his name is now synonomous with "whackadoo"

I have very quietly been participating in an intensive interview process for what I had hoped would be my next professional role. It started with an email requesting a phone interview. That phone interview was not the general HR screen I am accustomed to. She asked challenging behavioral questions like "tell me about the most challenging person you've ever worked with." That phone interview led to another phone interview with the Director, complete with more of those sweat-inducing behavioral questions. An email request for an in-person interview and suddenly I was seated in a conference room with four interviewers who rapid fired a set list of yet even more behavioral questions, took notes on my replies and SCORED my answers. "Think of a time when a policy or guideline was not well-received and how you mitigated that ?" "What was the best gift you've ever received and why?" "Describe your organizational methods." "Tell us about a time when you empowered a person or a group." "Can you tell us about a time when you held an unpopular view with a person or group and how you handled that." And on. And on. For an exhausting 60 minutes. The opening question, "Dunkin or Starbucks and why?" I felt good about it and sure enough the Director phoned me the next day to ask me to meet with him informally for coffee.

Meeting informally for coffee after he sent along their benefit information. I thought I was going to receive an in person offer. I thought he was playing hardball by wanting to do that in person.

Meeting informally to discuss... wait for it... what it is like to work for him. This was my opportunity he told me to find out about him and he would be keeping me for the full hour so I had better make good use of my time. This was after he got a nice dig in over our meeting location - which he pointed out was convenient only for me, despite the fact that he himself had named the terms of our meeting, including the 7:30AM time. I asked about travel, I tried to better explore an employee he discussed who had not been up to snuff and how he had known this person was not a good fit. He explained to me that in this position I would need to "pay attention" and gave me an example of a meeting summary. He writes one for all his meetings and if I went to a meeting and did not provide him with a summary, well then, I hadn't been paying attention had I? He discussed his open door policy, but as I listened it didn't seem like any open door policy I had ever heard of before. He said he hoped all the people he hired were smarter than him, but that it was his role to impart his "wisdom." He discussed Outlook at great length, going so far as to tell me that he frequently sends notes to staff letting them know they "aren't getting an A in Outlook" because there are pockets of time in their calendar unaccounted for. This led to a rousing discussion of the inefficiency of mouse vs. shortcut keys and I jokingly said, "what did you hide their mice?" His reply, "I've taken them." He went off on tangents about LA traffic from berating comments about how I clearly would need to better understand driving in the Greater Boston area, Little did he know and nor did he ask, but the territory I covered while I was a hospice social worker included such the geographic gem of Somerville. I think I can handle getting to Lowell. Let's just leave out that I got lost every.single.time I tried to leave Somerville. I tried to defend what I thought the group must have felt were my deficiencies; balancing home and work, making a leap from direct service, moving from part to full time. Home and work balance led to comments about how week one on the job would certainly NOT result in disappointment on the work side now would it? This led to him asking about the kids' ages and when he heard 3 he thought this was the appropriate time to tell me about how he and his wife were annoyed by a long wait outside their 3 year old's sunday school class 23 years ago and that led them to become sunday school teachers themselves and no parent EVER had to wait for their child outside their door. The absolute gem of the meeting was when he shared that two of my potential colleagues felt it was necessary to add into the training and orientation for new employees a section on "how to work with Director." I am unsure why I stayed for the whole meeting, but if I hadn't have I would have missed the punchline when the salary "budget" was finally discussed and it was 18% off my salary requirement. Did I want to continue? That would mean I would need to meet two high level board members and they could only meet at this one time. They wouldn't have a vote, but their opinion would help guide him and following THAT meeting he would be prepared to make me an offer OR discontinue the process. He gave me some organization materials, I said I would be in touch to let him know if I wanted to move forward and I got in the car to go home, my head spinning from my meeting with the most arrogant man I have ever met. Did I want to move forward? Did I want to take a class on working with the whackadoo? No. God no! and it was a shame because I really wanted the position, but I am not looking to be constantly wondering if I am paying attention well enough. All that paying attention would prevent the work from getting done and I imagined the wrath that would surely be taken out on my poor family each day as I recovered from his ridiculousness. Though it pained me to do so, especially after such a long process, I sent an email thanking him for the opportunity and withdrawing myself from consideration citing salary and more importantly that I did not think our work styles were a good fit. I wasn't sure what his reply would be, but I never expected what arrived late that night. "Thanks for your time. Best of luck. I agree with your assessment." I wanted to write back this one statement, "You agree that you were going to grossly underpay me to put up with your bullshit?" 

Needless to say, I'm still looking.

2 comments:

  1. OMG. So happy you just decided to RUUUUUN! And you know what? THANK GOD you had that level of insight. I know so many that haven't and wind up in a position where there is a super shitty boss. GAH.

    (And obvs, ignore my email from this morning when I asked what happened, because now. NOW. I am caught up.)

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  2. Oi Vei!! Wow, that is insane. What kind of SW position was this??? Does not sound SW'y at all :) Things have a way of working out. You will find a good fit.

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