head of job bank outed for sending nasty emails to job seekers

A reader sent me this story, which blew up in Cleveland yesterday: A communications exec who runs her own email list of local job openings — and advertises herself as a “job bank house mother” — just got outed for sending really nasty emails to job seekers who asked to subscribe to her list and/or connect with her on LinkedIn.

A sample from one weirdly scathing email:

How about starting with NOT presuming I would share my nearly 1,000 personally-known LinkedIn contacts with a TOTAL stranger? How bush league to pull that stunt. It’s what kids do – ask senior executives to link in to them, so they can mine contacts for job leads. That’s tacky, not to mention entitled – what in the world do I derive from accepting a stranger’s connection request? …No more questions or requests. Please tap into the other job seeker resources in NE Ohio for your search.

And another:

You are quite young and green on how business connections work with senior professionals. Apparently you have heard that I produce a Job Bank, and decided it would be stunningly helpful for your career prospects if I shared my 960+ LinkedIn connections with you – a total stranger who has nothing to offer me.

Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. I love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy denying your invite, and giving you the dreaded “I Don’t Know ___” because it’s the truth.

Oh, and about your request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers to my service? That’s denied, too. I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh wait – there isn’t one.

Yikes.

After the story blew up in local media, she issued an apology, which read in part, “I am very sorry to the people I have hurt. Creating and updating the Cleveland Job Bank listings has been my hobby for more than ten years. It started as a labor of love for the marketing industry, but somehow it also became a labor, and I vented my frustrations on the very people I set out to help. Hundreds of people contact me every month looking for help, and as the bottom fell out of the job market, their outreach and requests demanded more of my time. I became shortsighted and impatient, and that was wrong.”

Aside from the obvious entertainment factor that always accompanies wrongheaded emails made public, one reason I think this is interesting is that she clearly started out wanting to help people … and then either got overwhelmed by the demands of doing that and/or let her success in doing it go to her head (probably a little of the former and a lot of the latter) … to the point that she ended up actually taking glee in locking someone out (see “I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town … Oh wait – there isn’t one”).

As a general rule: When you’re getting a high from telling someone with a lot less power than you that you’re shutting them out, there’s a problem.

{ 294 comments… read them below }

  1. Adam

    This has “un-canonized saint mentality” written all over it. I’m sure she had good intentions in starting this service, but when you sound like you want a parade thrown in your honor things are out of whack. Glad she apologized at least. Maybe she can figure out a way to manage the workload so it doesn’t become so stressful.

    1. Random

      Yup! Totally agree.

      She actually deleted the job bank after this article went “national” .. such a shame.

    2. Puddin

      “This has “un-canonized saint mentality” written all over it.” I was thinking the same thing. When someone is a self-described ‘house-mother’ of any sort, as the article put it, I equate that to a type of martyr mentality, certainly a Gatekeeper Supreme.

  2. Sali

    A similar thing happened in the UK the other week to do with the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/02/17/sherlock-holmes-museum-curator-job-applicant_n_4802583.html

    A job seeker sent the curator some questions about a vacant role and was told that she was ‘lazy’ and ‘selfish’ in response. Not nearly as scathing as this Cleveland woman, but the curator in this case got called out on Twitter. Unfortunately I don’t think there ever was a response from her.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      In that case, I actually think the job seeker’s initial inquiry wasn’t great either. The employer’s response wasn’t in any way justified, but they both handled that wrong (the employer more so though).

      1. Sali

        I think there was some confusion, as I read somewhere else that the advert the job seeker saw didn’t have a lot of information on it and there was no link to the website. That said, a quick search online would have almost instantly gave her what she was looking for, so I’m in agreement with you there!

      2. Kerry

        As a data point, I actually applied for a job with the Sherlock Holmes museum about six years ago, to a posting was literally about two sentences, something like:

        “Museum assistant required, must be able to work flexible hours. Willing to train graduates with relevant interests.”

        Although I see the website now has more descriptive postings, I assume they are continuing to send out very brief descriptions to job aggregators, and that’s probably what the jobseeker was responding to.

          1. Kat A.

            Actually, the job applicant posted the listing. It looks like the listing gave plenty of info, & hours could be derived from hours of operation. It gave place, job, salary range. She wanted more details about salary. She should save that for the interview.

    2. Katie the Fed

      I’m really over this idea that if someone is mean to you the appropriate response is public humiliation with the hopes that it goes viral.

      Now, I say that knowing full well I am as guilty of schadenfreude as the next jerk.

      1. Adam

        Oh for the days when we could just head to the bar with friends and cuss out our seedy work acquaintances over pints like normal people. Now “a pound of flesh” translates to “an article on the Huffington Post”.

        If I were even given one wish to be granted I would grant everyone in the world genuine healthy self-esteem. It’d be paradise.

      2. monologue

        The issue here is the power differential. People are learning that the only way to get treated with respect by someone with way more power is to find a way to hold them publicly accountable. Airlines that break your stuff or lose your dog and don’t care until you start a twitter campaign are a great example.

        1. Kat A.

          Agreed. The only way I get something resolved when customer service sends me around and around is to talk about it on Twitter.

      3. Anonymous

        “I’m really over this idea that if someone is mean to you the appropriate response is public humiliation with the hopes that it goes viral. ”

        I think you really understate the situation here. This Kelly person made a name for herself based on portraying herself and what she does in a very specific way; while at the same time displaying incredibly rude, rage-fueled and possibly unbalanced behavior to people in a professional setting. her emails weren’t mean – they were bordering on pathological. And they directly contradicted what she positioned herself to be.

        I have zero sympathy for this woman. As the “senior professional” she claims to be, she should know far better than to spew that type of bile in an email that can easily go public.

        1. Katie the Fed

          actually I was talking about the Sherlock Holmes example. You’ll see my reply is embedded under that.

          1. Anonymous

            Sorry, I wasn’t able to follow which replies were posted under which posts.

            On that one, I’ll fall back on the “2 wrongs don’t make a right” cliché. If the original inquiry was misguided, it doesn’t mean that sending a nasty, condescending note in response is OK. Where does all the anger come from that she’d take the time to write that up and email it, if her concern is that the original inquiry wasted her time.

            1. Katie the Fed

              I would just hate to think that if I were having a bad day and sent a terse email to someone I would be publicly shamed, ya know?

              I could totally see myself being one of those people who goes ballistic at a McDonalds because they’re out of Chicken McNuggets though, under the right circumstances. Even a mild-mannered bureaucrat can be pushed too far…

              1. AB

                I very nearly went ballistic when BurgerKing was out of burgers one year. It was Christmas Eve and we were trying to get to my in-laws driving through the middle of nowhere in nasty weather and we stopped at a BurgerKing (the only restaurant in the tiny town that was open) and they were out of all buns, fries and nuggets.

                1. Audiophile

                  Dunkin ran out of donuts a few weeks back, during not so great weather and coupled with my grandmother taking a turn for the worse, my mother did not take it well. Quite a few expletives were spewed. No public shaming involved, though.

                2. Kimberlee, Esq.

                  I’ve been on the receiving end of this: working fast food, one of the only places in town open on Xmas, and we were out of EVERYTHING. I hope you resisted the urge… it is no fun. We weren’t allowed to close. We had to continue serving the 2 or 3 items we could still actually make.

                  I think that this, like the example in the post, is a time where you should breathe in, say “At least I’m not working on Xmas Eve in a restaurant,” or “At least I’m a senior executive, not some poor marketing grad looking for a job in a tough market.” I like to think that would help.

              2. Cara

                I agree. I didn’t think the Sherlock Holmes museum’s curator’s response was all that rude or out of line. It was a little snippy, yeah, but the attention it got was out of proportion IMO.

      4. Colette

        It’s not necessarily about hoping something would go viral – I could see sharing this with your twitter followers just in a bid for sympathy/understanding/a check as to whether you were out of line. People who are on twitter and who constantly interact with others on twitter could realistically want to share with the people they interact with daily without expecting/wanting it to get read by millions of other people.

  3. Katie the Fed

    Eeek, that’s sad.

    I think it’s easy for those of us who are a little older to underestimate the desperation that many recent college graduates are feeling in this market. They started college when there were plenty of opportunities and graduated into a bleak job environment. They’re trying everything.

    Now, I will admit to being less generous in helping students who have contacted me through our alumni association in recent years because I’ve spent a LOT of time and energy telling people good information about security clearances, government jobs, ideas for getting in the door, etc and 99% of the time never even get a “thank you” email in response. Seriously. That kind of stuff does start to wear on you and make you think the young’uns are just a bunch of entitled ingrates.

    1. Katie the Fed

      Having read the emails in more detail, I DO think she’s not entirely wrong in telling people that their requests are inappropriate, but she could have been a lot more polite about it. They don’t know any better.

      1. AJ-in-Memphis

        Yeah, I agree with you, Katie. I get requests for lists of contacts all the time. Some people get upset with me because I can’t share them (we sign agreements to access contact lists and legally can’t share them) b/c they do feel like they should be able to call on us to get whatever information they want whenever they want it. However, she was VERY unprofessional and could have handled it so much better especially since she considers herself to be a “community leader”.

        On another note, how did she get so many contacts with that attitude?

      2. fposte

        And this is the kind of thing you can have a template ready for. “I’m sorry, I share my contacts only with known affiliates. You might try xxx.” Copy, paste, go.

        1. Ruffingit

          This. There is no reason to take the time to shame someone the way she did in those emails. And not only shame them, but do it with such anger. Geeze lady, you miss a day at the methadone clinic or something?

      3. Elizabeth West

        I agree, and it would have been much easier to put that in the job bank information instead–“Reply to X” or whatever. She can’t set it up so people can ping her and then get mad when people ping her.

      4. EngineerGirl

        I think it is one of those things where power shows what is lurking on the inside. You know – Character is what you are when no one is looking. In this case, character is what you are when you think you have absolute freedom.

        1. CC

          Character is what you are when you think there will be no consequences.

          Whether that’s because nobody’s looking, because you have power, because you’re in vegas, or whatever.

    2. JC

      I definitely think this woman is bananas, no question. But I also am surprised to occasionally not get a thank you from people who ask me for career advice. If for some reason our paths crossed again and I was in a position to hire or help you, you bet that I’d remember! When all I know about you is that you ask for advice and then vanish once it’s given, of course I am going to write you off as a flake.

      1. John

        I NEVER get thank yous for job advice.

        It is stunning to me. Students at my alma mater will email saying, “I am pursuing a career as [your job title].” I respond with 6-7 paragraphs of advice on how to pursue that goal, and the only acknowledgement I ever got was this: “Thanks,” which is the middle finger of replies to long, thoughful messages.

        I get it — when people ask for “advice” they are really asking for “jobs.” But they aren’t going to get any closer to the J word if they lack the skills to build relationships with those who can help them.

