Friday, October 3, 2008

Burying the Lede

I've been looking for a job for a few weeks now. It's pretty slow going. There isn't really a reliable method for finding work. As a matter of necessity, job posting boards favor the client (i.e. the employer) rather than the applicant. I found this to clearly be the case when I was about to leave my last job and posted it on Craigslist--there were two hundred responses in the first hour, and probably close to 1000 when all was said and done.

It's not that my job was all that enviable; it's just that a lot of people are looking for work...a lot more than are posting jobs. In New York, Craigslist charges the employer something like $25 per listing. If you want to list the ad in multiple boards (e.g. My title was Equity Research Assistant and I posted it in the Administrative board and the Finance board), you're charged the same fee per board.

Presently, Craig doesn't charge employers in the Atlanta area to post ads. The snag being that the Atlanta site is plagued by fake ads--spammers mining for email addresses. It's a problem I've never run into while applying for jobs in New York, but having been at this casually for a little over a month, and in a more serious way for the last three weeks, I think I've received close to ten responses directing me to data mining sites and survey sites. Ironically, they're always sent with the expressed intent being that the company wants to weed out spam. Until Wednesday, the only responses I had received fell into this category. On Wednesday though, I got an actual phone call.

I had submitted a resume to a company called Sahni Enterprises (pronounced Sony) for a Graphic Designer position. The way the position was described in the ad sounded less like graphic design and more like layout and production design with some graphic work, but that's not important. It's not exactly my field, but I have some experience with that sort of thing, and I'm pretty confident in my ability to fake what I don't know.

Anyway, I was at a playground chasing Nate around (while getting the distinct impression that the mothers on the playground did not like the look of me showing up where they take their little boys and girls to play), and I got this call from a guy at this place who said he thought my resume met the necessary qualifications. I said great. He asked me what my salary range was, I low-balled, and regretted it after the fact, then he told me to expect a phone call from HR later in the day or on Thursday. I don't know why, but from the moment I hung up the phone, I felt that something was not right. I was optimistic, but dubious.

Anyway, I didn't hear from them on Wednesday. By mid-day Thursday, Sarah was asking me to call the guy back. I was hesitant not simply because I was growing more skeptical but because I never got the name of the guy who called, and I didn't want to call the company's receptionist and say 'I don't know who I spoke with, but...' Sarah was frustrated. She went on Craigslist and found this:

Now, I was not at all surprised to find this. Like I said, I was dubious, and there aside from the spammers, Craigslist is filled with all sorts of predatory types looking to steal work from naive craftspeople (generally writers, illustrators, or graphic designers), but I was disappointed. I do need a job, and this was the first thing that felt like it could lead to something, and this listing seems to confirm some of my worst apprehensions about the job.
Notice that I say some of my worst fears. That was Thursday. For the rest of my fears to be confirmed, I would have to wait until Friday.
Anyway, today's Friday. I waited until the afternoon to call number who had called me. As I had feared, the line was answered by a receptionist. I didn't catch the name of the company, but it was Sahni Enterprises. I fumbled through my explanation of how somebody had called me about my resume, and how I was supposed to receive a callback that never came. She was polite enough, and told me to hold while she found somebody to help me out.
I was put on hold.
A little background. The company, as it was described to me on the phone and as it is described on its website is a wholesaler for merchandise produced in Asia. The job was going to involve doing layout work for catalogues and fliers. The website describes the merchandise into a number of benign categories (furniture, gifts, etc.). Imagine my surprise then, when the voice during the company's hold message described what great deals I could get on vibrators and strap-ons.
Yes, this mild-mannered wholesaler apparently also specializes (while keeping it on the down low) on the inexpensive sex toys and adult entertainment. I can only attribute my hanging up to something akin to a gag reflex. Something out of childhood. It was like I didn't want to get in trouble for having listened to the hold message. Now I regret it. Not because I want to work there. But because I want to get to the bottom of this.
I hope they call back.

No comments: