Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Let me bullshit you

I have dedicated my whole May to the absolute necessary requirements for my future engineer life : projects, exams, and... internship hunting! Oh yes, it was a hunt. With all these informaticians flooding the internship market I have to distinguish myself to get a place, this market is now as tight as job market, mark my words.

What would you do if you need something desperately as if your life clung to it? I do need this internship or I can kiss goodbye to my engineer degree in the coming September. So, I gathered up all my courage, swallowed my pride, lowered my price and advertised myself for it. After a month of intensif search ending with a desesperation, I was ready to accept almost any internship available and at any rate. I was even ready to not being paid at all for the 4 month-work.

Finally I found one! I was so happy that I managed to resist to their torture with dozens of forms to fill in and long long interviews. I assure you, it took lots of courage to do it. They interrogated me for almost 3 hours -incredibly long for an internship interview- and they tried to establish a sort of psychological profile for my little person. I am so flattered! Anyway, the verdict is I am accepted. I think by the end of the 3rd hour they decided that I am not some kind of psycho nor industrial spy AND that I am qualified for the job they wanted to put me on. Mr Director in person announced it and we shook hands. End of chapter one.

Two days later they sent me an e-mail with all the details of the job and my obligations : working hours, lunch break, working place and the job specifications. Everything I needed but one. A long e-mail. Good thing, a serious company and a serious internship, I said to myself. I confirmed okay for the job and I asked clearly for the one question we have not settled : internship fees. If I was not payed to do the job, at least I wanted them to pay for my metro tickets to go to work. A day, no answer. Two days, nothing. Three days, well, they have no time for me. End of a week, hell, time for another search.

It turned out that another company wanted me. All terms were cleared out since the first interview and in contrast to the other one, people are a lot more natural here. Less formal. I crossed some of their employees in the corridor, young people, they looked at me curiously - yes, I know, women in IT attract attention - and they greeted me. Looks nice to me. By the end of the week, two weeks since my unanswered question to the former company, I signed with this 2nd company.

Being a straight person, I wrote an e-mail notifying the former company of my final decision to renounce working with them due to the absence of response to my e-mail 2 weeks earlier. Guess what, a straight call from the HR department within 2 hours! Wow, fast answer this time. They scolded me because I confirmed okay for the job and now I confirmed not okay due to the non-answer. I explained clearly that I do not wish to sign anything without knowing what I will have in return. Only idiots do that and I am not. Still they insisted that it is not ethical to do such thing -oh yeah, sue me because I do not want to sign an unclear contract- merely because... it is not ethical, at least according to their point of view. In short, sign a let-me-bullshit-you paper and pay for working for us. A logic which I have never quite understood.

Yesterday was the supposedly 1st day I worked for them. They called again. This time it is the Mr Director in person. WOW, what an honor! Another blablabla about being ethical and that all was clear - yes, to them it was clear - from the start. I asked calmly in return why they gave no reply to my question and of course he did not want to answer it, not even then. He tried to twist the conversation and I listened patiently. Then came my turn, after making a point about my principles of all-cards-on-the-table and no cheating for a deal, I politely said goodbye and good luck for their project.

A good thing of all this, it lits me up to know that they need me otherwise they would just pick another trainee and move on instead of trying to bully me twice on the phone. They wanted someone good to be sold to a client and they picked me. They need to justify the price and the quality of their merchandise. It serves them right to be less greedy and more honest.