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Thursday, August 24, 2006
The Interviews and the Odd Things I Overhear... answer a comment against yesterday's entry - who says I'm still sane?

Well, after posting my resume at a few sites, and talking with a few random people here and there (who couldn't afford me initially because they are *that* small of a startup and I refuse to take a $15K cut in salary), eBay emailed me.

I looked at the position, and didn't jump immediately. Then they emailed me again a couple of days later. And I sat on the email for about 24 hours. Just as I was about to email them, a staffing coordinator called me to make sure that I had received the email.

Providence! Fate!

I had a very nice and quick conversation with her and set up a phone interview for the next day with the hiring manager. Nervous? Heck no. Excited. I do great on the phone...

The next day I walked out of my office about 15 minutes before they were supposed to call me, and spent 10 minutes on the phone with DH getting ego rubbed and pumped up for the call. When the hiring manager called I was happy and courteous. We had a great half hour talk that roamed over my resume, the reasons I was still at the company I am for so long, and what would be expected of me in this new position. We laughed over some common threads in our careers and bosses we've had in the past (I didn't speak badly of mine, I couched it politically), and decided that setting up a team interview would be a great next step.

I thanked him and let him know I can't wait to meet the team. He let me know that the staffing coordinator should call me the next day. 48 hours later I was wondering what I'd done to screw up because I hadn't heard from them. That's when the flurry of emails started from 3 different staffing employees, and I heard the names of at least two more, in order to get my complete employment application (with references), the time slot, the directions there, etc etc. Once that was all settled, I was ready for the interview - I knew what I was going to wear, I knew what I was going to do. I was going to go get this job.

Meanwhile, the office was dead because this was the week of the big offsite with all the managers from around the country. I wasn't invited to any of the activities, and someone wandered by and wondered why I hadn't been at the BBQ the night before. My response? There was a BBQ? Funny, I wasn't invited. They questioned whether I was part of the operations team, and I said I was the last time that I checked, but maybe not anymore. I hear my so-called boss was there. Guess he forgot to tell me. I knew from the company meeting the next day that some of the managers were puzzled as to why I wasn't anywhere to be seen, and a couple were worried. Thankfully I was at the meeting, and I dodged questions as to why I wasn't involved. I'm sure I got some raised eyebrows, but no one's said anything since.

Maybe I should have been forthright and said that they've left me out of the loop. Ah, but I digress...

The interview - it was a Thursday. Three women, all on the team. First one was by phone, other two were in person. Each one was happy to meet me, impressed by what I was bringing to the table, and two of them mentioned that they looked forward to working with me. The last one was interrupted by the hiring manager who came in to talk with me too. We chatted about the culture, what folks do for fun around there, some more specifics about the job... I sat there while he went hunting for the Staffing coordinator and had a really great feeling about everything. These women were smart, able, good communicators. It's a team that I really would have gelled with. I felt that connections were made.

The staffing coordinator and I talked money. The hiring manager and I talked start dates. It was as good as done. When I was walked out I was told to call the staffing coordinator if I didn't hear anything by the end of the day that coming Monday. I said that I looked forward to hearing from her, I would contact her if I didn't hear anything and that I was really excited about this opportunity to speak with all of them and thanked her graciously.

Monday rolled around and I heard nothing. Knowing their previous delays in trying to set up my interview in the first place, this didn't surprise me. So I sent an email to her on Tuesday morning. No response. 24 hours pass. I was going to make a phone call at this point and was almost perfectly psyched up for it, but that's when the thing that refers to itself as my father called and verbally assaulted me. I couldn't hold my voice steady until almost bedtime that night. I was edgy. 48 hours pass. This was killing me, and I was positive that I didn't get the position. I called her on Friday (I didn't tell a lot of people about it, if I told them at all) and ended up leaving a voicemail letting her know I was really interested still and would like to know where they were in the process.

I got an email the following Tuesday that they hadn't made a 'final' decision and that this was a really 'tough' decision. And apologizing for making me wait but thanking me for my patience. The quotes around the words were hers. I took that as a sign that wasn't good.

