We all make mistakes at work. You put the file in the wrong folder, mess up an order, bill the wrong amount. But some mess ups are worse than others. Each week, we’re featuring one Bad Career Move of the Week, cautionary tales to keep you from ruining your own career in a moment of error or poor judgment.

This week: Man sends pic of his privates when applying for job placement

A Texas jobseeker might have thought he was improving his chances of finding work and showing off the full measure of his assets and endowments when he included a picture of his “nuts and bolts” along with his job application to a placement agency.

The Dallas Observer reports that a staffer at the agency came across the pantsfolio in her email and promptly called police, which is to be expected. The cops tracked down the sender and cited him for “obscene display or distribution,” a class C misdemeanor.

Dallas police spokesman Demarquis Black says that the man remains unemployed and adds,”I think I know why he can’t find a job.”
In fairness, it’s possible he sent the picture by accident and that he meant to attach something else, or that he intended to send the John Thomas image to someone else and hit the wrong name. That can happen.

In 2012, York University student Vanessa Hojda became famous for accidentally sending a picture of Nicolas Cage instead of her resume to apply for an admin assistant position. She didn’t get the job.

The lesson here? If you absolutely must take pictures of your euphemisms, keep them in a separate folder.

April 4, 2014
This week: Car thieves post pics of stolen goods on Facebook


Two brainiac British car thieves were arrested and sentenced to nine years and four months after posting pictures of themselves posing with their loot on Facebook.

The Daily Mail reports that Jonathan Dougan, 26, and Matthew Murphy, 23, were linked to thefts of motorcycles, high-performance cars and bottles of champagne.

The dynamic duo, who were both on parole at the time, posted nearly 50 pictures on Facebook featuring themselves and the stolen goods. They were caught when the owner of a KTM motorcycle spotted a picture of Dougan sitting on it. It wasn’t difficult from there, I imagine, for police to track them down and connect them to the thefts.

Dougan and Murphy were jailed in 2008, also for nine years, for a series of armed robberies, but were released after serving half the time.

A police source is quoted as saying, “This pair may be a few sandwiches short of a picnic but they will have plenty of time to reflect on their stupidity.”

Maybe a career in thievery isn’t in the cards.

“For months they carried out systematic raids on people’s homes and made off with a huge haul of expensive motorbikes and cars. Thankfully they were the architects of their own downfall and we hope that when they are finally released from prison they realize a life of crime is not their strong suit.”

It’s hard to imagine what their strong suit might be.

Bad career move rating: 10/10

February 21, 2014
This week: Cleveland’s “Communicator of the Year” kills her career with an email


Head of the Cleveland Job Bank for marketing professionals, Kelly Blazek, refers to herself the “Job Bank House Mother.” Looks like Cleveland’s marketing job seekers have a bit of a Mommy Dearest thing going on.

Blazek made headlines this week when an incredibly nasty email she sent to a job seeker who tried to connect with her on LinkedIn went viral.

Diana Mekota, 26, posted the note online with the message:

“Moving to a new area so I attempted to join her job board and followed it up with a LinkedIn invite. This was the email response I received.”

Here is Blazeks’ response in full:

Kelly Blazek

If you’re confused, you’re not the only one, since it would seem that giving people access to jobs and contacts is what a job bank is for.

As you can see, Mekota blacked out Blazek’s name but she was quickly identified anyway. The posts went viral and more people have come forward with similar notes from Blazek. She has since deleted all her social media accounts and her blog. She also issued an apology that read :

“I am very sorry to the people I have hurt … Hundreds of people contact me every month looking for help, and as the bottom fell out of the job market, their outreach and requests demanded more of my time. I became shortsighted and impatient, and that was wrong.

“My Job Bank listings were supposed to be about hope, and I failed that. 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.

“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.”

According to CNN, “Blazek was named 2013’s ‘Communicator of the Year’ by Cleveland’s branch of the International Association of Business Communicators.”

She probably won’t get that award again in 2014.

Bad career move rating: 9/10

February 21, 2014
This week: Using a forklift to free your Twix bar that got stuck in the vending machine.


The Des Moines Register reports that Robert McKevitt, a 27-year-old veteran, was working at an Iowa warehouse last fall when his 90 cent chocolate bar got stuck in the machine.

McKevitt says he put in another dollar but nothing happened. When the usual banging and rocking the machine didn’t work, he allegedly drove an 8,000-pound forklift to the machine, lifted it 2 feet off the floor and dropped it, at least six times. Some companies might have been impressed if an employee showed such initiative and innovation, but not Polaris Industries.

The register says McKevitt got three chocolate bars and lost his job.

He told The Des Moines Register he never lifted the machine and only used the forklift to move it back into place.

Bad Career Move Rating, if true: 7/10

February 14, 2014:
This week: Reporter mistakes Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne.

KTLA reporter Sam Rubin was interviewing Jackson about his role in the Robocop, remake on Monday when he asked about Jackson’s “Super Bowl commercial.”

“What Super Bowl commercial?” Jackson asked. It didn’t take long for both to figure out Rubin’s mistake – as it was Fishburne who starred in a Super Bowl commercial for Kia – and Jackson went to town on him. Rubin tried to apologize but Jackson wouldn’t let up.

“I’m not Laurence Fishburne,” he told Rubin. “We don’t all look alike. We may be all black and famous but we don’t all look alike.”

He went on, “I’m the ‘What’s in Your Wallet,’ black guy,” speaking of his own endorsement deal with Capital One credit cards. “He’s the car black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit-card black guy. You only hear his voice, though, so you probably won’t confuse him with Laurence Fishburne.”

It was painful. And I thought Jackson was unnecessarily mean. Sometimes a mistake is just a mistake, and there’s never a good reason to humiliate someone.

I once called J.D. Salinger “Jean Paul Sartre” for about five minutes during a conversation about writers. My date must have been so confused, and I’m lucky he didn’t make fun of me for the next ten minutes after he figured it out. Someone on Twitter the other day tweeted about Bret Easton Ellis’ book Fight Club…I’m sure he was embarrassed enough when I gently pointed out that Chuck Palahniuk wrote it.

Sure, Rubin is a professional entertainment reporter and should have known better. That doesn’t mean he should be raked over the coals.

To his credit, he never got defensive and simply apologized over and over again. The interview finally turned to Robocop, and Jackson continued with the digs, mentioning Michael Keaton and Gary Oldman and saying, “Just in case they have some of them on the show. Do some work. Do some research. Make sure you don’t confuse them with those other white actors.”

Later on the air, Rubin apologized again, saying, “I really pride myself on the fact that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work, more often than not I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.”

It would have been a perfect apology if he hadn’t made the cheap dig at “a lot of people who do this kind of work.”

Will these guys never learn?

Watch the incident here.

Bad Career Move Rating: 6/10