Read Part I: Commission Scam here.
Read Part II: Pyramid Scheme here.
It had become clear to me that jobs posted to government-run job boards online may not always be vetted. It was also clear that cute girls offering exciting work opportunities were probably not going to lead to the most professional careers.
No more messing around! I needed a real job that paid actual money.
I was very relieved to get a call back from a call centre whose job description basically read: take calls and answer questions.
I cancelled plans I’d made with a friend and headed to my new job. This was more important than hanging out and having a chill time! Better get work soon or I’m going to run out of vodka.
When I arrived 20 minutes early, as planned, I confidently walked into a nondescript, older office building and found myself in a small office space. I was led past the main room, filled with collapsable tables and chairs and maybe 2 dozen older model, hardwired touch-tone telephones. They’d interviewed me over the phone, so after some brief paperwork for taxes (an excellent sign), I was told to sit at any collapsable chair and wait to get started.
As more people shuffled in, I learned that this was the first day for the majority of us, but there were also 3 or 4 people who’d been around for about 3 months. No big deal. Another small startup. At least it’s legit.
Once we were all settled, a supervisor came in and drew our attention to the piles of office boxes on one side of the room. I’d assumed they’d just moved in and hadn’t unpacked yet. That explained all the old equipment too – just temp until everything is set up. Right? I mean, sure. The place looked like it could be abandoned in under 5 minutes, but they’re just new. Right?
The boxes were actually filled with contact information: thousands of little strips and cutouts of paper, filled in by unsuspecting normal people at trade shows and other events, thinking they’re entering legit draws for exciting trips or swag. The strips of paper were all branded differently, as though hundreds of real companies were offering these sweet draws.
On the other side of the room was a similar pile of boxes. We were to draw a handful of pieces of paper from one side of the room, cold call these people and tell them they’ve won a “digital camera”, a pretty new and exciting thing at that time. There were no details on this camera of any kind. If they sound interested and want the camera, we bounce them to a supervisor who then tries to sell them a time share. If they tell us never to call again, we put them in the “call again in 3 months” pile on the opposite side of the room.
Needless to say, I was very uncomfortable with this. I knew if I stayed for a minimum of 3 hours, labour laws stated they needed to pay me for that time, so I sat through 2 hours of classroom training, 1 hour of phone training, then I quit and left.
A few weeks later, when I hadn’t received a paycheque, I went back to find the office totally empty, except those folding tables. They’d disappeared.
How could someone smart like me end up getting taken advantage of 3 different times? Am I really so gullible? I think my real flaw here was simply assuming that a business couldn’t possibly run poorly (I was kid. What did I know?).
This weird series of events led me to look at things much differently, moving forward. I question things immediately. I find that being open and upfront about my own expectations and what is expected of me from a would-be employer cuts right through any confusion and saves a lot of trouble. Being very direct has led me to walk out of job interviews. If it’s not right for me, why waste time and energy trying it out – or worse – trying to fix it? Not my circus.