Not In Kansas Anymore...

Click your heels, and see if home is where you hang your hat, or somewhere else inside yourself as this simple, postmodern girl takes on L.A.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Managed to make it through this Mercury Retrograde relatively unscathed ( but not without a story or two, see other posts), or so I thought....

Last week I went on a job interview at the Hollywood Bowl Museum. Yes, they have a museum. It's small, but they take it seriously, and they called me in after I submitted my resume. The curator, even though she had already hired someone else, hired me on the spot. "This could actually work out well for us," she said, " since we need more than just a few shifts covered." I was ecstatic. My GAWD- a job in a field I am actually trained and educated to work in? And they're paying me? AND I get freeeeee tickets? Sign me up!

She mentioned they had to do a background check. "Just a formality. Because sometimes children come into the museum," she said. Knowing I have no criminal history, I figured it would be a snap. She gave me the forms to fill out and I signed at the x. No big thing, and I should have that back in about 3 days, she said.

The weekend- last weekend- comes and goes, and I'm waiting to hear from her. Finally, yesterday, I just called to see how much longer they expected it to be. "Didn't you get an email?" she asked. "The LA Philharmonic ( the parent company to the Bowl) says you don't meet their hiring requirements. They'll be sending you a copy of your check in the mail shortly." Flabbergasted, I put the phone down and racked my brain. No crime sprees I can recall, no complaints filed against me by anyone, ever, that I know of, not even a ticket in the last 5 years. My license plates are expired, I think. Could that be it?

Ah, but no. I received said report today, and what was flagged was my credit. Yes, you read it. My credit history. Which happens to suck, by the way, but has never, NEVER kept me from getting a JOB. I don't work in banking, you see. I don't shift large sums of money around from one place to another electronically, nor have I ever been licensed to drive an armored car. The most complicated thing I have ever done involving ( somewhat) sizable cash was counting down the register at The Flower Shop. Woo.

There was a letter attached to the report from the Philharmonic, saying that if I had anything to contest about the nature of it or my interests in being hired by them, I should contact them within 5 days. I was on the damned phone in less than 10 minutes. I got some chickie in HR on the phone and proceeded to ask her WHY, since as a receptionist, my contact with money at the Museum would be next to nothing, my credit report was beng used against me in hiring ( the Bowl DOES have a gift shop, but it's in a whole other building, and is a whole other venture. There is a small tray of little pencils and doo-dads in the lobby that I might--MIGHT-- sell should anyone come in. I was informed when I was hired that selling anything was really so rare that I would be having a big day if $5 passed my desk). She explained that since I would TECHNICALLY be handling money POSSIBLY they automatically disqualified me for the job. So I flat out asked her, "Listen, uh, Shelly? Shelly. Right. How locked in stone are these 'automatic' qualifications? Is there anyone I can talk to who might be able to help? Because you have to concede....this is a bit ridiculous. I have excellent references and I have never had a problem before about something like this." Shelly said I could call her boss, the head of HR on Monday and plead my case to her. She did, however, let me know that other background checks were pending for other candidates. I thanked her for the information and politely hung up.

And then I frickin' HIT the ceiling.

I don't mean to get off on a rant here, but... what the FUCK has this country come to when someone can't get a JOB because of their debts? Would it not make sense that oh, you know, they might want to WORK to pay them off? Do I have to be spotless in order to work now, never having even accrued a bounced check in order to get a job at ohhhh, I dunno, Macys or soemthing?? Do employers really think that I am going to risk losing a job that keeps a roof over my head over a few $20s I might be able to sneak past the security cameras? Or has the world just gone to hell in a handbasket so severely that I, a lowly plebian on the management totem pole, could not possibly BEGIN to understand?
I mean, okay. If I were in charge of development, or even, say, applying to be an Administrative Assistant for a company this large ( which, I might add, isn't even a PRIVATE company, it's a NOT-FOR-PROFIT) and would thereby have access to files that had to do with financials, or sensitive matters of that nature, it would behoove them to know if I was in debt. Who knows? I could pull an ill-advised, unsophistocated version of "Oceans 11" or something with my meth-addict boyfriend and rob them blind. Or, I could slowly filter money away a penny or two at a time like in "Office Space". I get it. I do.

But let's FACE it, here. First of all, this job doesn't even pay $10 an hour. It doesn't even require me to be standing up most of the time. And when it gets really slow, the curator lets people READ. Unless there's an event at the Bowl, hardly anyone comes in there, and even so, the gift shop is RIGHT NEXT DOOR and they'd likely walk into it to shop, as it is clealy labelled and has a far greater selection of items. I'm certain weeks could pass and I wouldn't be selling anything. 'Cause you know what? THAT'S NOT MY JOB!!!! My job is to welcome patrons, forward calls, neaten up occasionally, and when asked to, give a tour or two. That's the job, that's what they hired me to do, and that's the story, Larry.

I'm trying to stay calm and not even think about it, because when I do, I feel like I'm going to burst a blood vessel. In my head, maybe. I do plan on calling the Head HR Babe over there at America's esteemed Los Angeles Philharmonic and very calmly and rationally discussing the matter with her, although I seriously doubt it will make a difference. The job has likely been already filled by someone else by now and whether I like it or not, this fight is probably null and void. However, I am pissed enough to start something because this is just WRONG. As Bob Dole used to say, YOU know it, I know it and the AMERICAN people know it. And I have just about had my fill.