Okay, normally this would be the night on which I post my entry for the Round Robin Photo Challenge (watch the Round Robin blog on Thursday, by the way, for a special announcement as well as a new Challenge). But as many of you know, I'm currently involved in something both vital and time-consuming: job hunting after the collapse of First Magnus, and trying to find out when and if I'm going to get my last paycheck from them. My employment-related activities today destroyed all my creative and fascinating plans for a photo shoot related to Steven's great Challenge topic, "Things With Wings." But fear not! I've never missed a Challenge date yet, and even the First Magnus debacle won't break my streak. Here's what I'm going to do. First I'll tell you about my insane, roller coaster day, and then I will post some wingèd photos as a teaser for my Wednesday entry. Don't worry, I'll get my proper Round Robin entry in before midnight Wednesday night, I promise!
Climbing the first hill...
Got up at 7:30 AM, which I almost never do. Donned my freshly-washed interview clothes, put on minimal, newly-purchased makeup, checked email, decided not to even try to put a bagel in my queasy digestive tract, gathered up my resume and Google Maps directions and hit the road. And quite a road it was: 77 miles one way, all the way down I-19 to Nogales, AZ for a job interview. It was a long drive, but peaceful and pleasant, and I renewed my acquaintance with the names of lots of places I used to go birdwatching.
Rounding a curve...
Someone from Recruiter #1's Nogales office led me along back roads in an industrial park and beyond, so many turns that I could not possibly find my way back. (No bread crumbs, you see.) She drew me a much simpler map for the return drive from the prospective employer's location, introduced me, and left me with my potential bosses.
They asked me questions. I asked them questions. We liked each other, and the work was highly reminiscent of one of my more interesting challenges at Worldwide Travel. The only real issue was the commute. The job pays $X more than I made at FMFC, but John figures that the transportation would cost us an extra $X. Result: more time out of my day, and at best breaking even on the money. The interviewers were concerned that I would not stay with the job under those conditions. I assured them that if I accepted it, I'd give them at least a year or two. But I had to wonder, was this my best option?
Long, fun drive back, listening to the same old CD, spotting a red-tailed hawk and saying a friendly good morning to the Border Patrol. I thought about stopping at a chili factory, at an old mission church or two, at a restaurant with giant steer horns on the roof, or even at Madera Canyon, where it's usually possible to snap an exotic hummingbird or two. But I was in my interview clothes, and I didn't have any bird books or binoculars with me, and which exit was that chili factory at, anyway? So I drove home, and ended up going five miles out of my way by taking the wrong Ajo Way exit. (In the other direction, there were three Ajo exits!)
I was almost home when I remembered to turn on my cell phone, which I'd turned off before meeting with the recruiter. There was a message from another recruiter, the fourth to express interest in me, the third one to actually meet with me. We chatted about a job about 50 miles closer than the Nogales one, for the same pay, working for a health care provider. I arranged to meet with him at 4 PM.
John called as I was on the phone with the recruiter. First Magnus declared Chapter 11 today. John predicted I wouldn't get my paycheck, which was due on Monday. I checked www.azstarnet.com, the online version of the Arizona Daily Star. The Star, bless 'em, have had far and away the best coverage of the whole FMFC mess as it's unfolded. As of this afternoon, the news was this:
No paychecks, but assistance promised for First Magnus workers
The article said that investors had frozen the company's assets, so they couldn't pay this past Monday's payroll as promised. (Filing for bankruptcy, of course, makes the issuance of those 6,000 paychecks even harder.) But some of the mucky-mucks had chipped in $1,000,000 in "assistance" for the Southern Arizona employees only, on the stated theory that this is where the support staff is and they might have a harder time than the industry people across the country. The catch for the "assistance": show them you really-really-really need it! Uh, yeah. Don't make me come to you, hat in hand, for "assistance." Just find a way to get me my paycheck!
As you can imagine, I was very upset and angry at this point. But I went on to the next part of this roller coaster ride:
Climbing to the top!
I've been looking for my Social Security card since Thursday, when Recruiter #2 needed it for the I-9 form. At some point in the recent past, it left my wallet. I went online and actually printed out a form to get a replacement. Then I thought of a few places more to look for the existing one. And whaddaya know: I found it, in a box of John's old sales receipts! Yay!
Encouraged (but still angry), I headed off to Recruiter #2 with the card, and then went to Mysterious Place #1 to take Round Robin photos. Only I ended up chatting with people there about First Magnus and about the ethics of working for a defense contractor, and suddenly time was up! I had to go on to my interview with Recruiter #3. This involved filling out a bigger stack of paperwork than the other two, in part because I was already registered with the others, in part because Recruiter #3 specializes in the health care sector, where patient confidentiality and drug testing are part of the mix. They also administered the easiest accounting test yet - I got 100% on it, although it had been a long time since I'd thought about those kinds of questions. Anyway, it looks like I'll have an interview on the heath care provider accounting job around Thursday AM or so, which gives me time to get a clearer idea whether to turn down the Nogales job if offered.
Then! As I was finishing up with Recruiter #3, Recruiter #2 called my cell, all excited. "Everyone wants to hire you, Karen!" I told her that was great, but I was in an interview just then. She said to call her back before 6 PM. But when I left Recruiter #2 at 5 PM, I drove over instead. She's got THREE leads on jobs for me, one of which is for $10 K more than the Nogales job. The catch is that it's in Marana, which is about 30 miles away in the other direction! But for that kind of money, we can afford the commute. And since John also works on the Northwest side, we could conceivably fix up this house, sell it when the market improves, and move to the Oracle and Ina area or someplace like that.
Didn't see that curve coming!
Back home, eating dinner, I checked azstarnet for the latest. The next sound you hear is me laughing hysterically.
THE LATEST: First Magnus revises assistance offer
By Christie Smythe and Tiana Velez
Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona | Published: 08.21.2007
First Magnus Financial Corp. shareholders and executives have reversed course on creating a $1 million assistance fund for former Southern Arizona employees still awaiting their final pay checks.
Are you kidding me? The big wigs are putting up more of their own money, and these checks are to be mailed on Wednesday. And that's in addition to (they hope) the eventual issuance of my paycheck, not instead of.
What a day!
Okay, I've kept you all waiting long enough for my Round Robin teaser. Riddle me this: in tomorrow's entry, I will be posting pictures of things with wings, as promised. But what kinds of things?
To be honest, I'm not sure yet. It all depends on whether I go to Mysterious Place #1, Mysterious Place #2, or Mysterious Place #3 in the morning, assuming I don't get sidetracked by a last-minute interview appointment. In the afternoon I have an appointment with Pima County's One Stop employment center, dealing with unemployment and such. After that I'll be back here, selecting and editing truly interesting photos of...well, something with wings!
Meanwhile, let's visit our Robin friends and see what things they found with wings:
Nancy - POSTED!
Nancy Luvs Pix
Karen - sorta kinda POSTED!
kerrin - POSTED!
a new day
New Suzanne R's Life
Carly - POSTED!
See ya Wednesday evening.