Nothing political like last week’s rant. This week, my life is back to the same-old-same-old with the renewed observation that freelancing and networking are fraught with pitfalls.
With regard to networking, I frequent LinkedIn. It’s a source of business-related information, news, professional contacts and, apparently, romance.
I know I’m not a bombshell beauty. (Not fishing for compliments here.) I’m an older woman, overweight with bad skin and a permanent frown, aka “resting bitch face.” But to receive connection requests from men–usually engineers or in the forex/bitcoin fields–who then compliment me on my “alluring” profile photo and “sweet smile” and then ask about my marital status … yuck. That makes my skin crawl. Folks, LinkedIn is not a dating site. If you can’t keep the exchange professional, then don’t contact me.
To fend off such creeps, I tried adding “Mrs.” to my profile: you know, a subtle hint that I’m married and not interested. It didn’t work.
As if that weren’t enough to cast a pall over the past week, I found myself targeted by another employment scam. Again, assuming honesty, I responded to a post stating that a company needed to hire a proofreader. There’s a difference between editing and proofreading, but most folks don’t understand that and, since I do proofreading as well as editing, I responded with an expression of interest. The person to whom I responded said the company wanted to interview me. Then things got weird.
A gentleman (and I use that term loosely) who called himself Tom Fred engaged me in an interview via Skype chat. Yeah, that’s a red flag right there. Next came a strange discussion. Red flat #2. I received an offer of employment, which I did not accept. I responded with questions. Tom Fred handed me off to another person who, I was told, would be my point of contact and supervise my assignments. I attempted to verify that they understood my status as a contractor, not as an employee. After glossing that over, the new person engaged me in a chat thread that was, yes, weird and also strangely familiar. I’ve been through this before, you know.
I engaged in a little research. The company exists. Tom Fred cannot be found listed on the company’s website. The second person’s name is found, but the Skype profile picture belongs to someone else at the company. I contacted the company to notify them of fraudulent representation by some imposter. I haven’t heard back. They probably don’t care.
Then I receive an invoice for the equipment and software that are supposedly to be installed for my use. I replied in a message: “I’m not going to pay that.”
The gig is up, folks.
I returned to LinkedIn. The message thread of that original conversation had disappeared, so there went my opportunity to alert LinkedIn administrators to have that user account banned.
Yes, unfortunately, that’s become business as usual and I’m back to my regularly scheduled programming. When engaging in business networking or business-related discussions, I expect professional behavior and honesty. I get a bad taste in my mouth when that expectation crumbles and find myself admiring the Muppets’ two curmudgeonly hecklers, Statler and Waldorf. I want to be them when I grow up.
In the meantime, I think I’ll write.