As expected …

The job prospect I mentioned last week was looking great. It took place this last Wednesday at 10 AM, I showed up looking sharp, hair perfectly, freshly cut, wearing business casual as advised, a nice color coordinated sport jacket over new slacks and polished shoes which fit and accentuated my newly rebuilt, honed down, buffish bod like a glove.

The company is a solid, respectable outfit, great benefits, super neat story of how it developed and grew. The thing I like the most about them is, unlike so many corporations in the world today, this company has a great business; they actually help people. They make people happy. The company designed and maintains a stable online platform that allows people from all over the world, the well-off and the poor, the young and the old, the handicapped and the terminal, you name it, to buy and sell items of all kinds. collectible items, hand crafted ones, very rare or poignant things that make people smile and bring back great memories. They allow folks searching for a bargain a shot at getting great products at a price that person can afford, and in some cases people of all ages have become so adept and the platform so scalable, that really sharp people have learned to buy and sell and trade all kinds of items, making themselves a few badly needed dollars in this tough economy.

I knew going in this was a good company. But during the extended job interview I was even more impressed, by everything I saw, the building, the people, and the policies. On the latter, I can’t into detail because I signed a disclosure agreement. But I listened to  calls from people who were upset, and I can say with complete confidence I feel much better about issues like privacy protection, how they back up their customers, how they honor and resolve mistakes that aren’t even the company’s fault, how they protect their customers from scammers and data thieves, how focused they are on making the honest customer whole again at the company’s expense if possible in any way, even when the customer might and probably should have used better judgment.

You’ve probably guessed by now, the company was eBay, and from what I saw eBay isn’t a good company, they’re a great company. A company I would like to work for. The sky could be the limit for someone with my work ethic, background, and number crunching extroverted idiosyncrasies at a winner like eBay. In a few years I could be making a living wage again, after more than three years of scrapping by on near poverty pay, and rejoin the lower middle class. I might be able to once again apply for a home loan or get a car on credit and enjoy all the things I once took for granted and now can barely remember, the memories that feel more and more distant, more more and more surreal, like it happened long ago in a youthful dream.

The Austin campus is truly an impressive work environment with on site access to a four star gym. Best of all they are just now fully staffing this new, modern, spacious center, now almost fully built, just a few blocks from my apartment, I would be on the local ground floor of my department. Being a college grad, a former stock broker who has a long successful record of dealing with emotional people on critical financial matters, coming in with years of fresh customer service experience including the numero uno top performer out of hundreds of people in my current online customer service job for all of 2012 —  it looked very promising.


And I am a bad ass: I’ve been doing this so long I can now respond via live web chat by text while listening to a second customer on a live call and still scan over and close out a third web ticket all at once. I am greased lightning, no one can catch me on speed and my CSAT and FCR scores are way above average when I triple task too boot. Add in to that they are hiring dozens of people for a very large contact facility and that led me to believe, if I wasn’t a full-blown shoe in, I was at least facing way better odds than the unknown or 50-50 chances that keep defying the law of large numbers and rolling against me in past interviews.

Make no mistake, this is not a high level job, it’s not a dream job, it’s not a six figure job, or a job opening where only one or two of the best out of many applicants get hired. But even if it was I have to figure I’d still have a shot because I am one of the best qualified, most experienced applicants they’re likely to come across for that kind of starting wage. The job would have started at only 16 bucks an hour, but joining the working poor after being comfortably middle class has taught there’s a big difference between the $12/hr and change I make now after three years of stellar performance and no chance or ever moving up, and the $16/hr this would pay with room to grow. I mainly worried about being over qualified — if there really is such a thing.

Did a skills test, it was super easy, there was only one techie issue and it was basic, something I probably walk customers through 30 times a day in my current position. I carefully counted the number of words in the typing test and made sure I exceeded the threshold with zero mistakes. There were four of us taking the skills test, I finished way before anyone else and they told me I did great, that I had made it to the next step, a short interview with a team manager which seemed to go fine. They showed me all around the place like I was in and they said I would be hearing from them soon.

And they kept that promise, on Friday this was in my work email from a no-reply address:

Thank you for taking time to apply for the Customer Solutions Teammate position. We appreciate your interest and the opportunity to review your background, qualifications, and eligibility.

We have reviewed your resume and have carefully considered your qualifications. While your skills are impressive and you have met the basic requirements of the position, we will be moving forward with other candidates who exceed the basic and preferred qualifications for the position. We also encourage you to take another look at our current openings and consider other opportunities within eBay as they become available.

I’ll probably take them up on that. I got a really good vibe from the place. But my understanding is that kind of invitation to reapply is often done to ease the blow of rejection. That once you’re out, you’re out.

Worst of all, I don’t know what went wrong, maybe they hit a quota of hirees before my app came up? Maybe a reference confused me with someone else and skull fucked me? Who knows? I can only assume they’re telling me the truth about the skills test, maybe they went by total words typed per unit time instead of a pass-fail thing like I was told. I have to assume eBay is smart enough not to engage in age discrimination. But I’ll never know, so I’ll never be able to correct it if is correctable.

