Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Getting a job without getting a job

This is a rant about certain recent events in my career.

Back in August, I applied for a promising contract as a revenue accountant for the Bureau Of Land management. I interviewed one weekend late in the month with a panel of six women. Yikes!

Actually, it went well. My natural charm and command of details gave me the appearance of enthusiasm, and I won their hearts. Then that weekend I received the rejection letter. I was disappointed with how things worked out, but moved on.

The following Monday I was off work. I woke up late to a phone call telling me to ignore the rejection letter. The cobwebs cleared from my head. The contractor decided to hire me, pending a standard background check. I let out an audible whoop after I hung up. This was good news! Pending the background check of course.


I complied with all paperwork requirements the next day. I was fingerprinted in an office in Lakewood. I filled out the long questionaire, and complied with all required disclosures. I was a bit concerned that it took them two weeks after being hired to take my fingerprints. Then I had to wait.

I began to hear from people I had listed as references that they had received questionaires about me in the mail. All for what I was told was a low-level security clearance. It seemed a bit much.

A few weeks later I received a phone call in which I was told I was clear to give notice to my current employer. Which I almost did. Thankfully I decided to check my personal email that morning. An email from another bureaucrat told me I hadn’t completed the information and so-and-so was on vacation until next Monday. What information was incomplete was not specified, until the next Monday. That same day I provided the information and faxed it again. Later that week I confirmed that the OPM had received it. Then, nothing.

After inquiries for a couple weeks, I was forwarded an internal email chain between the contractor, the BLM and the Office Of Personnel Management. Someone I had never met or seen said about me and my background check, “He doesn’t want to quit his current job until he knows it’s good.” Something about this phrasing still nags at me... perhaps because it did not describe reality. In fact I wanted to quit badly, but had explicitly been told not to quit until the background check was complete.

I wasn’t worried about passing the background check. I was becoming worried that someone wasn’t telling me the truth, intentionally or not.

Finally, last week I received a call. The BLM “decided to go in another direction” because your background check is taking too long.” The people at the contracting office “feel terrible” about this. I did make a mild protest that I didn’t think this was fair, since I had complied with everything as timely as possible. They explained to me that since nearly two months had passed already, only 10 months remained on the contract and the BLM had decided to promote from within.

I was actually excited to have found this job. It sounded like great accounting experience. I would have been helping to implement a new billing system for well inspection fees. Losing this opportunity was a big blow, in several ways. My job search was delayed by more than six weeks. It’s dejecting to be strung along in that way.

I do feel like someone is not telling me the truth, or at least that I don’t know the whole truth. It’s a somewhat bitter irony, as I was completely honest in my disclosures.

Finding a new job in this horrible economy is neither easy, nor fun.

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