        1. Katie the Fed

          Seriously. If you can send 1500 text messages a day, you can reply with a “John, thank you so much for all of this! I’m going to take some time to read it over and formulate a strategy. I may be back in touch. Thanks again for taking the time.” Or something like that.

          Kids today! And get off the damn lawn!

          1. KarenT

            Totally agree! I now only respond to requests that are polite and respectful. I’m still surprised how few people say thank you, which makes me fairly curmudgeonly about now as well.

            And turn down that damn music! It’s too loud!

          2. John

            Exactly. And then I would probably be willing to talk to them via phone the next time…so we would build a relationship that could help them down the road.

          3. Editor

            When I was in elementary school, we had to write something on our own every day in second grade. We also did practice letters in various forms, including thank you notes and so on, in a couple of grades.

            The other day, I was reading an article — in the Atlantic, I think — about how students don’t like to write and don’t write well because they are lectured about grammar endlessly first. Many are fearful of making mistakes when they write. The proposed cure for this is to have students write, and then teach grammar through the revision process, instead of giving students a thicket of rules to push through before they start typing. Having spent some time as a substitute teacher, the student insecurity sounds plausible.

            Some or most of the people seeking job advice may just write “Thanks” because they really don’t understand how rude they’re being, but there are probably a few who agonized over the first letter or who borrowed someone else’s wording and are terrified of saying something dumb in the follow-up.

        2. JC

          Agreed. When people ask me for “advice,” I know that I usually can’t give them what they’re looking for (a job, or sometimes even just advice that would be helpful for their situation). But still say thank you! I’m lucky that most people who have asked me for advice have been less green people who are finishing up grad school, rather than undergrads, so most have been polite. Hearing others’ experiences really make me leery to open up my contact info for my alma mater’s alumni database, though.

        3. Sydney Bristow

          I really hate that there are so many people out there who are ruining it for those of us who truly are seeking advice and are extremely grateful for any response, especially a thoughtful one. We are out there, I promise. It does make me more shy about reaching out for advice though.

        4. AJ-in-Memphis

          They probably weren’t ready for the truth and didn’t know how to respond (not excusing the behavior!). It’s the norm in our society to expect instant gratification and only worry about ourselves. Saying “thank you” to any kind of advice or assistance has been lost in our constant need to check the next email, text and Facebook post.

        5. anonymous

          Yep, I work at a nonprofit where people (recent grads and people with 10-15 years of experience) are constantly trying to get jobs, and because I have a fair amount of LinkedIn contacts, (that I actually know) they are always asking my contacts to introduce them to me. We’ll have a job opening that I have nothing to do with and usually don’t know anything about, and then I’ll get a slew of “would you talk to so-and-so” and I’ll say yes, but I have no hiring power and don’t know anything about the job. They always say oh I just want to know about the culture, but really they want me to somehow try to get them the job. I’ve had phone calls and emails about this with several, even though I am extremely busy and fairly overworked. When they don’t get the job suddenly they never want to talk to me again. This is fine, but I do resent that neither they, nor my actual contacts, ever thank me. And unlike the woman in Cleveland, I don’t have a job bank!

      2. Ask a Manager Post author

        This is my current pet peeve. In addition to the letters I answer publicly here, I also send quick replies back to a ton more that never get published. I get nothing out of doing that — no publishable content, and it adds to an already busy workload — but I do it because people are asking for help. And at least 80% of the time, I hear nothing back. No thank you, nothing. Sometimes when I do hear something back it’s another question, still with no thank you.

        It’s really, really irritating.

        It’s part of the business though. If she didn’t want to sign up for that, she shouldn’t have advertised herself as a source for help.

          1. AdminAnon

            +1

            My current position has ended up as sort of a catch-all and a lot of times I am approached with questions or requests that don’t have anything to do with my actual responsibilities (the famous “other duties as assigned” line). I’m always glad to help, but the people who take the time to send a quick “Thanks so much!” are always my top priority.

          2. KarenT

            I love that idea. It blows my mind how many people never say thank you. It annoys me when it’s strangers, but blows my mind when it’s people I know (junior level employees that I’ve worked with, former interns, etc.).

          3. Ruffingit

            God yes, please do this as a column! Actually, the power of a response in general – thank yous, rejections, etc. Communication is the spine of good relationships, but unfortunately everyone appears to be quadriplegic.

            1. Katie the Fed

              One of the tricks my fiance and I learned in premarital counseling that we’ve actually been doing is telling each other three appreciations every night. So it could be “I love that you emailed me a funny Onion article at work, thanks for bringing me coffee in bed this morning, and I really appreciate you walking the dog tonight.” Doesn’t have to be major, just acknowledging that you appreciate and notice the little things. We both love it and plan to keep doing it.

        1. Anonsie

          Aw. I didn’t send a thank-you after you answered my question because I figured you get 9829848649 emails a day and it would just be annoying in the pile.

          1. literateliz

            I did the same (not a question, just anonymizing a comment–I figured it was an annoying enough request in the first place!) A belated thank you for that one, Alison :)

            1. KarenT

              I did post a thank you in the comments thread when you answered my question, but you should also know that about 1.5 years later I still refer back to your advice because it was so helpful. I’ve got it printed out and read it when I need a reminder.

            2. Drive By Advice Seeker

              Sorry!

              You reviewed my resume months ago and I actually got a few interviews (and a job!) with your advice.

              Apologies again and a belated thank you!

          2. AdminAnon

            A thank you is never wasted! And who knows–your thank you message could be a ray of sunshine in the midst of less pleasant messages and “is this legal” questions.

          3. Ash

            Same! I was feeling incredibly guilty. So let’s all say it together: Thank you, Alison, for all you do.

          4. Another Sara

            Ack, I’ve done the same thing! Sorry, and a belated thank you for all of your answers to my silly questions over the years!

          5. Kate

            This is me too. I don’t think I’ve done this with Alison, but I try to be conscience of bugging people with to many emails. I think I would probably say thank you, but it would give me pause.

          6. Chris80

            I did the same thing…sorry Allison! I just figured you get so many emails that a reply just to say thank you would be annoying. Hope you will accept my belated thank you for the time I emailed you a question & you responded with links to previous posts that you thought would be helpful!

          7. Liz in a library

            I also did this. I promise I seriously weighed whether it would be better to send or not and decided I’d just be cluttering your inbox. I’m sorry, and I really did appreciate the help!

        2. GL

          Alison, get off your high horse.

          On a bad day, week, month, or year, this could be you. People do start things with the best of intentions, and sometimes they get overwhelmed and it comes out in inappropriate ways. This might not have happened to you, yet (not to this degree, though sometimes, and this is an example of when you’re being less kind than you could be), but it could.

          She apologized and admitted exactly what she did wrong, yet you said “I think this is interesting is that she clearly started out wanting to help people … and then either got overwhelmed by the demands of doing that and/or let her success in doing it go to her head (probably a little of the former and a lot of the latter)”–it was probably a LOT of the former. People are irritating, they’re demanding, they’re selfish. They’re even more so right now when unemployment has gone on for so long and so extensively.

          She admitted wrongdoing, she apologized, she seems to understand what she did. Do you understand how you’re doing wrong here?

          1. Jubilance

            You clearly haven’t been a reader here long. With this attitude, I hope you won’t stay.

            What’s this “high horse” you think Allison is on? And if you truly think that, why do you come here? No one is requiring you read AAM.

            1. Bryan

              Yeah my first thought was, “you must be new here.” When I see a comment like this or when one of Allison’s articles appears on Yahoo via US News (never ever read those comments), I find the posters to be a little bleak
              about most things.

              This blog is so much about how to phrase things the right way via communications so yeah, maybe it is a high horse but it’s of decency towards other people.

          2. Ask a Manager Post author

            I actually purposely didn’t use her name here because I don’t want to contribute to the Internet record on her, but I do think it’s legitimate grounds for discussion and I don’t think I’m doing wrong by linking to it here, although I’d welcome hearing dissenting opinions on that.

            To the rest of your point, one of the reasons I found this story so interesting is because when I first read it, I asked myself, “Is there any way I could see myself doing anything close to this, on a day when I’m particularly frustrated with the number of people who ask for help and then don’t thank me?” Because I do understand how you can get frustrated and overwhelmed by that. But the answer was no — I would never do this, not in a million years. Send an irritated email pointing out the lack of thanks? Sure, maybe. But gloat that I was going to keep someone away from a resource they’d hoped to access? Take glee in that? No, absolutely not. That’s what separates this from “frustrated, overwhelmed person” into “genuine jerk.” And I do think it’s an interesting story and worth commenting on.

            1. The Editor

              As one who has borrowed your services… three times now?… and infinitely more just by reading, I’m sorry that I can’t recall if I ever said thanks. Let me correct that mistake here: Thanks. Truly. Not only for answering my questions, but also for, in one response, being very gentle and caring and openly concerned for me. That’s one thing that keeps me coming back. You genuinely have a voice of concern in your responses.

              Here’s hoping that our friend GL sees that side of you in the near future.

            1. Bryan

              ^ best reply

              I think I’ve seen the phrase “high horse” on here only a couple of times and I always wonder how people get this perception?

          3. BB

            These emails were clearly more than a knee jerk reaction to being pissed about not receiving thanks. If she had lashed out verbally at someone, that would be one thing. Sending an email she clearly crafted and edited- terrible decision on her part.

            I would also hope any woman who claims to be so above others would also be intelligent enough to realize sending an email like this was a huge mistake for someone who is in the public eye and as important as she claims to be.

            She also apologized 5 days after these emails went viral- not sure how long ago the email was actually sent- so I think her apology had more to do with damage control than being genuinely sorry.

            1. Mints

              Yeah, the length of the emails is what makes it most mean to me. If she had sent something sort of rude, but like two sentences “No, I will not give you access to the thousands of contacts I have because you are young and have nothing offer me in return” I would have been hurt, but it wouldn’t go viral. But she actually spent time writing out these emails, like actual time you could have spent doing fun things instead

            2. EngineerGirl

              But it wasn’t a one time thing. Or even occasional. It was an ongoing pattern of behavior. There’s the difference.

          4. fposte

            The thing is, it’s not just as simple as a bad day, month, etc. Most of us don’t write trashy YouTube comments or send vindictive emails, even when our family has died and we’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness. That doesn’t mean we’re always patience on a monument, but I think it’s a mistake to assume that everybody has a situation in which they’d write that sort of email, because plenty of people obviously don’t.

            1. Lois

              “Most of us don’t write trashy YouTube comments or send vindictive emails, even when our family has died and we’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness.”

              Nailed it.

              1. Emily K

                Exactly. I’ve certainly fantasized about writing emails like these on occasion, and I’ve even done the old trick where you hand-write the nasty letter and then burn it as catharsis. But to actually hit Send? It doesn’t take a superhuman level of sense or willpower to know better.

