I dealt with stupid people, and the ramifications thereof, today.

Recruitment Consultants

About three months ago, I was looking for work, and applied for a number of jobs, and was offered and took one of them. Before taking this offer, I made a point of contacting all the other people I'd applied for work with/through, and asking what the status of my application was (to make sure I wasn't going to get an offer), and thanking them for their time, any interviews, oppotunities to meet (maybe we can work together in future, etc).

The point being that I did the right thing and made contact with everybody and closed things off, and didn't just leave things in the air. It felt good.

Yesterday, a recruitment consultant sent me an email, and left two messages on my mobile phone asking me to get in contact with him about a job I applied for three months ago. I ignored this, thinking he'd get the hint. Today, he called and emailed again, asking me to call him about the same job, after he didn't return my calls when I wanted to know the status three months ago.

He obviously wasn't going to get the hint, so I emailed him:

This was nearly three months ago! I hate to break it to you, but I haven't been sitting on my hands for three months just incase you called.

I tried to ascertain the status of this position some time ago, and you didn't return my calls.

I know it was cheeky, but I just wanted him to stop calling me. I mean, how can you ignore someone for three months, not return calls, and then expect me to still be interested in the position, or still be interested in dealing with such an ametuer? If he'd have taken two minutes to return my call when I rang him to ask where my application was at ("Just calling to let you know that it doesn't look like my client wishes to go ahead, but thanks anyway"), or if he'd said "Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, but..." then I might have been more interested.

But he didn't. He saved his two minutes, ignored me and left me in the lurch. Nothing wrong with that, but I just think it's a bit arrogant to do that, and then call and email me five times and wonder why he doesn't get my immediate attention.

So he emails me back saying "hope you enjoy your new job with your great attitude", adding insult to injury. Idiot. Take a hint! Recruitment agencies are the scum of the earth.

Unreliable Friends

I was relying on a friend to forward some mail to me, and he said he'd do it, and said he'd already sent it a month ago. I got the mail today, and it was postmarked 5 days ago. He let it sit for two months. In the meantime, two accounts were referred to debt collectors. And there was a letter saying that my previous landlord wanted to claim my entire rental bond (over $1,000), if I object, do so within 14 days. And it was postmarked a month ago.

If you say you're going to do something, then do it! It was a friend doing me a favour, but the ramifications of him letting it slip for two months were considerable in terms of my credit record, the hassle of paying everything so urgently, not being able to claim some of my bond back, etc. I mean, I'm not talking about a few dollars of inconvenience here and there, in terms of overall hassle, damage to credit record, and lost bond, it's probably cost me at least $500.

If he couln't do it, I wish he'd have said so, and I'd have asked someone else.

Stupid Companies

While urgently paying my two months of overdue bills, I came across some dumb companies. One debt collection agency sent me a letter of demand stating that:

It is essential that your payment be forwarded DIRECT TO THIS OFFICE by return mail, failure to settle this outstanding account may result in your listing with the CREDIT REFERENCE ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA.

That's it. Now, paying by "direct mail" isn't exactly convenient. I don't have a cheque account, and never have (I'm distictly of the credit card generation). I'm overseas. What am I meant to do, get a money order and post to them? Send cash in the mail?

I mean, you'd have thought that they'd actually provide details of multiple practical methods of payment, so as to maximise their chances of getting it paid, and getting their cut. So, I phoned them. It turns out that they take credit card over the phone. So why don't you put that on the letter?

It's amazing that of these companies that sent a pile of letters, referred me to debt collectors, etc, not one of them even phoned me (I have my phone roaming, I'd have got their calls). They all have my number. I mean, if someone who has paid their bills on time for years suddenly doesn't pay after five letters, does it take a genius to work out that maybe they're not getting their mail, and it might be worth trying an alternative method of communication. Would have saved everyone a lot of time and hassle.

Also, most of these utility companies have nifty 13, 1300 or 1800 numbers so it's the same number nationwide, for free or the cost of a local call. The problem is, they're usually impossible to call from overseas. You'd have thought that they'd have the smarts to put a normal, local phone number somewhere on their bills, in the phonebook, etc, but no.

Stupid Professionals

You may have guessed from my first gripe that I hate recruitment consultants. Well, I also hate most professionals, like lawyers, accountants, etc. For the reason that it's usually like calling tech support, they invariably know less they you do about your problems, and more importantly, how to fix them.

The company I used to work for went broke. Administrators were appointed, and I entered into some correspondence with them about my entitlements like accrued leave, pay in lieu of notice, etc. I gave them I new postal address for further correspondence. I faxed them my contract to clarify some points. I explained what I wanted.

I didn't hear back. I called them and they said oh, sorry, we're no longer administering the company, because it's being liquidated now, and a different firm is looking after it. But, well pass on your new postal address the copy of your contract, and the research we've done into your details so that they can pick up where we left of.

So I ring the new firm. They don't have my contract. They sent my group certificate to my old address. I mean, these professionals, they go to university for many years, they charge like wounded bulls, and most of them are incabable of performing the functions of a secretary. And incapable of asking their secretaries to perform said functions! If they can't keep track of a contact address and a contract, how do they look after complex legal cases?

I've seen this so many times before with accountants and lawyers. I wouldn't trust them with my piggy bank, let alone my tax return.

People who don't undestant time zones

Time zones are fairly easy to figure out. I'm back late at work tonight, and I got a call for someone else in the office:

Hi, is Mr. X there?

Nope, he's gone for the day, can I take a message?

Oh, I'll call tommorow, but can you get him to call be if he get's back today? It's Mr Y from XYZ company in (insert city 2500km to the west here)

I mean, he dialled the country code. It would have been pretty simple to deduce that it was 6:30PM here, and that it would be very unlikely that the person would be back today...

All in all, it's more stupidity than I can tolerate in a day. I hate stupid people