Gift-wrapped grenades

I should learn from past experiences, I really should.

When a company “love bombs” me with promises that they’ll provide everything and they really want me for the job – even when I say “No thank you” and they keep pushing me to agree/accept the position, I need to learn to trust my gut and know it’s not for me.

That’s why my first instinct was to say “no” – because I was listening to my genuine self and heeding the warnings going off inside me that whatever was offered is NOT a good idea.

But I don’t learn.

So I’m on day 4 of a full time, permanent Government role as a PROJECT MANAGER for Sustainability; and I’m having a really, really hard time.

It’s a really high level job with loads of pay – the most money I’ve ever been offered in an employment contract.

The word “Sustainability” was what made me ignore ALL the red flags popping up. I thought to myself “At last, a job that reflects how hard I’ve studied in Uni towards Sustainability and Community Development – this is the perfect job for me!” so I hastily accepted the job. I didn’t even read the contract, just signed excitedly on the bottom, caught up in the romance of it all.

And that’s what it was, you know. A fake romance. A FAKE JOB OFFER coated in roses, but when the petals fell off (and it literally only took an hour into my first day for me to see it for what it was), it was a grenade.

This is how it all began:

Last week, I was in the kitchen rinsing out my protein shaker. I had accepted a temping role “for just 6 weeks” with the HR department for a Local Government Office. I was in my 2nd week and was really enjoying my job. It’s a small but fun and noisy office and they made me feel so welcome from the get-go. I was humming to myself as I rinsed my protein shaker, already imagining I was losing weight, God bless me.

A young woman appeared and was fiddling with the coffee machine.

“Hello” she beamed a friendly smile at me.

“Hey” I smiled back, pulling paper towel down from the holder.

“You’re new here, hey?” she asked “I’ve seen you around the building but just haven’t had a chance to introduce myself – I’m *Beth” (name changed obvs).

“Oh hi Beth, I’m Janet” and we gave each other a friendly nod of introduction.

“So, are you a new employee?” Beth asked

“Noooooo” I smiled again “Just temping in HR and helping *Marty and Jill out”

“Oh cool, where have you worked before?” Beth was sliding her coffee mug below the machine’s spout with expertise.

I told her about my previous temping positions in Admin for both private and Government sectors. Beth lit up at the mention of experience in Government offices. She asked me what I’d studied – if anything – at Uni and when I told her I had a Bachelor’s degree in Sustainability, Beth almost jumped all over me in her excitement.

“OMG!!! THAT’S THE SAME DEGREE AS ME!” she squealed.

I didn’t really see the relevance, so I shrugged and carried on wiping my shaker dry.

“So – you could take over for me!” Beth continued. She explained that she was leaving her job as the Sustainability Officer and that even though they’d received hundreds of applications (and I was the one saving them to our record keeping program so believe me, I knew how many), they hadn’t found a candidate for the job yet – mostly because the incredibly talented people applying (I read their applications and CV’s – and every applicant looked INCREDIBLE) didn’t have a degree.

They had the right experience – just not the qualifications.

I had the qualifications, but not the experience.

I knew that this job was too complicated for me; so in the kitchen on that fateful Thursday afternoon, I declined Beth’s ‘awesome idea‘ of applying for the role.

“No no, it’s just not for me, sorry” I offered an apologetic smile. “Hope you find who you’re looking for” and I went and sat back at my desk.

About 15 minutes later, Beth had emailed me a link to the SEEK advertisement and had copied her boss and a colleague in. They were all so excited for me to apply. It was like they had the job and were waiting to give it to me, I didn’t even have to try for it.

The job was there, with a big red bow on it and my name on the gift tag.

That was the 1st red flag.

It was too easy. Too rushed.

I remember very clearly – I responded (“reply all”) to the email after I’d read the super complicated and very LONG Job Description.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t have the right tools or experience for this role” I wrote. “Thank you for thinking of me but this isn’t a job I can fulfil to it’s best potential…I hope you find just the right person”

And Send.

AND EXHALE.

