BEWARE: Scammers are trying to take advantage of the unemployed during this pandemic.

As many of you know, I am an unemployed Canadian citizen who has been applying for jobs on Indeed and LinkedIn for throughout 2020. I was worried that, when shit really hit the proverbial fan with respect to the Corona Virus, there would be scams coming out to take advantage of all of the people who’ve found themselves without work due to this pandemic. And, recent days have taught me that this is a rampant problem at the moment.

I received the above email this morning.

I did, in fact, apply for a data entry position on Indeed 48 hours ago. Since receiving this email, I have reported this job posting to Indeed as being fraudulent/misleading and left them a comment that I believe it to be a scam.

If you are unemployed, or have found your job temporarily suspended during this pandemic, it’s important to pay close attention to any communication that you might be getting. Being unemployed can bring on a lot of stress and often times it can be quite easy to see a promising email and not look closely at the details, thinking you need to jump on an opportunity, any opportunity right away.

Please don’t get scammed.

Using my email as an example, here are some things to look for:

  • Who is the email from? In the case of this email, who it’s from is a pretty big giveaway that it’s a scam. The sender’s name is Maggie Susan whilst the email address is MarcThomas055@hotmail.com. The job that I applied for was with what presented itself to be a legitimate Technology Company.
  • Who is the email to? This might seem like a stupid thing to check for, but in the case of this email, it’s not ‘To’ me. I am not ‘iooiioioo@gmail.com’. For privacy reasons, I am not sharing my personal gmail address. But, seeing as this was not addressed to me, and I was clearly BCC’ed, it leads me to believe this was likely sent in a group email to anyone who applied for the position, in their hopes that people would glance over who it was addressed to.
  • Who is the greeting too? A legitimate job prospect, whether with a company that has 3,000 employees or one that has 30 employees, will ALWAYS address the email to your first name. If you applied for a position, they already have your name and information. Any legitimate job seeker will say ‘Hi [Insert First Name Here]’. If they do not, it’s probably because the software they’re using to group send this scam isn’t advanced enough include your first name.
  • Who is it from? Did the sender sign their name? Is the company included? Is their a company signature linking to their website or online portfolios? A legitimate job seeker would NEVER leave their name off the end of an email.
  • Is there a sketchy looking link in the email? Of course there is. Please don’t click it. This is a bait tool to give hackers remote access to your desktop. In the case of this email, what are they asking me to register for? They have my information. If they were actually wanting to hire me, employment contracts need to be signed, and those cannot be done through sketchy links.
  • Do they name their company in their email? If they don’t, why wold a legitimate job seeker leave the name of their company off an email to prospective candidates? Perhaps because it’s not legitimate.
  • Does it make your spidey senses tingle? Because if it seems too good to be true, it is.

If you’ve found yourself without employment during this time, please know that you’re not alone. Please, please, please be diligent in where you respond to your emails. Pay attention to the small details. It might sound stupid when you read it, but A LOT of people fall for scams just like this one. With everyone in a hard enough situation already, I do not want you to get taken advantage further.

Thanks for reading.

OH H-E-Double Hockey Sticks

I dubbed this the theme song of 2020

Today was hard.

Today was a vinegar and baking soda kind of day. And that’s okay. They can’t all be good. Sometimes you have to experience the bad so that you appreciate the good days that much more when they finally do arrive.

It is 8:00 pm and I’ve gotten nothing accomplished in this day. Well, not unless I count beating myself up as an accomplishment. Which… I’m not.

To address a couple of emails I received after I published my post last night, I just wanted to say that it is illegal and extremely inappropriate for a job interviewer to ask a candidate when she plans on having children and/or how many children she plans on having. One’s family status should play no bearing in whether or not they’re qualified to do a job and thus should not play into any hiring decisions.

In a society that has long undervalued women and treated them as less-than in the workforce, there is no good way for a woman to answer that question when asked. Think about it. If I answered the question, they’d presume I’d be having children in the near future and that could count as a strike against me in the hiring process. And they’d never have to admit that it counted as a strike against me. If I called them out on it, told them it was none of their business and that it was illegal to ask me that, I could come across and stand-offish with unruly behaviour, which could also count as a strike against me. And again, they’d never have to admit that publicly because they know that the average woman isn’t going to go and take them to court over not being hired.

Essentially, it’s backing a woman into a corner with no way out. And how is that fair?

When a man becomes a father, he’s almost treated as though he’s more valuable to a company at that point. He’s the man of the house, he needs to provide for a child now so the company ‘can know’ that he’s going to be a hard-working employee. When a woman becomes a mother, it’s still often treated as career suicide. God forbid they have nine months of doctor’s appointments to look after the health of their unborn child so they’ll be in and out during weird hours for the foreseeable future. And, living in a country that offers one full year of maternity or paternity leave, most employers see it as paying out an employee to sit on their butt. You can argue with me on that sentiment, but it does happen… a lot. I promise you that if you sit down and chat with a group of women about it, you’ll be surprised as to how often it happens.

No one looks at a man and thinks ‘He’s going to ask for paternity leave so I better ask him when he wants to have children’. So, why do women get asked?

Anyways, I realize that people are going to either agree or vehemently disagree on this and that’s totally okay. I’m speaking from experience, and from what I’ve heard from my friends, family members and coworkers over the years.

Letter to an unconfident soul

Dear Self ,

It’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to be a mess.

It’s okay to not have to a plan. To not know what’s next. To not know how to fix your problems.

Newsflash: EVERYONE has problems. Everyone has struggles. Not everyone knows how to deal with them. That’s not shameful, or embarassing, nor does it make you stupid. It makes you normal.

What matters is that you continue to make an effort. What matters is that you don’t give up. What matters is that you just keep going, regardless of what the universe throws at you.

