Man I wish that title was accurate. I do indeed have blue hair but I care …. so very much. Life would be so much better if we didn’t care, wouldn’t it? We could all just go around like Ayn Rand cult followers caring only for ourselves and not giving a damn about anyone else (I may have just simplified Ayn Rand’s philosophy a bit but I don’t like her nor her thinking so I’m cool with that.). If I could just be fine with a job where I go in, make my money and ignore most of the people I come in contact with, not care about my clients, not care about the company itself, and then go home and do it all again the next day my life, or at least job hunt, would be so much easier. Sometimes that’s what I think employees want. Moldable drones that they can send out with their corporate message written out word for word on 5×7 cards. Don’t think, don’t care, just get those numbers in and move on. Not all companies, of course, but certainly the one I met with today.
I am getting ahead of myself … I have blue hair. I’ve wanted bright and colorful hair for about 1 1/2 years now. I just haven’t pulled the trigger because I was looking for a job. It seemed irresponsible of me to take my “natural blond” (naturally from a bottle) to a nice color that is seen on Easter eggs. Last week I said, “fuck it … I’m doing it.” I happened to be at the beauty supply store and they happened to have fun colors on clearance and one happened to drop into my basket. That’s a lie. They don’t keep the fun colors out and about for just anyone to grab and stuff in their bra. For the fun stuff you have to actually ask someone behind the counter to cough it up. The act of dying my hair is an entire blog post on its own so I’ll skip the details and just let you know that the next day I was called for an interview.
The position was a for a Sales Manager in a national B2B company. I don’t want to give more details than that since it was such a horrific experience. I’m not writing this to hurt them, although they deserve it, but instead to point out that this is not how a company should conduct itself and how not to get talented people to work for you. I will mask the company name as well as those I came in contact with … because I’m cool like that. People with blue hair usually are … cool that is.
In all honesty I did research on the company over the weekend to prepare for my meeting and it did not seem like it was going to be a good fit for me. The company seemed overly sales-y and even included a “formula for success” on their job post that made me cringe. Any salesman who has had to deal with a VP or C-something who demands that there is a “formula for sales success” knows what I mean. The time wasted by upper upper management trying to put together the perfect “script” or “meeting numbers” is mind numbing. Here is the secret – hire good people, train them well, give the unfiltered knowledge of what they are selling, and then LET THEM DO THEIR JOB. There are little nuances like, “make sure your sales team is diverse to cater to all types of clients” or “put a time limit on all sales meetings” or “don’t be douche-y to those who work for you” but hire good people and let them do what they do, is really the key. Still I had a meeting with the VP and wanted to come prepared with enough knowledge of his company to make sure all the questions I had about the position could be asked … and hopefully answered.
After picking out a work outfit that color coordinated with my new hair color I was transformed from a festive and magical mermaid (which is how one of my supportive friends described my new look) to the Little Mermaid gone corporate. Blue hair or not I was the best thing that this company could ever hope would walk in their door.
Here is how it went:
* I got to the building and happily introduced myself to security. I was warned I’d need to show ID to and that they would have my name in the security computer allowing me up to the correct floor. I did indeed need my id … they did not have my name in the computer. After numerous phone calls the security agent finally got someone to answer. That person was going to talk to Bob (not his name but remember I’m protecting the “innocent”) and call back if I was indeed on his calendar. Finally I was given security clearance and allowed up to a higher floor.
* I found the suite thanks to the suite number I had written down from my conversation with the assistant, who I had made my interview appointment with. The name on of the company I was interviewing with was not on the door … another company name was … which wasn’t helpful. I assume they are related. Holding company or something. Although never assume …
* There was no lobby. I walked into a cubicle farm (you know what I’m talking about) and stood there. A woman, let’s call her Lacy, came out and told me to have a seat in one of the two chairs in need of some TLC in the form of reupholstering or the trash. After handing over a copy of my resume I did what I was told.
* I sat there … and sat there … considered lying on the floor to take a nap, decided against it … and sat there.
* Lacy came back to inform me I would be meeting with the sales manager, Joe. I may have rolled my eyes and said “really?” This all had “waste of my time” written all over it and in the meantime my car was in a lot costing $2.50 every 20 minutes. Time is money … more specifically my money. If I had money to toss at car lot attendants I wouldn’t need a job in the first place.
* After more waiting Joe came over to introduce myself. Joe had an unconventional hair style so I didn’t feel as uncomfortable about my blue hair. Who am I kidding? At this point my blue hair was the one thing I wasn’t uncomfortable with.
* After being shown to an office … not Joe’s but an office, Joe turned to me and said, “Why have you come to see us today.” Ummmmm …..
* I’m not going to lie … Joe didn’t seem to like me at all. Probably because I looked at him like he was insane after each one of his questions. Of course it became obvious to me QUICKLY that something was wrong. Either there was a huge misunderstanding or my friend Joe & company perform the ol’ bait and switch on poor helpless souls that need jobs. You know, advertising one thing and then giving another.
* Turns out I wasn’t interviewing for a Sales Manger job but a Sale Representative job. Something even Joe found odd given my background. Let’s remember they called me for an interview after seeing my resume and yet Joe seemed to be looking at my background for the first time that very second.
* Turns out the job isn’t for an “employee” but an “independent contractor.” For those not in the know that means a 10-99 job. Usually no salary, commission only (which was true here), and no benefits. There is nothing wrong with a 10-99 job but it was not what was advertised. There are positives to a job like this, freedom (usually) in your schedule (although that didn’t seem to be the case here), being your own boss of sorts (although that didn’t seem to be the case here), unlimited income if you are the type of person that works well under these conditions, etc. It is also a huge deal breaker for a lot of people and given my current employment needs, one for me as well. It is certainly not something you spring on someone who fought traffic to get to the middle of downtown LA and is paying $2.50 every 20 minutes this conversation goes on.
* Their sales territory and plan made no sense and their travel reimbursement policy was built for suckers. I don’t want to go into details right now. You will have to just believe me.
* Travel 3-4 weeks a year. For those that aren’t good at math that is 75%-100%. The exact opposite of what I am looking for. If there were any details about this kind of travel in their ad I would never have applied. Of course there wasn’t those details disclosed prior to meeting … “get them in the door any way you can, and then close them,” says every sleazy salesman anywhere.
* Speaking of … remember Bob, who I was supposed to talk to? He was there. How could I tell? Well he was the one wandering around the office hall on a portable phone barking out as many sales clichés as a person can jam into a conversation.
To Joe’s credit upon realizing I wasn’t going to work out for him … aka drink the kool-aid he informed me that he was going to “conclude this interview.” Upon walking me the very short distance from the “lobby” he asked me to hold on. He went and spoke to Bob. I assume to tell him I was there for the Sales Manger position and was supposed to talk to him. Alas Bob didn’t seem to have the time to stop discussing funnels, deals, and “what do we have to do to make them move” tactics to check me out. Joe returned to tell me they had my resume and would call if they wanted to talk to me further. Joe did apologize for the misunderstanding but pointed out their assistant was gone that day and things happen Sure … blame the poor missing assistant.
I smiled, thanked him, and left. Then I muttered “what a fucking shit show” as I walked to the elevator. The way I see it this company owes me $21 in parking fees and $4 for the delicious icy beverage I had to purchase at Starbucks on the trek back to my vehicle to cool off from the horrid experience.
I realize it is a “buyers market” and employers have the upper hand right now but come on guys. Please tell me you are all better than this!
P.S. – Some folks were concerned that my new and brilliant hair color could harm my chances of getting hired. I’m afraid we can blame this “lose” on my brain and conscious. Even with my blue hair I do care.