A few days ago, I had the honor of being interviewed by the principal of an esteemed private school for a job. I am happy to say the interview went well and I am now a proud member of his faculty. However, not all interviews are professional like the aforementioned one.
A day after I was accepted at my new employment, I received a phone call by one of the country’s most ‘prestigious’ Colleges. I asked the gentleman what it was about as I had already found a job. He didn’t know and informed me of my appointment at 8.30 for the following morning. I asked him once again if it had to do with a speech/lecture, examinations for English certificates, or a job. I told him if it had to do with a job, I had already committed myself to one. He didn’t know.
I agreed to the appointment not knowing what it was they called me about. I woke up at 6.45, prepared myself and I arrived at their premises at 8.10. Their secretary unlocked the door at 8.25. I asked about my two interviewers. They had not arrived yet. Eventually the first one came as she was tardy around 5-10 minutes and immediately made a phone call. All that time no one even offered me something to drink.
Eventually the ‘interview’ started. She rushed inside, asked me for my resume without even looking at it and got straight to the point, “We need a teacher for Saturday Lessons! Can you start tomorrow?”
I was completely baffled as this girl who was interviewing me didn’t even check my resume and proposed a job. I told her that I am committed to my new job and explained to her that due to the fact that the gentleman who called me on the phone, didn’t know what it was about, I showed up, as I also give speeches and I am an examiner for English Certificates.
She was surprised and then continued, “We had someone who quit yesterday and we desperately need someone for tomorrow.”
I kindly rejected the offer and she in turn was surprised, as she didn’t expect such a response.
“You’re rejecting an offer to teach at our college? No one would ever do that! It’s a matter of survival! You need money!” she said.
I was both shocked and insulted by her attitude and simply answered… “I can survive.”
She immediately apologized and said that if I started out with Saturday lessons which were about 5 hours and if the clients were pleased, that they could give me more hours next year. She even assumed I worked 20 hours at my new job and did the math for me… “20 + 5 = 25 hours! Not bad, right?”
I was speechless as I realized how desperate she was when suddenly, the second interviewer entered the room. She didn’t even take off her sunglasses all the while she was next to me. The time was 8.50. She was late by 20 minutes. They both commented about the traffic due to the French Prime Minister’s visit to Greece and that it was the reason they were late. I told them that I arrived at 8.10
I then decided to conclude the interview by stating, “I have found a job and since you haven’t even read my resume, I’ll just tell you that I’m an author and I’ve been teaching for 15 years. Trying to intimidate me into accepting a job offer isn’t professional nor respectful.”
I saw how desperate they were and even offered them a temporary solution for a few Saturdays until they found someone, but they were at a loss to think straight. I thanked them for their time and left.
What is the point of sharing my experience with you? That no employer should take you for granted and that respect goes both ways. The financial crisis is not an excuse to assume that ‘we are desperate for money’ or that ‘we need to survive’. Yes, the situation in Greece is very bad and people are literally starving to death on the streets. This is no excuse however, to be treated in this manner or to be exploited using the crisis to justify themselves.
One would say I rejected the opportunity of a lifetime. I on the other hand, am anxious to start lessons next week at my new job and meet my new students. I know I left with my head high and proud.
Happy School Year!
Katherine Reilly signing out…