Right Working Romantic Related Learning Friendly Healthy Legal Inspirational Unfiltered

Oh, Sure, That Sounds Smart

, , , , , | Working | May 17, 2022

My job seeking advisor once told me about a guy who failed his medical exam. He had applied to work on an offshore oil driller platform. He smoked about twenty cigarettes a day and was asked if he was willing to quit smoking. He said no and, therefore, failed the exam.

He even complained, saying that they should have a smoking room for smokers.

A Dead-End Is Better Than This Weirdness

, , , , , , , , | Working | May 6, 2022

In early 2016, I quit a dead-end job in a call center and was looking for new pastures or at least a way to pay my bills. A certain company was recruiting for a sales team, and I figured I’d give it a go. I mean, if nothing else, a year and a half in customer service had sure fine-polished my gift of the gab.

The interview went fine — so much so that they excused me for ten minutes and then invited me back in to offer me the position. In retrospect, that should’ve been my first warning sign — who hires someone based on a fifteen-minute chinwag and ten minutes of deliberation? But oh, well.

I showed up on my first day for the contract signing, and it was then revealed that we’d be working on commission only. This should’ve been my second warning sign because if I don’t make any sales on a certain day, I don’t eat that day.

We then went off to a morning meeting in what they called “the Atmosphere Room”. This meeting consisted of everybody pairing up in twos and practicing the (near-identical) sales pitch on each other — with a boombox blasting loud dance music at the same time. According to the trainers, this was to “motivate us to talk loudly and confidently”. I was a bit skeptical, but I didn’t want to be “that guy,” so I played along nicely.

Then, we actually got off to work. It turned out we’d be doing “campaigns in residential areas” — which I quickly learnt was door-to-dooring — so as to recruit benefactors for a cancer fund/research organisation. “Commendable purpose, if nothing else,” I thought to myself. But I soon wised up.

For starters, said organisation had no operations in Northern Ireland (NI), so that alone made it tough to tickle anyone’s interest. Moreover, NI already had a variety of local organisations and hospices doing an amazing job. Lastly, I was no sales expert, but even I knew that knowing your demographic group is key. I also knew that NI was still shaky and divided despite the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and saying the wrong word at the wrong place at the wrong time could still get you into a heap of trouble.

With that in mind, it’d make sense to focus only on Protestant/Unionist areas, right? Nope. We’d be sent off to random neighbourhoods with no regard for sectarian division. Now, imagine walking into a staunch Catholic/Republican area, asking people to donate to a London-based English organisation that doesn’t even operate in NI. In retrospect, I believe it was only my non-Irish/non-Ulster accent that saved me from major carnage. (“Ach, some weird Caneedien or Austreelien… Lad don’t kno’ any bettur!”)

The trainers kept telling us that for every thirty doors knocked, we’d be invited into thre homes, and out of those three we’d perhaps make one sale — in plain English, a conversion rate of 3%. We shouldn’t be discouraged but instead be more assertive and positive. We were expected to cover 100 to 150 households during one ten-hour day in the field, while keeping a tally of the number of houses visited, doors answered, invitations inside, and sales closed. After we’d visited the last house, we were to return to point of origin and revisit all houses that hadn’t answered the door the first time. After Round Two, it was lunch — which, by the way, wasn’t company-paid, so everyone had to find something on their own. With a very limited selection of shops and food outlets in no man’s land, it always ended up being overpriced fast food. On average, I’d spend £4 to £5 on lunch each working day. And unless one of the trainers would take us in their car to our respective patches that day, bus tickets were, too, funded by us. A day ticket in Belfast was £4 back then if memory serves.

At the office itself, things were getting more and more ludicrous. We were not allowed to drink beverages of any sort in the “Atmosphere Room”, and we weren’t allowed to go near the reception area if there were visitors in the waiting area. (They probably didn’t want us to warn inadvertently any “new fish” about this whole madhouse.)

On my fourth day, I started crunching some serious numbers. If, best-case scenario, I’d close a deal with 3% of the households visited, and each sale gave a commission of £2, I’d have to knock on 200 doors a day just to cover lunch and bus tickets that day! Never mind rent and utilities that whole month! There are only so many residential areas in NI! 

The drop that finally tipped the scale, though, was when I’d just returned to the office one evening. The dress code mandated trousers and a dress shirt, and as it’d been a fairly warm summer’s day, I was beat and rather dehydrated. Toilet facilities were scarce in the field, so everyone tried to limit their fluid intake.

As I still had a soda left in my backpack, I helped myself to it. One of the trainers walked by, and I jovially raised the can in a sort of toast. She flipped! What was I doing here? I wasn’t supposed to be out here drinking soda, but instead, I should be in “Atmosphere” to deliver the final tallies! I was like, “Gee, hold yer horses; I only got just in like thirty seconds ago!”, but she’d have none of it. 

