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Is Ladders crossing the line in taking on American Airlines? You tell me.

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:12pm

I keep tabs on what other job boards, recruiters, and social networks are honing in on, so that if there are trends or issues that pop up I can pass them along to you, my dear reader.



One company that I admire is called The Ladders. While I don't like the fact that they charge jobseekers to pay for access to their job bank and I generally take a stand against that practice, this particular brand has done a pretty good job in staying niche-focused and aims to attract the higher salaried jobseeker. (Personally, I don't want to charge a 50 plus jobseeker to pay for resume search when they are already quite worried about their pocketbook but his niche is highly targeted and a bit more flush.)



Well, CEO Marc Cenedella, had a bad week of travel and wrote about it. And this is what I'm talking about today. He's really gone out on a limb talking about the challenges of poor customer service and focused on one questionable American Airlines employee. Is he talking the right stuff? Or is this going a little too far? I'm betting we'll hear more on this particular newsletter. Feel free to add your comments by clicking on the title of this post and hitting the "comments" link at the bottom of the post. (No, you cannot comment directly to this newsletter if you are a subscriber. You do have to go through the actual web page.)



Here are excerpts from his newsletter (I've deleted some of the letter that is not directly relevant to this topic):



A grumbly Monday morning to you.



Folks, other people’s travel hell stories are about as interesting as other people’s "kids" or "new exercise regimen" stories, so I’m not going to bore you with one of those.




And as a matter of fact, my recent flight on American wasn’t uniquely miserable. It was just run-of-the-mill lousy.



But what really got me bummed out was my flight attendant’s outfit.



Katherine had gone to the trouble of wearing buttons with all sorts of sayings on her uniform.

You know, when you’re on a flight on one of the legacy airlines, you kind of hold out hope that somebody - anybody - will give a damn. And like a drowning man might, I saw Katherine’s buttons as a statement.




She cared! She was going to stand out against the ennui and mediocrity of her co-workers and let the world know that she, Katherine of American Airlines Flight 673 from Miami to New York, was taking a stand!



A stand for friendliness, and approachability, and caring about her customers.



Now, if you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you know I am a bit of a nut for our customers...



...So when I see somebody breaking out against the norm, standing up for customers, and daring to care, I can get pretty excited.




And so as Katherine approached me I strained to get my work weary eyes to read the fine print on her button.




It was a light blue button with dark blue writing, and I could just about make out the words:




"I"

"Have"

"No"

"Idea"

"Why"

"I"

"Work"

"Here"




And I have to tell you, that was just about the most deflating, disheartening, dispiriting, depressing thing to read after a relaxing weekend.




And I won’t share them with you here, but the rest of her buttons were of an equally sour-puss nature.




And you know, Katherine and her type stand for everything that’s bad in the world. For every one of us trying to achieve great things, there’s a Katherine standing nearby ready to tear it down. For each of us trying to make the world a better place today, this hour, this minute, there’s a Katherine in the wings sticking her tongue out.




And not only is there a Katherine, but there’s a company willing to hire her. Like American Airlines.




And while Mom said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, I wish the Katherines and the American Airlines of the world nothing but failure. Failure in their campaign to pull down the productive people, failure in their efforts to keep winners from winning, and failure in the marketplace so that better people and companies can serve American Airlines customers.




So don’t be a Katherine! As you go about this job hunt, don’t waste your talents or fall into the trap of working for a company that doesn’t respect you, in a job where you stop respecting yourself. You’re too talented, and forward-looking, and capable to waste your years away inside a rotting body like American Airlines...




...Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short, and don’t let the Katherines of this world bring you down.




I’ll be rooting for you!



Warmest Regards,

Marc Cenedella, Founder & CEO

TheLadders.com, Inc.

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