My Mission Is Not Commission

, , , , , | Working | April 18, 2018

(I am unemployed and on a job hunt. I get an unsolicited phone call from a woman representing a company I’ve never heard of.)

Woman: “Hello, is this [My Name]?”

Me: “It is.”

Woman: “I’m from [Unfamiliar Company]. We received your resume and we think you’re a perfect fit for someone who wants to build their business and progress into management.”

Me: “What does your company do, exactly?”

(She gives some vague business blabber about building management skills, establishing connections, and, “building your business,” etc. My background is not in anything entrepreneurial, and my resume is focused on describing my skills within disciplines that aren’t easily confused with “management” or “building a business.”)

Me: “What was it on my resume specifically that demonstrates to you my managerial skills?”

Woman: “We have a vendor partner that sorts through the resumes for us, and I actually don’t have your resume in front of me right now. However, since they selected you, I’m sure it’s because of your background in management and your past successes at building business. Could you make it in tomorrow at 11 o’clock for an interview?”

(Obviously, I don’t think this is going anywhere worthwhile, nor necessarily above-board, but I’m also on unemployment benefits which not only require me to have a certain number of job contacts weekly, but forbid me from declining or skipping interviews, etc.)

Me: “Tomorrow at 11? Fine.”

Woman: “Great! I’ll send an email to [my email on my resume] with the address, directions, and instructions. Bring a copy of your resume with you!”

(I get the email and start digging online a little. I find that it’s a real company but that the nature of their business is odd; you work on 100% commission by going business-to-business selling third-party manufactured office supplies — cold sales. I find lots of very bad reviews online about their conduct to employees, and lots of cult-like rants from a few other people defending the company and the owner. I notice that the email specifies that I “must dress formally” for the interview. I read that their “interview” is actually a sales pitch about “building a business,” I assume through commission sales, and involves no questions or discussion. But the most important thing that I notice is the address of their office: it’s a building I used to work in years prior. My company at the time had to change locations because the place caught on fire, and I’ve not been back since heading home the day it happened. I am interested in seeing my old workplace again. Suddenly, I’m excited about my upcoming morning. I arrive at the office building the next day at 10:55 am, wearing jeans and a punk rock t-shirt, quite on purpose. I head into the building at the same time as a guy who looks like he’s 19 years old, wearing a suit three sizes too large, carrying a manila folder. The company’s office turns out to be part of my old CEO and his assistant’s offices. I walk in and see the guy I saw outside and two other similarly-aged and similarly-dressed young men sitting awkwardly in chairs filling out paperwork on clip boards. Directly ahead of me is a woman who’s probably in her late 20s — a few years younger than me. Behind her, I can see through the glass door into a room where there are about six to eight more young men in too-large business suits taking notes and listening to a guy in his late 20s lecture about something I can’t quite make out. I recognize the voice of the woman at the desk as the woman I spoke with the day before.)

Woman: “Can I help you, sir?”

Me: *big, happy smile* “Yes! I’m [My Name]. I’m here for an interview?”

(YET ANOTHER awkwardly-dressed young man walks in behind me as I’m talking.)

Woman: *to other guy* “Can I help you, sir?”

Guy: “Yeah, I’m [Guy]. I’m here for an interview?”

Woman: “Certainly. Go ahead and fill out this paperwork and return it to me when you’re done, and we’ll have you in the next group.” *turning back to me* “[My Name], would you come with me?”

(I follow her through a short but winding hallway. The whole time I’m looking in every direction, trying to put together where what the parts of my old office were. She leads me into a small office and is suddenly very stern with me.)

Woman: “[My Name], did you not read the email I sent you yesterday with the information for the interview about formal dress?”

Me: *playing dumb* “Oh, really? I’m sorry. I missed that. Well… I’m here, though?”

Woman: “We are interested in helping people build their business and advance to management, and we expect people to dress the part. We have another interview scheduled this afternoon, so you can go home and put on something more appropriate and be back for that.”

Me: “Hmm, yeah… I have other things arranged for this afternoon.”

Woman: “Well, check your schedule to see when you have more openings this week or next week, and I’ll see if we can line up. Drive safe.”

(She escorted me out of the suite and closed the door behind me. Of course, I didn’t call them back, and they never contacted me again. A year or so later I remembered all this and looked that company up again. They’d changed their name, moved locations, and had several former employees complaining about unpaid commissions.)

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