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Who’s Wasting Whose Time?

, , , , , , | Working | July 14, 2022

I’ve been hunting for a job in my field, having posted my resume on job search websites.

I get a call from someone who has a job for me in a city over an hour’s drive away. I’m very confused, and something seems off, so I ask the lady to confirm who I am talking to.

Lady: “I’m calling from [Placement Agency].”

Me: “I think there’s been some sort of mistake. I’m not signed up with any placement agency, much less [Placement Agency].”

Lady: “Oh, no mistake. We found your resume on [Job Site]. So, we’d like to set up an interview with [Non-Medical Company]’s corporate site, and we’ll only take a cut of your paycheck for—”

Me: “Whoa, hold on a second. First of all, I don’t have a contract with you to help me find a job. Second of all, I have no idea who your company even is, so I have no idea why I would take your advice or let you have any of my money. Thirdly, as my resume clearly states, I’m applying for Medical Administrative jobs.”

“Medical Administrative” is just big words for the person at the front desk who checks you in or creates your healthcare files when you sign up with the doctor’s office for care, among other tasks.

The lady is silent for a beat and then turns up the snobbery.

Lady: “Oh. We don’t handle jobs in the medical field. We place clients in corporate positions.”

Me: “Then why did you even call me? You didn’t even read my resume, clearly.”

She is silent for another beat and then says in a snotty tone:

Lady: “I see you’re wasting our time. I’ll be ending this call and removing your resume from our potential candidates.”


I just sat there in silent frustration and disgust.

Putting The Red Light On This Opportunity

, , , , , | Working | June 30, 2022

When the bank I worked at decided to reorganize and downsize, right before the credit crunch, I found myself without a job and very few job openings. Here in the Netherlands, you have to sign up with the unemployment agency to receive your allotted months of unemployment, and every month, you have to fill in a little sheet stating at least four jobs you have applied for.

Of course, anyone really wanting a job doesn’t stop at four applications per month. I soon had a binder with dozens and dozens but very little success. With so many young people straight out of high school and college who could be paid minimum wage, nobody was looking for someone in their forties they’d have to pay considerably more, especially not in the banking industry.

In addition to that application sheet, the agency would “request” your presence every now and then to go over your job hunting efforts. A request that always would — and still does — come with the admonishment that they would dock you for not showing up. So, dutifully, off you’d trot to be berated by some eager young bean counter for not looking hard enough.

My case “manager” was an overenthusiastic young man who clearly thought that finding a job was easy-peasy, despite the hundreds of job seekers that trudged through their halls every day. He had blithely told me on occasion that I should apply for a two-hour-per-day job that had a two-hour commute by train, one way.

I recently went to my final talk with him. He didn’t know it was our final talk; I finally had a second interview set up to discuss the terms for my soon-to-be new job. I saw this little flyer on his desk from a firm looking for drivers. He saw me look and said that if I had a driver’s license, I had to apply.

Feigning interest, I asked for more information than the flyer provided. It turned out they wanted drivers, preferably female as they were known to have fewer accidents, to unload new cars from ships. It was shiftwork, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm and 3:00 pm to midnight, somewhere way out in the western dockyards.

I asked how the late shift was supposed to get back into town and was told that the company would drop us off at the nearest stop for the night bus. I told him that was a good reason not to apply.

Case Manager: “Why not?”

Me: “Do you know where that bus stop is?”

Case Manager: “No, I don’t.”

Me: “I do. It’s right around the corner from a streetwalking zone, so I’m not going to stand around there in the middle of the night and wait for a night bus that comes only once an hour.”

Case Manager: “Why not?”

Me: “I’m not going to stand there with a group of other women, tired from an almost nine-hour shift, while there are cars with johns circling around looking for a sex worker to pick up.”

Case Manager: “I don’t see the problem; you’re at a bus stop.”

He literally did not see the problem!

Case Manager: “If you don’t apply, that could have consequences for your benefits.”

Luckily, four days later, I was able to inform the agency that my new job would soon start.

Achieving Your Goals… Eventually… Sort Of…

, , , , , , | Working | June 21, 2022

When I first graduated from college, I had no luck finding an entry-level job in my field. I decided to lower my expectations and applied to a telemarketing company. But they wouldn’t hire me, either, because the only experience I had was a work-study job during college. They recommended getting a job with a temp agency to get more work experience, so I signed up with a temp agency.

