Monday, April 5, 2010

Adding insult to injury

posted Wed, 13 Sep 2006

After Zack and I finish talking, he takes me back to the HR guy. There’s not much for Mr HR and me to talk about, but he reviews the company’s benefit plan with me anyhow. I listen politely because you never know. I have already told Mr HR that I am available for weddings and bar mitvahs. I need to be nice.

Besides, we get along. I tease him about the bowl of bait on his table. It’s peppermint. No one who’s serious about candy puts out peppermint. He admits he’s trying to lose weight and that the candy is for visitors. I agree. “If it were for you, it would be chocolate,” I say. “No one eats the peppermint himself.” Then I mention having run eight miles that morning – having slowly plodded eight miles that morning – in hopes of maybe doing the St Jude half marathon in December – and we get onto the subject of boot camp. He’s interested, so I tell him more about it.

When we are through, he hands me an application. “Please complete this and send it back to me,” he asks. He even gives me an envelope. I don’t see the point, but I accept it graciously.

“Sure,” I say. It’s the “sure” of a guy who tells a girl “I’ll call you.” At 42, I have finally learned the code.

It’s not the completing of the application that bothers me. I’ve done it before for other employers. I did it for a job at FedEx a few months ago. It’s the fact that the envelope – one of those 8x11 ones – is not stamped. Why should I pay almost a dollar in postage to apply for a job I’ve already not gotten? If they really want me for something, they’ll call me again. This isn’t about the job at all. Mr HR needs a completed application for the company’s EEO stats. That’s all. There is nothing – repeat, nothing -- in this for me.

I worked at a family-owned printing company when I was in grad school. They didn’t print ballots or take any government work at all. When I asked why not, I was told that they were not interested in having the government tell them whom to hire or how to run their business.

I would spend the half hour completing the stupid application if Mr HR had given me a stamped envelope. But I’m unemployed. I have no income. I think twice about buying zucchini, for pete’s sake. I haven’t paid for a movie in months. (OK, so SH pays. But when he’s not around, I don’t go to the movies by myself. It’s too frivolous to spend $6 on a movie when I don’t have a job.) If I’m watching every dollar, why would I waste one on someone I’m probably never going to see again for something that’s not going to do me any good?

I grit my teeth and spend the money when I have to. I had a phone interview last week with a company outside of Memphis. We set up the interview by email. Then the HR rep told me to call her at the appointed time.

Good grief. Couldn’t she call me? Why does this have to be on my dime? Doesn’t she have a budget for interviewing out-of-town candidates? Is she not allowed to make long-distance calls? Maybe this is a red flag. Another cheap company. Am I going to go broke trying to find a job?

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