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The Nightmare of the Dream Job

Following rush week, a colorful, chalk-written advertisement made students aware of a rare opportunity. I glance down at the neatly written chalk, and a young woman pops up from the staircase and ushered me to her friend. 

Both flashed a bright smile, as they gave me a basic interrogation. They obtained my first and last name, student email and phone number while asking about my major and why I chose it. 

The conversation concluded with the promise of a call to “exceptional” applicants. A week later, I received a call from the spunky recruiter, she set up an interview with me. Everything was going perfectly until I was asked one question that shattered my bubble: “What’s the name of the company?”

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The company is called Vector Marietta, the Atlanta division of Vector Marketing, a multilevel marketing subsidiary under Cutco Corporation, a direct sales company specializing in knives and other cutting utensils. Multilevel marketing companies like Vector Marketing are essentially legal pyramid schemes. The company does indeed offer a tangible product, but this company is indeed sketchy.

First and foremost, they are incredibly secretive about the name of the company. The advertisements, phone calls, voice mail and emails do not include the company name. When the representatives speak with applicants, they refer to themselves with their name, “who you spoke with, in front of [Classroom South.]” I found the company name, throughout the office line provided in their instructions to their interview location. I delved deeper into their reviews and history, to find that my experience with their representatives wasn’t unique.

Though I didn’t participate in the interview, it has become apparent that the vague and secretive rhetoric of the company is typical.  A group of anonymous West Chester applicants, speaking with The Quad, disclosed their experiences with the company.

The interviewer asked me very vague questions that are typical of an interview, but she made sure to never explicitly state what exactly I would be doing,” one student from West Chester University said. “She brushed around the subject and said I’d be doing sales and customer service. She said she’d like to offer me a job and gave me a date and time to come back for training.”

Another student alleges that the company doesn’t welcome questions of safety. When he asked about safety, he said that the Vector management “immediately, and quite harshly, shot me down.”

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During my research, I uncovered some of their alarming past. For example, I found that the promising $15 an hour wage is the base of a majority of their legal suits. The company has a history of not paying its employees. The company has endured consistent litigation in reference to their alleged wage and labor violations, with their most recent case being in 2017.

It’s safe to say that my excitement for the “opportunity” diminished greatly, and I ultimately didn’t participate in the interview. While this is an anecdote to look back on and laugh at, this unveils a serious issue in our generation. Companies prey on the financial vulnerability of students, knowing that we are willing to jump at any opportunity that can alleviate the strain of college financial obligations.

I’m not trying to stop students from seeking early career advancement. But I do advise everyone to take the time to research the companies that offer these too-good-to-be-true opportunities, especially when they are off-campus and are not a nationally recognized brand.

“Securing the bag,” financial stability and career gain is a vital portion of the career-building process, but it should have limits. Intuition is important, even when it comes to selecting a job. If the company or position gives you an uneasy feeling or doesn’t seem reliable, your safety and wellbeing should always precede any and all wages and benefits. I implore you to secure your safety while securing your bag.