Rantypants: working overseas

Outside of the US

Dear Universe,

Sometimes I need to know that the door which just closed did so because another, much better one, is opening.

You have my number.  Thanks.



Every bed of roses has its thorn.  That smells.  Or something.


Usually my blog is my happy place.  Aside from my occasional tantrums about how the wheat bread has gone missing AGAIN, or the blind rage that comes over me when I hear about animal abuse, it's a reasonable reflection of my outlook and philosophy.  (Actually, I'm pretty tree-huggy and new agey, too, but I try to keep that on the down-low in blogland.)  And yet sometimes the yin comes right outta nowhere and whops you on the yang.  Balance, people, it's all about balance…  (Shush, new agey voice.)

Today my goals were simple:

  1. confirm a few plans for Naples and a Pompeii tour with Sherry Ott
  2. answer Mariana's questions about her upcoming trip to Italy
  3. write a review of Nellie Huang's Wild Junket Magazine (which is beautiful, by the way)
  4. start training for a new part-time telecommute job

Item 1 – check!  Item 2 – check!  Item 3 – not checked.  It was foolishly scheduled to take place after Item 4.  (Dang, why don't I stick my own numbers?)  Foolishly because, as we all know, jobs are craaaaazy.

A couple of days ago one of my online buddies, Lindsay Hogg of Chicken Chunk (among other things) and I had a Twitter exchange after she said she'd been wearing the "superpants" all day.  Apparently I had, all unknowingly, put on said superpants the following day, as I had been superextrauber-inspired and hardworking: I pre-scheduled, like, a bahjillion tweets on Hootsuite!  It was epic.


These pants are more silly than cranky.  The hats are pretty rockin', though.


Sadly, the yin (remember the yin?) to the superpants' yang is the crankypants.  Wearing the crankypants can, under certain conditions, lead to the donning of the rantypants.  Probably because they are so uncomfortably tight you don't allow yourself to eat delicious cookies.  This must be remedied, since the only known cure for crankypants is cookies.

Anyway, here's what went down:

A few months ago a contracting company that does work for a "Big Internet Search Engine" (I hope you're doing finger quotes in your head) contacted me through a freelance website.  They asked me to apply for a job as a contractor because I spoke English and lived overseas.  I did not, however, speak French (nor had I ever pretended to), part of what they were seeking, and so informed Random Recruiter Lady.  She asked me to apply for a different position on their webpage.  And so I did.

Skip ahead a few months and they finally send me a donkeyload of electronic paperwork to fill out and submit.  I do so, putting down my citizenship (US) and address (Ireland).  I take an assessment, wait a few weeks, and get a job offer.  I wait a few more weeks while they dink around with the training schedule, find out it's happening while I'm in Spain sans internet, get put on the waiting list, and resign myself to working on more blog sponsorship while Dario pursues funding for his project.  But noooo…

A wild email appears!  It's super effective!

They asked if I could start training in a few days.  They were even apologetic for the short notice, awww…  It was part-time, telecommuting, web stuff – perfect!  I said yes.

Today I cleared off the desk, installed the stupid Microsoft NetMeeting, dug out the microphone, tested everything, and even brushed my teeth in case NetMeeting came equipped with smell-o-vision.  I stressed about it all over dinner, too – no charge!  And then it began. 

We all introduced ourselves, gave some info on our respective backgrounds, and indicated where we were located, as instructed.  Washington state, Texas, Ohio, military spouse, non-profit worker, teacher, and, "Oooh!  A travel blogger.  How exciting!"  (Although I worried about smell-o-vision, paradoxically I did not worry about eye-roll-o-vision.)

I sat through the training and unmuted my microphone at appropriate intervals to "mm hmm" and "sounds good" and "oh, how funny!"  Everything was peachy until an hour or so later.


Hoa Hakananai'a is not impressed.


"Ooo…  yeah, about that whole 'overseas' thing…"  Suddenly it was Not Okay and they Will Try To Find Something In Your Area.  …What the bloody hell?

I tried to watch Scrubs with Dario to take my mind off it, but I was really upset.  Naturally I did the only thing a sane person would: I wrote a poorly punctuated rant on Facebook.  Still, I didn't name the company or their client.  I'm respecting the NDA, even if you didn't respect me, you poxy internet liarpantses!

