Vincent Safuto’s Weblog

Notes and observations

Beware of ‘out-of-the-blue’ e-mails

You’re checking your e-mail one day, and you see a message from someone who’s looking to hire. At a time when many companies are firing people and perhaps you have been one of them, your defenses may be down. “Someone wants me,” you think. Well, think again. I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.

Much to the dismay of a lot of people trying to “hire” me for jobs, I’ve become a lot more skeptical of late.

It’s an essential survival mechanism when you are down on your luck, and finding a job – any job – is becoming a cutthroat competition between you and hundreds or thousands of other people.

When you’re vulnerable and desperately in need, it’s tempting to reach for opportunities that sound good. That’s human nature. We want at least part of our old life back. Unless you’re a member of the economic elite, you’ll probably never earn as much money working as you did before, and you may be thrown into permanent poverty with your credit score ruined for life. Believe me, you’ll have a lot of company there.

So when you get one of those e-mails out of the blue from a company offering you a position, it’s tempting to throw caution to the winds and bet that this is your big break. My luck’s got to change sooner or later, you think, so this has to be “the one.”

Think again.

An outfit from Provo, Utah, sent me an e-mail out of the blue recently. I guess they harvested my resume from a job-search site and used the e-mail address to pitch me a business opportunity. I tend to trust no one who just contacts me “cold” and sounds too eager to hire me, so I perform due diligence on every company and read whatever I can find via Google (pro and con) before making an informed choice.

Indeed, some Web postings report that Utah has a reputation for being a “scam capital.”

According to a February 2006 posting at a site called Pyramid Scheme Alert, “Utah has the highest concentration of multi-level marketing scheme headquarters per capita of any state in America.”

There are those who would accuse me of being too choosy and too skeptical, but I’ve made the right choice every time in rejecting such offers. By setting up standards and holding to them, I am protecting myself and my financial status.

I will probably end up losing a lot if I cannot find a decent-paying job, but I will not compromise my standards or spend my shrinking savings on a bogus “opportunity” that will only benefit a con artist.

A big issue for many people is that they think spreading out and spilling their personal information to several job-hunting sites is the way to go. I have a few sites that I use regularly, but a couple of days ago I decided that had to be taken off my list.

Lots of folks looking for work have found that the job postings on Craigslist are either fake, are multi-level marketing schemes, or are commissioned sales jobs. I decided I won’t find my future at that site.

The reality is that if someone advertising a job won’t even reveal the name of the company and its location, it’s better to just move on. I’d rather read five ads from legitimate companies that are looking for workers than 50 ads in which 45 are fake and five are real.

These are tough times, and in tough times people are scared and vulnerable. We’re subject to economic forces way beyond our control, and our economic futures are in the hands of people who have no interest in us as human beings. That makes us vulnerable to people who pretend to care but are mainly after what’s left of our financial resources.

The only weapon I have left in my intellectual arsenal is my brain and my skepticism.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.


February 10, 2009 - Posted by | Living in the modern age, The jobless chronicles | , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hey! Aren’t you ever going to post some pictures on this blog?
    I frankly had no idea what you were talking about during the posts about the war games – a pic might have helped. And, I hear you have some beautiful felines…

    Comment by Diana-NYC | February 11, 2009 | Reply

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