          5. Clevelander

            Sorry – I could never see Alison reacting to any job seeker the way the job bank house mother has responded. Correct me if I’m wrong – this blog is part of how Alison makes a living. She doesn’t do it under the guise of being purely altruistic. She may truly want to help people but she is a professional at it.

            The problem I have with the job bank house mother’s response is that it shows that she might be a phony. “I’m so wonderful that I distribute this list and I don’t do it for any personal or professional gain.” Baloney! People are motivated by something….and sometimes it’s easy to determine their motivations.

          6. Anonsie

            “On a bad day, week, month, or year, this could be you.”

            This isn’t me on a bad day, week, month, or year. It isn’t most people on a bad anything. If this is how you behave when you’re having some bad temporal measure because “everyone does it,” you should probably reconsider.

            1. Ruffingit

              Agreed. People having a bad day might be irritable, but this goes beyond that. This is a person who misses the simple irony that telling others they are not being professional in a manner that is itself unprofessional (and rude and angry to boot) is not the best way to convey your point.

          7. anon for now

            I have an actual disability (including a mood disorder) and no matter how bad it gets I don’t lash out at people. When I don’t feel in my best state, I have scripted answers to take care of business and get the space I need. The worst I can be is terse. And no, I’m not saying I’m perfect or anything but I’m saying going out of your way to be mean isn’t excusable. I keep all my angry thoughts inside my head.

            People who can’t imagine being decent to others seriously concern me.

        3. Bryan

          I didn’t send you a reply when you privately answered my email and I apologize. I also went with the mind set of you must receive a trillion (estimated) emails a day and I didn’t want to annoy you with one more. But thank you both for your individual reply and your blog which was critical in my ability to get the job I have now.

        4. Kit M.

          Piling on — almost always when I haven’t thanked people it’s out of a (almost always) misguided fear of spamming them.

          1. Dani X

            I am going to pile on with a belated Thank you too. I didn’t want to clog up your email with a “thanks”. But that is good to know for the future – send anyway. :-)

            1. Anonymous

              I tend to not reply to emails just to say “Thanks” because it doesn’t really feel genuine. But if someone helped me in a specific way and I can articulate that, I would send an email (or letter or something). I wouldn’t view something personal like that as just clogging someone’s inbox.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Can I urge you to reconsider this, at least in contexts like this one? If you ask someone for help and they take the time to try to give you some, you should say thank you!

                1. Ruffingit

                  Agreed and I’d also add that you should do more than say “thanks.” You should say something that conveys your genuine feeling of appreciation as in “Thank you for answering my questions about nuclear fission! It really helped my understanding and I will now be better able to build my backyard Cherbnobyl. I appreciate that you took time from what I know is a busy schedule to help me.”

                  Say something that tells the person what their help meant to you. That is better than the one sentence thanks and it comes across as way more genuine.

                2. Katie the Fed

                  Or send a short thanks, and then later a more in-depth one explaining how it was useful, what you did with it, etc.

              2. fposte

                I don’t get how it’s not genuine–did you really not care if they did something for you? If they said the same thing to you in person, would you not have said “Thanks” then?

          2. Zillah

            Ditto! I’ve heard from several people in similar situations that they always appreciate the thanks, though, so at this point I always try to follow up with it.

        5. Kay

          I want to join in to say thank you for answering all these questions and also all the invisible labor that goes in to running a site like this. Woot!

        6. Seattle Writer Girl

          Oh God, oh God. Totally going back through my email archives to make sure I thanked Alison for her response to my (emailed by not published) question!

          If I didn’t, I certainly meant to!

        7. AB Normal

          Glad to know it’s not just me. I also receive tons of requests for help / advice / coaching through my website, and so few people write back to thank me. I can’t imagine not writing a few paragraphs expressing my thanks if someone took the time to provide me with answers and tips.

          On a side note, my husband and his colleagues were livid when they learned that another branch of their big company hired a woman who SENT AN EMAIL the day she was supposed to start a coveted internship at his large company, saying “sorry, I decide to take another internship”. The manager immediately asked to put a notification on her file as “not hirable”, because, really, they took months selecting the interns, she accepted a slot, and only at the first day decided to notify them that she took another offer, when it was no longer possible to replace her.

          And then after she graduated she applied to another location and unfortunately was hired, to the frustration of everybody who knew what she did. I’m sure she’ll learn sooner or later that this type of attitude won’t help her grow her career!

        8. Engagement Ring Question

          Thank you, Allison, for responding to my question about a month ago on the engagement ring. My sincere apologies if I never replied with thank you. (I cannot recall if I did or not.) In any event, I was (and still am) incredibly (spelling) grateful for your super quick reply that day, and your advice.

        9. Anon

          Awww. I don’t know that I’ve ever really said thank you. :(

          Thank you for answering and posting several of my questions here! It really means so much to me.

          As a young adult who was the first in her family to graduate from high school and is often times lost in the business world I really thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping up this blog!!! You are really doing such a public service with your blog.

          1. Dry White Whine

            Heck, I nearly sent Alison a thank you email after buying her guides. Then I thought that would be a bit awkward.

            Consider yourself properly thanked anyway Alison, your blog is invaluable. I don’t post much but I read it every day!

        10. MR

          I was one of those that you provided quick feedback and didn’t publish, but I thanked you then. It was awhile ago, but I thank you again!

    3. Anonymous

      Eh, I give advice to students who contact me (referred by my old career counselor). I rarely get any follow-up (except from people who actually personally know me), but I don’t care that much. If I didn’t want to help them/take the time out of my busy day to write the email, I wouldn’t do it in the first place. I don’t do it for the acknowledgement. It just doesn’t bother me like it seems to bother others. Maybe because I’m only 3+ years out of school myself so I’m a rude young whippersnapper at heart, too?

      1. AB Normal

        I don’t do it for the acknowledgement, either, or I’d have stopped a long time ago, considering how little acknowledgement I receive back. But still, it’s unthinkable to me that someone would be so dismissive after getting a thoughtful reply after reaching out for help. Definitely not someone I’d like working for me ever!

      2. fposte

        I don’t think anybody does it for the acknowledgment, though; I think we do it in the expectation that we’re helping somebody who possesses manners and civility, and we’re then disappointed to find out that the person we were helping wasn’t who we thought they were.

    4. Kat M

      “I think it’s easy for those of us who are a little older to underestimate the desperation that many recent college graduates are feeling in this market.”

      Especially in Cleveland.

      As someone who just left that wonderful city for brighter economic prospects in Dallas (a place that was never EVER on my list of possible places to live), I really get it. Cleveland is beautiful. It’s got an amazing food scene, a remarkable park system, LAKE ERIE, some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet, and the best pierogi this side of eastern Europe, but there just aren’t jobs. Classic, high-ceilinged century-old apartments for $500 a month with heat included? Yes. But jobs, no.

      It still breaks my heart that we had to leave. But my husband and I are slowly wiggling our way into something possibly resembling the middle class here in Texas, and that wasn’t happening with no-benefits-call-center-temp jobs for him and independent-contractor-you-get-paid-when-Medicare-pays-us-in-3-months-maybe jobs for me.

      Still holding out for that house with a porch in Lakewood someday. I hope things get better soon.

      1. Editor

        Good luck — seriously. Lakewood has some nice homes, although some people I know in the area talk about Bay Village a lot, but I always loved driving along the lakeshore from Cleveland toward Elyria, because the older suburbs had such beautiful homes — Tudor revival and stuff like that.

  4. E.R

    Eek, this is pretty awful. Couldn’t she have just ignored the LinkedIn requests , even clicking the “I Dont Know..” option without making a big scene about it. I think it’s fair to say that a lot of recent graduates may not understand professional LinkedIn standards, and although its true they sometimes forget to say “thank you” etc when you go out of your way to help them, I dont think any of them are malicious about it. They just dont know better, yet.
    Now this woman, she is being malicious. And she should definitely know better.

    1. Bryan

      I wouldn’t limit the not saying thank you part to recent graduates. I have colleagues of all ages who you couldn’t pay to send a thank you.

      1. FiveNine

        Heck, I send gifts all over the country to nieces, nephews, cousins’ children, etc. and rarely do the parents (my sister, brother, cousins, etc) ever even let me know they were received. I would be blown away if one actually took the time to text THNX to me.

        1. Bryan

          My mom taught me with gifts that if my thank you notes stop the gifts will stop. I send a hand written one within a day, I want those gifts!

        2. Jenna

          I have cousins ten or fifteen years older than I am that I used to send gifts to. I never heard anything back from most of them, not even a note that the package got there. When my husband passed away, and he was no longer up for shopping for these people, and I was down to one income? I pared my list way down.

        3. Katie the Fed

          If you don’t at least call or email to thank me for a gift, you don’t get another one.

          Luckily my sister is one of those who won’t let her kids use/play with anything until they’ve sent a thank-you note, so I can continue to spoil them with reckless abandon.

          1. Jessica

            I really wish I could do this without starting WWIII in my husband’s family. Not only do they not send thank-you notes, they do not say “thank you” when they receive a gift. I don’t expect the very small children to yet, but they never will when their parents respond with getting a not-inexpensive gift with, “Score! Now we don’t have to buy one ourselves!” and that’s the end of the discussion about the gift we’ve given them. In addition, the years we are elsewhere for Christmas, they don’t give us gifts, but we still give them one (and if we didn’t give them one, we’d hear about it from the family matriarch, because they gripe to her and it comes back to us — but we aren’t immature, so we just ignore it when it happens to us and the family matriarch never knows).

    2. Jessa

      Except that I can totally understand wanting to Link with someone who runs a job site. Isn’t that the POINT? That people looking for hires can look at her stuff and find people? I can see asking for more info before linking, but, I’d find it strange that the job bank person doesn’t want to help me find a job. Isn’t putting people in touch her JOB?

      If I got an email that said “send me your resume, if you fit my group of people, I’ll link you,” or something. But I don’t see how it’s presumptive to want to mine the contacts of someone who says they have contacts to MINE.

      Also if the point isn’t to publicise the job bank, why have it? The idea is to point people to jobs isn’t it?

      She needs to be more specific in the services offered then.

      1. Dan

        Oh, one thing that I have yet to see get pointed out: The woman claims she won’t connect with “nobodies” (paraphrase on my part). Yet, if she really does have 900+ contacts, there’s no way she knows them well enough to meet whatever standard of connecting that she has.

        1. AVP

          Something tells me that if the CEO of a big local company tried to connect with her, even if she didn’t know them personally, they would not be getting an email like this!

      2. Ethyl

        That is what I don’t understand either. I am not familiar with the term “job bank,” but it would seem to indicate that you are helping to collect job postings and try to put people in touch with openings that might match their skills. Someone wanting to connect with you on LinkedIn, even someone you don’t know, seems like it’s part of the territory, to say nothing of receiving emails from people who are, you know, looking for a job. What am I missing here that she feels like these are appropriate responses?