New agey voice is reminding me to breathe slowly and think of rainbows.  *grumble mumble grrr*  Ok, inhale…  That's right!  Now let all that negativity go.  And exhale…  Remember to thank your friends for reading.  Inhale…  Exhale…


…Ah!  I feel better already.  Thanks for reading.


ps: I think tomorrow I'll go back to the cookiepants.

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  1. Just catching up on blogs after a crazy few weeks, and this made me laugh so much! Not at your misfortune, it sounds like a very frustrating situation indeed, but at the very wonderful sets of pants. It’s inspired me to take off my crankypants and put on my superpants – it’s a new day tomorrow, after all!

    1. I got so far behind on StumbleUpon that I turned off all sharing for the time being. (Working on a new website, shh!) You’re a better man than I am, Charlie Brown!

      “Superpants” is such a great term. <3 Lindsay for that. :D

  2. That sucks, hope that other window has opened. I love living overseas but I do find that my cranky pants come on more often here than when I lived at home.

    1. I think expectations has a lot to do with it. I know a lot of North Americans who go bonkers when trying to get any kind of customer service in Mediterranean countries. Totally different mindset. If we took the Buddhist approach and didn’t have the desires in the first place, we’d be a lot more content, lol.

      I’m looking forward to heading back to Ireland soon for this reason: having more common ground with my neighbors. ;)

  3. This has happened to me so many times. Once I was asked if I wanted to stay in high end hotels and just shoot them for a web site. I would get free accommodation and they would pay me.

    Dream job right.

    After weeks of interviews I heard nothing. They found someone else and did not even bother to tell me.

    That was a gigantic pair of crankypants.

    1. Similar thing happened to Dario for a web developer job with a big company in the UK. Even flew him out there and put us up in a hotel. Weeks went by. Months, even, following up with managers and HR folks and getting bounced around… Nothing, ever, not even final word on hiring someone else, if they ever did. Now when he sees them posting in Italian tech forums looking for employees, he tells people not to work for them. Upset one of their headhunters so much they apologized and said they’d look into it… again, nothing. Geezo, why operate that way? It’s bad karma all around!

      The thing is, when you realize a company is that schmuck-like, you realize you have, as mentioned in the comments here, dodged a bullet. Waste of an investment of emotional energy, but at least you were saved from more let downs!

  4. We too are on the finding a remote job train right now and you handled this MUCH better than I would have. Good for you.

    Something has to come up soon right?

    1. We’ll see. I’m writing a pretty brash CV to put up on Monster right now. Only the right sort of people will bite, of that I’m confident. ;)

  5. At least you are wearing pants. Those web cameras are known to know if you are just sitting there in your pajamas. I saw your rant on FB. Sorry it didn’t work out.

    1. Fortunately the laptop I was using doesn’t have a built-in webcam. I’m smart like that. ;)

  6. What a waste of your time! That sounds like a very just reason to don those rantypants and crankypants.

    1. Thank you, Diana. Fortunately, I am not only out of the rantypants, but I have been switching between the cookiepants, the sfogliatellapants, and the pastapants. ;)

  7. Enjoyed reading this post, nothing wrong with a good rant from time to time :) Sorry to hear the job didn’t work out though.. bloody time wasters. I’m sure something better is lined up for you :D

    1. Thanks, Laurence. I think that will become my new thought when these folks come to mind: “Bloody time wasters.” Not even an exclamation point – not worth it! ;)

  8. Thanks for the suggestion. It never occurred to me, because, I suppose, it’s not the sort of thing I normally write. Might just do that!

    1. You should totally do guest posts, Linda! Let me know when it’s up so I can schedule it in with my bajillion tweets on Hootsuite. ;)

  9. Being a freelancer is so annoying sometimes — how frustrating. I admire your restraint! Loved the cameos from some of my favorite bloggers!

    1. Thanks, Abby. Like Spiderman’s “…with great power comes great responsibility,” I guess “…with great freedom occasionally comes great frustration”. ;)

  10. Of course you’re right. The older I get the less I seem to care about burning bridges – suppose that makes sense in a way. But you’re totally right. The less bad atmosphere in the world the better basically.

    Ryanair made me mad because they cost me over €100 the last trip…and although I ranted on Twitter I didn’t, actually, blog about it…..because it was SMALL PRINT I didn’t read (does anyone, actually ever do that?), just as it was with the accommodation bookers who passed on my card number, costing me €25 in bank charges….a lot of needless expense on that trip because of not reading small print, but if you read the small print when booking a ticket it would time out every time!

