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Nasty email goes viral, reminding us that rudeness in business has a price [The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. :: ]
[February 26, 2014]

Nasty email goes viral, reminding us that rudeness in business has a price [The Oregonian, Portland, Ore. :: ]

(Oregonian (Portland, OR) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Feb. 26--You may have seen it already, the email exchange between a young, job-seeking marketing professional who sought to connect via LinkedIn with an older marketing professional who publishes a Marketing Job Bank for employers and would-be employees.

If not, here's how it went, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland Scene, BuzzFeed, Imgur and other sources that have reposted all or portion of the exchange. First, a young woman named Diana Mekota, who was moving to Cleveland and wanted to plug in to a network of marketing professionals, sent a LinkedIn request to Kelly Blazek, a longtime Cleveland marketer. This is the response she got: From: Kelly Blazek Subject: Poor Judgment on your Jobseeking Strategy We have never met. We have never worked together. 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 26 year old 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 Diana," 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.

You're welcome to your humility lesson for the year. Don't ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network.

Don't ever write me again.

*-- Mekota was startled by the response, and after showing it to friends who expressed outrage, she shared it with news and social media platforms, even going on a radio program to discuss it.

As word spread, other job seekers shared similar emails. Blazek responded by shutting down her accounts.

Now, she has apologized and the Plain Dealer printed her apology.

Carri Bugbee, a social media marketing strategist at Big Deal P.R., posted an account of Blazek's email on Facebook, where it drew multiple comments. She said she was startled by the tone and content of the email, especially considering it came from an experienced marketing professional. But the bottom line, she said, is that it doesn't behoove anyone to be unnecessarily rude.

"You never know who you're going to encounter in your career," she said Wednesday. "That could be the person who makes a recommendation to hire you for a gig down the road." In fact, she said, she has taught classes to marketing students who had no experience -- some of whom now are in a position to hire her for projects.

Rudeness is in the air, it sometimes seems. Max Boot has a new article in the New Republic called "Why is Robert Gates Angry?," in which he discusses the former Defense Secretary's somewhat bitter memoir. Here's a telling passage from the review: "Obviously all of his conflicts with Congress took a toll on him. After experiencing lawmakers' 'rude, insulting, belittling, bullying and all too often highly personal attacks,' he was tempted to tell a congressional committee (the italics are his): 'I may be the secretary of defense, but I am also an American citizen, and there is no son of a bitch in the world who can talk to me like that. I quit. Find somebody else."'" But, of course, Gates never actually said that.

The Harvard Business Review last year sought to quantify the issue somewhat, talking about the cost of rudeness in business. In the article "The Price of Incivility," authors Christine Porath and Christine Pearson talked about some of the bottom-line effects of a workforce that feels it has been treated rudely by employers. Turnover is higher. Rudeness filters down to customers. Creativity is stifled.

Here's a link to Blazek's restarted Twitter profile, which at this moment, leads with a tweet about her apology for her nasty email.

Blazek was named 2013 business communicator of the year by the Cleveland chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators.

-Mike Francis ___ (c)2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) Visit The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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