“Humility is Not Thinking Less of Yourself. It’s Thinking of Yourself Less.”: Some Thoughts on the Blazek Debacle

The above quote by C.S. Lewis is something I was reminded of as I sifted through the Kelly Blazek debacle.

For those of you who haven’t been following this, Ms. Blazek runs a job board and was sent a request to link in from a young person looking for a job. It appears many people (including myself) found her response is shocking (Those of you who wish to read it in full can do so here: http://imgur.com/gallery/71sQ92K) as the uprush of commentary resulted in the deletion of Ms. Blazek’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and website.

For those of you interested in the highlights of her response, they include:

“Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky. Wow. I cannot wait to let every 26-year-old job seeker mine my top-tier marketing connections.”

And concludes with

“Your welcome for your humility lesson for the year.”

I think we can all agree Ms. Blazek might have worded her response differently.

At the same time, however, I am thinking this can also be used as a teaching moment for anyone looking for a job, making a pitch or requesting a favor.

Because while it is tempting to lead with what you are seeking—an offer, a deal, a ride to the airport— you are likely to get further if you lead with what you have to offer the other person. If your response to “Tell me about yourself,” does not include where you grew up and how many siblings you have, but how you plan to add value to the company once you are hired. If your response to “What are you selling?” isn’t just a description of your product but an explanation of how the product is going to improve the buyer’s world. And if your request for a ride to the airport includes an opening offer to carpool your chum hither and yon as needed in the next six months.

Frances Cole Jones