said 'POWDER ROOM'. The other guy was saying 'The contractors misread the blueprint - this should have been a power room.' Commented Jun 17 at 21:50
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    Do you remember Archie Bunker and his 'turlet'? Commented Jun 17 at 21:51
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    @SimonCrase In the US, "I have to use the bathroom" is synonymous with relieving yourself. You can "use the bathroom" on a bush, tree, or a wall. If you direct a (drunk) young American male to 'use the bathroom' in a room with no toilet, you may not like the result.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Jun 18 at 17:34
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