My Very Worst Job Offer

My Very Worst Job was actually a job I never took. I received an interview invite from a long-standing company in the film and television industry and was excited. When the interviewer called me, he told me they had something different in mind for me than the writing job I had applied for. Either way, I was excited beyond belief when I went to the interview two days later.

When I arrived, I was left to wait in the reception area for 45 minutes. The receptionist apologized profusely in embarrassment. Finally, the VP of the company came down to greet me and took me into a lovely library-esque room, which I commented was beautiful. She immediately shot me a look like I had said something out of the ordinary. The interview began and I received the traditional questions. She told me of the position I was interviewing for and it was quite obvious I was not only under qualified but it was in a field I had zero experience or interest in. When she asked me to briefly summarize my resume, however, things got weird.

Every job I spoke about, she believed was a scam. Umm, what? One job in particular, she had a problem with because she had never heard of the company’s CEO. I mentioned it was an independent film company and she seemed to get really tense before she blurted out, “You know, this guy might try to attach himself to our company if he sees you’ve been offered a job here. And then he could try to use our name for his benefit. We could sue you for that. The CEO could sue you for defamation of character!” I sat there confused. How had my boss suddenly become her greatest enemy? She elaborated, telling me that I would not be able to continue to work that job and that I would have to sign a contract, cutting all ties from him. I mentioned that he was my reference and she said, “Don’t even tell him you’re looking for a job here.”

At this point, I had checked out of the interview. I knew I would not take this job because the woman was obviously paranoid and suffering from delusions of grandeur considering her company specialized in an area completely different than my current boss. The interview continued and the questions got progressively more strange: Was I an only child? What did my father do? Did I rent or own? I was so pissed off at this point that I lied my way through the interview and mentally checked out. I left the interview chuckling because it was so unbelievable.

I returned home to an e-mail asking for more references not including my current boss. I didn’t respond. My friends were all shocked when they heard the story, chalking it up to the woman testing me to see if I was right for the position.

Two days later, the woman called to offer me the job. I had no intentions of taking it but was still curious about whether or not it was a test. So I dropped the name of my current boss again and told her that he was a stellar reference for me and I planned to keep in contact with him. She began freaking out and asking me “WHY?! Why?! I don’t understand! He could threaten our business!” (Still, keeping in mind, without logical reasoning as to how or why he would do this.) I told her he was a personal contact and I reserved the right to speak to whomever I wanted in my personal life. “Personal contact? What does that mean? What–I don’t understand, what does that mean?” I kid you not, I had to explain to her what a personal contact was and then went on to explain that most of my other contacts were introduced through him. “WHO? Who are these contacts?” She demanded. “I’m sorry but I’ve signed a contract. I’m not at liberty to tell you. But at this point in time, I don’t think I will be taking this job.” CLICK!

Comments (15)

really?October 18th, 2010 at 8:51 am

It sounds like this lady’s paranoia was a bit extreme, but I’d wonder what you meant by “personal contact,” too. You used a deliberately vague term and then got mad because she had to ask you to define it. Was he your roommate? Lover? Pot-dealer? Or just some dude who you used to work for. Imagine you worked in product development for Pepsi and was friends with all the people at Pepsi and then went to interview for product development at Coke. At your interview with Coke, you say “I love my Pepsi peeps, love them love them love them.” Don’t you think they’d be concerned who you’re hanging out with after work?

Covenants not to compete, non-disclosure agreements, and/or contracts defining what a conflict of interest is are pretty common in almost any industry. This lady sounded like she had taken things a bit to far – she has to trust the employees that work secrets stays at work. Good for you that you didn’t end up taking the job, because she sounds nasty and litigious (which are greeeeeeaaat qualities in a boss!), but I don’t blame her for being curious about something that could potentially affect her company.

ReneOctober 18th, 2010 at 9:08 am

I find it hard to believe that anyone would be confused by the term personal contact. Its pretty simple.

AndrewOctober 18th, 2010 at 9:22 am

Truth, Rene.

