Yeah, it’s Stupidity Weekend. That, and yesterday’s job pitch, reminded me of another headhunter from several years ago.
I got an email that read like it was from an actual human. The pitch even started out sounding interesting: turning up new cell phone sites. It was actually a pretty good fit for my background. But it had two serious catches; real game enders.
First, the work was in Massachusetts. Nope.
Secondly, the job was as a contractor, not employee, and the pay was $25 an hour. That would have meant I was on the hook for self-employed federal and Mass income taxes. Out of a mere $25. It gets better.
Besides the usual use-your-own-vehicle-to-drive-all-over-the-state, they expected their contractor to provide all his own tools and test equipment. For what the job involved, and what gear was available back in the day, that would have been probably north of a hundred grand in gear; a whole lot more if you wanted top-of-the-line stuff (test equipment prices used to be insane).
So they expected someone on the hook for $100,000 to work for around $18 an hour. It might take a while to pay off that gear at that a rate. And that hourly rate didn’t apply to drive time between sites (remember: sites scattered across the state).
Apparently, everyone else in the world felt the same way, because that guy kept after me for a week or two, trying to fill that position.
But, just once I did get suckered by a headhunter.
Back in the ’90s, I was contacted by a company called Volt-somethingorother. Volt Technical Services, I think (there’s a temp agency with a similar name still active, but maybe it shouldn’t be associated with the ’90s outfit).
That Volt was filling positions for a phone company out west. Instant red flag, because I knew the company’s CO and outside techs were on strike; I sure as hell didn’t want to be a scab, and get my truck trashed crossing picket lines. Nor suddenly be out of work again, if they signed a contract the day after I got there.
But no, Volt assured me. This job had nothing to do with the strike. The company had a massive network expansion going on, and they had a 60-90 day need for some extra network ops techs to do turn-up and provisioning, regardless of the strike. After some back and forth, I ended up taking the job.
The afternoon before I was going to load up my truck and drive across the country, I got a call from the phone company itself. My supervisor-to-be wanted let me know that the strike was over and they didn’t need me after all.
It turns out the job that Volt pitched didn’t exist. Nor did the NOC in which I was supposedly going to work exist. I was actually unknowingly going out there as an outside tech scab.
That Volt lied.
Over the years, I’ve met some other techs who’d had the same experiences with that Volt, except those guys actually arrived at their — also nonexistent — work locations. One guy got stuck in… Houston, I think, getting bounced around from one job site to another every few days. It appeared that was a standard tactic for that Volt: Lie about a nonexistent, but great sounding job to get a tech to an area; then when he’s desperate for work, bounce him around on grungy day or week work vaguely related to his resume; stuff too short term to attract techs from across the country.
So, the current Volt? If you ain’t them, you might want to change your name to avoid that company’s nasty rep.
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