Everybody hates being snubbed, right?  So much so that some people will write articles about CNN when it happens to them.

I read this article last week, and it stuck with me, because I had some uneasiness about what the author, Jessica Brondo, was claiming as widespread snubbing.  Is snubbing a word? It didn’t underline in my writing window, and it sounds cool, so I’m going to go with it.

Anyways, the summary of the article was this: Last year, the author attended a conference (SXSWedu), networked with some people where she got a lot of business cards and such, then upon getting home she attempted to reach out to many of the people to get advice, and got no response.  Her idea ended up taking off, and this year, people are seeking her out.  People who ‘snubbed’ her last year are suddenly finding the time now that she’s no longer just a face in the crowd.

The premise of her complaint is focused more on gender.  She feels that women should have been more supportive of her.  I’m actually writing this taking the gender element out of it because I don’t think my points tie to gender at all.  And what is my point?

I don’t really think she was snubbed.

mb-2014-05keepoutAt least not in the true sense of the definition.  When you type snub into Google, the first definition returns ‘rebuff, ignore, or spurn disdainfully.’

And I don’t think her complaints fit the definition. Here’s a few reasons why:

  • Everybody, not just her, was looking for an angle – The conference that the woman attended was busy.  Wildly busy.  Everybody was meeting one another, exchanging ideas, and sharing contact information.  The amount of information shared was overwhelming.  Had she been the only person trying to share information, she might have a claim of having been snubbed.  As such, I think that the sheer volume of information exchanged meant that most of it simply got turned into noise.
  • She was a face in the crowd – From the sounds of it, the conference that she attended had a lot of successful people and a whole lot more people looking to become successful.  While her ideas may have been great, the fact is that when you’re around a whole group of people looking for the same thing as you, then you go home and do the same thing that every other person probably did, you aren’t separating yourself.  Nothing here indicates being snubbed.
  • People have limited time – After the conference was over, what do you think the successful people did?  They returned back to work and resumed doing the things that got them successful.  Success comes with hard work, and the people that had attended the conference likely had things piled up, so in order to maintain their continued success, they put their own work first.  If there wasn’t time left over for them to respond to every e-mail from the conference, does that mean they were snubbing people?  I say no.
  • Nobody owed her anything – The tone of her article bothered me because, while she never same out and said it, she seemed to have a sense that the women she felt snubbed her owed her something.  They really didn’t.  Now, if the conference had put together some sort of follow-up program where people could ‘sign up’ for post-conference mentoring, then I could see her point if she participated and the others didn’t.  But, there was nothing like that.  I think that she had to look at it that any response she may have gotten was great, but any non-response was not malicious…nor was it a snub.
  • It’s the same as applying for a job – I wonder if Ms. Brondo has applied for jobs in the past.  I’m guessing that she has.  I can’t speak for her experience, but I know that I’ve applied for plenty of jobs, and while I’ve gotten many returned calls, returned e-mails, job interviews, and even job offers, the fact is that more often than not I’ve gotten…nothing.  There have been times where my resume matches every qualification they list, yet I get nothing.  Is that annoying?  Absolutely!  Is it a snub?  No, it’s part of the game.
  • It’s the last word of the definition  –   Looking again, the definition of snub is to “rebuff, ignore, or spurn disdainfully.”  While getting no responses certainly made her feel rebuffed, ignored, and spurned, I just don’t see how she can go out and claim that any of of it was done disdainfully.

I’ll part with this thought.  Now that the shoe is on the other foot, I am genuinely curious, though I don’t think we’ll ever find out, how she is handling this.    After her success and after this article, surely she is being sought out just as she sought others out last year

Is she personally answering every e-mail?  (Not a form letter or generic response, but personal, detailed responses).  Does she have the time to help every person that might ask her to or does she have to revert to either ignoring or sending a form response?  While I’ll likely never know the answer to that, I’ll speculate that she can’t possibly address every person that reaches out to her.

But, the thing is, that’s perfectly OK! And it was OK back when she was the one seeking a response.

Readers, what do you think, was Ms. Brondo snubbed or do you think she took something personally when there was nothing personal involved?  Also, I removed the gender element that she made a main point of her argument.  Is that reasonable, or does she have a point if you put that back into the equation?