And I was right. The very next morning I got an email letting me know that while they appreciated me coming in and that I have a fantastic skillset, they were going to continue their search. I'm fairly certain they didn't contact any of my references, which were all good ones. No one can figure out why they passed me over. Rumor is that it may have been between me and an internal candidate, which would explain enough, but they still have the listing up so that tells me they're still looking. Or it's the unfillable position - every company has one.

One of the women confided to me that they weren't sure that they were going to go through with a certain program that was enabling them to start searching for another person, and wanted to get someone in quickly so that they could already be valuable before the decision makers decided not to move forward. Initially I thought that they turned me down because they had decided not to move forward with the program, but that's clearly not the case as far as I can see.

So, here I sit wondering how they're doing staffing this position that I really wanted (not just to get out of where I am now, but because I could have added to my skillset with this job to get something better down the road), and knowing that I'll never know. And moving forward sending out more resumes for positions at companies large and small, getting no responses. Sending to recruiters and having great phone conversations and getting nothing further. I network where I can, and nothing's coming of it. And it's review time here at the company, so when I'm still here in a month (because I know I will be) they'll give me my final results and they'll probably be horrible and they'll release me from this place with parting gifts (which will probably amount to a paltry check that's no where near commensurate with the time and contribution I've made because they'll base it on something stupid like my title, even though we're "not a title-centric" company).

And so that's where it stands. Yes, I know I'll find something better. I just need it sooner, rather than later. And no, I can't quit and take contract work - it's called needing the benefits...

And now it's time for other things that I hear around the office these days that contribute to the fact that I need to get out and get out quick:

Overheard: A manager complains about an issue with one of their employees and doesn't know what to do. The person they're asking for guidance (the HR manager) replies: "Let me see what I've got on her." Hello? What she's got on her? The HR manager is saying this?

It amazes me greatly how someone can wonder aloud why someone with a Harvard diploma would want to work for us in a low-totem pole sort of position.

Well, gee - maybe they want to start from the bottom up and really know how a business runs. Wear all the hats sort of thing. They walked away commenting that they wouldn't have to do that with a Harvard degree.

Funny. I have a degree from a well-respected private college and I didn't know anything when I graduated. You see, all the Operations Management and Organizational Behavior classes in the world won't prepare you for how an organization really runs.

I feel for the poor Harvard grad because they're probably not going to give the individual a chance and that candidate could be the best thing for the position. *shrug*

Not my call.

So, yesterday I was falling asleep at my desk. It was clear, in any conversation that I was having, that I wasn't 100%. The big boss notices this and comments that "Miss Bright Eyes" (yes, his words, delivered in his southern accent with a humorous tone of voice) doesn't seem up to her usual standard. I explain that DH tossed and turned and snored all night and I couldn't sleep.

He checked up on me during the time from time to time, making sure I wasn't falling asleep at my desk and suggesting things I should try so that I can stay awake (and get good sleep later). Like caffeine. Like orange juice. Like having lunch outside in the sunshine and fresh air (thankfully I had a lunch date with someone and that's just what we did). And I should get the Tylenol PM stuff and drug DH so I could sleep. While a sound suggestion, I wasn't going to do that (and I'm pretty sure he was joking).

Anyone else in the office who noticed I wasn't up to snuff was trying to keep me smiling and alert. I wasn't falling down drunk groggy, but it was clear I was dragging despite my best efforts. And I would have driven home and slept except I didn't feel safe doing so.

The so-called boss? Ran into him twice and he asked me point blank questions about metrics, no formalities of 'good morning' or 'how are you doing', just the questions and went on his way. And he's supposed to be paying attention to details? Riiiight.

I didn't expect him to care or make sure I was fine through the day, but a "hey, are you ok?" probably wouldn't be out of the question. And I certainly didn't expect the level of concern that I got from the big boss...

So, that's the insanity that I'm living in at the moment. You're caught up with the whole story now.