Sinfully Delicious, Part 6

, , , , | Friendly | April 21, 2018

(My significant other and I are at a friend’s house for a meal. We are eating dessert.)

Me: “Oh, I think I might be a sinner and go get a second piece.”

Friend: “Getting a second helping is a sin?”

Me: “I guess so.”

Friend: *jumping up and heading for the dessert table* “Let it never be said that I missed out on a sin.”

Sinfully Delicious, Part 5
Sinfully Delicious, Part 4
Sinfully Delicious, Part 3

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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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Your Job And This Interview Have Reached Their Natural End Point

, , , , | Working | April 17, 2018

(I’ve just finished a contract analyst position for a major phone provider and am now looking for my next job. A recruiter calls me after seeing my CV online.)

Recruiter: “What are you looking for in your next position? We’ve got many opportunities open in your field!”

Me: “Ideally, I’d like something that builds upon my current skill set and what I was doing before.”

(I describe my role in the contract position, mentioning my technical expertise and familiarity with multiple types of software.)

Recruiter: “I see. Sounds like you’d be better off just staying where you are, then.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Recruiter: “Well, from what you said, it sounds like you already have your dream job. I’m not really sure why you’re looking for another position, actually.”

Me: “Uh, because that was a contract position?”

Recruiter: “I don’t understand. What difference does that make?”

Me: “That means it was only for a limited period of time. I’m no longer working that job.”

Recruiter: “Huh?”

Me: “It says right on my CV, and in my cover letter, that my contract is finished and I’m no longer employed at [Major Phone Company].”

(There is a pause.)

Recruiter: “Oh… Is that why you put an end date on your last position?”

Me: “Yes. I am no longer employed and am looking for a new job.”

Recruiter: “Yeah, sorry. I can’t help you, then.” *hangs up*

Me: *confused*

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This Employee Has A Hex(Core) On You

, , , , | Working | April 12, 2018

(The guitar tech at the locally-owned music store my friends and I frequent has a reputation for being very reliable and knowledgeable, but also snobbish. He has a tendency to make you feel silly for not knowing what he knows about guitar. I generally try to avoid him for routine stuff. I swing into the store to buy some strings, which are in racks behind the counter.)

Employee: “What brand and gauge can I grab for you?”

Me: “Well, first, I’m actually wanting a specific kind, and I know they’re not the normal kind. I just read about them… hex core?”

Employee: *looks over rack* “Hmm. I’m not seeing any that say they’re hex core. Give me a second to run into the next room and I’ll ask [Guitar Guy].”

Me: *shoulders slump; I didn’t make it*

Employee: *coming back* “[Guitar Guy] says all strings are hex core unless they’re labeled round core.”

(I realize my error in that I’d swapped hex and round core strings. I bought some round core and left. Later I ran into one of my friends who knows about that store and I told him what happened.)

Friend: “Man, he wasn’t even in the same room and he still got you! Amazing!”

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Liquid Science

, , , | Right | April 11, 2018

(I am in upper management at a small science center in rural Washington. A few years ago, we launched a series of monthly “Pub Science” events, a format that had seen popular success in science centers and museums across the world. Basically, you bring a local scientist to a bar to give a short talk followed by a long Q&A while people are drinking. Our location is a bar whose logo has been, since 1974, a cartoon baby holding a bottle of whiskey with a nipple on top. About six months into the program, I get a call from the front desk that there’s a woman on the line who is very angry about Pub Science. I sigh and tell them to send the call back to me.)

Me: “Hi, I heard there was a problem? What can I do to help?”

Woman: “Why are you trying to get children to drink alcohol?”

(I am completely mystified by this statement.)

Me: “I’m sorry, what?”

Woman: “I saw a picture on Facebook for this thing called ‘Pub Science’! You’re a children’s museum! Why are you trying to get kids to come to bars and get drunk?”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am. The Pub Science program is actually intended for adults only.”

Woman: “But you’re a children’s museum!”

Me: “Well, we do like to offer programming that is interesting and informative to people across their lifetimes. We like to say that our age range is from 8 to 108.”

Woman: “Then, why was there a picture of a baby drinking alcohol?”

(It dawns on me what she’s talking about. Being that the bar has had that logo for 40 years, nobody in our organization or theirs has thought anything of it.)

Me: “I absolutely understand your concern, ma’am, and to be honest, that hadn’t even occurred to us. The bar’s had that logo since the 70s, so I guess we just took it for granted.”

Woman: “You’re going to encourage children to drink! Drinking is a sin, and I won’t have a children’s museum pushing it on my grandkids!”

Me: “I’m really sorry that’s the impression you’re getting, ma’am. Again, Pub Science is for people 21 and over only. I will talk to the bar, though, and see if they mind us removing their logo from future advertisements.”

(She grumbles under her breath. I think we’re done, but then she gets her second wind.)

Woman: “Why are you bribing people with booze to learn science?”

Me: “Come again?”

Woman: “It’s sinful what you’re doing! You’re trying to get people to like science by bribing them with alcohol!”

Me: “Well, ma’am, we see it more as doing outreach to the types of places people already are. Instead of asking them to come to us, we’ll come to them with a free event. Many adults enjoy spending time in pubs and bars, and this model has been successful across the country, so we just thought we’d adapt it.”

(The woman splutters and grumbles for a minute before apparently finding another reason to remain angry.)

Woman: “That thing you said about teaching science to people over 21?”

Me: “Yes, it’s a core tenet of our educational mission.”

Woman: “Well, I just don’t agree with that, mister! I might just cancel the membership I have for my grandkids!”

(It was clear that she just wanted to be angry about something. We went around in a few more circles, I mentioned again removing the logo from our ads, and she seemed to be more or less placated and eventually hung up. I made the decision not to actually change anything, because we couldn’t decide programming or policy based on angry grandmas. Just as I suspected, I never heard from her again.)

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