    Ah – I love the finale. It didn’t even make me sad :=)

    1. Maybe you could do a guest post for someone with a travel tips site about reading the small print and only using the card you intend to pay with, etc. etc. What do you think?

      Glad you you liked the post. :)

  11. 1. If “Scrubs” couldn’t help then you must be seriously pissed! Perhaps “Friends” as a chaser?
    2. You are way, way too good a person.
    3. If it’s the truth is it still revenge or just a simple stating of the facts? I have that same problem in denouncing an online booking agency which passed on my credit card details to a B & B. I ranted. Someone “influential” in blogging asked me to name them and I declined…but why when what they did was wrong? I have no problem in denouncing Ryanair as the most inefficient, apathetic (in matters relating to customer service not when it comes to making money), rude and mercenary airline ever – but perhaps that’s simply because everyone else does it too? We should warn others of things that are wrong, shouldn’t we?

    1. 1) It’s Season 8, so they’re doing a lot more serious, introspective stuff along with the goofy.

      2) Thanks. Writing this really helped me cheer up. I hope it made other people laugh instead of dragging them down.

      3) Yeah, Ryanair is teh suck, but I find them mostly annoying, not angry-makin’. Maybe it’s the degree that counts? I guess I’m trying to make sure that my piss-off-ed-ness is not affecting my judgment too much. I can be really loud and really cutting when I’m pissed. Good for avoiding ulcers, but not always good for public relations (e.g., The Katrina Brand).

      I agree that sharing info is important. References are one of the reasons that CouchSurfing works. Maybe some of it is trying to avoid burning bridges, even if I don’t intend to cross them again. Look, if anyone wants to know the name of the contracting co., I’ll happily answer any private inquiries. In a situation like this, I just think that discretion helps reduce the number of cases of crow-eating and foot-in-mouth syndrome. But I could be wrong. :)

  12. How disorganized! Did no one bother to read the oodles of paperwork you filled out??
    Anyway, at least you have this outlet for your frustration :)

    1. Yeah, generally this is my outlet for inspiration, but… yin and yang, yin and yang. ;)

  13. Ah some companies can be so sketchy. It’s hard when doing freelance work, but you’ll find one that doesn’t suck.

    PS. I’ll share my pants with you any day!

    1. Thanks, Hogga. They are comfy and smell of bubblegum*.

      *that may be an optimistic euphemism

  14. Awww…sorry to hear about that unfortunate biz there. Definitely something better will come up later on. Sometimes things work out in weird ways but within time you notice the good stuff. And thanx a lot on the mention! you rock, so excited about meeting again soon! ;)

    1. Thanks, Mariana. That’s generally what I believe. Looking forward to the new, better opportunities. And looking forward to see you again soon, too. :)

  15. Ugh- what a nightmare! I’m so sorry, I was following along on Facebook, but I can’t believe what has happened.

    1. Thanks, Jade. Really working on the “something better must be coming” aspect of the whole thing. Actually, the work involved in the second position was even easier than the work for the first position, so I had that idea confirmed for Round 1 of the proceedings. Let’s hope that Round 2 proves to be more than “easier” and moves into “freakin’ awesome” – and involves more reliable players. :)

  16. Your NDA probably asks you not to divulge the name of the client company, but doesn’t prohibit you from divulging the name of the hiring company itself.

    If this is the case, you could warn potential employees of the big organizational problem of a company that supposedly does ONLY the organizational part of the job.

    I had a problem with Red Hat Europe a few years ago. I won’t go into details, but it was degrading and humiliating.

    I wrote a description of the events and kept posting it in a few professional mailing lists along with Red Hat’s requests for fresh victims.

    Probably it was effective in warning a few good folks away because, as a result, a really nervous and apologetic Red Hat manager called me, making up absurd excuses for the events, and then even trying to promise they’d find me a job.

    1. Yeah, but that’s not how I roll, baby. Until I could be absolutely sure that I was providing info in order to protect other people, rather than out of any sense of revenge, I would hesitate to do that. Might share on personal FB account so other travel bloggers and location independent types don’t get burned, but right now would be too soon to consider doing that anywhere else. :/

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