A Little Class In Class Will Pay Off Later On

, , , , , , | Working | April 28, 2021

High school was a difficult time for me. I was the “smart kid”: straight-A student, top of my class, the one everybody wanted for group projects. And I was the one everybody forgot was there when recess came. I wasn’t quite bullied, but I was ignored A LOT.

To make things worse, I was diagnosed with a tricky disability in my senior year and was extremely ill, in and out of hospitals all through that year. My grades naturally slipped a bit, and at that point, the few people who talked to me regularly dropped me like a hot potato. Obviously, now that I was only a B student and couldn’t do the whole group project on my own, I was no longer necessary. By the middle of the year, only the “weirdos” from two classes below me even acknowledged I existed. (Great guys. We’re still friends!)

Fast forward several years. My disability is well under control and my career is taking off. I am to be the project manager on a big project in a prestigious engineering firm and I’m involved in hiring more people to the team. We call in a guy whose resume looks promising, and this exchange happens as soon as he is introduced to the interviewing panel.

Candidate: “[My Name]?! Wow, it’s been so long I didn’t recognize you! How’s it going?”

Me: “I’m sorry, do we know each other?”

Candidate: “What, you don’t remember me? I’m [Candidate]! We went to high school together.”

I figure maybe he is someone from another class aiming for a leg up, but I still have no clue who he is.

Me: “Ah, well. That was almost ten years ago and was a difficult time. I’m afraid I don’t remember you. But anyway, your resume…”

Candidate: “Oh, come on! You have to remember me! [Candidate]? We were in the same class all the way through! I think you even had a crush on me!”

Me: “I beg your pardon?”

Candidate: “Yeah, you totally had a crush on me! You were always up for helping me with homework, and you were game to include me on group projects and then do my share. Pretty sure you did everyone’s share! Ha, no point risking your grade being lower, right? You were a weird little girl!”

I remember him now. I did have a crush on him for a while and “helped” him a lot with schoolwork (meaning I did it for him). It’s bad enough to bring that up in an interview, but… 

Me: “Ah, yes. [Candidate]. I remember you now. You were the one who started yelling out that the [ableist slur] was coming when my disability first started. And stepping back in corridors or crossing the street when I walked by. And telling people they should stay away from the [other ableist slur] or they’d become losers like me, too.”

Candidate: “Er… I… Well, I was young, and…”

Me: “Thank you for reminding me of all this. Turns out it saves us some time.”

Candidate: “But… my interview?”

My Boss: “I think we can all agree that we’re done here.”

He seemed sincerely shocked that he didn’t get the job!


This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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You Thought The Customers Were Bad?

, , , , | Working | April 14, 2021

After the better part of twenty years in customer service and retail jobs, I’ve had it. After I complete a couple of data entry contract gigs, my wife gets a new job and we move. I send out my resumes and get a nibble. Everything’s fine until the interview comes to an end.

Interviewer: “We’re not able to pay as much as your last job—”

It’s $2 less, but it’s within our budget.

Interviewer: “—but we think you’ll be a good fit. Our next orientation is in one week, and this is the address for our phone bank.”

Me: “Oh, is your training facility there?”

Interviewer: “No, you’ll just be shadowing for a while before we put you on the phone to call clients.”

Me: *Pauses* “Am I being interviewed for the right position? My resume specifically said I was looking for data entry, not customer service.”

Interviewer: “Right, and 90% of your work will be data entry.”

Me: “And the remaining 10% is customer service, which is a dealbreaker.”

Interviewer: “It’s not customer service!”

Me: “Are these clients business associates, or am I taking requests or troubleshooting from people outside the industry?”

Interviewer: “Well, you’re cold-calling people, but you’re offering them great deals!”

Me: “That’s customer service. Do you have anything where I won’t be interacting with the general public?”

Interviewer: “Uh, we have a records entry and verification area, but that’s—”

They describe a pay that’s an additional $3 cheaper, which is much harder for the budget, but better for my sanity.

Me: “I’d like to interview for that, if I could.”

Interviewer: “But this pays more!”

Me: “And it’s something I specifically said on my resume I was not available for and would not do.”

Interview: “Fine, I’ll see if they’re hiring. We’ll call you back.”

They did not call me back.

