You might know the name Olivia Bland.
Perhaps you're already forgetting. And that's just fine with her.
Recently, Bland had an Andy Warhol moment -- 15 minutes of viral fame that erupted after she had a horrible, nasty job interview -- and there's a lesson in her experience that I think everyone else I've seen write about her has completely missed.
Background: After that brutal interview that brought her to tears, Bland was surprised to get a job offer anyway. She turned it down, and then posted the email she sent to the company, Web Applications UK, to her Twitter account.
Yesterday morning I had a job interview for a position at a company called Web Applications UK. After a brutal 2 hour interview, in which the CEO Craig Dean tore both me and my writing to shreds (and called me an underachiever), I was offered the job. This was my response today. pic.twitter.com/gijDpsEVHY-- olivia (@oliviaabland) January 29, 2019
'A brutal, two-hour interview'
As she said in the post, she endured "a brutal two hour interview, in which the CEO Craig Dean tore both me and my writing to shreds (and called me an underachiever)."
She turned them down, called them out--including the company's CEO, Craig Dean, by name--and saw a massive deluge of support.
Of course, a vocal minority also called her a sensitive snowflake. This is 2019 of course, even in England.
It's well worth reading the whole Twitter post. After it took off on social media, the company tried to reply quickly, but Bland called them out for doing so in a way that didn't even include an apology.
That was all a week ago now. As of this writing (updated Friday afternoon), her tweet has more than 41,000 retweets and almost 140,000 likes. And Bland spent a few days doing interviews with media all over the United Kingdom.
So, I connected with her via email. Her story had spread to this side of the Atlantic, and I wanted to interview her, too.
'Everything that needed to be said'
I also wanted to confirm a rumor I'd heard that said she'd been offered and accepted another job based on the way she'd handled the whole Web Applications UK debacle.
"I've said everything that I feel needed to be said," she told me, declining the chance to do yet another interview. But I can't leave well enough alone so I kept the discussion going a bit.
Ultimately, she confirmed: "I have had offers for jobs and interviews but I haven't taken many of them seriously. I haven't accepted any jobs yet."
And so I left it at that.
I think I had Warhol on my mind when Bland and I connected, because of the genius Super Bowl ad that Burger King ran Sunday evening, which was comprised almost completely of a 40-year-old film of Warhol eating a Whopper.
We're in a culture now in which some people will do almost anything to go viral--to get their 15 minutes.
It's almost a tragic cliche to write about people who wind up dying because they do dangerous things while trying to take the perfect Instagram photo.
But I'm struck that Bland, who at 22 is the very definition of a young professional digital native, seems to know so intuitively how to handle it afterward.
Namely, to go back to life. To let things be. To be content for this whole story to fade to a footnote, and ultimately become at most a story she can tell at a party someday years from now.
Making the right call
At 22, Bland has her entire professional and personal life ahead of her. I don't know what happened in the interview, but I've read some of her writing. She's pretty darn good.
I'll flatter myself by saying that after writing seven books and thousands of articles read by tens of millions of people around the world, I'm a pretty good judge of writing ability.
I mean, I'm no Craig Dean, I'm sure. Although I wouldn't know; I reached out to him through his company for comment, hoping to interview him as well.
I never heard a word back. Sounds like he's treating his 15 minutes of fame the same way.
But I found a lot of reviews of him and his company on Glassdoor.
Let's just say I wouldn't want to work there either. Olivia, I think it's clear you made the right call. Sometimes the best move of all is just to move on.