Skip the aliens. Employers are the new horror stars.

I could write a horror novel.

The characters wouldn’t be villainous viscous creatures from a nearby galaxy who descend and suck the brains out of the skulls of human beings and raise toasts with cups containing bile and plasma.


They’d be regular people like you and me (okay, not me and perhaps not you) called employers.

For assorted reasons, I’ve chosen not to write ongoing accounts of what it is to be unemployed and looking for a job in this town and economy; it’d make bleak Russian novels look positively inspiring.

However, were I to write that tome, this recent dialogue would be included:

WOMAN: Hi. This is XYZ Cleaning Company calling in Olympia {about 50 miles from my location}. You sent in a resume for a housecleaning position. Are you still looking?

ME: Yes.

WOMAN: First, do you have a car and would you be willing to relocate?

ME: Yes and yes.

WOMAN: Good. We’ve had problems with employees coming from Tacoma due to the distance.

ME: Understood.

WOMAN: What have you been doing for the past two years?

ME: Looking for a job. {strike 1} Could you tell me about this position?

WOMAN: Sure. We’re looking for a cleaner who goes into private homes. Each job is timed. You might have three hours for this house, two for that one. We go all over Thurston County. You use your own car. The pay is x-dollars an hour (pennies over minimum wage).

ME: Is there reimbursement for gas, mileage or wear and tear?


ME {observing}: The work’s around the county. There’s no reimbursement for gas or mileage. That’s a pretty low wage. May I ask, how do your employees make it?

WOMAN: {snottily} I have employees who’ve been with me for years. Maybe that’s why you haven’t had a job in two years!*


{*a glaring untruth; this problem workaholic has swum and will swim in the sewer for $5 an hour if it’s a job.}

First thought upon disconnect: I’m glad that woman’s not my boss.

Extraterrestrial creatures inhaling brains through a straw? Pfffshaw and if only! The horrors lie here on planet Earth. No book but wait for the movie coming soon to your local theaters: Life of the Unemployed: 1000 Ways to be Demeaned, Degraded, Ignored and Forgotten. And Utterly Irrelevant.

Buttered popcorn: free. Straw for brains-sucking: 50¢.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. inaformerlifeanexpat
    Oct 16, 2010 @ 16:00:13

    Sorry, but while that person may indeed not have be the best of people to work for, your obervation should have been kept to itself or just a polite declining of the offer due to it not being economically vialble for you to run around in a vehicle and not being reimbured for at least milage. Odd though, I would think an employer could claim payment for employee’s milage as a deduction of sorts. And with Google etc., it’d be hard for an employee to fudge numbers too.

    You never do yourself a favor by leaving people pissed at you.


    • allycatadventures
      Oct 17, 2010 @ 10:29:08

      @expat – It was a legitimate question put forth politely. In addition to the unworkable wage given the costs of gas and mileage, her response only provided one more reason I couldn’t work for her. Whether she’s pissed doesn’t concern me.


      • inaformerlifeanexpat
        Oct 17, 2010 @ 12:17:52

        Were I on the other side of the table, that’d put me on the defensive as the observation comes across as accusatory. Regardless of how I would feel about the person or the conditions of employment, I would have kept any oberservations to myself, as they’re moot if I am not interested in the job.


        • allycatadventures
          Oct 18, 2010 @ 11:25:43

          @expat – “that’d put me on the defensive as the observation comes across as accusatory” – then that would be a reflection of your issue. What harm is there in making an observation? It also presented a positive opportunity for further discussion or a rethink on the wage. Neither happened; her response was revealing.


          • inaformerlifeanexpat
            Oct 18, 2010 @ 13:07:58

            That happens only after a job offer made or once in and then as a suggestion to improve things. You were mentally, a couple of steps too far ahead of the game.

            Having been on the other side of the table (hiring) more than once, I as an employer have the right to throw out the conditions of employment (within common sense) and the interviewee has the same right to outright reject them if they are not to his/her liking and move on.


            • allycatadventures
              Oct 18, 2010 @ 14:07:53

              @Expat – Mentally ahead? Where’s the intelligence in pursuing or accepting a job in the knowledge that it will not pay for even threadbare conditions on the hope, anticipation or conviction that later discussions that may or may not occur will yield a wage increase that may or may not be forthcoming (in truth likely not). If you believe that a woman who responds as she did to a valid observation will be receptive to suggested improvements, you’re being naive. It was notable red flag.


  2. longeyesamurai
    Oct 17, 2010 @ 05:33:42

    It seems that the current economics woes brings out the worse in some employers, if only because they consider that there’s always gonna be a sucker to take their job!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: