Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Last January, I was hired by a Large Entertainment Company.  I showed up for my first day of work, fifteen minutes early, wearing shiny news khakis.

The assistant manager met me, instructed me to don a Ballbuster shirt, and brought me out front to begin showing me the ropes.  Some fifteen minutes later came a call.  It was the manager, telling me that my job didn't actually exist -- between the hiring and my first day, there came a decision from the centralized rulership, slashing jobs like mine. 

Why nobody bothered to tell me before I showed up remains a mystery.  The manager claims to have tried that morning, and there was a message on my machine . . . when I got home. 

Of course the manager was apologetic, but neither he nor his bosses offered me a thing.  Just leave. Now.  I wasn't paid for the day, wasn't even offered a free rental.  I was, in fact, out money because I bought the khakis to comply with a dress code.

I hate khakis.

But it was really the last in a string of insults, beginning with the application.  Ballbuster wanted a resume, answers to pre-interview questions, my SS#, and permission for background checks, all before I met a single person.  And all of this was to be stored in a database -- why am I required to demonstrate that I am foolish in order to get a job?  

I managed to stem the premature intrusion somewhat, explaining to my interviewer that numbers and signatures would be provided when there was interest in hiring me, and that I would provide it personally.  Incredibly, I was hired anyway.  But maybe I overloaded the chip that runs the company.

Of course it's not just Ballbuster -- online applications in general want permission to access too much, too soon.  Are they selfish, or merely insensitive?

The only person who seemed to have something like a reasonable response to my "release" was the assistant manager, the one who shared my glorious fifteen minutes of employment.  He was embarrassed to the point of shame, apologizing more than his boss.

But he made me pay for the two rentals I grabbed.

Ballbuster got off the hook so easily, losing only the shirt that I clung to as the sole reward for this stupid day.  A decent company would have given me the day's pay, reimbursed me for the pants, and maybe offered some token to make up for the week I stopped looking for a job.  Or maybe not offered a phantom job in the first place.

They will, of course, never get another dime from me (or from you, hopefully).

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