I want to tell you about a surreal experience that happened to me at the beginning of September.
That is the time when I almost risked ending up working for one of those places that do door-to-door sales service.
What saved me was my hesitant nature. Incredible, that my flaw helped me.
Small information note for those who (hardly) do not know this type of "work": Door-to-door sellers are those who, with or without subordination constraints, promote the collection of purchase orders from private consumers on behalf of companies that carry out direct home sales.
Although the internet presents it as a high-earning worker ... very often behind there is a treacherous world of exploitation, stress and poor wages.
If anyone disagrees, let me know, we can talk about it.
However, in my case, it was a pretty good rip off.
It all started towards the end of August, when I get a call for a job interview for a job as a secretary, for a company up in Florence.
I, enthusiastic, begin to organize myself immediately to return to Tuscany, with the happy prospect of being hired and having my own salary, finally. Finding a train to get back was more difficult than expected and despite research after research, for that period so close to the end of the month no solution could be found.
Agitated to miss this great opportunity, I manage to arrange the departure and the interview with my future employers for the following week, thus having more time to prepare.
In retrospect, perhaps not being able to find a train was a sign that that proposal was not accepted… (SPOILER: I didn't).
I manage to go back to Florence and after having stipulated the day in which I will have to present myself with my references, out of pure curiosity I decide to look for information on the agency to better understand what they do. Yes, I do it because I want to make sure they have a good reputation.
From here, the oddities begin.
About the company or the person in charge of it I find almost nothing, except that this office deals with the sale of furniture and that a woman runs it. Already from this information gap (both on Linkedin and social profile) it makes me ask a couple of questions. I mean, it's strange that someone owns a business, even a small one, doesn't have a complete informational profile on the past, present and future of their experiences. Even my sister is suspicious. In any case, I decide not to think about it too much (yet) and to judge for myself the day of the interview, hoping to be just me making too many films.
The morning of the appointment arrives, I wake up with high hopes.
I get dressed up and excited I go straight to their small company, with growing anxiety along the way just 14 minutes by bus. But upon arrival, the doubts and questions of the evening come back to the surface and the worm of the rip-off begins to creep in.
The office is very… cheerful. Which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't the way it was made that way.
The environment is very nice and comfortable, the only thing that bothers me, though; are the numerous writings of "encouragement" that quote phrases such as: the future is yours, you can do it, life is wonderful, etc. which are way too many for a real estate company. I felt like I was in a hippie hangout, to make a comparison.
I am not the only one waiting for the hiring (and this cheers me up), in a couple of minutes I am called and my interview begins.
Well… there isn't much to describe. The lady I speak to just asks me a couple of questions about what I do and what my candidacy foresees… from here on, the climb to the “something is not right” starts rocket definitely.
Without getting lost in too many details, here is the set of all those details that made me understand the scam behind this whole story.
· Unlike what is proposed, this company does not sell furniture but other types of products.
· I will be hired for a position as a saleswoman rather than a secretary. Indeed ... managerial seller.
· The internship days will be only 2. Paid yes, but always 2.
· The woman talks to me with such speed that I have a hard time understanding what she is saying and almost always turns the conversation around on the same subject. I understand it's on purpose because I used the same technique during the toughest university exams.
I am shocked. It is nothing of what I was looking for.
I would have understood the error on the products, but even on the working position? I'm not so stupid, yet!
And that's just the appetizer! Because there is an orientation day in the way!
On that day, the director explains with more care what my work will be and of all those few others who have been taken into consideration for the job.
All the time I take notes after notes, highlighting those parts that do not find meaning. I basically fill out a whole sheet of paper, jotting down anything.
Back home I resume my research on this company, sharing the whole story with both my sister and my friends.
Even though I already understood it, a friend of mine confirms that it is certainly a company that exploits door-to-door sales, to the detriment of the health of employees, as she too found herself in the same situation ... and that with the pipe that they pay you what they promised if an absolutely impossible monthly fee is not reached first. She also tells me that her experience was not a good one and she is happy to have come out of it.
I continue to do research to confirm what I already suspected. Other evidence emerges both from the internet where I find similarities to my experience, and from the very place where I notice other strange details. I will not waste time explaining what tests are involved, because the list is too long, I conclude by telling you that in the end I decided to give up this "fantastic opportunity", grateful to have trusted my instincts.
So… my advice is to be careful if you are looking for a job.
Pay attention to what they say and propose to you, ask friends and family for advice and make sure that the workplace is as reliable as it wants to present itself.
This whole situation gave me the idea to write a story about it.
Who knows, something interesting might come out of it.