Well, so much has happened since I last wrote the story about my job offer up in Traverse City.
That same day after I posted the story, I received an anonymous email through my web site contact form. This email disturbed me greatly because it gave me some serious doubt. The email is as follows…
“Man, good luck. I was there for several years and saw more than 30 (!) people come and go, including the past 3 designers they had there. You should ask what kind of turnover they have. That place is crazy. Ask about Terrel, he moved from Nebraska to TC for that job, left less than two months later. I hope you have a better experience. But The HR Lady and The Owner will stab you in the back. WATCH OUT. They also won’t let you work on any side work while you work for them. They have VERY expensive lawyers.”
So you can see how unsettling this was. I tried not to think much about it, because I had already decided to start packing up and figure out how to overcome the challenges faced with moving. I didn’t want to also consider the possibility of the company not being everything I had hoped for and more.
I figured that the letter was sent from someone messing with me, either one of my friends (not a very funny joke mind you) or a truly disgruntled employee, and that I would just ignore it.
It was hard to ignore when I got a 2nd letter from someone else later that same day…
“For legal reasons I’d rather not say my name, but have you happened to ask The HR Lady about the turnover rate at The Company? I wonder if they’ll lie to you too.”
And that’s all it said. Now I really started to freak out. The style of writing didn’t seem to be at all like the other one’s. This one was much more vague as well as more secretive.
This really unnerved me. I was starting to get a sinking feeling inside about the adventure I was about to embark on. Was it really worth all the trouble I was having to go through. I couldn’t say at this point. I mean, the reason I wanted to take a chance and give up everything was to go work for a company that would take care of me. One that would be somewhere I wanted to work for years to come. And now, I get this warning, although admittedly sketchy.
While one letter is something to forget, two is a different story, but I still wanted to talk to The Company and ask about it in hopes that they could tell me what was going on. The problem was, The HR Lady was out of the office for the week on vacation. I couldn’t call my one trusted source inside. But then again, the warning message said not to trust her, so I didn’t know what to do/think.
Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night. My mind kept working with the different fears involved with making a decision like this, now with some sort of warning.
I tried to ignore this as I went through my day, Trista and I started to pack up her belongings from our office to move them to her friend’s house (that said she could stay there.) This presented an unforeseen problem. Trista was becoming extremely sad over the whole thing. She started to get real emotional and broke down a little bit. She has been super strong and supporting during this whole thing, so to see her like this really hit me hard. We talked through it and she assured me that when it came time to actually moving, that she would be stronger, but I still had doubts. Trista’s support for this move was the ONLY thing that made me 100% sure it was the right thing to do. Now, with silly warning emails and T’s wavering commitment, I had to start thinking about it all over again.
Just a few hours after T and my little talk and emotional pow-wow, we were sitting and listening to some Harry Potter 7, when I was actually contacted by a third ex-employee of The Company via AIM. The conversation was a little creepy at first because they kept trying to be secretive. Ex Employee kept trying to make sure I wouldn’t tell on them and make sure that I trusted them and this and that. My patience was growing thin when all of the sudden, I got a Video Chat Invite and then, wow, I saw their face. Ex Employee was like, I’m done messing around, I just have to tell you my story and keep you from making a huge mistake. I recently worked for The Company, and let me tell you, it’s NOTHING like they say it is during the interviews.
The atmosphere is controlling, The Owner is manipulating and micro managing, your creativity will feel stifled to the point where you will wonder why you were even hired on and not just some idiot that does exactly what you’re told (meaning no creative freedom). Ex Employee then went on to tell stories about various times and examples to back up each point. I really got a feeling that Ex Employee was truly trying to save me the trouble. He/She said that despite what you were told during the hiring process, that you will not be allowed to do any freelance work due to the NDA (non disclosure agreement) that you have to sign when hired.
All of the rules are over bearing and rather than promote a laid back and comfortable feel, it makes you feel trapped and babysat. (examples included the no cell phones in building rule, the can’t be 1 minute late rule etc.) Now you might be thinking, sure those rules seem in line, but The Owner freaks out when anything is even slightly out of line and is quite un understanding.
I personally can’t remember all of the stories and examples that Ex Employee shared with me. I mean, it WAS over video chat, so it’s not like I have it documented as in an email or something. I might not even be doing this story justice, but trust me, the evidence was overwhelming.
My point of view from this juncture forward, is this… Even if 1/2 of what Ex Employee and the two anonymous emailers said was true, it puts just enough doubt in my mind to make this move seem not worth the risk. I only would make such a gigantic move, and upset my entire life, if I had more of a sure path in front of me, and not one with red flags staring me in the face. I just don’t think that I can take the chance anymore, knowing what I know about The Company.
I have to say that the true reason for my deciding not to move is because when I truly said that I couldn’t take the chance, Trista looked sooooooo relieved and it was as if a huge weight was lifted off her back. This let me know that warnings or no warnings, that unless some company offered me $100,000/yr and a company Porsche to drive, I really shouldn’t consider moving away from her. Not to mention all of my friends who were super excited that I am not leaving.
So, I contacted the other local company, “Company-B” about the possibility of working there still, and they promptly said, “Thanks but no thanks.” I am officially out of options and back to the drawing board. I went from too many offers and decisions to none.
I’m still slightly optimistic though due to the fact that during the past 2 weeks I was contacted by 3 companies, (3rd one I called back and haven’t heard back either) and I haven’t even actively sought out employment hardcore like I really should.
All in all, this was quite the emotional roller coaster and luckily enough, we hadn’t made any real changes other than in our minds. So we’re not worse off than we were before any of this started. I just hate to “cry wolf” and get everyone riled up about me moving and then say “just kidding”, but basically, that’s what I did.
So, I need a job.
I’ll finish with a quote from my good friend George…
“Coming from experience, let me reiterate that any job no matter how wonderful you think it will be, will not be. Almost all successful companies have one priority in mind……make money. Treating their employees with respect is on the list but because it’s been said so many times it gets blurry like the fine print in a document that has been photocopied too many times. I would love to believe there is altruism out there but I already made the decision that no such thing exists. I’m sorry they disillusioned you into believing you WILL LOVE THIS JOB! In the long run though, it’s better to learn now and not while you are in a year lease up in TC.”