Last week, I read that a woman in Cleveland who was in charge of a job bank had sent a pretty wretched response to a young job seeker who requested her connection on LinkedIn. This woman persisted in her rudeness even after the young person tried to explain her desire to connect and after another nasty response, the emails hit the internet and went viral.
“I love the sense of entitlement in your generation,” she wrote, then continued. “You’re welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don’t ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network. Don’t ever write me again.”
Another response of hers has since gone viral too and it was worse.
I thought about this article over the weekend. It irked me.
At first, I thought what bothered me was that this woman clearly doesn’t understand how LinkedIn works or that being an “award winning” communicator was ironic or that it was entirely unnecessary to send such a rude response.
No. What is upsetting about this situation is that this Ms. Blazek clearly did not see her behavior as being a problem until she got caught.
She sent emails like this to what we can guess is many people who were reaching out to her, a job assistance professional, to inquire about jobs. Instead of just declining the request or not responding at all, she made it her job to shame these individuals for their requests. Yes, after being on the national news for her lack of professionalism and decency, she has apologized to those who shared their emails with the press.
But what about those who didn’t?
You don’t go through your day not killing kittens or kicking homeless people because you’re afraid you’ll look bad if you do…you don’t do those things because you’re not an asshole. And because what you do when no one is watching defines your character.
A world where people like this alleged business professional exists is frightening. It’s a world where decisions about how we treat those around us are informed by whether or not we’ll “get in trouble”. This woman got in trouble, her behavior was made wildly public…and so she apologized. If no one but the recipients knew, would she have continued in her perceived position of power to verbally reprimand members of her community who were looking for assistance in employment?
“Looking good” be damned- when did we stop being good?
Yes, this is a story of a Cleveland woman having the lid blown off her heinousness and being sorry but really- it’s lesson to us all in what we do when no one is watching and how, god willing, we want to be and do good regardless.