Wednesday, 8 July 2015

When An Amazing Opportunity Isn't

Last year I was offered the job of my dreams, one that let me travel, meet new people constantly, avoid spending time in an office, talk face to face rather than through computer screens and keyboards. And get paid!

I interviewed for a trainee position with a number of firms and then was overwhelemed by the fact I got to pick and choose which one to go with.

I chose the best. I picked the company that had been around the longest, had the highest turnover, ran the largest number of operations, the noisiest social media presence and had the most to offer in terms of career development and promotion.

I picked the wrong company.

In the first week of training there were some alarm bells ringing, but I shut them out, I knew that the training was designed tough and meant to weed people out, the fact that we were told early on "these are the people who are important, they won't talk to you or acknowledge you but you need to introduce yourselves" seemed like a bullshit test but we jumped through the hoop. We were given instrustruction on how to "safely" perform an illegal action while working, I approached the trainers and the management to express my discomfort about that and was basically told to get over it. I then asked for something in writing from the company saying I must do it and was told they couldn't open themselves up to the risk of liability by putting anything in writing.

We were given very little information beforehand about what training would entail and even once it had started they kept us out of the loop to see what happened. We had to gather information at every place we could concivably bring customers and this was a really easy way for the trainers to keep us in our place and enforce the idea that we knew nothing and were never going to be good enough. At one service station stop a trainee was sent backto count the number of cubicles in the toilets. This was allegedly to make us think like the trip managers we needed to become but again, utter bullshit. I'm talking about a massive company who've been doing this for decades, the only toilet stops they make are preplanned ones at preselected services that are big enough to cope with large coach groups.

You're probably wondering by now why I didn't walk away in that first week or so?

The first week of training took place in a tiny little hard to reach town in Austria. We were kept busy, working from 8am until 6pm in a classroom setting, and lucky if we got to sleep by 1am. We were also constantly told how lucky we were to be there, how many people wished they could be in our shoes and how many people didn't make the cut to get on the training scheme. It got inside your head, being told once you got through training it would be a fantastic family you were joining made you want to be accepted. They kept telling us how like a family the company was and how close everyone was once you were really a part of the company.

My working theory was that actually by the time you were through training, ten weeks of sleep deprivation and being told you weren't good enouh everyday that we'd just all have Stolkholme Syndrome.

There was a lot of writing that needed to be done, talks that needed to be written out and administrative work. I'm dyslexic, I'd disclosed that on my application and talked there about how overcoming my slow handwriting by getting approved to use computeres in exams gave me the opportunity to achieve the results that reflected my ability not my handwriting speed. The lead trainer told me my handwriting was unacceptably scruffy and that I needed to write faster, I said that was physically impossible and was told to do it anyway. I asked if I could use my tablet to make notes electronically which would have been faster and dealt with the issue of legibility, absolutely not in fact he didn't even think it was appropriate I suggested such a thing. I was called a liar and told I was "the type of person who makes up any excuse not to do work", I was made to feel ashamed of having a disability and treated like I was a spoilt princess who wanted special treatment when I asked about it being taken into consideration.

I was asked to leave the training shortly after that conversation. My  first feeling was one of overwheleming relief. I could leave and never have to look at the bullies trainers again. Then the panic set in, I was in a town about an hour outside Rome, Italy and was informed over breakfast that I wouldn't be getting on the coach today, that I could stay at the campsite we were in that night but then I had to be gone. I didn't have enough money to cover a last minute flight back to the UK from Italy at Easter Weekend and I didn't know what I'd do when I was home.

My parents booked me a ticket and I bartered with a taxi driver to get to the airport, then I basically just slept for a week.

Things have picked up since then, but I thought the down swing deserved it's own post and this is quite long enough anyway...

Joy xxx

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1 comment:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear that didn't work out for you... I'm hoping you still have an opportunity to join up with the other company!

    The Starving Inspired
    The Starving Inspired