Friday, July 25, 2008

No such thing as a sure thing

I'm gonna keep this short (ha, yeah right) but something happened to me on Tuesday that pissed me right off. Enough so that if you are on my Facebook, you probably responded to my dismal status with a "what the hell is wrong now?" Though most of you were nicer than that (thank you Memphis Steve!)

So, while I was looking here and there for jobs and having no such luck, I did have something up my sleeve. See, I was being considered for a personal assistant/executive assistant position for the CTO of Deviant art. com. And when I say considered, I had the job, basically.

When I first applied, I knew I was overqualified so I wasn't shocked that the HR person in LA (that's where the company is based - the CTO just happens to live up here) said the same thing to me. She initially hesitated on giving me an interview because of all of my experience and was worried I would get bored with the position. I assured her that I wouldn't.

The ad basically described the job as preparing meals, tidying the office, opening bills, watching the guy's 4 year old kid once in a while, doing laundry and drycleaning and the like, along with some executive duties such as answering emails, attending conference call meetings. It sounded easy peasy and I applied because I thought, why not. I would take almost anything at this point. Plus, I like easy...least I thought I did.

Anyway, the rate was $18 an hour which I thought was ok - it didn't sound like you needed a lot of brains to do it BUT there were no benefits. You had to do your own taxes too, which is fine but a hassle. I would have taken $18 an hour too, but I thought I would ask for $20 if I could. It was also in USD funds, and when the Canadian dollar takes over the American, as it is supposed to do by end of year, I would actually get paid less.

So I met with the CTO for coffee, four weeks ago or so. We talked for 2 and 1/2 HOURS!!! It went really well and the guy was super nice. He was a big dork, very awkward and nervous (in an endearing way) but a lot of the things he was saying weren't adding up.

For example, he said, "You're the first person I've interviewed, it's going so well." Then later he said, "The person I interviewed this morning didn't have a driver's license." And "I haven't had an assistant for awhile," then later, "My assistant just quit yesterday."

Say...what? If your assistant just quit come the ad came out for this position over a week ago?

All those inconsistencies aside, he did seem like a good guy to work for, very important considering it would be in his own personal office in his apartment. Tight quarters, if you know what I mean.

At the end of the interview he said, "I guess I have to have a few more interviews just to be sure but I am going to tell you right now that you're my pick."

So I left being optimistic. Rightfully so...right?

A few days later I followed up with him via email. When he finally got back to me he said that he told the crotchety HR woman, Jeanne, that I was his choice for the role and that I had the green light. And that from here on in, the horrible HR woman was going to handle things. I am saying "crotchety" and "horrible" not only because she IS but because the CTO said so himself! Apparently, she's an old biddy (his words) and some guy who works there's mom.

So, I needed some more information about the position. Mainly, I had lots of questions, especially about the wage, about the duties, about vacation, etc.

She got back to me a few days later and said that they approved the $20 an hour that I ended up asking for, that I was on contract and would not get vacation pay (only 2 weeks after a year), that of course there were no benefits cuz they were an American company and I was Canadian and that it would be 40 hours a week.

Some of that I liked, some I didn't. But I accepted and emailed her my address so that she could send the contract.

A day later, I got a call from some guy called Mike. Mike works for the company down in LA, and as far as I could tell, he was the assistant to the CEO down there. It was basically another interview with another unsure, nervous and uneasy guy. I don't know why he was interviewing me but I assume that no one in the company trusts the CTO's judgement.

At any rate, at the end of that interview, Mike seemed impressed with me and thought I would be a great fit for the CTO. Fine. Good. Whatever. But as much I knew I had the job, I wasn't excited until I signed that freaking contract.

So as soon as that was done, I emailed the HR woman again to make sure she had my references and to know what else was going on. She emailed me back and sent all these tax forms for the IRS. I had to fill out all these forms so I could be exempt from taxes, send them my passport, do all these things etc. Meanwhile, she would contact my references and then it was go.

Well, I relaxed because I knew my references were all good. And I did fill out the forms, though I put off sending them out until I saw a damn contract.

The contract never came. I never heard back from Jeanne. So I emailed her, reminding her that I was sending stuff out and wanting to know when to expect the contract. She emailed me back saying that one of my references she couldn't get a hold of, despite leaving several messages and until she heard back, the position was going to be on hold!

That reference I knew was in Alberta so I figured that may happen, however she was from 2006 and I had two other, newer and more prestigious references - BESIDES, she had said in her email "send me three references and if you don't have that much, two will do."

SO why now is she balking because she can't get hold of one?

I explained that to her, that the other two references were the most important at any rate and that the 3rd one may be hard to get hold of since it was from so long ago.

It was at this point that I started to get a bad, bad feeling. This was so bloody disorganized and slow. Why not check references first, before you have me do all this IRS shit? Why is it suddenly stalled?

Then I get a reply back:

"Your last two jobs were only for six months and the other for a few weeks as an unpaid intern. We are looking for a seasoned person with some years under their belts doing executive level work. Your salary requirements are high for your level of experience, and therefore, wehave chosen another candidate who better suits the needs of our company. Thank you for your interest in working with our company and I wish you the best of luck with your job search. Regards, Jeanne"


First of says on my resume how long I worked there, everywhere.

She approved the $20 an hour to begin with.


Suddenly they have someone else?

Did the CTO, the guy I would be assisting, the guy who repeatedly said, "I think we get along great, I think you would be perfect for the job, I picked you for the job, you have the green light, etc" have any say in this at all?


My only explanation was that I got a bad reference from one of my ex-employers. So I contacted them and they both said they only said great things - the woman sounded more interested in learning how much I made though....

So...yeah...that was the one thing I was counting on and it fell through. It almost sucks more to be rejected by a job that you were settling for. I just thought I would humble myself and take a job beneath me because I need freakin' money to survive, pay my bills, get a mortgage, etc. But NOPE. Not for me. You can't even have the sucky jobs, the jobs that everyone around you is saying, "Don't be so picky, go for an easy, low-level position" - Well I took their advice and LOOK at what happened.

Anyhoo, I'm over it now. Despite all of this shit I have been through for the last three months, I am still cautiously optimistic and I still have faith that things will work out.

But it doesn't mean that this didn't piss me off. Wouldn't it piss you off?

PS - though it may have been unprofessional of me, I ended up emailing both the CTO and Jeanne and telling them exactly what I thought of them and the situation - I hope they treat the person they chose with a lot more respect than they treated me.


Indiana said...

Sweetie you have a fairly popular blog, do what the internet is good for, slam here, let the blogosphere know how the company works.

Memphis Steve said...

I have been jerked around like this more times than I can count. One thing I would strongly recommend, though, is that you hire 'reference check' service to verify that none of your references are saying anything negative about you. It's important to know for sure.

And as for checking on you to see what was wrong, it was the least I could do. I hope things get better for you soon.

Odette said...

Boo! That's all I have to say.

kimberlie said...

buggar them! I'm glad you emailed them, they need to know when they are being...shitheads.

Kass said...

I love that you emailed those muthafuckas and told them what you thought of them. That is so unprofessional and sounds almost catty. How pathetic!

Have you had any response? lol

*S* said...

I'm so glad you emailed them to let them know what you thought about that whole situation. That was completely wrong of them to run you through the hoops only to tell you that the position was filled AFTER they said they were hiring you. You should contact the Better Business Bureau.

jojo said...

I say that doesn't sound like a place you want to work anyway! Screw them. There's a much better position out there for you! That's why you didn't get that one. :)

Delicieux said...

biatches!!!! I just feel so bad for you. I, too, am baffled as to why you can't get something good going... maybe it's just not time yet?

Good luck, sweetie!

( . )( . ) said...

OMG that is the craziest story. I wouldnt know what to think after all that. What a load of drama just to not get the job. You are well in your rights to be pissed off. What assholes!!

Ozymandias said...

yea..this is truly messed !! I think there's much more to it...and it's prolly better you didn't get the job...don't worry though, life only gets better..continue to stay positive.

Kathryn said...

long time reader, first time commenter - I am so sorry to hear about your struggles to find a job you enjoy and that will pay you what you are worth (am in Vancouver as well so know full well how bloody expensive it is to live here)

a piece of (unsolicited) advice while you are going through this job search: don't post about it on your blog and take down or "password protect" previous posts that might reflect negatively on your past employemnt history or employers

trust me - you would be easy to find by perspective employers and they might not like everything they read and base, however unfairly, their decision to hire or not on your blog or facebook page

good luck on your search!

Wanderlusting said...

Kathyrn - Thanks for the advice - actually you can't find me via google or yahoo or other search engines (if you type in my actual name that is). All you find is actual articles I have written...and a lot of weird stuff about David Copperfield.

Believe me, I check every week to make sure the coast is clear - the day it isn't, is the day I password protect previous posts! And of course if I am lucky enough to get a job one day, I won't be blogging much about that. Too many scares out there!

Vegas Princess said...

I think you have every right to be upset. A similar thing happened to me. I wish they would just be honest in the beginning and not get your hopes up and all out lie as well that you will be the candidate. And emailing them your feelings was a good idea too, because they need to know what they did was so not cool.

(I know I am late reading this. I am so behind!)