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Your First Mistake Was Having A Personality

, , , | Working | March 10, 2021

I’m job-hunting. I have banking experience as a lead teller and I get interviewed by a bank. It goes well, and I get a call from Human Resources the next day.

Human Resources: “Our branch team really enjoyed meeting with you, and they’d like to advance you to the next round. Our district manager will be in town next week and would like to chat with you. Are you available on Monday at 10:00 am?”

Me: “Yes, I am!”

Human Resources: “Great! I’ll set it up. Now, we’ll be emailing you a banker skills test. It’s really just a formality at this point. You seem like a great fit for [Bank].”

Me: “I had to do a skill test at the last bank I worked for, so that’s not a problem.”

Human Resources: “Fantastic. Look for that email in the next hour. We look forward to talking to you next week!”

I get the “skills test.” It’s actually a 200-question personality test with no banking-related questions at all. I’m slightly confused but complete it anyway. There are a lot of questions about whether I feel more like a leader or follower. Since I was a lead previously, my answers go toward “leader.”

The next day, I’m running errands and I’m away from my phone for a couple of hours. When I come back to it, I notice I have a voicemail from the bank in question.

Message: “[My Name], this is [Human Resources Representative] from [Bank]. Your test results came back and you failed. We don’t think you’d be a good fit for us. Your interview for next Monday is cancelled.”

I stare at my phone in confusion.

Me: “Well, that just happened. How did I fail a personality test?!”

Thankfully, I get offered a different job soon after.

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You Really Couldn’t Manage This

, , , , , | Working | February 22, 2021

I’m a manager. One of the other managers pulls me to one side and begs me to talk to one of my team members. Apparently, he has been applying to every job available and then harassing the manager for updates. The problem is that he is not suitable for any of them; the guy barely manages to do his own job and is only still employed because he has been here for so long.

I go to speak to him and he is clearly in a bad mood already.

Me: “Can I speak to you about your recent job applications?”

Worker: “Can you tell [Manager] to respond to my emails? It’s been days and I haven’t heard anything.”

Me: “Okay. One: it takes weeks to interview and get back to everyone. And two: it’s human resources, not [Manager], that will give you a response.”

Worker: “Oh, I should be chasing HR. I knew it would be that woman somehow. She doesn’t like me.”

Me: *Already regretting this* “No, don’t do that. She will send all the responses out at the end. Can we talk about the roles you applied for?”

Worker: “I don’t see what business that is of yours.”

I’m screaming internally for him to shut up and let me help.

Me: “No, but I would like to help. You applied for several management positions—”

Worker: “Yeah, I could do that. I mean, you only walk around. Seems easy.”

Me: *Swearing internally* “That’s not the only thing we do. Do you have any experience in management or managing people?”

Worker: “Well, no, but I get along with everyone.”

He does not; people find him aggressive and difficult.

Me: “Okay, well, just something to think about — if that is really suitable given your experience. I see you have applied to a number of design roles, as well.”

Worker: “Yeah, yeah, drag, drop, copy, and paste. I can do all that.”

Me: “Have you used [Design Software] before?”

Worker: “Well, no, but I get all my reporting done right.”

He does not, in fact, get it right. After many attempts to help him, we long abandoned using his Excel reports due to the many, many mistakes. A grandmother working a few stations past him does it for us without problems.

Me: “Listen. These roles are not for you. But we can sit down and work out what we can do to progress you. I invited you to a development session next month.”

Worker: “Yeah, I suppose so.”

He did not turn up to the session but called in sick, apparently bedridden. But he was later spotted shopping in the supermarket right next to work at lunchtime. He stopped to chat with several employees, not expecting anyone to say anything. I left the company years after; he never got a promotion. Managing people is hard work sometimes.

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Hmm, Wonder If She Got The Job

, , , , , | Working | February 9, 2021

I work in a restaurant. A woman walks in the door past groups of people waiting in line.

Woman: “I need to see [Manager #1] right now!

Hostess: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but [Manager #1] left just a couple of minutes ago. Is there anything I or [Manager #2] can do to help you?”

Woman: “Well, [Manager #1] told me to come in at four for a job interview. I’m just an hour late; he should’ve waited for me. The nerve of some people!”

Hostess: “Umm… I can take your name and number down and have him call you?”

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