update: employer asked me to interview at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday

Remember the reader who was invited to come to an interview at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday? Here’s the update.

I had sent you a brief update a while ago, but this one is more comprehensive and has new exciting info.

Life has been AWESOME. But first, the interview.

Some of the details got posted in comments on the original thread. I did end up going in at 6:45am, which sucked. They weren’t completely set up, either, so I waited about 10 minutes before getting called in. It was kind of bizarre, really. The VP of the company was there, but he wasn’t interviewing, just taking notes. The woman interviewing me was just reading questions from a packet and flipping the page as soon as she thought I was done with my answer, not allowing further elaboration or follow-up questions. She mentioned something off-hand about interviewing recently herself, leading me to believe she was a new hire there. I found out later that the company contracted with a separate HR-type company just to have someone conduct interviews for them. Also the job was hourly, minimum wage, and not even a possibility of salaried until 6 months into the position, despite being quite skilled work. I don’t remember everything about this anymore — my update from that time can be found here.

They eventually emailed me a rejection a few weeks later. There was much giggling among my family and friends, and the prevailing opinion is that I was too assertive and asked too many questions while the company was looking for someone more malleable, but we’ll never really know.

However! Just before that interview, I got a call from a friend of mine saying that his company wanted to hire me for two weeks to cover for their receptionist, who was going on vacation. The HR people felt kind of bad that my application to a previously open position had been eaten by the black hole at the center of their awful online process, and if I took the job, it would save them from having to search out temp agencies at the last minute. Also, it was the exact kind of company I wanted to work for, in the exact industry I wanted to work for, even if a receptionist isn’t my dream job. So I snapped that up. While I was there, a new position opened up in the department I applied to previously, which I got an interview for, and then was offered the job!

It’s been pretty awesome so far. It’s only part-time at the moment, but I’ve been a rock star, the head department manager and supervisors are seriously impressed with me, they’ve put me on a specialized team of awesome people, and they do like to bump their good employees up to full time after a few months. The supervisors and manager are also helping position me to transition into my dream department (currently in chocolate teapot quality control, would like to transition to chocolate teapot design), completely of their own volition and without me needing to request it of them.

Also I recently got engaged.

Life is good.

{ 44 comments… read them below }

  1. Jamie

    Yay! Sometimes things really do work out – congrats.

    And fwiw what you learn in QC will serve you very well in design down the road. But then I think almost everyone should do time in QC early in their career.

    1. Ama

      Oh for sure. QC work is really rewarding when you see the problem you found get addressed, and my experience so far has prompted me to actually slightly alter my career plans slightly.

    2. EngineerGirl

      Everyone also should do test early in their career. The ability to recognize and correct problems is an art. You can’t design something well until you know the fail points.

    1. Chrissi

      Alison uses the “Chocolate Teapot company” (correct me if I’m wrong) as her example when she needs to use a hypothetical to explain a concept. She also, then, uses job titles that would correlate to that company. I imagine she does it, because if she used a more realistic company and job titles, someone in that industry would chime in to say that it wasn’t right or nitpick. Also, that allows, I think, for there to be examples specific to industries (tech, libraries, higher ed) when need be and not be confusing.

    2. Joey

      It started with a reader using it as an example if I remember correctly. Once Alison said she loved it everyone jumped on.

      1. Jamie

        Yes – she still posts – her screen name is Chocolate Teapot.

        I love it as the perfect placeholder for examples – it’s amazing how many different constructs chocolate tea pot factories can have.

        1. Joey

          I’m waiting for the day that someone writes in who truly works at a factory that makes chocolate teapots. They have to be out there. I’ve seen chocolate teapots in real life although they weren’t filled with tea.

      2. Nonprofit Office Manager

        Thanks for clearing that up! The first few times I came across the reference, I thought people were actually working for teapot companies (Wakeen’s Teapots, etc.). But it soon became clear that not *that* many people could be working for teapot companies, so I figured it must be an inside joke.

        1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

          “Wakeen” is an AAM thing also.

          It’s my favorite name that Alison uses as an example name, so when I needed a pseduo, the whole business plan came together.

          For the record, I’m not Wakeen, just an exec at his teapot factory.

          And our teapots are crafted of carob and white chocolate so we don’t compete directly with Chocolate Teapots.

            1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

              Wait.

              So when I interviewed here and negotiated with a counter offer from Joaquin’s Teapots Ltd., it was actually the same company?

              How embarrassing!

              (Thanks for that link. I had never read that comment thread. :) )

            2. The IT Manager

              “Siobhan” breaks my brain. For some years I have run across the name in writing and I was baffled about how it was pronounced – See-O-ban? I wasn’t able to sort of wrap my brain around it until I watched a British tv series where one of the characters was called “Shuvon”, but the CC clearly spelled it Siobhan. But even now the pronounciation falls out of brain and all I really remember is it is not at all spelled like it is pronounced. There is NO correlation between the letters and how people pronounce it!

              The only wau I am ever going to remember it is if I devote a space in my brain to Siobhan = Shuvon.

              * To be fair “Wakeem” Phoenix really brought name to the American masses. Not “Shuvon” has hit it big yet.

    3. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yes, a reader wrote in and used it as a hypothetical example. I liked it (and didn’t realize it was an actual expression; I think it’s British?) and stole it to use for hypothetical examples.

