Allow me to begin my first blog by introducing myself. I am Euan McBride. That could suffice but allow me to indulge by providing some further colour. I am 25 years old, an avid fan of music, film, literature and all that lovely stuff. I have a wonderful family and a collection of beautiful and talented people I am fortunate enough to call my friends and therefore feel relatively blessed by the cosmic superbeing from space legends.
Though one cannot have it all so in regard to this what am I lacking? One of the most fundamental and essential requirements for any contemporary mid twenties yadult (youthful adult, take a big swatch at that lingo Diablo Cody). Something that all enjoyment and sense of fulfillment in daily life tends to grow from. A job.
Like 7.7% of the UK I am currently unemployed and have been for the last month. One of the harshest and most barren environments to be found on our green isles is the job market in mid January, it is a desolate and unrelentingly bleak place. I can say with some pride that I have never been unemployed for any great spans of time and have happily taken the lowliest of the low service jobs to ensure the rent is covered and I can provide my body with the alcoholic tonics it so desperately requires. That being said the periods without employment if you are anything like me and have been in a similar position can be the most stressful and spirit draining experiences to be had on par with forced viewings of vampire love stories by ex girlfriends. There seems to be nothing on the horizon at the moment. I cannot emphasise enough the sheer financial stress and night terrors this can bring on. I myself am a victim to panic attacks and I am surprised I can even type without leaving a trail of blood all over my keyboard from the nail-less stubs I call fingers at the moment due to how much I have gnawed on them with anxiety.
There are two options available it seems at the moment to those looking for work without taking the benefits route and these are the soul destroying street pounding with a newspaper bag full of CV's, entering every business, cafe, bar, shoeshine booth with a massive, plasticy smile on your face attempting to hide the haunting desperation in your eyes, OR, the information superhighway, where dreams come true, love blossoms, news is shared and cats wear hats. More and more business's, particularly office based vacancies will only be available to applicants through internet communications adding the faceless and inhumane process of CV submission and online application form completion. After checking the spelling and phrasing of your covering letter six hundred and three times you send it off with a "CV attached for your consideration" and the waiting game begins. And often never ends.
I have refreshed my email so often my left ring finger (return key chief operative) now resembles a bicep. Very often no response will ever be received from online applications and I found myself applying for absolutely anything I could find on various job sites, I then uploaded my details to S1jobs and this leads me to the main subject of this blogrant (totally killing it Cody, Jennifers Body was naff).
After a few days of having my CV uploaded to the site I received an email from Paul Pickering at SLS Recruitment informing me that my CV had been received by "Modo Marketing" and to contact them directly to fast track my application. God bless you Paul, you sir are some kind of Superjesus and I bet you have lovely hair and a Ryan Gosling torso. What a guy. Immediately sweeping the telephone up in my hand I had to compose myself due to fear of squeezing it to death like Lenny and his mouse with excitement. Finally, a response. I spoke with Karly at Modo who invited me to an "friendly chat" the following afternoon, swallowing the proposal of marriage rising in my throat I gleefully accepted on the promise she would text me the details later that afternoon. When said response arrived my phone may have well as played a fire alarm or klaxon for the red flag it presented. Karly, my future wife, had seemingly had her phone stolen by an excitable teenage girl with crab hands who had proceeded to send me a barely decipherable mash up of words and symbols punctuated with smiley faces. She hadn't even spelt my name correctly. Striking me as incredibly unprofessional (it's spelt with a "U", it's on my CV that you informed me you had right in front of you Karly) I decided to do a little web research on this Modo so called Marketing because I'm such a savvy and James Bond like sort. It proved fruitful.
The first few Google hits were incredibly vague descriptions of the company on free blog and social networking sites, it seemed strange that a company boasting such progression and growth over the last few years would not have their own website in this current climate of online communications, they're a marketing company for crying out loud. After gleaning no tangible information from their own mouths/fingers I came across an absolute horror of an account from a 19 year old girls experience with the company on ripoffreport.com to which I will provide a link for at the end, It's worth a read. It was obvious that this company was shady and seemingly part of a pyramid sales group called Cobra (G.I. Joe must have missed their UK offices). These people offer promising and rewarding marketing jobs with titles such as "Customer Sales Representative" and "Trainee Sales Executive", huge pay benefits for those with the right attitude and a scope for progression up the corporate ladder. This really all translates on the accounts I found online to be door to door sales people on a commission based salary that is often not paid out but stored in ridiculously sketchy sounding "company bonds". These companies lure in people with misleading job descriptions and completely take advantage of them for as long as it takes for the penny to drop. Not being registered as employees of the company these staff are overworked, lied to and do not receive the money they have worked hard to raise.
With this poor girls words still resonating it crossed my mind that I couldn't actually remember applying for this job. That's because I hadn't. On further though who the hell was Paul Pickering? I wasn't even registered with SLS Recruitment. These folk at Modo send out nets online like a big dirty, sleazy trawler catching all the poor fish and reeling them in. Cantona inspired metaphor there, apologies. I declined to attend this interview on the back of the information I had found and returned to my computer in search of more legitimate prospects. Then came the boom. They called me again the following day from the same address under the moniker "Celica Marketing" offering me as before a chat in their office. I had to get a look at this place and see these pirates up close, I was intrigued and therefore accepted the offer. Today, February the 5th 2013, I attended my interview/friendly chat with Celica Marketing.