    3. Elysian

      I agree about recent grads and linkedin – I think a lot of them think of it as “boring grownup facebook.” Heck, some established professionals do that, too. People use the network in different ways. I’ve gotten tons of LinkedIn requests from people I either (1) know and don’t want to connect to because I think their work or attitude is poor or (2) only know in a social and not a professional setting. I just ignore them or decline. Some people might say I’m being too limited. Whatever, it’s how I choose to network.

      I’m sure that its pretty common for high-profile people to get a lot of connection requests from people they don’t know or hardly know. Also, I will call her out for claiming she “personally knows” 1000 people on LinkedIn. BS.

      1. Dan

        I have a double standard for Linked-in request acceptance. I’ve had people in my industry ask to connect to me, some close to retirement age. I take those requests. Why? Maybe they can help me some day, but it also has to do with seeing who in their network I might know.

        I won’t accept requests from college kids that I don’t know.

        1. Anonymous

          So you accept connections with strangers who might help you, but not other strangers who might need your help? I feel like that might be bad karma right there.

          1. Iain Clarke

            He’s accepting their requests, not initiating them, so it’s not a double standard. Merely a single standard.

    4. Anonsie

      She runs a job site trying to help people find openings, though, you’d think she’d be ok with connecting to job seekers she didn’t personally know as part of that.

      And if not, because she just wants it to be her own private deal, then that’s also fine. But that doesn’t require an admonishment of any kind, and especially not one like this.

  5. Lucy

    This is wild. I totally understand getting frustrated/overwhelmed, but I don’t know how you can bill yourself as a “house mother” looking out for “little brothers and sisters” and respond like that.

  6. Chocolate Teapot

    I always thought that people wrote those kinds of responses just to work out some irritation. I never realised they actually got sent.

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      Well, but knowing someone personally and having an active social contact with that person is not the same thing. I certainly know a lot more than 150 people, and would recognize them when I run into them at the store. I think even my list of people I remember meeting could be close to 1000.

    2. Elizabeth West

      I can’t link to it from here, but wasn’t there a Cracked article about the “monkeysphere,” where only so many people will fit in your circle? And anyone over that amount, you don’t give a rat’s patootie about any of them.

      1. nyxalinth

        Yes! I was just thinking of that today. For some people, it extends globally, and for some it’s as small as their own self, an there’s everything in between.

  7. Magda

    Vile and, in this economy, downright cruel.

    “I love the sense of entitlement in your generation.”

    As someone who went through two mass layoffs before age 28, and watched my little sister graduate from college only to struggle for more than part-time retail work, nothing makes me see red like the “oh you snotty little Millenials think you’re entitled to a earn a LIVING or something?” attitude.

    I love how when we’re aggressive about job-seeking, we’re entitled, and when we’re not being aggressive enough, we’re entitled and lazy because clearly we expect jobs to just be handed to us on platters.

    1. Magda

      To add to this: I think she was completely within rights to reject people’s LinkedIn requests and the like, and even to explain “this is not OK.” But to act downright giddy about it is what upsets me.

      Part of my job is to send out rejection letters (not for jobs) and I have a standard polite, professional template that I work from. I would never dream of rubbing it in the person’s face.

        1. fposte

          And also the sense that they’re being punished for what nobody would have thought of as a crime, unless the reporting is missing a key step. They made a connection request on LinkedIn and signed up for a job list; I’m not seeing the solecism there.

      1. Elizabeth West

        Exactly. She could have put it ON the job bank: “I’m sorry that I can’t respond to LinkedIn requests. Please contact the employers directly,” or whatever she wanted them to do.

    2. Artemesia

      Well said. I had to listen to an elderly woman blather on yesterday about how entitled people who think the minimum wage should be $10 an hour are, because she only got paid a dollar when she started work. (for the record, my first job paid $1.15 and hour and my first professional job paid $5,200 a year. That was a long long time ago back when $50,000 a year was a fortune.

      I don’t think people of my generation have a clue about what it is to try to leave college with enormous debt and into this job market. The last time people faced this was the depression and at least they didn’t have student debt then.

      1. nyxalinth

        Well, I would have told asked her “How much was a week’s worth of groceries when you were X age? Okay, how much is it now?” sometimes saying that jolts them out of that mode.

    3. Mike C.

      I get so tired of this attitude.

      You’re dumb if you go to college and take on a ton of debt, you’re unqualified if you don’t go to college because you “haven’t proven yourself”, you’re entitled if you’re upset that you can’t find full time work, you’re lazy if you can only find “unskilled*” labor, and you lack direction in your life you don’t already have a house, a spouse and 2.5 kids at age 25. If you do, then you’re irresponsible for taking on all that debt and responsibility that comes with children.

      Does it ever end? I don’t dislike people who are older than me, but I feel like a lot of older folks dislike me. Times are tough, why can’t we just help each other out?

      *It’s not actually unskilled, and those folks work much, much harder than those of us in white collar jobs do.

      1. hilde

        “You’re dumb if you go to college and take on a ton of debt, you’re unqualified if you don’t go to college because you “haven’t proven yourself”, you’re entitled if you’re upset that you can’t find full time work, you’re lazy if you can only find “unskilled*” labor, and you lack direction in your life you don’t already have a house, a spouse and 2.5 kids at age 25. If you do, then you’re irresponsible for taking on all that debt and responsibility that comes with children.”

        You completely crystallized all of the prevailing attitudes against young workers, Mike C. Well said!

        1. Jax

          Dave Ramsey has some very bitter rants about student loan debts and the stupidity of people who signed up for them. They veer into the abusive.

          We definitely are the generation who can’t seem to do anything right. Maybe we have too many loudmouths judging our steps!

          1. Mike C.

            I can’t stand that guy or absolutists like him. Even basic economics tells us that there are times where debt is beneficial. This string of “public experts” who think a very serious and complicated issue can be boiled down to “one weird tip” need to take a step back.

            1. fposte

              His investment advice is also pretty poor. He’s fine for “how to get out of debt” basics, but when it comes to saving for retirement, not so much.

          2. Stephanie

            *groan*

            And is he suggesting that people work their way through college to pay for it? And that people are dumb for taking on any kind of debt?

            I’m with Mike C. about him and other absolutists. His underlying message is fine, but he’s ignoring the realities of a job market where a lot of white-collar jobs require a bachelors and tuition and fees that are too high to pay for without some debt.*

            *You definitely can graduate without debt, but I don’t think it’s fair to demonize those who might need to take out some money.

            1. Editor

              People who complain about college students getting into debt should look at the inflation/deflation rate of the minimum wage with a year-to-year comparison of the inflation/deflation(hahaha) rate of college tuition.

      2. k

        This is spot on. Do also remember that many older workers (read: young middle age) have been spit out of firms that they were loyal to for years, and are struggling from a different place: trying to pay a mortgage they got years ago, hoping to help their kids through college, hoping to go on a decent vacation every couple of years, and often, hoping to just keep the lights on and food on the table.
        And our culture is so slanted to tell everyone to just suck it up instead of building lasting social safety nets and any ethos of empathy.

        1. Mike C.

          Yeah, that’s what gets me. You have a ton of different demographics suffering in very significant ways (just look at age discrimination!) and you’d think there would be a little more empathy in general.

          1. fposte

            Isn’t this just kind of a microcosm of the contemporary tendency toward condemnation, though? You could replace that with, say, parenting choices and get a similar level of outrage. I think we’ve got an outrage and condemnation epidemic going on generally, with no particular group immune, and I wish it would stop.

            1. fposte

              Additionally–I think therefore outrage and condemnation grabs eyes, so there’s a lot more publicity about the people who want to condemn young people than those who aren’t–and who may even be giving money and time to help them along.

              1. Not So NewReader

                Quick say something negative.

                I remember seeing that pattern in college.
                Concept is presented in class.
                Students are instructed to comment.
                Negative remarks win.

                I agree that there is a very negative atmosphere in our society. Try going through the day only saying positive things. How far will you get? 10 AM? 1 PM? Not far. (and that itself is a negative statement)

                Collectively, we are a harsh nation. Or maybe it is human nature to be negative. Just my speculations, though. There are many very nice individuals.

                But face it- why do we read AAM? Because it’s an oasis. And look at the readship levels soar through the roof. There are a lot of people out there that are look for REAL help. “Give me some meaningful advice that I can start working with TODAY!”

                Alison, I have thought for a while now that you have your own “economic recovery program” going on here. And frankly, it’s the best one I have seen yet. You are empowering people to take control over their predicaments in life.
                Thank you.

            2. Editor

              I think condemnation has become more common, along with some other rudeness, as our daily interactions slide out of our control. This is one of the things I dislike about the way technological change has been managed, because a loss of accountability seems to have been built into many of the changes.

              For instance, about a decade ago something really nasty happened with my telephone service, where billings were messed up even though I had paid and there were consequences that seemed to be out of control. So I threw a series of tantrums with supervisors, going up about four levels, to say, fix this and tell me why. I was very insistent about the “tell me why” part. It turned out that the entire mess was due to either one or two identification numbers being entered incorrectly when some changes to my service were made. That was it — a problem that took 10 weeks to straighten out (and took them another seven weeks of research to find the cause) and involved hours of phone calls on my part and the involvement of at least five managers came down to a data entry error. I was thankful to find out that was all it was. And I had gone ballistic because initially I had been told the fault was undiagnosable because the problem was a computer error.

              When a clerk asks me if I found everything I wanted and can they help me, and I say that I really wanted to buy xyz today because I bought some xyz here seven months ago, I expect some help. I do sometimes overreact when someone says blankly, “oh, well, maybe you’ll have to look at some other store for that.” If you can’t fix a problem, don’t offer to fix a problem, and if cashiers can’t fix problems, don’t make them ask customers if they can fix a problem.

              The “computer” was down at my bank last week, so the teller handwrote a receipt. I got an email link to a questionnaire two days later, which wanted to know if the bank staff had greeted me when I arrived and if the teller had used my name and if the teller this and the teller that. There was a 30-character-or-so space to report problems that were “other,” such as me being a dissatisfied customer because their IT department had a problem. I called the bank and ranted at a supervisor about how the front-line tellers couldn’t and shouldn’t be held hostage for my dissatisfaction with their computer system.

              The worst problem is having to deal with a computer software upgrade that makes work harder or requires muscle memory changes while doing familiar tasks. It just doesn’t seem possible to reach the actual person or team who made those changes and tell them how awful or time-consuming the new version is. This is why I loathe Microsoft. It isn’t their software, per se. It is not being able to talk to a person to get something fixed or reversed because as far as Microsoft is concerned, I might as well be a bacterium in a flea on a dog in the pound. And — no surprise — I don’t like feeling insignificant, and neither do other people, and that creates resentment.

