Recruited, or, Shifting the Kaleidescope

It’s been frighteningly and eerily quiet on the job hunt front since the first of the year. I had expected there to be a lull during the holidays, but I actually had several interviews going on in December, although none of them resulted in a job offer. Then January came and went without a single nibble, while I continued to look for work every day, and complete every applicable application.
To say that I was stressed and worried would be an understatement. I never expected that it would take me this long to find my next job, and had been, perhaps falsely, encouraged by the fairly steady stream of interviews. I was depressed, discouraged, and feeling pretty hopeless. And admittedly, I have made the grave mistake of equating some of my self-worth with what I did for a living. And if I’m not doing anything, I had to fight hard against the feeling of total worthlessness.
Just as things were getting seriously dire, I was lucky enough to get an offer for some part-time, short-term remote contract work. I can’t express how grateful I am for this opportunity, not just for the ability to earn some money, but also to get my feet wet again into the working world, even if it’s just as an anonymous contributor from my home computer. The rigor, routine and discipline of work are like manna to me.
I have this theory, have I ever shared it with you? Well, it goes like this—I believe that if one tiny thing changes in your life, it’s like picking up a kaleidoscope and giving it a little shake. All the other jewels shift around and everything can change. So I wasn’t completely surprised, although I was very happy, when after 52 days of silence, I finally got a call for my first interview in 2014.
The interview routine has become pretty familiar to me. First interviews are generally a phone screen, with a recruiter. Now some recruiters are great. Usually internal, they understand the company, the position, and the players. The best recruiters can give you some really valuable insight into what the job involves, the company culture, what the hiring manager is looking for, and if you are going to be a good fit. They keep you informed through the interview process, and ideally, form a limited partnership with you as a prospective employee. Even when you don’t end up with the position, you actually believe they will keep their eyes open for future opportunities.
Unfortunately, not all recruiters are ideal. I’ve had real challenges with some external recruiters, who appear to be eager to fill their screening or interview quota without knowing too much about the position or company they are representing. This week’s recruiter seemed to be the very worst of the bunch.
Here’s what happened. They contacted me last week and asked to schedule a phone interview. While the position was for a local company, the recruiter was located in Chicago. We agreed to speak Monday morning, and they asked me to call them at the appointed time, as they would be traveling. That in itself seemed a little odd to me, but I agreed to it.
By the way, I am referring to this person in non-gender specific terms, because I still have no idea if they were a man or a woman! Their name was Tonay. Real name, I seriously doubt they are reading this. So I call Tonay as scheduled, and they don’t answer. I’m sort of flummoxed, but I leave a message and say perhaps they got delayed in their “travels” and I will call again in 15 minutes, or we can reschedule. I wait 15 anxious minutes; remember this is my first interview in almost 2 months, there’s a lot of anxiety involved.
After several rings, Tonay answers. He/she sounds like they have just crawled out of the crypt, or woken from a season’s hibernation. I still can’t identify the sex of this person, but it really doesn’t matter. They tell me they are sorry they missed my first call, but they are sick. Which I can sort of tell, but why miss the first call? Were they vomiting? Or unconscious? And why not simply reschedule?
So I make sympathetic murmurs (really, I did!) and ask Tonay if she/he would like to do the call at a different time. And they answer, no, let’s just make this quick. Awesome, right? Like it’s only my future on the line here. They then proceed to tell me a little bit about the position. It’s clear to me that the job, which was posted as a management level position, is on a much lower, administrative level. I delicately indicate that it may be a little “junior” for me, and Tonay says he/she will look up the salary grade level. I’m then put on hold, which sounds like the phone has been dropped to the ground, while I hear crashing for about a minute. I’m seriously curious at this point, where the hell is Tonay taking this call?
Anyway, “It” (sorry, I’m getting tired of guessing pronouns) finally comes back to the phone and tells me the salary for the position. I am prepared that I may need to take a salary cut in my next endeavor, but this number is so low it’s a deal breaker. So I tell Tonay “no way.” Sorry again, but I couldn’t resist that! And get off the phone just shaking my head and wondering what just happened?
It’s enough to make a grown woman cry. And perhaps, a teeny tear slipped out of the corner of my eye. But fortunately, I had my contract work to go back to, and the kaleidoscope had felt its tiny turn. The next day, I got a call for a wonderful opportunity, and have an interview scheduled in a couple of weeks. And this time, we’re skipping right past the recruiter, and I’m actually speaking with the hiring director. So, keep your fingers crossed, and let’s see where the jewels shift next.
The end, for now

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