Dear Companies: Don’t Bother Changing

I’ve mentioned here and there that I’ve been job hunting, since my day job’s not enough to make ends meet, and the disastrous results it’s gotten me thus far. In today’s job market, it can (often) be a long, drawn-out and needlessly difficult ordeal from the time we submit the job application to the interviews and on-boarding process. It really sucks, especially for those in already tough circumstances.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

During my job hunt back in college, I quickly noticed a pattern among way too many of the companies I applied to: the appalling way they treated job seekers during interviews, and sometimes even before the interview!

First and foremost, to any hiring manager who mistreats prospective employees looking for work for whatever reason, no matter what it is, wtf gives you the right to do that to someone? It’s so unprofessional, not to mention a really crappy thing to do to someone as a human being, let alone as professionals.

If it was done to you, then I’m sorry for that. I mean it. I’d think someone who’d been on the receiving end of shyt-poor treatment from hiring managers would be the last one to act that way toward someone else, but wtf do I know? Human Resources and business weren’t my majors in college. I’ve only worked with ’em in my day job.

If you’ve done it in the past and saw your behavior for what it is, and changed accordingly, this doesn’t apply to you. You learned better, and I’m not gonna knock you for that. The shoe doesn’t fit, so you don’t have to wear it. 🙂

I’m gonna make one thing clear: nobody deserves to be treated badly in a job interview. Nobody. Unfortunately it happens, and it seems to be a common practice.

I’ve been down that road myself, and it’s basically being kicked while you’re down.

One business strung me along for weeks on end, after they ridiculed me in the interview over not being able to afford a phone, among other things.

I was upset at the time, but then I realized that I dodged a way bigger bullet than I probably realize even now. If they were that disrespectful toward me when I didn’t know them from Adam or Eve, and I wasn’t even an employee there yet, it’s probably safe to say it would’ve been a whole lot worse actually working for them.

Looking back, it’s no wonder they had the turnover rate they did.

After I moved on to another job and transferred to a four-year university, the owner of that same business had the gall to ask how I was doing. It was the first time I’d been in there since that awful summer.

I had the headphones on, and the Tracy Lawrence album I had with me finished the last track, so at that point, it was all plausible deniability.

“How are you?!” the owner shrieked with joy as they saw me. I ignored them, and left empty-handed after that. I went back there a couple times in the years that followed only out of necessity, and they went out of business several years ago.

It’s sad when a business ends operations, since a lot of work and money went into setting it up in the first place. They went out of business long before the pandemic, and if the way they treated me is anything to go by, it’s a miracle they lasted as long as they did.

I saw the owner around town after they closed their business. They didn’t see me, which didn’t hurt my feelings any. I never saw them again.

Fine with me. They didn’t have to hire me, but the least they could’ve done was been honest with me and treated me with baseline human decency.

Earlier this year, there was a story that came out in our local news about how someone applied for a job at one of the concession stands at an event in town. I won’t say the name of it or the event involved out of respect for the person. This person was a minor at the time (and still is), and they came forward with their story about how the stand owner had behaved inappropriately toward them during the interview.

In response, the event banned them from this year’s festivities. There was another stand with the same name, but not owned by that particular concession owner, if that makes sense.

It was sad for tradition’s sake, but at the same time, they had it coming if the way they behaved toward that job seeker was anything to go by. I’m stoked af that the event took a stand and drew that line.

Understandably, a lot of people were upset that they didn’t get their favorite event food this year. Some mentioned having grown up getting it every year when the event was on, their own kids getting it, and now their grandkids having it every year. Some of those people blamed the person who came forward with their story, as sad as it is to even go there.

It was horrifying seeing the comments from some of that owner’s fans. I’m sorry they had to miss out on their favorite event food for the second year in a row. It’s not the job seeker’s fault the owner couldn’t behave themselves for even a nanosecond, and instead made the choice to throw a family tradition away because of it. The owner is who the fans need to be angry at, not the underage job seeker.

This job seeker had nothing to gain by coming forward. We don’t even know their name, or where they’re from, and even if we did, so what? It’s (super) rare that someone’s lame enough to make up a story like that just for the hell of it.

This job seeker wanted something short-term to get some work experience, and in return, this is what they got. Whoever that person is, and wherever they’re at, I want them to know that I see them, and that I’m sorry for what happened to them. They didn’t deserve it, and they deserved better out of that owner.

This person’s story hit far closer to home for me than I care to get into, not counting what happened back in April. It was with other companies, and it’s no surprise most of them have gone out of business since then.

As I saw those “Help Wanted” signs in the windows of local businesses and asked about the kind of help they’re looking for, I quickly realized that some of them weren’t all that interested when push comes to shove. One business had the audacity to laugh at me right to my face when I mentioned my availability, and unsurprisingly, their “Help Wanted” sign went down that following weekend.

Bullet dodged, big time. Behavior, duly fuckin’ noted. Guess they never needed my help after all if they’re that willing to look a gift horse in the mouth, eh? All facetiousness aside, I’m legit happy for them. Now they can go forth killing it!

I just hope that the people willing to kick others while they’re down never end up needing help. I hope they remain perfect and employed forever. If the tables turn, then I hope others treat them better than they ever treated us.

If I had one thing to say to companies with leadership that acts like this toward people looking for work, here it is:

I’m sick and tired of you companies mistreating prospective employees. That shyt needs to stop, yesterday. You don’t have to hire us. Fine. Don’t. We’re not gonna make you do anything you don’t want to, and we’re not gonna harm you into it. You get the caliber of employees you deserve. You don’t owe us jack shyt beyond baseline human decency and respect as job seekers. All you have to do is tell us that our availability doesn’t match what you’re looking for, and wish us luck in our search. Don’t ridicule us, disrespect us, and ghost us after the fact.

Whatever we’ve done to you to justify your nastiness toward us, this is me saying we’re sorry.

On the other hand, to you companies: don’t even bother changing. Just don’t. I’m not gonna force you into something you’ve got no interest in ever doing. Instead, you can keep outing yourselves for the dumpster fires and exploitative jackassholes you are. Enough people will see through your b.s. in time, and in the end, you’ll lose, and so will the people who’ve come to like you as a company. The only ones you’ll have to blame are yourselves.

Over to you, readers. Have you ever been in a similar situation? If so, I’m sorry to hear that. Drop it like it’s hot below, and let’s talk.

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