Monday, November 12, 2007

Marc Cenedella hates American Airlines

As part of my job search, I signed up for this service called, which is a pretty good job searching/networking/recruiting website. Part of the service consists of a weekly newsletter, ostensibly written by Marc Cenedella, the CEO, about how to improve your resume, find a job, network effectively, whatever. The letter this week is just crazy, though:

Man, I hate American Airlines

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.

That's a strong start. You don't normally see the CEO of one company specifically criticizing his personal experience with another, especially in a professional newsletter.
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 [...] 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:









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. (Italics mine).

Now, I agree that this is as unpleasant a button as a flight attendant could possibly wear. And flying sucks enough without dealing with a flight attendant's job dissatisfaction, too. But still, doesn't a statement like this seem a bit out of place? Marc must have really hated his flight to put out something as damaging to his image as this. TheLadders is all about helping job seekers communicate their professionalism and qualifications to potential employers, so it seems weird that their official newsletter would be this unprofessional. I wonder what the story behind this is - is some marketing director feverishly writing an apology email right now to their AA corporate clients? I'll keep you posted...

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