Imagine if you will any of the interior sets from Hollyoaks. Low budget, tacky, hollow and lifeless. Cheap laminate wood effect flooring, PVC sofas and plastic plants. Also a radio blaring at a dangerous volume the torrid chart offerings of todays pop tartlets. Welcome to the offices of Celica Marketing. On arrival I was buzzed in and informed to come to the fifth floor. On my ascent I passed a door on the third floor with a pricey printout taped on that read "Modo Marketing", satisfied I was in the correct place I climbed on. At the top I was greeted enthusiastically by a young lady who took my coat and guided me to the holding pen where there were around ten other applicants who had not applied for a job here waiting, all with the same look of suspicion and confusion across their faces and provided me with a brief form to fill out. I sat myself down and said hello to the young chap beside me. I inquired if he had applied for this job online too and he responded that he wasn't sure. This seems to be another arrow in these charlatans quiver, with the sheer amount of applications people make online it can be very easy to lose track of where you have provided details, then jump at any reply you receive. Ten minutes passed and from the larger of the two offices at the rear of the small office a woman with a clipboard made herself present and called out a few names, everyone bar me and a mid thirties, nervous looking chap proceeded into this mysterious room shrouded by blinds to potentially enter a mass suicide pact. Soon after a clean cut Geordie fellow in a nifty suit exited the smaller of the offices and introduced himself as (insert males name here, let's say Gregg) the "Managing Director". He disappeared into his office with my interview rival and this left me to sit for twenty minutes to soak up the atmosphere of first class business conduct surrounding me. Where most people would spend this time mentally preparing and answering potential questions in their head I let mine wander as I was here purely on a curiosity mission. I fixated on how ugly the chair beside me was and on a set of expensive looking golf clubs sitting outside Gregg's office. Soon enough with a flourish of enthusiastic hand shaking Gregg bade farewell to my predecessor and invited me into his office.
There were many odd aspects to my chat with Gregg but oddest thing of all were the contents of his office, or lack thereof. You would assume the Managing Director of a successful marketing company would have a computer, shelves and cabinets of paperwork or even some stationary. Poor Gregg had nothing but two sad looking chairs and a very dusty glass table with nothing on it, not even a funny animal calender. It struck me that he should probably store his golf clubs in here. The lasses outside were having to step round them to get to their coats.
What proceeded was the strangest, most confusing and hilarious interview I have ever been a party to. In summation I still don't really have any idea what Gregg was on about and I consider myself to be fairly receptive to new information. It was peppered with buzz words such as "drive, passion and attitude", it was all utter trouser biscuits and may have well as been read from an autocue by the robotic way it was transmitted. Gregg had the form I had filled out in front of him and went through it with me, intensive screening process of ensuring that I could stick to my story by confirming verbally what I had just written twenty minutes ago. Clever Gregg, taking no prisoners. During his confirmation of the information in front of him he fastidiously circled things and drew a lot of arrows all over the paper, whatever code this was I imagine even the Enigma would struggle with it. On the other hand I think it might have been just to give him something to do in his office. I hope he leaves his work and the pen he used in the office. Might brighten the place up a bit.
Moving on Gregg then posed the grand question "What gets Euan out off bed in the morning?" I assumed he was talking about me, being spoken about in the third person while present is slightly disconcerting. Resisting the correct answer of "breakfast" I launched into a description of a fictional side to my personality, I shall dub him Business Euan. Gregg fell in love with Business Euan. After ten minutes of improvised interest in the position Gregg had to admit he was so impressed he wanted Business Euan back the following day for a hands on training experience and second interview I was to arrive at 11 am and work in the field until 4 pm (all unpaid of course) to get some hands on experience culminating in a follow review with Gregg in the evening. Business Euan shook his hand firmly and accepted with delight.
I shall not be in attendance.
These companies are dangerous. They lead people to believe that they are attending an interview for a job within office based sales with big rewards and training to progress up the corporate ladder. What they are in fact is an act. Their office resembles a cheap film set because that is exactly what it is. It is a facade and a mask for their lie, they offer everything to desperate people and take advantage financially of those who require real jobs the most. In these offices the money runs up, all present employees are a show, a 2D cut out to convince applicants it is in fact a functioning business with real employees. Cobra Marketing pulls in the young, desperate and impressionable and sends them back out into the wild with delusions of making high commission profits for themselves while offering nothing but deceitful and empty promises. Further accounts of those who have experienced working under these pirates go on to say that days in the "field" are spent in low market shopping centers if not door to door canvassing, travel is paid out of their own pocket and some state that after working 50 plus hour weeks come away with as little as £60. These people are apparently "self employed" state the executives of the companies under the Cobra pyramid, only provided with the tools to create a successful job for themselves and reap the rewards for the efforts they put in. I find this hard to digest as it is poisonous, people in entry level jobs attending interviews on the promise of consistant financial rewards and some even leaving other jobs based on these lies require at least a minimum wage. A job is a job. Yes, some people are happy to join at the lowest rung of the ladder within large companies and organisations and work hard to progress up through the ranks and make a name for themselves but the most basic requirements of any job is the money and security it provides and any potential position offered by these tricksters has neither.
I implore anyone registered on any UK job site to be incredibly wary of these scams and to look into the company offering you something that seems to good to be true, because it probably is. Money is tight, unemployement is difficult and harrowing but keep your head held high and with dignity do not allow yourself to be taken advantage of by these heartless bastards. Good luck out there in the wilderness, we'll make it back inside eventually.
The Glasgow based office for Modo/Celica is the following, please do not waste your time visiting:
34 St Enoch Square
.Accounts of those who have smelled the flowers:
Article from the Mirror concerning these Companies: