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Dodging Bullets… And The Feds

, , , , , , | Legal | August 21, 2021

Like so many others, I was laid off because of the health crisis. I start filling out job applications. One application is for an office job writing bids at a security contractor in my old hometown. I’ve never heard of the company before, but they have a very distinctive name.

I don’t think anything of it, but lo and behold, I get a call back from a third-party Human Resources person on behalf of that company to vet me for the role. Everything goes okay, except the HR representative says that the job is at a company with a similar but obviously not the same name as the one I applied to. I pull up the company’s website — which, please note, is full of buzzwords like “honor,” “trust,” and, “integrity” — while I am talking to the HR representative, and it appears that both companies are subsidiaries of the same parent company. The parent company actually has roughly a half-dozen subsidiaries, all with similar names. We both figure that someone on their end made a mistake, and the HR representative says he’ll forward my resume to the company.

Fast forward a week. The company’s hiring manager calls me. The interview goes well… right up until I ask which company I’ll be working for.

Hiring Manager: “Oh, it’s all the same company. Those are just the different brands we operate as. See, most of our work is with the Federal Government, and according to the rules, if you’re awarded a government contract, once that contract expires, you can only re-bid on it once. In other words, if you win the contract twice in a row, you can’t bid on it again. So, when that happens, we re-bid for the contract under a different name. That way, we never actually lose the contract.”

The more he described the company and why it was structured the way it was, the more it became incredibly obvious that the whole thing had been deliberately and specifically set up in such a way as to enable them to cheat their way into government contracts. The office I’d be working in was actually a small satellite office with just the owner’s brother and maybe one other family member, not corporate HQ as indicated in the job listing; most of the workers were clear on the other side of the country. And the more he described the office and my actual responsibilities — I’d have basically been a glorified secretary for the owner’s brother — the less and less comfortable I became.

The interview FINALLY ended, and the hiring manager said he’d be in touch. Thankfully, I never heard back from them. First and only place I’ve ever interviewed where I’m glad they ghosted me. Forget the creepy work arrangement and their lying about what the actual job was; I have too much integrity — actual integrity, not just a buzzword on a website — to knowingly work for a bunch of admitted crooks. Plus, I don’t want to be within a mile of any of their offices when they finally get raided by the Feds. And let’s be real: if they’re dumb enough to out-and-out admit they’re fraudsters to a prospective employee, it’s only a matter of time before they get shut down and the execs get thrown in prison.