This week Linda gave us the prompt of “opt” for Stream of Consciousness Saturday.
As a person in recovery from alcoholism and addiction sometimes it can be exhausting to remain optimistic when just as you think things are going well a wrench is thrown into the mix. I opt to write about a couple wrenches that have been thrown into my mix that is beginning to wear on my optimism, yet is not wearing on my sobriety which is a great thing.
Over the summer I had a great opportunity to gain a temporary position through Leading Edge Personnel at The University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine (UIWSOM) as an OMS IV Phase II Coordinator making really good money and loving what I was doing because it was out of my normal realm of work. That all changed on 10/30/20 when I was leaving campus, where I had been working because they are doing construction work on the house next door, and I received a call from Leading Edge Personnel as I am driving home. They were calling to inform me that my assignment at the university had ended effective that day at 5PM.
I was in shock, dismay, anger and just down right flabbergasted because as far as I knew I was doing a great job and progressing to possibly being hired on by the university proper. I did not see this coming at all. Over the weekend I regrouped and kept my optimism that I would be fine and I did not drink over it. I let Leading Edge know that I was available for placement and I reached out to some fellow colleagues from UIWSOM to ask if I could use them as professional references or if they would write one for Zip Recruiter and they all said yes or simply said that anyone could call them for a reference as well. I immediately updated the resume and got it out on Zip Recruiter, Career Builder, LinkedIn and Indeed.
On 11/2 I accepted a placement through Leading Edge Personnel and reported on 11/3, Election Day here in the US, to Hazel’s Hotshot Freight Company at a much lower rate of pay, but yet I still opted to keep my optimism that all would be okay. Well, that didn’t last long for a couple of reasons. the first being that there was not enough work for the 3 temps they had brought on board and so we spent at least 2 hours or longer each day doing nothing. The second being I knew after the first day that I was not a good fit for this company based off of conversations overheard in the very open workspace. On Wednesday, I told the person who was my supervisor at Hazel’s that it is not within my work ethic to sit around and get paid for doing nothing. I stuck it out until Monday 11/9 when I began to harbor a really big resentment towards this company. During my lunch hour that day I reached out to Leading Edge as to the process of not returning to an assignment. They said I had to give a two-day notice. After lunch me an colleagues sat there for another hour doing nothing and the resentment was growing stronger. I spoke to the supervisor and reminded her of our previous conversation, I said this is just not for me and she said “okay, you can go home.” I did go home and opted to send an email to Leading Edge to inform them of the situation and to ask if they would make an exception to the 2-day rule. I did not hear from them the entire week.
On Thursday I applied for unemployment because you have to wait 3 business days to allow the agency to place you. I again reached out to Leading Edge to express some further concerns as to why I was not a good fit for that assignment and they said they would put me down as available for placement. On 11/16 I called in to say I was available and I was told okay, we put you down. On 11/19 I received correspondence from the Texas Workforce Commission that they can pay me benefits
“Reason for Decision: Our investigation found your employer fired you because you were unable to perform your assigned work to their satisfaction. This is not considered misconduct connected with the work.”
I reached out to Leading Edge to ask them if I had been terminated from the temporary agency and I was informed that yes, they were no longer going to even try to place me. Again, I opted to remain optimistic and keep my positive attitude and keep applying for positions that I am qualified for.
Moving forward, the rest of this post is a cautionary tale. Then, out of the blue I was contacted by a company called Hillensquare Real Estate for a position of Realtor Assistant making $2,900 every two weeks or every 14 business days of work. I went to their website and clicked on their tabs, etc. not paying nearly enough attention to what was not on their website – such as who the founders, president, VP of operations, what awards they had been truly given etc. I trusted my own instincts and decided to take a leap of faith. on 11/19 I signed a contract that looked legitimate, a confidentiality agreement that looked legitimate and sent them a picture of my driver’s license for a background check. On 11/20 I got notification that my background check had passed, that should have been a red flag because I have never had a background check clear in less than 24 hours. So, on 11/23 I opted to begin work for “Hillensquare” and began with my first task which was due in 24 hours. I submitted it on 11/24 and received task 2 due in24 hours. I submitted task 2 and received task 3 due on Friday 11/27 by 9AM due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
By now I had told everybody about this great opportunity and how the company had reached out to me. On Thursday when I saw my sister in Fredericksburg, TX, by the way a beautiful drive in the Hill Country, she said – “you gave them your bank information?” – I said yes it was a legitimate direct deposit form. On Friday morning, I submitted task 3 and received task 4. I also spoke to my best friend and she was like, – “did you fully investigate and vet this company because there are a lot of employment scams out there?” I told her sure, I went to their website etc. and this looked like a legitimate company.
Well, after that conversation I began to gain a resentment and did do an about face and did all of the research and investigating I should have, I checked them out through scamadvisor.com/check-website/hillensquare.com. The domain name hillensquare.com has only been in existence since 10/1/20. There is no information as to who the domain is owned by because it is blocked by a service called WhoIsGuard by the domain registrar namecheap.com. When you click on the website it travels through no less than five IP addresses. They have never been awarded anything. There is no affiliation with the Better Business Bureau, in fact on 11/9 there were already 2 employment scam reports on Hillensquare with the BBB. The company has absolutely no social media presence nor does the so-called HR Manager Amanda Smith if that was really their name.
I then opted to email Amanda Smith and let her know everything that I learned about Hillensquare and told them that if they were a legitimate company then in good faith, they would be able to immediately direct deposit 4 days of pay $848 into my account and that I required a response by 3PM CST. Needless to say, I received no response nor did Amanda Smith respond to messages on WhatsApp which is how we had been communicating throughout the week. I have not lost any money because I have no money to lose, I just lost a little bit of my PRIDE!
After this, did I become depressed and angry at myself for falling for this crap – yes, I did. Did I drink over it – NO I DID NOT!! I remained optimistic that I will find a new position and my Higher Power whom I choose to call God will place me where I belong. On Friday 12/4/20, God willing, I will celebrate 11 months of SOBRIETY, through the pandemic and changing jobs several times throughout the year – I have opted to remain optimistic and remained SOBER, CLEAN and SERENE through my face to face home group the Goliad Group and through my online home group Global Steps Alcoholics Anonymous that just happens to meet in the church hall of In The Rooms.
Just to be clear if you are contacted by a company for an employment opportunity, keep your eyes peeled for what is not on their website and make sure you do due diligence in your investigation of the company before even considering going to work or signing any type of contract, etc.
That’s what’s in My Rattled Cage, thanks for stopping by.