I was happy in my temp role with HR and have grown really close to “Marty” and “Jill”. I know how to be an Administrator and was happy coming into work each day. That’s the environment I thrive in. I was sleeping better and even starting to cut back on sugar.

All was well in my world.

That was last Thursday. My boss “Tilly” at HR (the Director) gave me Friday off as they were all away. LOVE IT. You don’t have to tell me twice!

I slept in on Friday morning and lazily woke, loving the feeling of having a whole FREE day ahead of me. So good.

My phone buzzed and I looked to see someone had left a voicemail.

It was “Mary” – the Director of Sustainability, saying she’d gotten my SEEK application (I did it just for…actually who knows why? I guess I just wanted to give it a go on the off chance it was a job meant for me – especially how it suited my Uni Degree) and they were “very keen” to Interview me.

I rang Mary back and she said she would pay me to come in on my day off (another red flag – it just sounded too good, you know?) and interview with her and the Sustainability and Waste/Environment team.

So. I showered, dressed and booked the next DIDI (like Uber) over to the Office. I look back on the interview now and I can’t recall any specific details, it was all a rushed blur.

Beth was there, she showed me her desk and talked at a million miles an hour – madly pointing at various (unfamiliar) programs on her screens with the nonchalance only someone really comfortable with their role can pull off.

“It’s all in the handover sheets, anyway” Beth looked so confident and at ease with handing over what looked like an incredibly complex job collecting data, samples and information each few months to measure and report on to Local Government Agencies.

“We’d really love for you to take the job and join the team” Mary said.

I was surrounded by about 4 of “the team” when the job was offered to me. They all looked so giddy about it that it was hard not to get swept up.

“But I don’t have my license so I won’t be able to go to different sites and check water/soil samples” I argued.

“We rarely do that anyway” Beth smiled “and if you need to go, we’ll have someone meet you and show you around. You basically walk around with a clipboard and just check to see if the equipment is safe or not. It’s an easy yes or no”

Red flags everywhere. Why couldn’t they answer a simple question – was I going to have to go out on site…or not?

“What about quarterly Council meetings?” I reminded them I don’t drive – AGAIN.

“Pfft. Everything’s done online these days” I was told “We do TEAMS or ZOOM meetings so you don’t have to travel. You’ll work mainly from this office”.

Huh.

“So…” an excited Mary asked – the lady who would be my new boss “Are you going to accept the job offer? We’re really keen to have you on board”

Feeling wanted and sought after, I said I would.

I left the interview feeling PUMPED. Go me! I hadn’t even known about the job, Beth had sent me the link. I hadn’t thought I’d get to interview stage, I just applied because Beth was so excited for me. I’d thought “Meh. Why not?

Now I was going to be permanent, full time Government employee!

I looked back on the last 24 hours and was convinced God’s hand was upon the whole situation. If I hadn’t been in the kitchen on that day in that very moment, none of this would have come to pass.

There’s an alternate Janet in a different multiverse who’s talking to Jill about photography this afternoon, both of us laughing and me looking forward to coming back in the new year to see what Marty and Jill got up to on the holiday break.

This Janet, however – is abso-bloody-lutely MISERABLE.

I’ll tell you why on my next blog.

It’s safe to say that EVERYTHING that was promised was RENEGED on.

There was furious back-pedalling and I’m at work, wiping tears away and wondering how I always get myself into these HELL HOLE situations.

I just want to go home and cry.

2 responses to “Gift-wrapped grenades”

  1. Wow. And well spotted, and no wonder you feel railroaded into it, that sounds very convenient for them, not so much for you though. And not being able to drive, but expected to do out of office stuff, can be really stressful. Waiting on others to take you somewhere, not knowing where to go, having to wait sometimes to get back to your office. I can see why this isn’t ideal for you, not the stable office job is was first portrayed as suddenly. Sorry you got roped into it, but now you know, you can take steps x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am so sorry! I remember how excited you were. Damn. Big hugs and puppy kisses from Michigan.

    Liked by 1 person

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