And that’s when I left. I couldn’t even be bothered to hand in a formal resignation. I just left and never came back. Rack off, ya collection of lunatics!

Too Bad They Weren’t Looking For A Web Designer

, , | Working | April 29, 2022

When I was between jobs, I had to go on to the New Zealand Job Seeker benefit for a while. One of the rules for being on it is a requirement to apply to ten jobs a week, which can sometimes be awful when no one you would want to be employed by is hiring.

During this time, all the places I applied for I sincerely would work for. Anything was better than just sitting there uselessly. I ended that hunt with over 120 applications out, and replies, even automated replies, for less than ten.

In reading a recent story about a wealth of unqualified and uninterested applicants, I was reminded of a job where I think I was too good and interested for the position, though I am still unclear what that job was.

One of the interview tips we had to hear again and again in the required “how to find a job” seminars was that you should research your potential employer so you could ask good questions about the job and the work culture you’d be getting into.

SO! This odd job — I think it was either selling newspapers or finding stories or selling ad space for them — had a website for the company. I looked it up, looked over the five archaic Internet pages to glean what I could, and noticed something very odd. On the main page and on the “Contact Us” page in the body text, there was one number, but on every other page INCLUDING on the “contact us” page in the header, there was another number. It was relatively close but different enough for me to notice. I even called it and found out that it was a number in the same building but a completely different business. It also, oddly (and in hindsight, raising a red flag), sat with its desk and secretary in a position where the secretary from the company I was applying for sometimes would answer the phone for them. I know this because I belatedly recognised the voice after the call as the one who’d set up my interview.

I went into the interview with my examples for the job and some screenshots of the incorrect number. When I was asked if I had any other questions, I raised this. This got a slightly innocent look and nods and mentions that “it’d be looked into.”

I never heard back from them again, not even to say they had gone with another candidate.

I checked the website about three months after starting my new job. It was the same. I also sent them a message to the website directly. It never changed.

So weird.

A Company By Any Other Name… Might Have Resulted In A Hire

, , , , | Working | April 12, 2022

The company I work for has a generic name for our industry sector. Imagine a floor-laying company called “Flooring Services”. I sometimes interview candidates for entry-level positions.

In this particular interview, we had just asked the candidate what their experience was in our industry, to which they’d given a reasonable answer. We then asked them what they knew about [Company]. They looked a bit frustrated but then started repeating what they’d already said in response to the previous question.

We thought maybe they had misheard our question, so we asked again what they knew about [Company]. Looking frustrated again, they started repeating their previous answer, rewording it slightly.

Me: “Thank you, but what we were hoping you could tell us is what you know about [Company] specifically?”

Candidate: “That’s all I know! I don’t know what else I can say about what I know about the industry!”

Me: “Yes, but… how about our company? Did you maybe have a look at our website or anything?”

Candidate: “Oh, no, I haven’t had the time for that. To be entirely honest with you, I don’t even remember what you’re called. I’ve sent out a tonne of applications and this is just one that I saw had come back with an interview offer.”

Me: “Ah.”

That was near the beginning of the interview. At least they were honest, but they didn’t impress us in the rest of the interview, either, so it was a no from us!

Deflecting Yourself Right Out Of A Job

, , , , , , , | Working | March 16, 2022

Five or six years ago, I was working in the IT department of a non-profit. Staff started leaving after the new Chief Information Officer came in. He brought in his own management team! We were desperate to backfill Linux administrators since half the team left.

This resume came through Human Resources. The work history seems a bit off: short-term contracts, a few months there, a few months here. We had doubts even before we contacted him for a phone interview.

Coworker: “How do you rate yourself as a Linux admin, on a scale of one to ten?”

Applicant: “To be modest, I’m a ten.”

I muted the phone and we both started laughing. I unmuted the phone.

Me: “So you know the OS well. How would you extend a logical volume?”

Applicant: “Oh, I don’t do the day-to-day stuff. I just create a ticket for the other team. I mainly do architecture.”

My coworker muted the phone.

Coworker: “Is this guy serious?”

We chuckled and got back to the interview.

The next few questions were all pretty simple, but the applicant gave variations of “I have no idea” deflections.

I muted the phone again.

Me: “If he doesn’t know the basics, there’s no point in continuing the phone interview.”

But I decided to give him another chance

Me: “How would you set up passwordless SSH?”

Applicant: “Why don’t you stop asking me basic questions? Ask me about troubleshooting.”

At this point, we gave up and gestured a thumbs-down.

Coworker: “We have no further questions. Do you have questions for us?”

Applicant: “When will you decide to fill the position? I have great confidence in starting this new opportunity.”