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Monday, November 30, 2015

My Experience Working for the Mormon Church Part 2



My story of Working for the Mormon Church: Part 2


After working hard for a few months in the Church office building, a new kid came into the block. Let’s call him Eddy. Eddy was much like me, easy to work with and also an on-call (Since he was new). However, unlike me, Eddy wasn’t attending college for web development, and knew nothing about internet technology what-so-ever. He was hired mostly by word-of-mouth referral by another employee whom as his best friend. He was, however, learning web coding on the dime and I was the one that helped him with many tips. Not only with web tech, but the department as a whole.

After my team moved to another floor of the COB, we were all in tiny cubicles, yes, the worst kind of office claustrophobia there was. It felt like the movies where a man was at work punching in 9 to 5 in these isolated cubicles. And I was in one of these with my new work buddy Eddy. He was a rookie, even to me, but I was just graduating with a B.S. in Web Technologies. Along with four years of past on-the-job web experience. And over 7 years Graphic Design experience. While poor Eddy had nothing but the past 7 to 8 years of working at a pizza delivery. So after finally getting my degree, I was hoping to get hired full-time at the Church.

Another friend of mine in the company, let’s call her Ellen, was once a on-call employee like Eddy and Me, and many others, and now working full-time as a designer. She was so interested in Eddy’s thought and skill of points of views of the Church that she promised to make him and I “full-time within a month”. I was like, “Good luck with that” I didn’t say that out loud, but I was like, there were so many on-call part-time employees in the Church department that it would be impossible for both Eddy and I to go full time within a month, let alone a few years. Since, as I mentioned in part one of this article, the LDS Church has a crazy, competitive way of hiring people. If one of us got hired, it would most likely be me, since i’ve been at the department months longer than Eddy, with having more skills in the field and seniority. I felt bad for the kid, he had nothing on his resume, but boy was he a very bright and friendly fellow.

The weeks had past and work was hard and full of grunt. Because on-call employees had to beg the full-time employees for their grunt work of typing in numbers and Church stats, along with quality checking of LDS.org. One such full-timer was a beautiful and smart sister of the team, I’ll call her Jo. She had two master degrees in web tech, along with years of web and design skills. She even knew Latin, Arabic, German, and Hebrew. She was very smart and had a great position in the team. I was able to work with her a few times on a few hard projects that even she struggled with and I was able to get the issue fixed. This blew her away and she became so willing to give me more work, and less grunt like the others. With Jo, I was able to work on some designing samples of the sites, along with reaching out beyond my skills. I loved working with her because I felt smart and needed.

The time had come where another job opened. Ding, ding ding, apply now minions! All by Ellen, who went over to another department in the Church Office Building. She was missed, but I also kept her words of hoping to give good word of having me soon became a full-time employee.

So as always when an opening comes by means of replacement, the on-calls jump on it like a pack of wild wolves. I and Eddy were ones that applied, and pretty much all of the on-calls on our team, which were 10.

The day came where our manager Ken, interviewed us each for the position. I went in around 1pm and went inside a small, humid and crowded room for the interview. I was freaked out because Ken was the one to conduct the interview, and he not only asked crazy, odd questions, but he and I never really click. He reminded me of a bishop of a ward I was serving in during my LDS mission days. Where one day the bishop would smile and wave to me when I walked into the chapel, while another day he would just ignore me and not wave. Ken was a strange fellow to understand, and as a manager that held this troubling trait, it made the interview process harder. So I went in to the interrogation room. Ken stood across from me, along with Jo, along with Ellen, along with my past team lead from my earlier days in the department. There were ten people interviewing me!

So I sat down and felt I did one of the finest interviews in my life. I walked out of that room feeling like I got the job. They acted impressed with not only my skills in web, but by my openness to learn new things.

I went home that day feeling good about my chances for a second interview. Life was going my way. I just had another child with my wife, we were living in a lovely townhouse and I was graduated with a degree! I was the man!

However, it wasn’t long until my hopes fell crashing down. That next week I went to work and right away got an email from Ken regarding the hiring process of Ellen’s old job. It told me that I didn’t made the cut. I felt like a pee-wee football player that was cut from the team after working so hard in try-outs. It was very painful. I left work later that day feeling as if all my hopes and dreams of my career was sucker punched out of my gut. I didn’t even made the second round! In fact, most of the people that did were other full-timers from the other departments within the massive Mormon Church inc. Only a small handful of my fellow underdog on-calls made the cut, including rookie Eddy, the pizza guy that knew nothing of web a month before.

This bothered me greatly! How unfair it was for so many people. I was cut for the second interview while Eddy, the guy who’s been in the team way less than most of us, and former delivery boy, made the second round. I tried not to let this bother me, but it did. I felt very down on my self esteem more than any other time at all the jobs i’ve worked at in my life.

It hurt very bad and I felt betrayed by my team. They didn’t really say what was the issue, only the topic of how I would answer questions too fast? Yes, how I was quick to answer. It had nothing to do with skills, talent, past experience, referrals and positive outlook from Jo and a few others in that interview that I worked hard for. It had all to do with how nice you were and how you answer the questions.

I understood that answering questions in an interview is key. However, the questions in that interview hardly had anything to do with the position at all. It were testimony based ones. It was mainly how you feel when doing the work and watching and reading the content from the site. And so sooner or later they found their man with more of a spirit than me, it was Eddy.

And he started his full-time employment ahead of me, and about 20 on-calls that had been on the office months, or years longer. That’s when I knew for sure that there was no way I was going to get a full-time job at the Church. To help my moral and support for my family, I knew that I had to search intensely for other companies. Since they were less competitive in hiring full time employees.

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