Notes from the Road, #25: The Job Interview

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After a snafu with a company that seemed super promising after a year in the job hunt trenches, getting dumped on, kicked around, ignored, jerked around, and rejected the whole time, the job interview I had with them got rescheduled for the following day.

It was a fairly obscure company known only to their respective location, and a new-ish one at that. Basically, it was a startup specializing in something that isn’t art dealership. If you think you know who this company is, then as a favor to me, leave them alone. That includes everyone associated with this company, whether good, bad, or both.

I spent the whole first week of December hoping that this was it. This would be the end of my misery, and that it was finally my turn. Maybe now, I can finally salvage what’s left of this worthless, hateful, rotten, garbage year and end it with a bang instead of a whimper.

LOL, that’ll be the day. I’ll believe it when I see it, and not a second sooner.

It didn’t happen. They were having technical issues. No worries. I don’t fault anyone for those. Technical issues aren’t anyone’s fault, and I’d look really stupid if I held that against anyone.

To be honest, anyone willing to hold someone else responsible for technical issues is a jackasshole of the highest order.

I’m so tired of all of this. I spent the entire two weeks it took for them to get back to me obsessing like crazy over this interview. Two weeks and a day, due to the technical issues.

The interview was for the next day, and I got all gussied up to put my best self forward. The person interviewing me was one of the managers, but not a part of the higher-ups in the company. They were the go-between between us junior staffers and the higher-ups and their seconds-in-command.

The person who interviewed me was dressed super-casually, but I wasn’t concerned with that. They seemed super impressed at my history, and the more I talked about my skills in certain areas, the more they boggled at it.

It was actually kinda fun watching them boggle in response, not gonna lie.

They started talking about how they’re all about work-life balance, but mentioned they were working multiple jobs just to keep from completely drowning. Not in those specific words, but they didn’t need to speak them. Someone in their role or something like it would normally get a decent salary, but it didn’t seem like this was the case here.

Work-life balance? Who’s she? Never heard of her. For me, it’s been work-work-work-caregiver balance these past two years. Anyways, it seemed great to me.

I asked about what would happen if I were to run into technical issues, like due to the weather. They were fine, as long as there’s communication, and it isn’t a regular occurrence.

What if I were to get sick? Again, that’s fine, as long as it isn’t a regular occurrence, and there’s communication about it.

The interview came to an end, and they told me that whatever they decided on, they’d personally be in touch. It’s what any decent person would do.

The interview left me feeling the tiniest glimmer of hope during this wretched holiday season. Maybe now, I could finally report back to my aunt with the proof that I’m not a failure. I wanted so badly to surprise them all. I spent the days that passed begging the universe for me to be the one to have this job.

Two days later, I get an automated coldly-worded email notifying me that they chose the other candidate, addressed to “Applicant.”

Unreal. Looks like I wasn’t even worth the effort they wasted on that automated email, eh? What happened to the preaching about how keeping in touch was the best thing for everyone or something like that?

I looked up this company’s reviews on a couple of different sites a couple days after, and I found some allegations of some seriously horrifying behavior behind closed doors. I won’t name the specifics, but there’s more than one review related to allegations of substance abuse among the higher-ups, others related to emotional abuse against their seconds-in-command and junior staffers, and otherwise wholly unacceptable and unprofessional conduct. Some of the reviews described basically working for free, with a workload of nearly 20 hours a day at some points in time. One even alleged financial mismanagement somewhere in the company. There were others that mentioned being harassed off the clock all day, every day, all hours of the night, too.

Disgusting. Shameful. Appalling. Despicable. IDGAF who someone is, or what their titles and credentials are, nothing gives someone the right to do their employees like this.

None of these were historic allegations. These were fairly recent, like within the past two to three years.

We could argue that these were probably a bunch of pissed-off, sour-grapes, Bitter Betty ex-employees with an ax to grind against them. We could also write it off as a conspiracy spearheaded by bunch of online bullies with nothing better to do than ruin people’s reputations and destroy livelihoods.

Fine. Fair enough. But when there’s several reviews, with obviously differing syntaxes, over the course of multiple years, across more than one site where we can review companies, and with similar allegations of unprofessional behavior (at best! I’m dead serious on this one) coming from the higher ups, then something’s gone sideways somewhere behind those closed doors at a company.

If those reviews from both of the sites I found them at are anything to go by, then it would’ve been a repeat of the job I had early on in college for sure.

I won’t comment on the quality of this company’s work, since it’s not my place to do so. What I’ve found is the first I saw of their work, so I can’t say whether it’s typical or not. Obviously, the results will vary from one to another. It’s the same way this blog only serves as proof that I can string a sentence together with at least half-decent results, haha.

However, with the reviewer that indicated an unrealistic workload requiring someone go balls to the wall workaholic on steroids at nine to nearly 20 hours in a day to meet those deadlines, the results probably wouldn’t be what they would have been under better circumstances.

Hell, if the blog post drafts I came up with after 115 hours straight without sleep last summer is anything to go by, I’m beyond impressed at their abilities in whatever they’d come up with under the kind of workload those reviews describe.

True story. I smashed those out like a whole team of people had me at gunpoint in the moments I had between my caregiving duties and my day job. The day job stuff came early on in that run without sleep, and was now emails and minor edits to assignment wrap-up. Those posts are in the drafts, and will be staying there indefinitely. It’s all absolute gibberish, all 10K words of each of them, and progressively more so.

My anger toward that company gave way to gratitude and hopelessness. Gratitude that someone or something was looking out for me (I think we probably know who…), and reinforced hopelessness that anything will ever turn up for me.

No worries. I’ve fully accepted this as my lot in life, and I accept it cheerfully with a smile on my face.

Either way, I likely dodged a bigger bullet with them than I realize. Even though the automated email from them was callous af, their choice to turn me down was probably for the best.

I can only wish that new hire the best of luck in their new role, and hope that things have changed since those reviews were posted for the sake of everyone involved. I have my doubts based on my own experience, and from what I’ve gleaned from their company social media presence.

But hey, stranger things have happened, I guess.

Readers, if you’ve been in a role where things were even half as bad as that company’s reviews indicate, my heart goes out to you. It’s a really shitty place to be, and it really screws with your life in ways you don’t think possible.

To any senior leadership team member that thinks it’s ok to behave abusively or unprofessionally toward their junior team members, remember that karma’s a bytch. Never underestimate how quickly tables can turn in life. All I can do is hope that if you ever end up being the one in need, you’re treated better than you ever treated your employees.

Over to you, readers. Have you ever interviewed with a company, where it all seemed like you totally owned it and it felt like a sure thing, only to find out it was all for naught? Did you find any company reviews that more or less told you their rejection of you as an applicant was for the best? I’d love to hear your thoughts and takeaways, so drop ’em like they’re hot below, and let’s talk.

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