Kelly Blazek, a Cleveland-based PR executive and authority on local communications jobs listings, was undone by the same thing that built her up:
With her ego boosted by the position she cultivated via LinkedIn and other networks, she soon became an Internet villain at the hands of someone she shunned.
Blazek, for a little more back story, produced and distributed a popular email that culled job openings from online job sites and from her own contacts.
She worked for 10 years building her contacts and selecting the list of people who receive the email, limiting recipients largely to those with experience.
Blazek also promoted herself and the email list on social media networking sites, such as LinkedIn, where she was connected to nearly 1,000 people she knows.
She's good at what she does, and she knows it.
Eventually, that inflated sense of self-importance would come back to bite her as she bought into her own hype more than and service she was providing.
She bragged in speeches that she had 7,300 people on her list, building a reputation so revered that many young people felt they HAD to reach out to her.
But when many newbies asked for help, she turned them down. That wasn't the problem or newsworthy ... it was the brutal way Blazek rejected them.
Blazek got noticed on the web after sending a nasty response to Diana Mekota, a John Carroll University graduate moving back to the Cleveland area.
Mekota asked if she could join Blazek's LinkedIn network and receive the job listings email she held so dear. Here's how Blazek responded in an email:
"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."
To "a total stranger who has nothing to offer me"? Not happening. "Your invite to connect is inappropriate, beneficial only to you, and tacky," the email continued.
"Wow, I cannot wait to let every 25-year-old jobseeker mine my top-tier marketing connections to help them land a job. Love the sense of entitlement in your generation."
"And therefore I enjoy denying your invite, and giving you the dreaded 'I Don't Know' [scribbled-out name] because it's the truth," she added, pouring it on.
"Oh, and about your request to actually receive my Job Bank along with the 7,300 other subscribers? That's denied, too. I suggest you join the other Job Bank in town."
"Oh wait - there isn't one."
In response, Mekota did what many millennials do: She turned to the Internet for catharsis, posting Blazek's response on reddit, imgur and on Facebook.
The rest is history.
The letter went viral, of course, because people can relate to the plight of Mekota and others like her, and Blazek's email is so absurd it had to be shared.
People on Reddit rally behind those like Mekota who get kicked when they're down, and revel in the change to expose the Blazeks who have lost touch with reality.
To her credit, she got the message, issuing an apology Tuesday that is contrite and pitch perfect. The most telling line of a seemingly sincere mea culpa:
"In my harsh reply notes, I lost my perspective about how to help, and I also lost sight of kindness, which is why I started the Job Bank listings in the first place."