Tuesday, February 18, 2014

People are Stupid

Yes, yesterday was one of those days.

I got a call from a recruiter - not a recruiter with whom I've ever done business - who found my resume somewhere online. She wanted to get some more information about me about a possible job in an area to which, out of desperation, I'd travel, but I wasn't thrilled. So, as we were reviewing my resume, she had a few questions.

She said I had excellent credentials, and then she asked me why I was not PMP certified. I explained that the jobs that I had simply didn't allow the extra time to study and take the test. As we were talking, we discussed my last full-time, permanent position. I was telling her about the ups and downs experienced, how there were periods where we weren't getting paid, and how I was being scrutinized, even though I was a full-time, salaried employee, over hours I had worked at home and things just degenerated from there. She asked why I had been working from home. I explained that I had breast cancer, and some of that time was between when I was laid off and rehired, so I got some procedures done as part of my cancer treatment.

At that point she said, "Well, why didn't you take advantage of your time 'time off' and go get your certification since you weren't doing anything?"

Since this was over the phone, I couldn't simply reach across the table and smack her upside the head. Nor could she glean from my eyeroll that she asked an utterly stupid, obnoxious and foul question.

Golly, lady, it might have been that I was too busy having my breasts lopped off, poison injected into my body every couple of weeks for a few months straight, and then having all kinds of infections, skin grafts and other organs removed on a whim.

So, I grit my teeth, smiled, and explained that I think she needs further sensitivity training.

She asked, "Why?"

Really? I explained that her response was callous, ignorant, more than likely illegal, surely a form of harassment and discrimination. She said I was overreacting. I asked her if she would like to find out when I contacted LIVESTRONG for their best legal referral, and the lawyer and I would file to sue her ass.

She told me she couldn't represent me because I was too unprofessional. I told her she was damned right she couldn't represent me - she was clearly too incompetent.

Then I called her boss.

I haven't heard back from her boss, or from whomever she directed my call (it could have been to the janitor, for all I know). I kind of wish that I did, so I could let him know that he hired a complete moron, and even though I don't have formal recruiting experience, I, or my cat, Samson, could do a better job than this woman, and I certainly know what is an appropriate response to a candidate explaining that they were getting cancer treatment and working from home during their "time off" and what isn't. I'd love to tell him a few other things while I was at it, as well.

Sadly, it appears all I can do is vent here on the blog.

So there it is.

What frightens me, though, is how many recruiters from the past couple of years have been equally as ignorant? How many, in discussing my resume, credentials, survivorship, etc, or even Google searches, actually think what this woman was thinking?

How many hiring managers learn about my cancer and think that I could have been more "productive?"

How many are apprehensive because they wonder if I'll need treatment again? How many somehow think that the cancer is contagious, or was brought on by something I did? Are recruiters and hiring managers still that backwards in their thinking that I'm a pariah? Really?

I don't hide my cancer past - I wear it as a badge of honor. I'm not going to hide it. It doesn't own me, It's not who I am. It's not my work history or my capabilities. I still worked daily in my hospital room, from my bedroom, my loft office, and even my office office, when I had work that required my attendance in-person. And it was 2 years ago.

So who cares? What's the problem? Why make me feel "less than" because I fought a disease and came out the other side, stronger, more intent on working a job for which I'm passionate?

Funny, I thought those were good things to have. Bottom line, to all recruiters and hiring managers that have a problem with the fact that I'd had some sick leave, took some time off a couple of years ago, and used my time between gigs to address some of my health issues...

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