June has been an exciting month. Of sorts. I was contacted on May 17th by a recruitment agency, out of the blue, to see whether I’d be interested in jumping ship. You bet. The company I have been working for so far proves to be a mismatch, to say the least, and remain this side of polite speech. And back then I was still on extended probation (an interesting, albeit probably unlawful concept devised by the tortured brain of my slave-master boss: You’ll be on probation until I tell you different. Riiiight. How to make staff feel secure and heartily welcome in the company, 101. Sure thing matey. I’ll make it easy for you.
So. May 17th. After a couple of emails and phone calls, I get to speak with a lady with a distinctive HK name and accent. Except she’s based in Shanghai. I might have reached defensively for my trusted War Hammer™ when I heard “Shanghai” but I swear no one was hurt. I think.
After way too many interviews on the phone, and a million emails, mostly focusing on them trying to convince me that working in Shanghai ain’t that bad (puah!) and me telling them that I Love HK Thank You, we arrive at a compromise. Employed by the HK branch, paid in HK, HKID card, and work in Shanghai for 1.5 years. So next step: come to Shanghai to meet people in person. After a couple of false starts, due to new visa restrictions, a couple of cancellations, I get in Shanghai on June 22nd and meet the CEO and my future boss. All goes well. My future boss tells me I am convinced you can do the job, and we will be back in touch soon.
Indeed. By the time I land in HK they want a list of references. Which I provide. Gladly. A few days later reference checks are done. And I get this on June 30th:
Starting Date: 15th July 2010
Location: SH office
I answer back, telling them that yup, I accept the offer, thankyouverymuch, see you soon. The next day is a holiday (handover celebrations). I have a BBQ in Saikung, and on the bus to the remote gahdfershaken place I get a phone call from the recruitment agency. She is very sorry to bring me very bad news. After the management meeting this very morning the company decided to withdraw the offer and promote a staff member internally to the job. To say that I am disappointed and angry is like saying that Hitler had contempt for Jews. Then I get a phone call from their HR manager. Another woman. Who’s terribly sorry. And probably very mucho embarrassed. They will consider me as a top priority for any new positions coming up in the future. I had a hard time not laughing at that one. Well not that hard, because I wasn’t in the mood for laughter. More like in the mood for serial mass murder. Note that I haven’t heard from management yet. The same guys, CEO included, who were so happy to have me on board a week ago.
Now comes the kicker. After letting my core temperature cool down a bit, I ask about the refund for my trip to Shanghai — after all my “future” boss had said they’d take care of it. One email, two emails, three emails. Nada. They play dumb. I got an email from the recruitment agency, saying that Regarding the expense of the trip, the company will not responsible for it which we were told from the beginning. So now, on top of being cowardly, they’re niggardly and a bunch of liars. Wow. And I almost worked for this company?!? Thank you. I’ll stay away from them. I told the recruitment agency girl (who’s of course very eager to recoup her losses and get her commission) not to bother [with] me any more. Not interested.
Now I am interviewing for a similar job with a company in Hong Kong. The offer came around the time I was polishing my Mont Blanc fountain pen to sign the contract. Great timing. If I wasn’t an atheist I’d say God is sending me a signal and telling me to stay in HK and NOT go to China. I’ll blog about the recruitment process with this company, which was more than interesting…