In a previous post, I alluded to an interview I had where I sent common sense on vacation and ended up being talked into accepting a job that ol’ Beelzebub himself told me was wrong for me. I said I’d tell the story behind that, so wanna hear it? Here it go:
I applied for an Accounting Manager position with Sunrise Wood Designs because the job description sounded like a good fit for me and the company was small but stable. I went for an interview with the CEO and the CFO (whom I would be reporting to). It was a conversational style interview which is my favorite type. I always go to an interview as myself and not the “Perfect Candidate” because I want them to know who’s going to show up on the first day; if you don’t like the real me at the interview, you’re not going to like the real me on day one either. It was easy to tell the CEO was a former salesperson even though he also had an accounting background. He did most of the talking; the CFO was one of those real quiet, observant types that embodies the stereotypical accountant. I went into the interview with a nagging sense that it was not the place for me. The Sunrise Wood Designs corporate office was small and cluttered and loud and I saw dingy cubicles in a very un-ideal location (I prayed that those cubicles weren’t for the accounting department). Anyway, back to the interview…
You know that analogy about something being a train wreck but you just can’t walk away? That was this interview. I had red flags, neon signs, flashing lights and still that very quiet voice telling me to bid Sunrise Wood Designs farewell post-haste. Let me tell you why: it’s never a good sign when the interviewer/potential employer manages to slide in very subtle insults relating to your experience or skills. I almost laughed out loud when it happened but it was so subtle, I almost missed it! I heard a few statements around the theme of my experience was “kinda thin” more than once. I did challenge that statement after the last time by saying that if my experience was so thin, why was I contacted to interview for the position? I didn’t hear any variant of that statement again but I did get one along the lines of I still enjoy the type of work I do because I haven’t been doing it very long. I’ve been an accountant doing the type of work I love for almost 10 years and, the Sunrise Wood Designs CEO, not being much older than me, didn’t have many more years than that and never did full cycle accounting work anyway (it takes a special kind of person to do that kind of work and like it). I digressed again huh? When your interviewer is denigrating the very skills and experience that you assume are the reason you got the interview in the first place, it’s not unreasonable to be exceptionally confuzzled and…offended.
The interview lasted for about an hour with the feeling that this was not the place for me growing ever more insistent. I also remember that during this interview, the CEO confirmed my salary range again since I had given it during the phone screen before the interview was set up. As during the phone screen, he said that my range was in line with what the Sunrise Wood Designs Accounting Manager position was offering. The CEO had made some very good points during the interview about why the opportunity was a good one for someone with my background and at the stage of my career that I was in but I was also made to feel like the lucky contestant on the Sunrise Wood Designs hiring game show for a large part of it; kinda like I was lucky they were even considering me versus they were lucky that they had gotten qualified and experienced candidates to interview. I don’t like being made to feel as though I’m fortunate that the benevolent employer deigns to grace me with an interview and I’m lucky if I actually get the job! I left that day thinking two things: 1. this is the best commute I’ve ever had; 2. Sunrise Wood Designs is going to offer me this job because I’m sure I don’t want it.
I was right…the offer came within two days of the interview, after my thank you letter and their response, in which they again took the opportunity to remind me that I was so lucky because I was Sunrise Wood Designs’
lucky contestant #1 leading candidate! The CFO called me first to let me know I had gotten the job and to give me the details of the offer–an offer that I was very disappointed with to say the least…the absolute least! The salary was $5k below my minimum annual salary requirements, the vacation time was as minuscule as it comes (10 days a year to cover vacation AND sick/personal days!) AND Sunrise Wood Designs actually makes you accrue that paltry amount of time off before you can use it! There was a bonus that offset half of the salary discrepancy but bonuses are never guaranteed and salary is, you know? Yeah, you know. Let’s see…oh yeah! And there was also the fact that their benefits sucked zebra toe which they admitted during the interview. Yes, the CEO actually said that if I have medical coverage through another source, like my spouse’s employer, I’d better keep it! So, not much incentive there either. I tried to make it palatable by asking them if the pay cut at least came with an office; it didn’t. I’d be the only person in a management role in a cubicle…right by the Sunrise Wood Designs customer service desk. Yeah…no. I know you’re wondering and yes, I did bring up the fact that I was told TWICE that my salary range was within the range for the position and that, as accountants, they should understand the mathematical impossibility of that being true if my minimum was higher than their maximum (math is hard)! Do you know what they had the unmitigated gall to tell me? The CEO said that they would never rule a person out of consideration for a great opportunity just because of a $5k variance in salary (especially in their favor)! How mighty considerate of them huh?! I had to stop what I was doing and kick something because I was soooo outdone!
So, of course, given all of those signs of imminent doom, I told Sunrise Wood Designs where they could put their offer, right? I mean, who in their right mind would ignore such screaming examples of why NOT to take this job, right? Well, I think my right mind gave its letter of resignation that day and quit me because I told them I needed time to think about it. Now, before you leave my site thinking that I’m #TeamBadDecisions and there’s nothing that can change that, let me explain!
Warning: religious overtones ahead…
Before I had gone on this interview, I said a prayer putting the outcome in God’s hands. See, I’ve been doing this job search thing for 2 years now and I’ve yet to find what I’m looking for and I’ve actually been fooled a few times. So, I figure I must be doing something wrong, right? (←Haha!) So, I decide that I will let Jesus take the wheel and assume whatever happens is Him steering. I admit now that this was more in the spirit of laziness rather than true faith because I was so tired of all the applications, phone screens, interviews, assessments,
bullsh*t, and bad outcomes that I just wanted to not think or consider anything anymore. Of course, God knew my heart and this whole thing worked out accordingly.
Now, a disclaimer: I don’t want anyone to think I’m some kind of religious zealot who will work God and my beliefs into a post whenever I can because I respect the religious beliefs of everyone whether they believe what I do or not. Whatever the higher power you believe in–God, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, the benevolent Universe, QVC–substitute that in for my use of the words God and Jesus if you are so inclined.
Long story longer, (because, you know, you read this far and stuff) I ended up deciding to take the Sunrise Wood Designs job despite my strong reservations because God told me to! ∗∗∗This is off topic but you know how they say if you talk to God, it’s called praying but if God talks back, it’s called schizophrenia? Yeah, there’s a reason for that.∗∗∗
In the interest of not making this post a novella, I’m going to leave my retelling of how my first day at Sunrise Wood Designs demonstrated why I should have listened to my instincts, for another post. To be continued…
Have you ever had a horrible interview but took the job anyway? Please let me know I’m not “stupid, party of one” here!
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