So this blog was written in a fair amount of anger, a couple of months ago. I noticed today that the company this blog involves have been advertising for new members of staff, this proves I was straight lied to, so, after sitting on it for months, I’ve decided to post it.
Hello all! I haven’t blogged in a while but after quite a tough week, I just felt compelled to get my thoughts down. This may be a long blog, but for my own sanity, I need to get it down.
There was a time this week where I was lying awake in bed, worrying that I would lose my house. That sucked, and I don’t want to be there again.
You see, a few weeks ago, I was introduced to an Island based company who offered me an interview for a role that sounded really interesting. I already have a job, and for the record I’m very happy in that job, but I thought that it wouldn’t hurt to just meet these people and see what they had to say. This company offer a service that I really believe in to be a big part of the future, something which I’m working hard to encourage more in my current job.
At this point, I want to clarify that I will not be naming names or companies. I don’t want this to turn into a ‘he said/she said’ or any form of mudslinging, that’s not my style. I don’t wish anyone or their companies any harm, I wasn’t treated fairly and I want to share that. If those people involved read this, they’ll know who they are. As mentioned, this is for my own sanity, if it’s on the proverbial page, it’s out of my head.
So there I was, sat in what most would call an ‘interview’, but in actuality it was more of an informal chat. That’s the best kind of interview, no one cares about what animal I’d be (I’ve been asked that before) and my GCSE’s are largely irrelevant nowadays. Anyway, not many questions came my way, it was probably 80% me listening to how good the company is and how good a businessman the guy who runs it is. I’ll tell you, dear reader, at this point, I had no reason to not believe him. Everyone was really friendly, they were saying the right things, I thought they had good branding and had heard of the company already, despite being fairly new. They had solid plans in place for growth and development and I was told that 100s of thousands of pounds worth of business was due to land in the next few days. I was told that I would be joining a core of 3 to become one of 4 key players and decision makers at the company. In 2 or 3 months I’d almost certainly need 2 or 3 junior members of staff underneath me, building my team. I was told that my salary could be matched (which was more than they had budgeted for, but it would be cleared with the accountants because I was worth it), I’d have a bonus and a budget for anything I needed to do the job, Macs/iPads, whatever I needed.
“Awkward question maybe… but where do you live, Tim?”
“Ahh excellent, In the next few months we’ll be opening a Portsmouth office. You won’t need to commute there, but I’ve got a lot of business coming in around the south coast so it’ll help to have a base there”
“ahh cool… What about working from home? Do you mind if I do that sometimes?”
“Yea, you’d be free to do whatever you want…”
At the end of the meeting, I was pretty sold on this dream role; the chance to be an integral part of this exciting young company, with a team growing around me, all coming from the Isle of Wight.
Everyone was smiles and the words everyone wants to hear at the end of an interview were said:
“Well, call off the search, I think we’ve found our man!”
Over the next week or so, I thought long and hard about my options. I just couldn’t face leaving my current role as I’ve learnt a lot there and I’ve become an important part of a great company. However, the new company were in touch a lot saying that jobs were already being created for me. These included photo shoots for clients and video work, the sort of stuff that anyone who knows me, knows it really ticks my boxes.
I spoke to a few of my usual confidants and my mind was made up. I was turning 30, I had to roll the dice and see what happens. This could be the best decision I ever make.
Formal offer given to me, with salaries etc laid out, I handed in my notice and that was that, a new career was waiting for me.
Until 2 weeks before I was due to start…
“Tim, I’ve got bad news… the company’s had some real ups and downs recently and we’ve been offered to merge with a PR company. It was a difficult decision to make, but business wise, one I had to make.”
“Unfortunately, we have to withdraw the job offer. I’m really gutted about it, I’m so sorry.”
“Oh… what happened?”
“Well, this PR company we’re merging with asked if we had anyone new joining the team and I told him we had a new guy coming on called Tim who was really great, really perfect for the team and they were cool with this. However, when I said Tim Pritchard, they asked… as in Tippers? I think they’ve had a run in with you in the past and didn’t want to work with you.”
At this point, I explained what had happened… and I’ll get to that.
“Yea, it was a tough decision for me, but as a business, I had to merge, even if it was possible to keep you on, they’d be your bosses.”
So that was that. Job offer over. I had handed in my notice with my job and I was in bits.
So, let me tell you more about the people behind the ‘PR company’. I have to be a bit delicate here as I don’t want to name names, but some of you may remember I had a fairly public dispute with an Island based company sometime in the past.
After ordering something through their site, I realised that what had been purchased, wasn’t what I was trying to buy. I e-mailed them to try and get this refunded and put right. Now, I hold my hands up here, it was a bit of a snappy e-mail, as I was annoyed. I thought it was an error on their website. I happen to think though that as a consumer, I’m well within my right to send an e-mail in any tone I wish. I mentioned the product I was trying to buy (a food hamper) and asked for it to be sorted.
