I recently got the opportunity to apply for a cherry job that would have solved a lot of my current problems, but I seem to have blown it. I'm wondering if a bad employer reference might have done me in?
Recently my husband, who works in the same industry as me, found out that a certain gig was going to come open at his company. I applied and sent my materials to the hiring manager, Hurd (not his real name). I got a super nice note from Hurd saying he really wanted to talk to me - he loved
my demo tape (this is an audio-related gig), and he just sounded like he couldn't wait to get me in for an interview. Terrific!
The opening was a managerial position, and the first or second thing I said to Hurd after sitting down was that I had never been a manager. Hurd laughed and told me sometimes it was a good thing never to have trod those managerial corridors, when you think about who's done that before. It was an inside joke - my hubby, who works for Hurd, had told him a few stories about the nightmare bosses that had come before Hurd. So we kind of chuckled, and I thought it was a relaxed start to the thing, and a nice vibe was established.
The interview went well - he kind of soft-balled his questions. "What would be your ideal place to work?" I'm thinking, either he's just going through the motions, or he likes me and this whole thing is just a formality. (Wouldn't that be nice.)
As we were wrapping up he said, "The only thing that matters to me is how you sound," [this is a radio gig], and I was blown away by your tape. Just wanted you to know."
Before cutting me lose, Hurd mentioned that he knew one of my former employers, let's call him Zeke. I worked with Zeke for a few months in 2006 and had never really gotten along too well with him. I didn't write him down as a reference, so hearing his name kind of threw me for a loop. Hurd said, "Yeah, Zeke's in Dallas now!"
Good, I hope he stays there! So my heart is sinking, because radio folk are big yakkers, and I figured the first thing Hurd will do is call up Zeke and find out what kind of employee I had been.
Hurd says he's making a decision in two weeks. So two weeks come and go, and meanwhile my hubby says he's been trying to get anything from Hurd as to whether I'm still in the running. Hurd tells him I am.
More waiting, and then one day Hurd mentions to hubby that they found someone else to fill the position I had applied for. Just kind of casual-like, and meantime I've had no email correspondence from Hurd. Hubby pressed him for more info, and Hurd apparently said that this one guy they interviewed had actually done the exact same job at a different company (he had been a manager), etc. etc. So, you know, it was kind of a slam dunk.
So I'm feeling annoyed that Hurd, after telling me how much he loved my tape and how impressed he was and how it didn't matter that I had no managerial experience, and how this and how that, doesn't even bother to tell me I didn't get the job. A bit rude.
I'm also peeved that what he told me in the interview has turned out not to be true - the only thing that mattered WASN'T how I sounded. My lack of managerial experience actually DID matter, apparently. So why didn't he mention that? I mean, if that was the requirement, why waste my time?
I think it's possible that Hurd actually liked me and recommended me to his managers, and they were the ones who put the kibosh on me for whatever reason. And that reason could be anything - my field is insanely competitive.
But I also have a sick feeling that my former boss, Zeke, from 2006, said something negative about me to Hurd. I have no idea what it would be, I just don't know the guy well - hated working for him, and wouldn't trust him to give me a good reference.
I suppose I just need to get over this crap and move on. But I'm worried about the possibility that I was somehow slandered. I've scoured employee-related sites about this. Some people insist that a former employer can't give a negative reference because it's illegal. But according to Ask a Manager
, it's NOT illegal to say something negative about a former employee, as long as it's true!
Ha. I love how she just leaves it at that, like it's black and white. Of course I
would maintain that anything negative Zeke said about me would be false. But Zeke would counter with, Well, this is my opinion. It's a gray area, in other words.
It's also possible that Hurd, liking my hubby and wanting to do right by him, agreed to interview me as a kind of charity move. But it didn't feel like that.
Okay, Green, I need your reality checks here. Am I slowly becoming crazy and paranoid, like other unemployed people I know? I don't want to get all pathetic, but ever since my previous job dumped me out of the wheelbarrow a few months ago, I've been walking around feeling like hazardous waste. I'm an over-40 woman, if that makes any difference. I know it's harder to find stuff at my age, yada yada. Anyway, any words of wisdom, encouragement or insight would really help me right now.