Job search tactics of the well-connected and weasel-y

by Joey deVilla on April 4, 2017

I’ve always believed that the best way to land a job is to have and use connections, but Andrew Bowen has taken it up (or down, depending on your point of view) to a whole new level.

Until recently, Bowen was a columnist for Arab News, an English-language daily newspaper based in Jeddah. He’s there as a participant in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars’ Middle East Program, which is the sort of thing you do when you want to land a job in global policy wonkery.

Bowen’s pre-election anti-Trump stance

Bowen’s run with Arab News used to comprise a mere 13 columns (it’s now 10, for reasons that I’ll explain), and once upon a time, you would’ve been able to see a quick, complete change of heart about Donald Trump. Prior to the election, he said these things about Trump:

He also predicted a Clinton victory, stating that as president, she would likely “get a lot more done…than Obama ever did.”

The quotes above link to Google cached copies of Bowen’s columns because they no longer appear in Arab News, and there’s an interesting story behind that.

Your honor, please strike these from the record…

As I wrote earlier, you don’t enroll in the Wilson Center just because you have an interest in international policy, but because you want to become a policy wonk. Bowen was aiming for a job with the U.S. State Department, and when Trump won, he changed his opinions about Orange Julius Caesar to match the prevailing political winds.

Concerned that they may interfere in his being “cleared” to join the State Department, Bowen asked Arab News to delete his columns where he was less than complimentary to Trump. Arab News’ original response to this weaselly, unprofessional request, was to publicly cancel his column in this article, which I’ve reproduced below (any emphasis is mine):

Arab News regrettably announces that it will discontinue publishing articles by US columnist Andrew Bowen.

The reason behind this decision is the columnist insisting that this newspaper deletes previous articles dating back prior to the recent US election where he was in favor of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Bowen, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, has repeatedly requested the removal of these articles stating that this is needed for him “to be cleared” for what he claims to be a possible job with the new Donald Trump administration’s State Department.

Mr. Bowen also insinuated — verbally and in writing — that he will seek the support of influential friends and contacts to help remove the articles.

Arab News possesses all correspondence relating to this matter and its position is that such a request is unprofessional journalistically, particularly given that there were no factual errors or libelous comments that require a redaction or correction.

We wish Mr. Bowen the best of luck in his job application.

The article, while it existed, also linked to a complete archive of Bowen’s original 13 columns.

It pays to have friends in high places

Once again, I’m linking to a Google cached copy because the original article is gone, as are Bowen’s articles critical of Trump. If you try to go to any of those pages, here’s what you’ll see:

Apparently, calling on those “influential friends and contacts” did the trick. The lesson should be clear: Never underestimate the value of connections when you’re trying to land a new job.

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