Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Thrill of the Hunt

I was visiting my brother in Box Springs, Georgia when I got word that someone had received one of my resumes and wanted me to call them back.

The someone in question was a fellow from a "staffing solutions" service. Seems I had replied to an on-line posting for an "Assembly Technician" job at the Caterpillar tractor plant in Sanford, NC.

Could I come by their office in (I kid you not) Fuquay-Varina to fill out an application and take a screening test? Any day between 9:00am and 3:00pm would be fine, Mr. Davison.

I returned home and took the 45 mile drive to the staffing office in Fuquay-And-The-Horse-You-Rode-In-On-Varina. The joint was jumping as they were also looking to fill some temp jobs at a John Deer plant.

One woman was ahead of me for the Caterpillar gig, though. Once we finished filling out the application form the office manager handed out the screening tests.

We had twenty minutes to answer a series of questions relating to math, work rules and do-you-like-puppies style questions. I finished ahead of the other lady and turned in my test.

"Wow, that was fast," the office manager commented as he pulled out the answer key. "I have to warn you, that there's a 50% failure rate on this test. "

"Also," he continued, "That other applicant was here ahead of you. If she passes, she'll get to advance to the next step instead of you. You understand."

Well, I did, indeed pass the test, but the other applicant's paper hadn't yet been turned in.

The manager gave me a form letter and wished me well.

By the time I arrived home an hour later, Michelle had already received the call that the other applicant failed the test. I called the office and was informed that I should report to the Caterpillar plant the following Tuesday to take another test. This one would contain 100 questions.

Tuesday found me in the visitors' reception area, along with four other test-takers. We were walked through the plant back to a computer lab.

(Side note: This was the most gorgeous facility I have ever seen! There was no grime or filth; even the Plexiglas on a test station sparkled! What a contrast to some of the grease pits I've worked in.)

Once in the computer lab we were informed that we could not leave until after the testing had been completed. The lab manager read from a script to explain the process, sections, time limits, etc. She emphasized that she could not answer any questions after the testing had started.

Security was so air-tight, I expected the Cone of Silence to descend from the ceiling at any moment.

I plowed my way through the math, visual inspection and "work-related-attitudes" sections of the exam and finished, unfortunately, with time to spare.

I say "unfortunately" because I had to sit there and stare at the wall while everyone else finished up.

We were finally released back into what passes for civilization these days and I made the 45 mile trek home.

The next morning the phone rang promptly at 9:00am.

"Congratulations, Mr. Davison," a chipper voice piped. "You've passed your CAT exam and we'd liked you to come back to the plant on Thursday morning at 11:00 to fill out the new employee paperwork. If your drug screening comes back OK, you'll start May 11th."

"Wow, that's good news," I replied. "You know, I was kind of hoping someone would tell me what the rate of pay and benefits package is before I sign on."

"You don't know?" the puzzled agency lady asked.

"These are entry-level jobs, Mr. Davison. We pay $9.50 an hour with a fifty cent raise every six months to a maximum of $11.50 an hour. We offer a basic medical package. It won't pay for major surgery, but if you get the flu or need stitches, you'd be covered."

The idea of travelling 90 miles a day so that I can make roughly50% of what I was earning a year ago is not very appealing. The crappy-sounding medical package is just that much less icing on the old urinal cake.

And you know what? I could earn a dollar more an hour bagging groceries at the ALDI store that's only a mile from my house!

This is the first offer of full-time employment I've had in nine months of searching.

As much as it pains me to say it, I think I'm going to pass on this one.


Note: I have re-enabled comments. I am trying out the "word verification" option in an effort to thwart the spam-bots. Will it work? Let's see...


Blogger furiousBall said...

I am a spam bot and i totally foiled your word verfication...

just kidding. yeah, pass on that one and there's no shame in bagging groceries

April 21, 2010 11:12 AM  
Blogger KL from NYC said...

Yay! comments!)
As long as the unemployment holds out, don't feel bad when you pass on the junk jobs. They're not worth it, and you might get stuck there.
I'm basically in the same situation, and I think most people are experiencing the same nonsense, so you're not alone.
BTW 1, could you use Chubby Checker covering "Back in the USSR" on Buddah Records for your Beatles' covers collection??? [It's at at the top]
BTW 2, a guy left a comment at one of your other blogs. He's looking for your Not-The-Beatles cover art. I don't know how long ago that was.

April 22, 2010 10:13 PM  

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