      I actually sometimes edit it out of letters when letter-writers use it if it makes the letter inexplicable to readers who don’t realize that this is a running thing. (This sounds like a double standard, but I’ve had letters that have taken teapot-related descriptions to a level that was confusing even to me, let alone to a reader who stumbled upon the site.)

      But the main answer is, I find the idea of a chocolate teapot delightful.

      1. Cath@VWXYNot?

        I don’t know if it’s a specifically British phrase or if it’s used elsewhere in the Commonwealth too, but I was born and raised in Britain and “that’s / you’re about as much use as a chocolate teapot” is definitely a very common phrase there.

      2. LondonGem

        Yup, it’s a British (or at least an English) thing, from the phrase “as much use as a chocolate tea pot”, meaning ‘tis useless.

  2. Not So NewReader

    And they never gave you a clue why the interview was at 7:45AM?

    Sounds like it all landed in a good place- congrats, OP!

    1. Ama

      OP here. They said they were doing their applicants a favor by scheduling the interview at a time when full-time workers could make. Because people with full-time jobs are totally going to leave them for a minimum-wage hourly position with no opportunity of salary+benefits for a minimum of 6 months.

  3. PoohBear McGriddles

    Given that the update started on such a positive note, I was wondering how such a fouled-up company could make it work.

    Turns out they didn’t, and were even more effed up than I initially expected. The world is still right.

    Glad it worked out for the OP!

  4. Whippers

    Am I the only one who really dislikes the term “rock star”?
    I don’t see how being really good at your job translates to being a rock star.

    1. pgh_adventurer

      I cringe inwardly whenever I hear that phrase. Especially when applied to some new tech-focused job, like “I’m Chocolate Teapots Ltd.’s social media rockstar.”

      1. Elise

        That means that after you update the company Facebook, you smash your keyboard across the president’s desk.

      2. Whippers

        Yeah, that makes me think of some virtual reality computer game where your online persona is a “rockstar”.

    2. Trillian

      Early in life I wanted to be a geologist, so I get stuck wondering what *kind* of rock, and never get to the ‘star’ part.

    3. Eric

      No, you’re not. I categorize it with “ninja”. One day, someone will use the phrase, “social media rock star ninja” in a job ad and the world will end.

    4. Anonymous

      I have a friend whose job was rockstar. Touring the world with a major band playing bass. In some contexts, the word the word is right.

  5. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    When my son was looking for his first entry level job while still in college (living at home), he had a place that *insisted* he come in for an interview on Memorial Day. Memorial Day morning they called for him to come in on Memorial Day afternoon.

    Unless you are retail, there’s no regular US business open on Memorial Day, staffed and running interviews, right? Not retail, office building. They were quite pushy with him, “closing” the interview time and getting his agreement.

    Interview experience fine, except we had plans and this was going to screw up my Memorial Day so I wasn’t having any of it. We drilled down far enough in research to find it was connected to one of those knife scam “jobs” (where the whole job is guilting your family into buying overpriced knives), and he extricated himself.

    As much as I wanted to call them up and tell them off myself :p, I behaved myself and even encouraged him to make sure he cancelled politely and in plenty of time. Gritted my teeth through that.

    Anyway this opportunity sounds like it was slightly more legitimate than scam knife sales but what real business interviews at 6:45am on a Saturday? Farm work maybe? Film production? Assistant to an eccentric billionaire who has his own concept of time?

    Just too weird to be real.

    1. Ruffingit

      Insisting he come in on Memorial Day and being pushy about it pretty much seals the deal on the crazy he could expect there. Glad you all were able to find out what the real deal was before they wasted his time and yours!

      1. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

        At first I thought this was a witty quip and then I realized that you are the OP and you’re not joking. Labor Day? Sheesh.

        That job you interviewed for was some kind of scam. Actual businesses don’t behave like that.

        The knife scam has been running for 20 or more years. They target high school and college students. They are looking for middle class first job young people and the point is to get them to get their families to buy knives that are five or more times too expensive to help Nephew Bob out. It’s the cousin to the candy sales scam which targets disadvantaged young people to sell overpriced candy.

        They make people think they’ve gotten an actual job, special sort of hell for that.

        Your story makes me curious what those people were up to but I’m sure it was no good.

        1. Ama

          It seemed like a legit business, just one that treated their employees as disposable due to having a handful of colleges nearby where they could recruit fresh blood once the previous round burned out or left for a better job.

    2. Windchime

      Healthcare is a legit business and I believe our urgent care clinic is open on Memorial Day. But we sure wouldn’t do interviews on that day.

    3. Audiophile

      I had a retail store schedule my interview for 6:00pm on Christmas Eve. I double checked that this is what they wanted, they said yes. I filled out the pre-interview survey and it confirmed my meeting date and time. I showed up and guess what, no was expecting me. I practically got grilled, “who did you speak to? Why are you here?” I wandered around the store for close to a half hour, while they scrambled to find someone to interview me. The person that was supposed to interview me was not there, on account of it being Christmas Eve and all.
      I never got out right rejected, and I’ve never applied there again.

  6. Ruffingit

    I found out later that the company contracted with a separate HR-type company just to have someone conduct interviews for them.

    I would be so tempted to let the company know that the HR-type interviewers they have hired suck like a vacuum showroom.

    1. Ama

      Seriously. I asked why the position was open (replacing someone who left or was promoted, business is growing and needs more workers, etc) and she was just like, “uhhh…” Until the VP rescued her and gave an actual answer. Many more instances of stuff like that happening.

      Current job actually hired me in part because I was so engaged and interested during the interview.

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