              When I was a kid in the dark ages, if the milkman delivered the wrong stuff, he made it right the next day, if not sooner. There wasn’t generally an accumulation of anger, resentment, and frustration in customer service interactions. We have much more complex work lives now, and there is much less direct accountability.

              When people don’t know who to blame and when they can work and make mistakes and never see the direct results of those mistakes, I think it contributes to a more callous society. When we ask for explanations and are brushed off, we learn there’s no need to give explanations.

              If I look for the email address of a CEO because I want to make a suggestion or complaint, I can’t find that address — unlike my teen years, when I did write to the president of a company and received a response. Even if I send a letter through snail mail now, it’s likely that the CEO will never see it, but it’s also likely that no one with the power to act on my concern will see or respond to the letter. Consider the number of people on this forum who loathe Taleo — there are documented problems, and no one seems to be able to provide the leverage to request changes be seriously considered. As long as the software sells as is, the opinions of the largest group of users don’t actually matter because they aren’t the customers.

              When the economy is bad and people are stressed all the time over money, the anger and frustration just get worse. Honestly, there are days when I see articles about the amount of cash corporations are sitting on, and I wish they would just go out and hire a bunch of people. When I think about what Facebook paid for a recent acquisition, all I wish is that that money had gone into employment, because if companies created enough new jobs, people all over would be happier — and the R&D or improved personal service or double-checking the data entry work or dumping the wastebaskets every day again instead of every week would put food on some tables and a little more cheer in day-to-day life. Instead, the job creators are waiting for demand to improve and looking for productivity increases instead of helping to increase demand by lowering unemployment.

              1. fposte

                I think your opening paragraph has a lot of truth in it–we interact with many more people in a day than we used to as a result of technology. It’s interesting to think about how people in big cities have traditionally been more standoffish than country people, because they encounter so many people in a day. Now we’re all city folk, no matter where we live.

      3. Ann Furthermore

        Great points. I will say though that when I hear about people taking on a ton of debt for student loans it does make me cringe, just because it’s awful to have such a huge burden before ever working a day on the job you went to school to get qualified for.

        I have encouraged people to try other solutions before signing up for the student loans, such as taking core classes at a community college where they’re cheaper, and then transferring them to a “name” school, or looking at other non-traditional type schools that are cheaper.

        My daughter is a sophomore in high school so we’re starting to think about college. I’ve told her that there is money for her to go to college, but not an unlimited amount of money, and it’s a matter of making sure we’re getting the most bang for our buck. We’ll be strongly encouraging her to look at the school I went to, which is in a downtown location and has no dorms, dining halls, and other things that run up overhead costs and trickle down to tuition costs. It’s still a pretty affordable way to get a very good education, even though it does not carry the prestige of a school with a bigger name.

        1. Mike C.

          It really boils down to the individual situation. For me, it was cheaper to attend a private, out of state school than the local in-state option.

          1. Ann Furthermore

            You’re right that everyone’s circumstances are different. I just hate to hear about someone who incurs all kinds of student loans and then has that hanging over their head for years to come, when possibly there was a more affordable option available that they didn’t consider.

        2. Stephanie

          Ehhhh, depends on the community college and what you’re trying to major in. A college friend transferred from the community college and he struggled A LOT just because the coursework rigor wasn’t there.

          1. Editor

            This is a real problem. Students should choose a college where the people in their classes will mostly be peers in terms of background and ability, so that they won’t be bored in class waiting for others to catch up. Students who get bored in high school should choose a college based on academic fit.

        3. Dan

          I have to admit, your characterization of your school is a bit odd. I did go to a school with dorms and dining halls, but those all came with a charge clearly separate from tuition. Your daughter can go to a school with those and not pay those bills without much of a fuss.

          I’m hold enough to have kids, but don’t have any yet. If I did, I can’t say that I would encourage them to stay “home” during the college years. Part of the college experience is “breaking free” from the parents and developing your own life and identity.

          I went to an expensive east coast school, where room and board rates reflect the cost of living and real estate in the area. My brother went to a satellite campus of the state university system, where his tuition AND room and board were less than my room and board alone.

          1. fposte

            The upkeep and creation of those dining halls does not come solely out of the charges for using them, though. There’s a reason why dining hall are often named after a major donor.

            On the other hand, commuter schools are often located on some fairly pricey city real estate, so they may have higher costs than a bigger physical plant out in East Cupcake.

          2. Ann Furthermore

            I don’t have any direct evidence to support this; it’s just anecdotal. But in my state it was the big, prestigious state school with dorms and dining halls that announced a 30% percent increase in tuition and fees a few years ago. Students and parents were outraged — and rightfully so — because it’s a crappy deal any way you slice it. Your options are to either fork over the money that you may not be able to afford, or abandon what you’ve done so far if you’re not willing to pay.

            On the other hand, the school I went to has definitely had cost increases since my days there, but at much slower rates and in much smaller increments, so it’s still an affordable way to get an education. That particular school also shares the campus with 2 other state schools, so that helps keep the costs under control too.

          3. Ann Furthermore

            And I did go to a state school and live in the dorms for a couple years, and for me it was overrated.

            For some people, living away from home is a great experience that teaches you things like if you don’t get up when your alarm goes off, no one’s going to make sure you get out of bed. And when your clothes are dirty, you have to do your own laundry.

            In our situation, my (step)daughter doesn’t really need this real life experience. She’s very mature for her age, and got that way from living with her unstable and irresponsible mother. So she knows way more than most people her age about what it means to take care of yourself. Plus she doesn’t really want to live in a dorm because she doesn’t want to be around people who are out of control with drinking and partying….she’s a very straight arrow. She has said that she’d like to live at home while going to school for the first couple years, and then start working and find an apartment so she can live on her own.

            1. TL

              I knew how to do all that when I went to college and it was still a big deal to live on my own. (And in high school, I definitely was responsible for laundry, getting up and getting places, and somewhat for food and groceries.)

              There’s a type of independence that you can’t get at your parents’ house and it has nothing to do with being responsible. A lot of it has to do with being free to make mistakes or not.

              Also, at my small private liberal arts school – where I lived on campus for 4 years – I had 2 incidences where there was a loud party on my hall (called campus security and it stopped) and maybe 2 incidences where I saw an obviously drunk person on my hall? They were being taken care of by others, though. And you could absolutely choose to live on a hall where there would be no partying or drinking and that was respected.

              Not saying that living at home is always the wrong decision, but moving away for college is often an invaluable experience.

              1. Ann Furthermore

                Oh it definitely is….it was not for me, since I went to boarding school, so dorm life was a bit of been there, done that. And at my school there were huge amounts of partying. I never complained though, because more often than not I was a participant. :)

                We’ve talked with my stepdaughter about college, and the big thing has been what I said above: there is money for college, but not an unlimited amount. My husband and I would rather have her live at home during college if it meant she could start off on her own without student loans hanging over her head. Her mom did that, and is still paying them off now, and she’s in her 50’s. My parents did something similar for me. I worked my way through school, so I was responsible for earning my own living expenses, and they paid for my books and tuition. That was more of an eye-opener, experience wise, than living in the dorms was. And I’m so grateful that they were able to do that for me, because I was able to start my career without all that debt.

                But…like so many others have said, every situation is unique and people need to do what’s right for them and what’s financially feasible.

              2. TL

                For me, I thought the amount of debt I took out was reasonable (and, if I stay on track, I’ll have it paid off about 5.5 yrs after graduating ~27-28 yrs old.)

                I wouldn’t have gone much more into debt than I did for school but student loans aren’t the worst things in the world. It’s more about looking at how much you’ll be paying back and how that will affect your lifestyle.

          4. TL

            Yeah, leaving home for college is a huge deal for a lot of people. I know for me, it was absolutely necessary.

            And I generally notice a big difference in maturity level between my friends who lived at home and my friends who went away, though that evens out after a few years.

      4. Stephanie

        Mike, I always appreciate your posts.

        It always bothers me when we’ve been fed “Go to college so you don’t become a burger flipper” and then the older generation* then calls us entitled for not taking the burger flipping jobs after we get a BA/BS (and also ignores the scores of applicants for burger flipping roles).

        *I know not every Generation X/Baby Boomer think like this!

        1. Mike C.

          I remember when McDonalds had a big hiring spree a few years back. Their acceptance rate was lower than an Ivy League college.

            1. Dan

              Which gets into all sorts of interesting arguments with minimum wage and the like. If “the free market” should set wages, and there’s a line out the door for people to work at Walmart at their current wages, what’s the economic argument for raising it?

              1. fposte

                That the free market doesn’t set the wage in this case, because the wage is only possible because of government subsidy of the worker.

              2. Kelly L.

                To me, it’s that we want the people who work there to have spending power to put some of that pay back into the economy, plus be able to avoid going on public assistance. Plus the human empathy factor.

          1. Stephanie

            HA, sorry! “Older” as in like…eight years older. Gen X usually tends to be the most sympathetic, actually, as y’all had your own slow-down in the early 00s and are dealing with economic uncertainties when you may have more expenses (like children or mortgages).

            Every generation has its own struggle.

            1. A Cita

              :)

              Yeah, not a mortgage person myself (major city dweller with no need to ever own, as per previous thread about COL), but yes, we do understand. We’re also going through the age discrimination during this downturn as well as still paying off our huge student loans (most of us, but not me personally, thank goodness).

        2. H. Vane

          It also bothers me that we’re all considered entitled money grabbing whiners by people who are draining the social security reserve that we pay into (those of us lucky enough to have jobs, anyway). We’ll never see a cent of that. I don’t even figure it into my retirement calculations.

          I also know not every older person thinks we’re wastes of space, but it is discouraging.

          1. Ann Furthermore

            As a Gen X-er, I also don’t count Social Security either…it’s all coming from my 401(k) and I’m lucky enough to work for a company that still offers retirees an honest-to-God pension.

            1. fposte

              Actually, if you’re getting a pension, you probably won’t get full Social Security anyway–you’ll probably be subject to the Windfall Elimination Provision.

          2. Mike C.

            Eh, we might not see 100% of it, but you can pay out 50%-75% of it for decades to come at current policy choices. A slight increase in contributions or decrease in payouts will balance it out just fine.

            1. H. Vane

              But no politician will touch it, at least not until it’s on the verge of failing. I will continue to have no faith in it. If I’m wrong, all I get is unexpected money.

              1. fposte

                True, but acting like you’ll never see a cent of that is different than stating it as an article of fact, especially since it seems quite unlikely to be true.

                (BTW, your username prompted me to spend the weekend watching the Petherbridge Wimseys again–it was very enjoyable!)

      5. Yup

        “I don’t dislike people who are older than me, but I feel like a lot of older folks dislike me.”

