That time I fell for a job scam
As of recent, I seem to have a super power for finding horrible jobs.
Four weeks after being "let go" I learned I was pregnant and I started showing shortly after that. NO ONE wanted to hire a pregnant woman. It was awesome.
Twenty months later our one income household has become a challenge. Bills are piling up, formula isn't getting cheaper and I apply to 10 jobs a day. The job market in Michigan is flooded with experienced sales reps as well as thousands of other qualified candidates, recent college grads and displaced Baby Boomers all looking for new work, all willing to take anything. Looking for a candidate that graduated from your Alma Mater, was in your same sorority, has one blue eye and one green eye with strong existing relationships with Podiatrists who only work on left feet? When 100 people apply for one job you're guaranteed to find it. I've reached a new level of desperation, checked my pride at the door, and I now am just searching for a pay check. Any pay check.
I had previously ignored 3 emails and two phone calls from a company called 2313, I had a feeling it was a scam. But after losing out on yet another sales position, this one to sell a drug for anal warts (I apparently didn't have enough anal wart relationships) I was at a new bottom and so when my phone rang I answered.
The woman I spoke to was very pleasant. She sounded professional and vaguely answered my questions about compensation and gave me a brief overview of the company. The quick and dirty is that 2313 is contracted by AT&T to provide services to existing business customers. (Ugg! Shoot me!) This really was the bottom of the barrel, but the kid, the husband...the pile of growing bills...the bitter anal wart rejection - I scheduled my first interview.
Red Flag no 1 - The first Interview
The effort it takes to transform me from stretch cotton wearing, barefoot walking earth mommy into Sales Professional is monstrous. I spent 45 minutes alone blow drying my hair so imagine my irritation and disappointment when I entered their lobby to find it was full of twenty-something kids, all waiting for the same 20 minute face-to-face resume screen. It was a cattle call. I wanted to take my blow dry and hit the road, keep the sitter and do something useful, like have an adult beverage while wearing pants and makeup, but then I thought, what about the kid? The husband....the bills? I took a deep breath and dialed up the charm, sized up the competition and displayed my most dazzling professional self. I knew I had this in-the-bag, and so when I was asked to come back for a second interview, I smiled and graciously accepted with my best fake "Wow! Awesome! Love to" face. The second interview was a full day field ride, not unusual for sales, so I scheduled round two and took my blow dry home for a vodka.
Red Flag no 2 - The Competition
I've never wanted to bail on anything more, J was up all night teething but I was up at dawn and dragged my broke butt out of bed and into the shower to begin another magical transformation. I showed up 15 minutes early and sat patiently in the lobby in my very girly, retro inspired little black dress. My Mary-Jane's freshly dusted off. Just before 9 am two more people entered the lobby. One of them was a dude with a full neck of tattoos. Now, I have nine tattoos myself, big fan of the ink, but unless you're an Anesthesiologist most professional business are not hiring the dude with a full neck of ink. It's just not happening. My tired ass wanted to run for the door. Are.You.Kidding me??? But then that voice chimed in whispering "The kid, the husband, the bills..." so I swallowed my pride, pushed the sales snob deep down below, took a big chug of my Starbucks and waited for the day to begin.
Red Flag no 3- Ken Lear, the Area Manager
Ever just look at someone and know that they are a slimy, no good, lying sack-of-shit? Well this was my first impression of Ken. I can't really say why I felt like this, maybe it was his suit with the pink detailed stitching, or the wing tips, or his too spiky hair, or the too phony laugh or that dead soulless look behind his eyes, but something about him made me just want to punch him in the dick and yell "you know why!" I saw that in a movie once. I instantly knew that sceen was written by my spirit animal.
Bored? Google Ken Lear, 2313 or Cydcor Scam - I should have done more homework
Red Flag no 4-The Sales Meeting
At exactly 9 am LOUD music began coming from behind the double doors. Jock Jams. Oh Fuck, fuck, fuck! The reality of my day began to creep in. This was one of those super peppy cult offices where the sales reps get pumped up for their day with shots of Red Bull and chest bums and goal sharing, affirmations and "accountabilla-buddies". What's an accountabilla-buddy? Well that's a buddy whose main job is to hold you accountable on your journey toward goal achievement. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck.
I am a sales snob, I've worked in the upper echelon of sales. But that voice again, "Don't be a snob, maybe this is what the bottom looks like. You can't be above this...the kid, the husband, the bills..." OK, I thought I don't have to like it but I can do this. I got up, and I walked though the gates of my personal hell.
