You think after suffering six freaking years of post-secondary it will get easier… no it doesn’t. Now you have to find a job.
Last week, after hundreds of emails and phone calls and applications for this and that, I got a call to go to an interview. The lady that called sounded professional enough and kep answering my every question with “Come to the interview and we’ll talk about it”. Fair enough. On the bright side, Google map showed an actual company and a very outdated website. But joblessness demanded that I made the best of the situation.
Monday morning, sharp, on the hour, I get to the company. I walk in and the receptionist tells me to wait in the conference room at the end of the hallway. Problem? Yes, there’s about eight (8) others sitting in that room, staring at me as I walk in. It took me a few seconds to register that everyone was be-speckled and in formal clothing. Clearly, it was supposed to be a group interview. Fine. I sit and pretend I’m texting. Thirty minutes passes and the room is so quiet that everyone can hear my stomach growling. I had planed to grab breakfast after what I thought would be a quick 30 minute interview and yet, I’m sitting there not knowing wtf is going to be happening when the receptionist comes in again and distributes some single page application forms. She tells us the recruiting manager will be in shortly. Sure enough, the quote quote, recruiting manager slash quality control manager slash a million other titles comes in and tells us she’s going to conduct one on one interviews. Everyone’s faces look shocked but no one complains.
Long story short. Two hours later and I’m still siting there with 3 others. In my head I’m reciting swear words in every language I know and thinking to myself that the pay must be sooo good that is going to be worth my time.
She finally calls my name and I go inside the room for the freaking interview, trying to keep the freaking smile to my face and not punch anyone. Inside the room, there’s one other person that I’m told is the chemist and those that get hired will directly work with her. She’s Asian and senile and refused to say a word or show any emotions throughout this interaction. The recruiter/QA manager/other-random-roles girl starts the conversation by telling me that the job is “very” entry level and requires basic chemistry and basic literature knowledge . I asked “How entry level are we talking about?” and she replied “well lets say you will be responsible for keeping the maintaining the dishes and if our chemist wants you can hold her flasks up for her to mix chemical. But you will take on more complex tasks after you are through with your 6 initial months”. My mouth was wide open. She then asked me whether I wished to proceed with the interview. Like I would say no after tolerating 3 hours of staring at a wall. I might have just nodded because I remember I didn’t have the energy to say yes.
She seems relieved and asks me what I know about their company. I make something up and she proceeds to tell me they manufacture X and Y, but they focus on X. Again, I don’t care. She asks how comfortable I am multi-tasking and working in a lab. I open my mouth to tell her that right on top of my resume, I clearly state that I have n-years of lab work experience and freaking Masters and so and so…!! Geez, Can’t she read? WTH is she asking me all this non-sense? We’ve been in the room for 5 minutes now and I still have to hear something good. This comes next.
She proceeds to “Tell you a little more about the job”: ” As I mentioned it’s an entry level job with the opportunity to get promoted after 6 months. They pay for the first six months would be <insert salary of a 15 year old McD cashier> but after you will get $1000 promotion so the total would be <insert salary of a 15 year old McD cashier+$1000>. I probably looked very shocked because she asked me if I was ok and whether I had any questions. My brain was refusing to believe what it had just analyzed so I asked whether she knew the salary she offered was actually 2/3 of a graduate student’s stipend and whether she knew I was a graduate student. She might have said something along the lines of its an entry level job but I’m not sure I was listening to her anymore. I was calculating the hourly rate and I had just reach a minimum-wage/hr conclusion.
She asked again whether she should proceed with the interview. This time my mouth disconnected any communications with my brain and this came out “Are you kidding? You wasted three hours of my time to tell me I will be working as a lab bench slash dish washer for less than what I would get paid if I stayed an underpaid/overworked student?” “HOW can you be more poor than a student?”.
I don’t remember what she said after but I remember walking to my car, thinking that our chances of curing cancer in this lifetime is pretty low.