        You and your peers have my apologies on behalf of people older than you who do this. I assure you that most of us mid-career people don’t think like this, and that you’re experiencing the empty complaints of a noisy few cranks. (Who, from what I can tell, don’t seem to much like anybody regardless of generation.)

          1. Stephanie

            No, there’s definitely a generation of folks who winter in Arizona who retired from good jobs with pensions (that didn’t require college) and don’t quite understand current economic woes.

            1. Editor

              Yes, but as I posted earlier this week in different thread, those people with the pensions in Arizona are mostly not baby boomers, who have different issues. They were probably born between 1920 and 1945, which is why they have pensions. If they’re baby boomers with pensions from their entire careers, then they’re among the lucky few, relative to the entire cohort.

              My late husband was born in 1950 and his first job had a pension, but when the company was sold ten years into his career, that plan ended. It included annual cost-of-living adjustments and was a defined benefit plan. The new employer had a more bare-bones plan, with stricter limitations, no COLA, and different payout setups.

              By the time he was 20 years into his career, there were no pensions whatsoever. It was all defined contribution by self-funded IRAs or corporate 401(k) plans in which the maximum match was, I think, 3 percent of his salary if he put in 6 percent of his salary, although one place might have matched up to 6 percent. Later employers had lower limits or did not make contributions at all.

      6. nyxalinth

        What I hate about all of this is seeing job ads where they say that having a college degree can stand in for actual experience. While I understand that a degree is a good thing to have I don’t understand how it could possibly stand in for actual call center experience.

    4. Anonsie

      What’s really blowing me away here is what she’s calling entitlement is just someone trying to hunt around for a job in an entirely normal way. So it’s not just entitlement to want to be able to obtain a job, it’s also entitlement to look for one in a variety of totally appropriate channels. I don’t know how you can sit there with a straight face and say “look at these idiots, trying to support themselves, looking for openings they might apply to through the usual channels! What a bunch of grabby brats!”

      It’s almost as if there’s nothing they could do that *wouldn’t* be called entitlement.

      1. Mints

        +1
        I don’t really get why entitlement became such a catch-all dirty word. I mean, I do think people are entitled to not starve to death and children are entitled to public education. Us young people are so obsessed with being entitled to human rights, we must be horrible

        1. nyxalinth

          Yep.

          I use the word, but only in the “this person thought they were better than anyone else and thus flt entitled to have their appointment before others already scheduled/be waited on first though they arrived last/expect something to be done for them that is otherwise outside of policy just because they think they’re a special snowflake.” sense. Finding work and having the means to take care of oneself and their family are not entitlements!

    5. Anon

      As a manager, students occasionally ask me for informational interviews. I’ve actually been really impressed with the last couple I’ve met. They were not shy about asking to meet, which I never had the guts to do in my early career. They came prepared with thoughtful questions about my career path, the company I work for, and getting their careers started post-grad. They also asked if I know of any groups they could get involved with, online or in real life. They didn’t ask me to do anything for them other than give them a little of my time. They didn’t ask for connections, or jobs, or to short-cut the process. Of course I know they’re hoping that the conversation leads to opportunities, but they’re also accepting and grateful for the value of the interaction regardless. In one case, I was so impressed, we hired the person. :)

      TL;DR: The Millenials I’m encountering are not entitled or lazy. There are entitled, lazy people in every generation.

    6. FD

      I know, it really irritates me.

      Most new grads entering the workforce are going to make mistakes because they’re learning a new ‘language’. They’re learning how to interact in a way that isn’t at all like school or social life. They’ll come off as immature because…well, everyone’s immature to start with! Even if you’ve worked since high school, there’s a difference between the way you’re expected to behave as a high school or college kid and the way people expect professional adults to behave.

      (Yes, I know there are a lot of professional adults who do act like catty high schoolers but that’s not the point here.)

      The reason it really infuriates me? Is that the people who are most likely to have this attitude are the same ones who raised my generation–you know, the ones who taught us to ‘follow our dreams’ and ‘you can do anything’. Which is not terribly useful advice for actually constructing a career.

      I will say this though, because I’ve seen it at work, and I’m sure at least some other people have too. The thing that really frosts me is seeing people get a job with decent pay and really good benefits, and then just throw it away. (Like by no-calling/no-showing out, etc.) I know people who would kill for a full-time job with benefits. Unfortunately, they don’t live in the area.

  8. Artemesia

    I don’t think we can assume that she started with good and noble intentions and somehow burned out. I think we can suspect that this is the kind of woman who enjoyed excluding other girls from her group in junior high school and just found a new playground.

    She only got conciliatory when smoked.

    1. Andrea

      Exactly. I think that assuming she started out with good intentions is way too generous and more that she deserves. She absolutely seems like a bully to me, especially after I read the emails she was responding to with that nastiness. There’s no excuse for that.

    2. Positivity Boy

      Agreed. I don’t see how being frustrated and burned out suddenly turns you into a self-obsessed elitist. “I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town. Oh wait – there isn’t one.” A person who says that isn’t overwhelmed and taking it out on someone else, they’re just an asshole.

    3. Jen in RO

      I’m tempted to agree. We can’t know what went through her head, but to me those replies just say meanness, not frustration.

  9. Gail L

    Another problem with her attitude is that senior people are worth being in her circle, while young/junior people are not. So you have to do all the work of getting a job and moving yourself up before she considers you worthwhile – after you don’t need her help anymore! Doesn’t she realize that in 5-10 years they people she’s being nasty to are going to be the very senior people with whom she wants to network?

    1. Stephanie

      Or that even now, they might know someone senior who could be of use to her? Like their best friend’s mother is a partner at a law firm or something? It goes both ways!

    2. A Cita

      Or even that younger workers, with fewer contacts, have their own worth. My team has different levels of positions. We can’t hire senior people for all of them. Plus, there’s something to be said for grooming the next generation–we have a responsibility to them.

    3. Elizabeth West

      Or she could LOSE HER JOB and end up working under one of those people. The ultimate schadenfreude! Muwahaha!

      Sorry, I’ve been watching too much Bridezillas season 10 on Netflix and laughing at it way too much.

    4. Leah

      Also, junior people can be helpful to know. We can still put in a good word with higher-ups in a company where someone is looking for a more senior position. Also, I worked somewhere that asked for references from junior staff for many supervisory/management positions. I think this is an excellent idea. I worked in a job where our manager was good at organization but had the social skills of an agoraphobic lobster; inconsistent, rude, and inappropriate. When this person was hired to our company, the people at the previous company actually had a celebration.

  10. Meredith

    I run a very established job listing service for archivists and records managers, and this totally appalls me. I’m pretty clear on my website that it’s strictly a job listing service, and that as a general policy I won’t give any resume/job hunting advice – mostly because I’m not an expert and there are better resources out there for that type of advice. (The exception is when people ask me to talk to groups, which happens rarely, and even then I stress that I am not an expert in job applications/interviews.) It’s way too easy to get overwhelmed once you move out of the scope of the original project, and putting limits on myself really helps.

    I’m also slightly different from this woman in that she clearly has a huge professional network, and I only secretly have a huge professional network – my current job and title do not make that obvious. Also, I’m not really a great leverage point for prospective employees, where this woman might be. However, just making her policy about LinkedIn clear, like she only connects to people she knows, would have been way less frustrating to her.

    Anyway, I’ve learned that I really have to think about my own boundaries and limitations in running this service, especially in regards to my own time, energy, and expertise. It seems like this woman thought very little about that, and just went on slow simmer until she eventually boiled over.

    1. Anonymous

      Meredith, I use your job listing service, and it’s great — it’s a good example of how to provide a really good job listing service without blurring the lines into offering advice, as you note.

    2. Kit M.

      Meredith, I’ve always been impressed by how you manage to keep up with a high volume of postings, and keep them all tagged & easily navigable. For a long time I would check multiple sources for jobs, but ultimately every job I was interested in showed up in your listings.

      And, yeah, it looks to me like the exec in question went straight from being obliging to saying “no, screw you” without ever finding the wonderful world of polite “no”s and preemptive boundary-setting that exists between the two.

    3. fposte

      I think your last paragraph has absolutely nailed it–this is somebody who’s been feeling taken advantage of, and rather than clarifying with herself what it is she’s actually prepared to do she’s taken it out on people who’ve made perfectly reasonable requests.

    4. JMegan

      As it happens, I am a records manager who is looking for work! Would you mind sharing the link to your job listing service, either here or on the AAM LinkedIn page? Thanks!

  11. Mena

    Some people feel a bit of power in the anonymity of email, using communications they’d be unlikely to use face-to-face. Not much different than how some people drive … more aggressively than they’d ever be if face-to-face with the person that was just rudely (or dangerously) cut off and forced to yield.

    Yes, I agree it is odd to request a link into the network of someone you’ve never met but those are the requests that are either ignored or tagged “I don’t know.” {I get them all the time}

    No more action is appropriate. Geez! What a witch.

  12. Zelos

    Yikes.

    While I don’t disagree that mining every contact and their contact is obnoxious, it’s also the advice spoonfed to us in schools. It’s the advice every parent, relative, and their pet dog tell us when we can’t find anything via our contacts alone. Hell, it’s not limited to millennials either–lots of people are unemployed or underemployed. It’s a tough job market out there.

    She’s fully within her rights to say “my email list/job bank/other information is for people I personally know”–that would, in fact, be a good lesson she may wish to impart–but the way she did it was totally unacceptable.

    I think she’s going to lose a lot of her 960+ contacts.

    1. Katie the Fed

      So what are you supposed to do with these contacts once you have them? Send them all emails asking about job opportunities?

      1. Zelos

        Sorry, I don’t understand your question: are you asking if Kelly Blazek should be emailing her contacts to ask about job opportunities? Or are you asking if Jane Doe the job seeker should be mass-emailing her contacts?

        I’ve no idea what Kelly should be doing; I haven’t the foggiest idea of what it’d take to run and maintain a big job-seeking mailing list. Assuming her mailing list is on an opt-in basis, I suppose everyone knows what to expect. If she’s telling people about job postings in her emails, then I suppose it’s fair if she also emails about looking for job postings.

        As for Jane Doe…well, I don’t really know what she should be doing either. Personally, I’ve never been very comfortable with emailing or contacting people about job opportunities. My Facebook has…70 friends? I talk to maybe 10 of them on a regular basis? I can see talking to those 10 about job-hunting if I was looking, but I’d be uncomfortable asking the full 70. I haven’t talked to those other 60 people in years. I can’t imagine even talking to friends-of-friends (i.e. people outside of those 70 people). If a distant contact (friend-of-friend-of-friend) asked me for help, I’d try to point them to things I think might help or opportunities I know…but I’d feel awkward about the entire business too, because 1) I probably don’t know them or 2) I don’t think I’d be much help (I’m a youngish millennial, so I’m hardly brimming with professional experience and job advice).

