Job Bank Chief Apologizes After Anti-Millennial ‘Humility Lesson’ Backfires

Harsh emails to applicants go viral

Headshot of David Griner

Many older marketing pros may feel millennials have a lot to learn. But this week served up an important reminder for all of us: If you can't think of anything nice to say, don't send that email. 

Kelly Blazek, head of the Cleveland Job Bank, has deleted most of her digital presence and issued a lengthy apology after sending at least three scathing rants to applicants who had asked for her help.

"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," Blazek wrote to John Carroll University graduate Diana Mekota. "Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky.

"Love the sense of entitlement in your generation. And therefore I enjoy denying your invite. … You're welcome for your humility lesson for the year. Don't ever reach out to senior practitioners again and assume their carefully curated list of connections is available to you, just because you want to build your network."

The last line? "Don't ever write me again."

When Mekota decided to post the email publicly, asking people to "please help call this lady out," the once-private message exploded Tuesday across social media, especially in the close-knit Cleveland business community.

Two similar notes from Blazek have surfaced (you can read all three below), featuring such warm wishes as, "You have not earned the right to ask me to connect on LinkedIn" and "Done with this conversation, and you."

As these messages swirled together into the perfect storm of backlash Tuesday, Blazek deleted her Twitter account (which is now back with just four followers and her picture removed), her blog and most of her LinkedIn profile. Blazek also issued an apology to local media outlets, saying in part: "The note I sent to Diana was rude, unwelcoming, unprofessional and wrong. I am reaching out to her to apologize. Diana and her generation are the future of this city. I wish her all the best in landing a job in this great town."

(Source: Imgur)

(Source: Imgur)


@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."