You can take it.

I promise you that you can take it. You can conquer it. You can defeat the demons, slay the beasts, defy on the odds and come through this with your head held high.

No one escapes struggles in life. So please, stop thinking that you’re alone in this and realize that people can and want to help. Likewise, people need help themselves and you can be an ally. Be an ally.

As much as you might not believe it, there is a reason for everything in life. If you’re being tested right now, you’re being tested for a reason. If things aren’t falling into place, no matter how much work you put forth, no matter how much progress you feel you’re making, there’s a reason for that.

Buckle in. Be ready for the fight to continue. Until the tables turn, until it’s your time for the limelight, until things fall into place, you need to keep going. You cannot give up.

No matter how messy it gets, no matter how much you doubt yourself, I beg of you, please don’t give up.

Sincerely, Me

Same old same

Monday, February 3

Good Morning Greg,

Just checking in! Is the hiring process for this position still ongoing or has it been filled. Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks, Vee

Later that day…

Good Afternoon Vee,

Thanks for checking in.

We haven’t hired anyone yet.  Still have some decisions to make, but hopefully will have it worked out by the end of this week.

Someone will follow up with you either way.

Greg

Tuesday, February 4th

Greg phones me to ask a ‘few more questions’ because he wanted to ‘really get a feel for the skills I bring to the table’. It was a short conversation but it was just enough to keep me hoping. He ended the phone call by telling me someone would be in touch by end of week letting me know their decision, either way.

Monday, February 10th

Good Morning Greg,

I didn’t hear anything last week so I wanted to check in. How’s the process coming along? I’m very interested in this position and want to make sure I don’t miss an opportunity.

Please let me know!

Thanks, Vee

Later that day…

Good Afternoon Vee,

We hit a bit of a snag that’s delayed our ability to make a final decision. We’ll be in touch by Friday with our final decision.

Greg

Friday, February 14th

Suspecting (from experience over the past couple of weeks) that I wasn’t going to hear from them today, I decided to email them.

Hi Greg,

I was wondering if you could possibly update me. Am I still being considered for this position or not?

Vee

Ten minutes ago…

Hi Vee,

The position was actually filled on Monday and the candidate has already started with us. Good look with your career endeavors.

Greg

I don’t want to shit on hiring managers but this needs to be said. WHAT THE FUCK? Why do they do this? Don’t tell a candidate you’re going to be in touch if you’re not going to be in touch. Don’t fucking lie and say you’ve ‘hit a snag’ if you’re making an offer. Even I can come up with a better lie than ‘we’ve hit a snag’. And then to, five days later, let me know that you flat out lied five days earlier… I just…

He didn’t have to lie. He didn’t. If he didn’t want to tell me he’d made an offer, there were a million other ways he could have handled that situation. He chose to lie and say they hadn’t made a decision.

Why are candidates expected to jump through hoops for companies that can’t even provide the common decency to say ‘Hey, we hired someone’. I had four interviews with this company. FOUR INTERVIEWS. After four interviews was I really someone who wasn’t worthy of following up with?Why do they promise they’ll reach out ‘either way’ and then never reach out? Are they afraid of having to reject people? Because of that’s the fucking case they’re in the wrong job and I’ll gladly take that job off their hands. I’ll reject people all day long if it can give some job hunters some peace of fucking mind that they don’t have to wait for word that’s never coming.

It’s 2020 and ghosting is common practice in hiring, it seems.

I’m mad. But I’m not mad. I’m just… so used to this bullshit at this point. I’ve become so accustomed to shitty treatment, lies and misleading messages that if I ever found an honest hiring manager, I probably wouldn’t believe them anyways.

Why do I bother getting my hopes up when it always ends up the same?

Waiting for word.

Every time my phone beeps, buzzes or rings I think ‘this could be it, this could be the news I’ve been waiting for’.

Nope. Not yet.

Still waiting. Still applying for other positions. Still wishing, hoping and dreaming for something to go my way for a change. Still writing essays for ‘pre-interview questionnaires’. When did pre-interview questionnaires become a thing? Because they’re a giant waste of time.

You don’t realize how much your phone beeps until you’re waiting for news.

Come on universe.

I need this one.

I really need this one.

True story –> At my last place of employment, whenever they were hiring for a position with ‘Management’ in the title, they would automatically delete/throw away any resume of someone who’s name sounded like it could be female. My former boss was of the belief that females weren’t qualified to work in management. If he somehow selected someone to move further in the process who was female (for example if he selected a Jordan and Jordan turned out to be female) he’d simply ghost the candidates because (and he used to brag about this very openly) ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’.

I know that when I apply for a job it’s a number’s game. I know it’s not necessarily about what’s on your resume. Sometimes what’s on your resume matters and sometimes it really doesn’t. I’m just wishing, hoping, dreaming for the opportunity and hoping that this time around, what was on my resume really mattered.

Adventures in job hunting: Greg and Craig were impressed.

This is in follow up to: Adventures in job hunting: a hopeful phone interview.

I had a half hour Skype Interview today and it went really well. Really, really well. You know I hate getting my hopes up, but my hopes are up.

They told me that I’m one of the final three candidates. They told me that they were impressed with my credentials. They told me that I seem as though I’d fit in great in their office. I told them that I absolutely would and that, in my completely biased opinion, they shouldn’t interview the other two and they should just hire me. Then they laughed. Ahhhhh, it was a ‘you had to be there’ kind of moment. Anyways.

They also said that my present location does not bother them and they want to invest in the right employee, whether they come from BC or half way around the world. They said when they hire employees they think long-term and they want someone who’s going to help their company grow, and that if that person comes from Alberta, BC or half-way around the world, they’re going to select who they think will help them in their company growth long term.

I try to not get my hopes up. But my hopes are up.

I really need this.