        But I’m pretty terrible at this networking business, so maybe I’m the wrong person to ask.

        1. Katie the Fed

          I was wondering because you said “While I don’t disagree that mining every contact and their contact is obnoxious, it’s also the advice spoonfed to us in schools. It’s the advice every parent, relative, and their pet dog tell us when we can’t find anything via our contacts alone. ”

          I was actually just wondering what the advice is. How does mining contacts work? Sorry if that’s a dumb question – I really don’t understand it. Would you just basically cold call/email people asking about jobs?

          1. Zelos

            Oh, that. Yeah, the advice I’ve been fed was something along the lines of “ask everyone you know: your parents, your friends, your relatives, yadda yadda–everyone you know personally to see if anyone they know is hiring. And encourage your immediate contacts to ask everyone they know too–so your aunt can ask her coworkers, your friends can ask their friends, etc.” Where “ask” can vary from verbally, email, whatever.

            I don’t think they explicitly advise a third layer of asking–so they didn’t say your aunt’s coworker should be asking their friends–but even asking your immediate contacts to network for you have always sounded awkward to me, because none of their contacts would know me from Adam, so why would they want to give me advice? My father once had a friend of his give me job advice and it ended up the generic stuff I’d get from the school counsellor because that person didn’t know me at all. Extrapolating from that, I can’t imagine other networking from contacts of Jane Doe’s immediate contacts would be better. (Of course, if they did know Jane Doe, that’d be different…but if they did know Jane, then they’d be Jane’s immediate contacts instead of the contacts of her immediate contacts.)

            Objectively, the contact everyone maxim might not even be terrible advice, especially in this economy. But I’m pretty awkward with human relations so I always cringe a little thinking about it.

            Now, I have done successful informational interviews with strangers, but I thought that was different because I Was focusing my questions on a particular field so we have something specific to discuss. But job seeking and job advice is different from specific “tell me what it’s like to be a lawyer” questions, in my view.

            1. Jamie

              I once helped a sister’s friend’s husband get a job. I don’t recommend lightly, but he’d worked with my bil who I respect more than almost anyone on the planet and he vouched for him so I passed along his resume.

              We didn’t have anything, but a co-worker had a relative in another company who was looking for someone in that position so I sent along the resume. 6 degrees of separation later someone I’ve never met got a job from another person I’ve never met.

              Guy looking > his wife > my sister > my brother in law > me > my company > co-worker > her relative > job.

              Sometimes the long way around works!

            2. JC

              The “use all of your contacts!” advice has always made me uncomfortable in general. But, there are definitely ways to use contacts that fall far behind emailing everyone you know on the creepiness scale. To give some examples, my husband and I are shy, non-networky people, but we have both gotten jobs where our contacts helped. When my husband was looking for his first job post-school, he was at a family reunion for his brother-in-law’s family and mentioned in passing that he was looking for a job when it came up in conversation…and some random relative of his brother-in-law’s told him to pass a resume onto her son, which turned into a job. When he was looking for another job in a new town, he emailed a facebook acquaintance from college who worked in his field in the new town (might have even been a facebook message!), and she passed his resume on, and that turned into a job offer. I applied for a job once where I knew someone who worked there, so I emailed her and told her I was going to apply, and I eventually got the job. In all of those situations we may have gotten employed at these places if we didn’t know someone, but I have no doubt that knowing someone helped.

              If I were looking for a job in the future, would I blindly email all of my linkedin or facebook or whatever connections and tell them I am looking? No. But if I saw I had a connection who worked somewhere I was interested in, or possibly in a field I was interested in, I would. And if it comes up that I’m looking while I’m at Great Aunt Betty’s family party, something good could come of it.

          2. Rain and Lemon Balm

            When I was job searching a few years back, part of the advice, yes, was to cold-call, although usually about existing positions rather than, “hey, do you happen to be hiring?” I mean, heaven knows I’d be annoyed by getting a cold call from a friend of a friend asking for an in–but it was advice that was given, and when people start to get desperate I can see them taking it.

            The less irksome recommendation was to ask people if they would do an informational interview with you, primarily to learn more about the industry and so on (including, potentially, what managers are looking for and how the process works), but usually with the additional goal of making such a good impression that a later application would be looked on more favorably.

            I don’t know that that’s particularly good advice, but it’s what I was told when I was looking. (I didn’t happen to take the advice, myself.) And yeah, if that’s what you’re being told, getting a big list of contacts together seems important.

          3. Anonsie

            That’s what they say to do, yeah. And also to ask everyone you know about openings where they work. It goes along with the “just show up at a business and ask for a job” line of advice. I was even told that you should repeatedly badger your parents’s place of work until they make a new position for you, I am not making that up.

            Thank god I was always skeptical enough to not ever take any of that advice when I was younger, but I can tell you I’ve heard this same crap a thousand times. From people you should theoretically be able to trust, like counselors and advisors and, in the case of the “get your mom’s company to give you a job” piece of gold, a business professor.

  13. Mike C.

    I get that when things get too large that it might be overwhelming, but why not explicitly state what the ground rules are so that there’s no confusion? The issue with LinkedIn is a great example – tell folks what your expectations are so there’s no confusion.

    Look at the automatic response you receive if you email AaM for instance.

  14. Elkay

    I’m totally baffled by this, I can understand not connecting on LinkedIn but it seems odd to not let people have access to an email list because you don’t know them personally.

  15. Tiff

    It’s kind of sad to see a meltdown happen so publicly. Sad, but hilarious. When keeping it real goes wrong….

  16. KLH

    Speaking as someone who lived in Cleveland for 15 years, this “Are you one of my people? No, then away with you!” attitude is not unfamiliar.

  17. tango

    I expect that she couldn’t use a blanket statement like “job bank access &/or linkedin connection only for those I know” because she’s more than willing to join up with other people she does not know if she feels it might benefit HER down the line.

    So the recent 22 year old college graduate? No thanks, go elsewhere. The Senior VP with 22 years of experience in the same job field as herself, working for a prestigous company with hundreds of linkedin contacts already? Oh yes, she’ll add that person to the job bank listing or her linked in network in a flash if asked.

  18. Seal

    I have no patience whatsoever for someone who throws a tantrum or becomes abusive over a request for assistance when a simple “no” or “I’m sorry I can’t help” you will suffice. As others have pointed out, if this woman was overwhelmed with requests to join her “exclusive” list, she should have posted ground rules and sent boilerplate responses to those who don’t meet the criteria. This woman simply has no excuse for her behavior – how dare she call herself a professional!

  19. Sunflower

    I read the article but am a little confused as to what exactly this woman does. It’s under my impression that she aims to help people by providing job listings on this email. So why is she mad that people are asking to be included in them? Isn’t that the point? Am I missing something?

      1. Jamie

        Yes, this is what I was scrolling for – hoping someone explained it.

        I’m lost too. At first I thought it was some kind of job listing she did for the community, but if they can’t access it…

        Yeah – I’m in the weeds here. What is this?

        1. hilde

          Ok, I just read the original article and the job bank thingy is a Yahoo Group. I guess it’s like a Craigslist of jobs in that area? The LinkedIn thing came when a job seeker contacted the “Job Bank Mother” on her LinkedIn and said that job seeker’s request to join the Yahoo group was denied and that job seeker’s friend told her to contact the Mother directly on LinkedIn to get hooked up. Which prompted the scathing response. That’s what I got from it.

        2. fposte

          Here’s how I’m reading it:

          She runs a Yahoo groups job list. It’s not that hard to get onto, but you need to request with info and not just try to subscribe.

          However: she has a HUGE bee in her bonnet about attempts to connect to her on LinkedIn; she considers it utterly presumptuous and will cut you off of the job list if you try to do that. So what’s a little narratively confusing is that it’s the LinkedIn behavior that’s governing her gatekeeping on the job list; what’s conceptually confusing is her expectation that people would understand without being told what her very special view of LinkedIn is and how terrible it is to deviate from it.

          I also suspect that she may just have been getting really behind on adding people to the job list and got very defensive as a result of that.

          1. Jamie

            That’s what I was missing. I was thinking it of something like that, but when the guy said he couldn’t subscribe and she went off on him I thought I was mistaken.

            Thanks – makes sense now.

    1. Andrea

      I’m still a little lost…is this a paying job she has, or is it a volunteer thing? (I want to be clear that there’s no excuse, either way, for her behavior or for the language in those emails.)

    2. MaryMary

      I posted a bit on this below. The job bank is a restricted yahoo group for communications professionals in northeastern Ohio. It was run by one woman (Kelly Blazek) on a volunteer basis. People could access the information only if Blazek approved their membership, and reportedly she kept the list pretty restrictive. People wanting access needed to provide some work history and credentials to be allowed in, supposedly so that only communications professionals had access. The girl who made all these emails go viral applied for the yahoo group, and then went on LinkedIn to connect with Blazek (she says to make it easier for Blazek to learn more about her).

      1. Clevelander

        I’m not a communications professional, she doesn’t know me from Adam, I’m not in any Yahoo group, I’ve never provided her my work history/credentials and I receive this email job list.

        1. MaryMary

          Really? Interesting! I’m going off of what I’ve read, I thought the whole kerfluffle started when the job seeker had to “apply” to her job bank.

  20. hilde

    I don’t usually jump to extreme conclusions about things, but I wonder if that type of a response was because she was….drunk, high, having a legitimate mental breakdown or something? It just seems so crazy to have such a violent and immature reaction to requests she’s likely fielded before. Also, she’s some 2013 Communicator of the Year so that either means she is honestly a good communicator or has bamboozled everyone into thinking she is. I dunno; those responses just seemed very… unglued.

  21. Purr purr purr

    I bet she didn’t even know all the 960 people on her LinkedIn and there she is berating someone, ‘a stranger,’ for trying to add her! Surely that’s the point of LinkedIn? To connect with professional people, some of whom will be strangers, to try and hear about opportunities with other companies and build up some sort of relationship?

  22. Meredith

    I actually live in Cleveland, and recently had a networking meeting with a former manager, who recommended I join the Kelly Blazek’s list to help me find a job. I made a note to sign up, but hadn’t gotten around to taking her well- meaning advice yet, when the story broke.

    That could have been awkward.

    1. Karyn

      Just stopping by to say hello, fellow Clevelander! :)

      This story just makes me cringe… as if the rest of the country doesn’t have enough reason to laugh at us…

        1. KJR

          Another Clevelander chiming in…I didn’t notice the standoffish-ness until I went away for a few years to southern Ohio. What a difference!!

        2. MaryMary

          I could see standoffish, I think a lot of Clevelanders have a “once bitten twice shy” attitude. But there’s no excuse to be nasty.

      1. Kristin

        Completely unrelated, but I’ve been to Cleveland twice now for a comedy festival I was in. I’m from Chicago and I LOVE Cleveland. It’s adorable and I’ve had a great time every time I’ve been!