The response I got basically said “we sell thousands of products a week and never had this problem before”. However, the order was refunded (but no new order for what I actually wanted placed). This annoyed me a bit more, as most of my days are spent doing website audits for E-commerce sites, I know my stuff, the tone of the e-mail struck me as a bit sarcastic. In fairness, I might have just been in a bit of a mood.
Anyway, I realised it wasn’t an error on their site, it was my error, based on a fairly confusing design. In one subsequent e-mail, I did say that it might be worth doing some AB testing on moving around the design. I wasn’t trying to be a dick, I was just pointing out that if an error can be made like that, it’s worth investigating. I went back to the site to order the thing I wanted originally and found that I no longer had a registered account. So, I re-registered and made the purchase.
About 5 minutes later, I got this e-mail:
I see you have been and purchased the hamper – would you like to keep this purchase?
That’s all it said. I replied with:
Yes, that was what I was trying to buy in the first place.
I feel a distinct tone of sarcasm in that e-mail though?
And got back:
Not at all i was just concerned – after your emails i felt the same this morning and seeing you are very good friends with my competitor i thought canceling your account was the best thing to do to save any further issues hence my surprise at your purchasing again. I also unsubscribed you from our mailshot after your messages this morning.
I believe also that you work on vectis radio – i am going in to see Ian this week about advertising.
We all work hard Tim, we provide an excellent service great deals and really want our customers to be happy however i felt your messages this morning were very unfair.
However if you are happy to buy form our web site then thats great with us – if you do have any problems please rest assured that we will always do everything we can to put things right.
I don’t know what anyone else makes of that, but for a company (local or not) to respond to a customer with details of who their friends are and where they work (I didn’t any more) for me, was WAY out of line and a bit creepy. I then realised that her husband had added me on Facebook and was using that to get this information about me. He also made some fairly threatening comments on my Facebook post about this.
I basically responded to this saying that I was appalled that a company of any size would go as far as adding people on Facebook and using facts about their life against them in a customer service e-mail. I wasn’t even angry about that, just truly baffled.
For the record, in further e-mails I was told that in 18 months of trading they had ‘never had crossed words with a customer’. Several people on Facebook told me they’d had similar run ins with them. For the conspiracy theorists amongst you, the 3 or 4 people who commented on my Facebook posts said they didn’t receive the daily e-mails any more. The company in question told me that she was 100% sure she didn’t delete anyone’s account, but the husband seemed pretty upset on the Facebook thread. I’m not suggesting he deleted those accounts, I have no way of knowing that.
So that was that anyway… Those people struck again, by withdrawing my job offer.
At this point, I spoke with some more helpful people who advised me that I probably had a legal case. I still didn’t know if I would be able to stay in my current job, so I sent the owner of the business I’d interviewed for an E-mail, basically giving a polite notice that I was a bit disappointed but I had to consider legal action. If he hadn’t mentioned the husband and wife team, I probably wouldn’t have; at this point, I still thought he was a genuine guy himself.
The response I got to that E-mail completely changed his story. Rather than a merger with the aforementioned husband and wife team, I was now told that he’d been forced to close the business and that all staff had been offered jobs elsewhere. There was now no company, it was closing. The decision was nothing to do with the husband and wife team.
At the time of writing, the company is still tweeting and seems to be still active.
My problem is:
Scenario 1 – I’ve been screwed about because I made a complaint to a company and then got freaked out when they cyber-stalked and threatened me. If this is the case, why not ask to meet me? Maybe I was having a bad day when I e-mailed, maybe they were? Maybe we’re all just lovely and it’s a big misunderstanding that we can laugh about.
Scenario 2 – He has indeed closed the business, and I imagined the whole conversation about the husband and wife team. If this is the case, what sort of person tells someone to quit their job, knowing that their company is potentially 2 weeks from being forced to close? The answer… maybe not the businessman he thinks he is.
I apologise if that last sentence seems a bit bitchy, I really don’t mean to be, but when someone’s careless, thoughtless and selfish actions have nearly cost you your career, possibly your house and who knows what else, you tend to feel a tad bitter.
Luckily, I work with an awesome group of people and a great company and I’m in a very lucky position that despite spending money on adverts and moving some other members of staff around, I’ve been kept on.
I’ve learned a lesson, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I want to thank those folks who told me to go for the job though, dare to dream and all that, it’s helped me learn a lesson. I also want to thank those folks who told me to stick with what I’ve got. Yep, in hindsight, you were bang on when it comes to this… please don’t tell me that though, I don’t need/want to hear it. I know I ballsed up and made the wrong decision
You could roll the dice and get a 6, sure, but you could also get punched in the face and set on fire.