I started out by telling the temp agency that I was really good with computers and had a degree in engineering. And then they sent me to be a temporary receptionist with instructions to answer the phones and not touch the computer. I had a few more short-term receptionist assignments, including filling in for someone who left in the middle of the day without clearing their desk of the food they were eating when they got sick. Another memorable assignment was handing out food samples at a large grocery store.

After working for the temp agency for a while, I applied to the telemarketing company again. This time, they wouldn’t hire me because I was “over-qualified” and they were afraid I wouldn’t stay, so I went back to the temp agency for more assignments.

Finally, the temp agency sent me to work at the telemarketing company. Then, I got hired directly when the temporary position became permanent, and I stayed at the telemarketing company for five years.

Pity Anyone This Woman “Helps”

, , , | Working | March 30, 2022

When I become unemployed, the unemployment agency (UWV) tells me I must do an online assessment/test to see which kind of jobs they can recommend to me. It’s a horrible test to me, mostly about seeing patterns in math sequences during a time limit. It honestly brings me to tears.

A week later, on my birthday, I get a call from someone who processed my results. 

Woman: “I am calling because of [test]. Is this a good time?”

Me: “Yeah, but it’s my birthday today and I expect guests to arrive any moment. I don’t know how long this will take.”

Woman: “With that attitude, you’ll never find a job! Anyway, I got your test results and they were wrong.”

Me: “Wrong? Do you mean my answers didn’t come through?”

Woman: “No, they did come through, but I think they were mixed up with someone else’s. It says here you worked at [Huge Dutch Webshop] before.”

Me: “Yes, that’s right.”

Woman: “These are the test results of someone with an academic mindset. Unless you asked someone to help you?”

Me: “No. No, I did not.”

Woman: “So, you are saying you did this test on your own? Then why did you do such a low customer service job?”

Me: “Eh, it was my college side job and I really liked working there.”

Woman: “And what did you do for college?”

Me: “I graduated as an elementary teacher.”

Woman: “Then why didn’t you apply to a school?”

Me: “Because I found out that world was not for me after all.”

Woman: “And high school?”

Me: “I did [academic level of high school]”

Woman: “Then why didn’t you go to university?”

Me: “Because back then, I wanted to become a teacher.”

Woman: “And now you expect me to find you a job in the academic field, with no experience whatsoever?”

Me: “Eh, I was told to take this test because it was obligatory. I didn’t know I would get appointed jobs.”

Woman: “Ugh, well, let’s get this started. So, let me check the information in your file.”

Yes, she’s only checking it now.

Woman: “So, when is your birthday?”

Me: “Eh, today.”

Woman: “Oh, ha, ha. Look, do you want a job or not?”

Me: “[Date], [year].”

Woman: “Finally, some cooperation. Was that so hard?”

I did my best to answer her questions, and I couldn’t relax when the guests arrived. The woman did send me a couple of jobs, all in an academic field I had no experience in.

Eventually, I found another customer service job, which landed me on a permanent contract, and I’ve been working there for almost a decade now. I was very happy to send in my “No longer unemployed, have a nice day!” message.

Customer Service Isn’t For Everyone

, , , | Working | June 7, 2021

I apply for a restaurant job through a temp agency. The agency invites me to come to an application session in Rotterdam, so I take public transport there from my hometown.

As it turns out, the job is not entirely suitable. The agent, however, does not simply want to give up on me.

Agent: “Maybe you could do work in customer service?”

Me: “Like, over the phone, you mean?”

Agent: “Yes, I do. Might suit you?”

Last year, I did some work at a telemarketing company. From that, I learned two things. First, I couldn’t cope with all the negative energy people fired at me. Second, I wasn’t very good at convincing people. So, obviously, customer service is not a field where I want to go. But I decide to be tactful.

Me: “I don’t know. I doubt that I have talent for that.”

Agent: “Well, I thought, you have a university degree, so you won’t let people talk you down easily.”

Me: *Short silence* “No, I’m actually not very good at that.”

So, having a degree automatically makes me steadfast and convincing?