  23. Lily in NYC

    As obnoxious as she was, I have to give her props for writing a real, contrite apology instead of one of those maddening non-apologies that we generally see.

    1. Meredith

      I agree. Her apology at least (to me) read as genuine, which I respect. I wish more people would take responsibility for mistakes, instead of these strange public statements that read as “sorry you feel that way”, not “sorry for the mistake I made”.

    2. The Clerk

      I hate to sound like a misanthrope here, but her field is public relations, after all…she would know how to avoid a non-apology and why that would be the best thing for her image. I don’t think someone who acted the way she did when she thought no one would find out is sincerely contrite, just smart enough to act differently in public. She’s probably patting herself on the back for putting out such a great “apology.” :/

  24. Ali

    Ugh…this reminds me of when I got a scathing e-mail from a professional in my field that I once respected before he tore me to shreds instead of handling my mistakes in a professional manner. Sure, maybe us 20-somethings don’t know everything, but everyone deserves better when they make a misstep!

  25. Sam

    If I was fresh out of college and entering the job world for the first time, this would CRUSH me. I hope the people who received those letters were able to dust them off and found mentors able to help.

    1. Seal

      Same here. What gets me is the original requests were polite, succinct and professional. I’m sure the last thing those writers expected was to get eviscerated for trying to network!

  26. MaryMary

    I’m a Clevelander, and while I don’t know any of the people involved personally, I’ve been following the story. This “job bank” is restricted yahoo group. People would pass on open positions and leads to Kelly Blazek, and she sent them back out to the group. While I think that’s part of why Blazek wanted to keep the group exclusive (almost like recommending a candidate), it’s also easy to see how it got out of hand. The communications/PR field is already hard to break into, keeping job leads within a closed group makes it even more insular.

    Young professionals (all professionals, really): not all Clevelanders are like this. Don’t let people like Blazek scare you off, she is not representative of most professionals in the area. Most of us want to grow our community and would love to help you become a part of it.

    1. Clevelander

      Agreed – not all Clevelanders are like that and I personally know of several cases where HR professionals have helped job seekers by answering questions and helping to revise resumes via email – without ever meeting them.

      Her job list isn’t that exclusive though if thousands of us receive it. :)

  27. Anonymous

    I have a radical approach to getting requests to connect on LinkedIn from people I don’t know.

    I click “Ignore” on the Invite and then move on with my life.

  28. Clevelander

    Two things:

    First – I receive that Cleveland email list of jobs. It’s not anything that you can’t find anywhere else. I’ve always thought that this person was not “all that” and that she provides the list as a guise for self-promotion more than anything else. Honestly, she has proven this to be true with her response to this young lady.

    Second – I received a similar, albeit much toned down response from the leader of a Cleveland job group four years ago. I reached out to this person with a question by email. He pretty much answered me – “I don’t know you what are you going to do for me?” This job group has been featured in the media as a God-send for job seekers. HA!

    This is not surprising.

  29. Anonymous

    I haven’t emailed in my question yet, Alison, but I still want to take a moment and thank you for the time you put into this blog. It’s been helpful, interesting, and even entertaining.
    Also, I like that this post was filed under “jerk” LOL

  30. holly

    obviously i don’t understand how job banks work. what is the point of having one if you don’t let people view it?

    then again, i only look at job listings from free services (professional associations/university depts) so i’m not entirely certain what this woman was doing differently.

  31. JenTheNiceHRGirl

    Yikes is right. A TON of potential candidates contact me on LinkedIn. That is why I have a LinkedIn profile; for recruiting purposes. If someone’s request appears to be shady, I just ignore it. This lady comes off as just really mean and cranky. I think it is good that she apologized and perhaps she does feel badly now that she has been publically shamed, but come on… who acts that way? Who claims to be someone who helps people find jobs and then sends rude messages to job seekers who reach out? What a jerk!

  32. Jake

    Oh yes, the current entry-level generation acts entitled, so I’m going to put them down tactic.

    At what point do we (the entitled generation) get to start labeling all senior employees as assholes? I hear just as many stories about senior workers like this as I do about young folks acting entitled.

    Then again it is probably very entitled of me to suggest such a thing.

  33. Not So NewReader

    I remember getting out of school and trying to find a job. I met quite a few people that were nasty and yet insisted they were going to help me find work.
    They were not as nasty as this lady but some of her words do ring a bell in my memory.
    It took years for me to trust anyone to give job advice. I have read many websites and quite a few books. (I don’t want to think about how many hours I spent doing this.) My knee-jerk reaction here was to recoil.

    Lots of lessons here:
    Anything you say on the internet can go viral at any point. (I guess we just have to keep repeating that.)

    Know your limits. When you reach your limit either quit OR bring in help. If you cannot bring in help then quit.

    Have a plan for recurring pesky questions. (What is considered pesky will vary by individual.)

    Know what you are offering. Be able to articulate it. Stick to what you say you will offer. Do not do special favors for some and not others. This is a silent killer- it will wear you right out. If you aren’t willing to do AB and C for everyone, then don’t do it at all.

    If you are good at what you do, people will find you. Have a plan for what to do if you suddenly get REALLY BIG. A surprising number of groups/businesses collapse because there was no plan to deal with huge popularity.

    Burn out happens to the best of us. That is nothing to be embarrassed over. But when you stop respecting the people you are serving, then it is time to get out. Don’t put care of others ahead of care for yourself. This never works.

    I am not saying that this lady had all these things going on. But she definitely had something going on. It could be as simple as feeling that she is not being effective in her mission. It could be she had a personal agenda that was not being fulfilled. Maybe her dog got hit by a car. Who knows.

    If she has been working for any length of time she knows all these things. I am glad she apologized. I hope she gets herself turned around somehow. For many reasons, she is the type of person I would have to move away from. I am sure there are others like me that will just quietly move on. And it’s not an anger thing. It’s more like a fear reaction- I would wonder if the volcano is still simmering even if the volcano looks calm right now.

    1. Ruffingit

      Agreed and I would also say that I might move away from her not just because of fear of the volcano still simmering, but also because her reaction was arrogant and completely unprofessional. I wouldn’t want to be associated with someone like that (the company you keep and all that). I’m guessing this woman just got a bit too big for her britches, to borrow an old expression from my parents. Sounds like this job bank grew quickly and was quite popular and this woman basically felt like she was the creator of and at the helm of the ship and she got to choose who was in the first-class cabin and who hung out in steerage. Unfortunately, she chose to captain the Titanic and we all know what happened there. This kind of bad behavior can sink any grand enterprise. I hope she’s able to turn things around if in fact this job bank has been helpful to people, but this woman needs to realize she isn’t the master of the universe. She runs a list serve for pete’s sake. It’s helpful, certainly, but she didn’t invent the cure for cancer. Hell, even the guy who came up with the vaccine for polio refused to patent it stating that it belonged to the world. Basically, I’d tell this woman to get some perspective.

  34. Beth

    I’m SURE this has been said in the almost 300 responses here, but just in case it hasn’t… shouldn’t such a LinkedIn pro be aware that you can choose to keep your connections private? Or did these nasty letters come before that was an option? (I assume that at some point privacy wasn’t an option, but I don’t know that for sure and I’m not sure when that would have been.) On the rare occasion that I have linked to someone I don’t know (someone I would have a good reason to think would want to link with someone like me) I haven’t expected to be able to mine their contacts.

  35. Anonymous

    This entire thread is filled with people who are dishonest. I took the time to think of the people I consider most kind, most considerate, and honest to God good people.

    And I still found mistakes. Momentary lapses of though happen. tempers flare. The only examples I can think of where I have *never* seen imperfection are people who severely control their lives to avoid interacting with others, especially undesirables.

    Give this woman a break, she likely gets a flood of messages each day, and they don’t always look as nice as this message board.

    She got overwhelmed. She took a break for a few days and got her bearings back. We see all the time on this board that weeks are OK to take because hiring is a difficult job, but 5 days to recover from being overwhelmed and then writing an apology can’t be accepted?

    This board is getting really superior. This is not in support of the topic, which I think was cruel. It wasn’t right, but castigating the woman who wrote those words and pretending you, the forum responders never do anything wrong is horrendous.

    This is for the fact that for the second time this week, I feel the need to cloak myself in anonymity to point out how far down this board has gotten. It’s sad. It’s not Alison who needs to get off her high horse. She continues to give good advice. It’s the readers here who need to learn that they aren’t perfect, either.

    1. Anonymous

      And for those that say they would never be upset with a person asking for help when they run a website and forum dedicated to job searching, then try it yourself. Open yourself up to hear from people not on your level, not equal to you in education, and lacking your level of experience. Not everyone can be congenial to people you can’t relate with. And not being able to relate with someone doesn’t mean they are worse than you.

      I maintain that Alison has remarkable skills of patience and consideration. But based on the comments I see here, most posters could not maintain that level of cool.

      1. fposte

        I don’t think any of us are claiming that we’d never be impatient or imperfect–just that what kind of mistake gets made and how protracted it is matters, and this was a bad mistake that didn’t just happen once. This isn’t somebody who gave a single snippy reply, this is somebody who several times became insulting, vindictive, and contemptuous. Since many of us are in service oriented professions and do get a very large number of requests for assistance, we’re not just guessing how we’d respond, we know, and we know we wouldn’t do that and would get in serious trouble if we did.

        I agree with Katie the Fed’s upthread point that it’s too bad the smallest glitch can go viral these days, and I don’t think this woman deserves direct punishment and abuse–she didn’t commit a crime, she merely fell into a habit of treating people nastily, and there’s a lot more to worry about in the world. I do think she gave a really good apology, much better than boilerplate, and I’m assuming she means it and is regrouping.

        But an apology doesn’t require a “No, it was okay” as a response–what she did still wasn’t okay, and I think it’s okay to say that.

        1. Anonymous

          I am responding to others, not you, fposte. I generally look out to your comments. You are remarkably helpful

          Yes, the woman written about was nasty and odious. I agree. I just don’t agree when I can recognize posters that ask for help that I think is obvious that I offered kind help to, without thanks, that consider themselves sudden experts that can make accusations. I don’t remember any thanks.

          I’ve always given thanks to any posters that responded to me as well as to Alison, and I have issues with the posters who want to be hippocrates.

          I think your response is thoughtful and correct, and you are not the poster I was directing my comments to.

          1. fposte

            Well, in general I’m in favor of more forgiveness and less condemnation, so I can certainly join you on that front.

  36. anon-2

    It wasn’t too long ago that posters in here, particularly those in management – were gloating and laughing at unsuccessful, and desperate job-seekers that they had encountered.

    I did take some to task in here — is that professional? I mean, put yourself in the applicant’s shoes — is making fun of those people in here the right thing to do?

    I think attitudes changed after that….

Comments are closed.