I’ve had a lot of let downs like this over the last few years, where I knew I was super qualified, had a great interview for a low level easy job, then either heard nothing back at all or got a form letter quickly indicating I was cut out of consideration early on.

But even in that dim light, this one was a huge let down. If I can’t get a low-level job I’m that qualified for, my future is truly bleak. I don’t know how long I can survive the way things are, it’s just a matter of time if nothing changes. I’ve spent all my non qualified savings now, I have some retirement left but I dip into that regularly to make ends meet, it won’t last five years at the rate I’m going. And all I get for slowly bleeding out my last IRA is a tax penalty and a miserable, drab, lonely life. Sooner or later I will run out of that last bit of retirement money, an expense will come along I can’t handle, and I’ll eventually become car-less, or homeless, or worse.

An economic experiment

It’s no secret around these parts that I’m looking for a real-life job with better pay and more advancement opportunity. I just saw exactly such a job with a great company, the physical site is very close by — I could almost walk to it. The qualifications include familiarity with online commerce, strong customer service experience, ability to navigate the Internet, clear and concise verbal and written skills, and the ability to keep cool under pressure. A background in online community management, sales and analytics was listed as a plus. [Read more…]

Tale of Caution

As long as we’re talking about relationships, one of the things I look for these days, right off the bat in any prospective relationship, plutonic or otherwise, is a pattern of evasiveness. Can that woman answer a simple question, like ‘do you want to go out this weekend?’ Most girls can answer that, they may say no and make themselves unavailable, but they can answer it. The evasive person will never quite say yes and never quite say no, and this pattern will persist. They’ll answer with “Maybe, I’ll let you know” and then they never let you know and repeat this same speil over and over. [Read more…]

Like anyone needs to read this

The headline screams, minor memory lapses could be early sign of Alzheimer’s! Jebus fucking Christ, no one needs to read this. And I don’t mean no one over age 30, because we all know people over 30 if if we’re not, and we all have memory lapses. And yes, minor lapses do get worse over time. But if you want to read some of it and be very afraid, go below: [Read more…]

A big fat dose of Carpe Diem

I remember vividly years ago when a bunch of us at an office were ushered into a room where a motivational speaker had been commissioned to make us all feel guilty for wasting our lives. Carpe Diem, Latin for seize the day, was the theme. But the underlying intent was to shame us all into working harder for no raises or promotions. I took it too heart, completely, just not in the way my scheming employer intended.

If you really need to get your ass kicked in that regard, here’s an excerpt from a reporter in Syria who got herself into a bad situation earlier this month and wrote what she thought might be her final words: [Read more…]

The disability dance and a near naked pic of yours truly

Per usual I’m getting all kinds of obstacles thrown in my way on getting the lousy disability I paid good money to secure while a complication from heart surgery was taken care of. It’s getting grim financially as time drags on with no disability forthcoming, yet. Bad enough that I’ve had to start cutting important meds in half to to stretch them out. But I’ve been frugal with what you guys sent me last time. I’ll hopefully be released next week with a doc’s note to allow me to start working again. Best of all I have a job interview for something paying a tiny bit more next week! I’ve also improved my appearance and health, see below for the burlesque show.

If not for youRevealr generosity a few months ago when circumstances grew dire, when atheists helped save me from homelessness, while followers of Republican Jesus turned their back on me, I don’t know where I’d be right now.

I can’t thank you enough — those reader contributions greatly increased my prospect for a full recovery after the freak heart attack I suffered in Dec 2012. So here’s a pic of my progress, I hope you don’t think it’s too tacky. I’m posting it so that will readers will see I’ve made the most of those contributions by not wasting any money on luxuries or fattening foods, choosing instead to eat right even it sometimes costs a little more and leaves me short on food at the end of the month, and choosing to bust my ass getting into shape.

It took months, lots of aerobic work, hours a day of weight training, and more sits ups and crunches than I care to remember to get any results at all. I’m know I’m no Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is still a lot of work ahead obviously and I’m nervous and self-conscious just to show this much!

But I’m proud of losing almost forty pounds and putting on some small bits of muscle, none of which would have been possible without you. I already feel better than I have felt in many years and this healthy lifestyle offers me something I have sorely missed for those years: something personal to look forward to. Thanks again from the bottom of my godless heart!

Global cooling: Wind up the wurlitzer and let her rip!

There’s no doubt the earth has undergone periods of relatively abrupt warming and cooling in the distant past. We know it defines the onset of the Pleistocene for example, marking the beginning of classic ice ages. I doubt you can find a biologist who thinks either one could happen without affecting ecosystems far and wide. But how long before the usual suspects strip out the paleo-climate and atmospheric context of this and enlist it to confuse the laypublic on climate change? [Read more…]