Before J, I would have not even made it through those double doors, but now I'm a mom with obligations and responsibilities. This is how much I love my family. So, continuing to ignore the bells and alarms going off in my head, I found my place in the circle for the
Red Flag no 5 - The Promotions
In an amazing coincidence us prospects were invited to the meeting just in time to see the most recent newbies receive their promotions to "Level 2". Ken announced their promotions with too much enthusiasm and the office, all in unison, gave two short claps. They had different claps for different events, but the double clap seemed to be the most popular. It felt like being at church and not knowing when to sit or when to stand or respond "Amen!"
Ken: "Beth just received her level 2 promotion in just two short weeks. I'm so proud of her and what she's accomplished"
"Beth, tell us what you were doing before 2313"
Beth: "I was a sales associate at White House Black Market and now I'm on the track to achieving all my goals and really setting new standards for success in my life"
Me: Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
After the promotions finished they then paraded in the administrative assistant. She had just won an award for God knows what, and was on her way to an all expense paid trip to California where she'll spend next weekend paddle boarding at a Malibu beach house. She cried with excitement. You see, at 2313 even the administrative assistants are reward handsomely for hard work and dedication. It's part of their initiative to
- Double Clap -
Me: Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
Then Ken moved on to last weeks success stories. Nicole led the office with 8 sales.
-Double Clap and spirit fingers - I fucking shit you not - god damn spirit fingers.
As last weeks score board leader, it was Nicole's turn to share her goals. Nicole's short term goal: make $1000 a week. Nicole's long term goal: owning a beach house in the Hampton's...
With just 8 days notice, Nicole relocated from California, with Ken and 4 other dudes, to open this office. Ken paid for her moving expenses and she had been sharing an apartment with those four male co-workers. According to Nicole her only friends are 2313 employees, but since everyone is so awesome that's okay. Also, every Thursday is team night. After work they all get together to play dodge-ball or charades. It's not required but they like their employees to feel like a little family. (FML I am NOT playing dodge-ball when I could be drinking vodka on my porch!) However, this past weekend, Nicole got an upgrade. She moved out of the shared apartment in Southfield and moved into a two bedroom house with another coworker in the beautiful city of Redford. Bahahahahah! Let me say that again - Ken got a group of young kids to leave ORANGE COUNTY CALIFORNIA last November, and move to Redford, Michigan! Just before she moved, Nicole asked Ken if she needed a 4 Wheel drive vehicle, he told her, and I quote "No. The snow doesn't even stick to the pavement." We had TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHT inches of snow in 2013. And yeah, it fucking stuck to the pavement.
Also, someone needs to tell Redford Barbie that $48,000 a year will not buy a Hampton's beach house. Ya might wanna adjust that short term goal....just saying.
- Double Clap -
Red Flag no 6 - Flint
Call me a zip code snob, but Flint can be dirty, disgusting, unsafe shit hole! I've covered Flint as a sales rep before and I would dress very casual, very unassuming. I'd leave all my jewelry at home and I carried a pickax in my purse. So here I am, in my little black interview dress, my big old wedding ring, my hair in a flouncy little ponytail clicking around town in my Mary-Jane's. Nicole had never been to Flint before and all of a sudden my interview shifted; I was now an hour from home, trapped and babysitting Redford Barbie.
We were on such a rough block that most of the shop owners had a subtle but visible gun strapped to them. But Click-click-click- there we went down the street.
Fun Fact: Nicole has a habit of falling asleep at the wheel, which she told me while driving. Yep! She has totaled one car and has fallen asleep at the wheel FOUR times.
Red Flag no 7 - I paid for my own lunch
Yes it was only $7 but I have NEVER been on an interview and paid for my own lunch. I realized while signing the check that I was also not going to be paid for the day. It's customary in the legit world of sales to be paid for a full day field ride, even if it's just for an interview.
Red Flag no 8 - The Job Offer
No salary, no benefits, no mileage reimbursement, no car package, no cell phone reimbursement, no gas card. No dice!!!
Red flag! Red flag! Red flag!
After returning to the office I was escorted into Ken's office. It was exactly as I would have expected, awards, trophies, sports memorabilia, photos of his extravagant life, and of course, the small statue of Jesus; because obviously. It was Ken's first opportunity to interview me and he could not have been less interested. He was only interested with how Nicole preformed, the impression she left on me and if I was ready to commit to allowing them to groom me for leadership. He left me in his office to go speak to Nicole and when he came back his cocky creepy face lit up and he explained that based on Nicole's assessment of my day I'd be a perfect fit for his team. The girl who habitually falls asleep while driving, who moved from the OC to Redford, who didn't know the difference between Ala Cart and Ala Mode, she was the one with the final say.
That's it. That's the end. No big finish and sometimes there doesn't need to be one. Sometimes you're going to be stuck in a rut, you're going to be looking at the bottom of the barrel, you're going to be humbled. Roll with it. It's all part of the journey. I promise.
- Double clap-