Yeah, that lady sounds totally bizarre. I’d probably enjoy messing around with her head, too.

HectorOctober 18th, 2010 at 9:26 am

OP here.

By personal contact, I meant job reference and a connection in the industry. My current boss has introduced me to a lot of clients and sent recommendations on my behalf so burning that bridge is a bad idea. When she questioned what it meant, I simply explained it to her, as written, and then told her I wasn’t going to tell her who my clients were. The point is that as someone so concerned that I sign a contract so my current boss doesn’t know who I’m working with, she seemed perfectly fine asking about who his clients were.

Signing releases and contracts is, no doubt, a part of any job and I would be more than willing to sign something that said what happens in the office, stays in the office. The problem is that my keeping in contact with a reference really has no bearing on the company because he posed no foreseeable threat to her. In reality, you could say that just about anyone could attempt to bring down her business. Why she felt it was necessary to single out this one person who works in another part of the industry when there was no conflict of interest makes little sense.

And to reference your analogy, it was more like I was working for a small wine-making company and went to an interview at Pepsi. There’s no competition so it makes no sense.

MeshellOctober 18th, 2010 at 10:48 am

Haha, awesome story, OP. I’m glad you avoided that bomb of a job. And ignore many of the comments and their illogical analogies. It’s like eating carrots with a spoon — It has no bearing on the lulz.

really?October 18th, 2010 at 10:50 am

Hector – I’m glad you clarified the “beverage hypothetical.” It sounds like she sees black helicopters everywhere…I wonder if she thought her phone was bugged. :)

AndrewOctober 18th, 2010 at 11:56 am

Meshell, I love the analogy.

tronnerOctober 18th, 2010 at 11:58 am

I sort of liked the analogies…it made me thirsty for Coke and boutique wine. But it also helped me understand why the OP was so offended. Although I work in a completely different industry, who you know and how you know them can affect where in my company you’ll be placed and what projects you get to work on, but I also work in a small community where it would be impossible to get angry at every single potential conflict, no matter how small. I’m glad the OP commented on it – it really is a good story :)

ewtOctober 18th, 2010 at 6:13 pm

What a strange, strange lady. But also thoroughly hilarious, OP.

JeffOctober 19th, 2010 at 8:32 am

I’ve had some bizarre interviews too. One for a large bank was with a huge guy who appeared to be suffering from ‘roid rage – he spat my name at me and though his words were totally normal his manner was that of a pit bull straining at its leash. Another was when I was fresh out of college with a stockbroker. He actually offered me the job and we negotiated a salary. Then he called me back the next day and angrily said he couldn’t afford that figure and tried to offer me less. Imagine a financial professional being out-negotiated by a college kid! I laughed and told him he’d have ot get by without me.

LizetOctober 19th, 2010 at 9:56 am

Even in jest, NEVER answer interview questions that delve into your personal life. The TV/Movie industry jobs tend to mow over the laws that prohibit this. You, in fact, could sue them for even asking that because it is totally illegal to use those types of questions in an interview.

CapOctober 19th, 2010 at 6:35 pm

I bet she was his mistress last year.

Frau BlucherOctober 20th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

If anyone asked me weird questions like that, I would just say, “What does that have to do with the job?” one interview I went to, the woman interviewing me asked about my family and if I had a close relationship with them. She was nice, but kind of a yenta. I asked her why she wanted to know. She said oh, just curious….I actually did get that job but it turned out to be really sucky. I was suppose to ‘try it out’ for a few days and I told her afterward that I wasn’t interested. However, I have been on some majorly weirdass interviews with really weird people

pffOctober 21st, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Wow. That sounds like 30& of my interviews. Asking inappriopriate questions, that is. I would report them, but who would believe me?

TessOctober 23rd, 2010 at 12:22 am

OP: Was there a huge mirror on one wall in the interview room? Because I keep picturing somebody arranging an “interview” between a wacko who thinks she’s the VP and an innocent newbie, while everyone else in the office watches and laughs themselves sick.

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