Disclaimer: So since I am talking about a lawyer who knows how to sue people, let me just say right here that NO NAMES or other descriptors that may be used to identify this person, agency or employees of said agency will be used! I will be as general as I can. Please don’t sue me, I want to retire in 10 years. Thank you.
Back around 2005 or so, I was still the Webmaster at KTHV 11 in Little Rock. I had a call one day asking if I would be interested in coming to work for an attorney in the central Arkansas area. Ok, nothing weird about that. I had had job offers come in out of the blue during my time at THV, and usually dismissed them on the spot. I was pretty happy at that point with my work situation and the people I worked with.
So, this assistant to the attorney calls me and asks me if I would be interested in coming in to talk about a position. A former boss of mine always said if someone calls you about a job and you are interested that it never hurts to talk. I was intrigued enough to come in and chat.
I also need to add that I never actually spoke to the attorney, but only to his assistant.
So, without going into a great deal of detail, this lawyer maintained a website. Not for his practice, but for his hobby and his collection of things pertaining to his hobby. It was a pretty cool hobby and he had collected some very interesting items. It was explained to me that he thought of it as an “online museum”. What it really was, was a vanity site about his hobby.
“Ok”, I asked, “Where is the site hosted?”
“Come again?”, the confused assistant asked.
“Hosted means where does it live. Most sites like this are hosted using a hosting company.”
“Oh it is hosted here!”
“What?” I said with obvious surprise. I am smooth like that.
“Yes”, the assistant said, “We host all our sites here in these offices, and also our email servers.”
*DING DING* Alarms start to sound in my head.
Even in 2005, webhosting was cheap and very simple to use. The advantage to using a webhost to serve your website to the world was much simpler than maintaining your own server. Not the mention safer from online attacks and better able to handle traffic spikes. Not that I thought his hobby site got much traffic.
“Well, if you don’t mind me asking, why would he do that? Webhosting is inexpensive and a much better platform for maintaining a website.”
Without a change in facial expression, the assistant said “He likes to maintain control over all the aspects of his websites, including the machines we host it from”
*DING DING DING DING* The intensity of the mental alarms ramp up. This attorney sounded kind of weird and very much like a control freak. I have worked for control freaks before.
Let me take a minute and talk about control freaks. If you ever have a boss or manager that comes to you and prefaces what they are about to throw out there with “You know, I am not really a micro-manager or anything like that, but….” Get ready. After that “but” some epic control freak micro-managing stuff is about the rain down on your head. I know from experience. Now back to our story.
“Sooooo, I asked cautiously, I would maintain all the websites and the email servers for the practice…”
“Oh no”, he interrupted, “You would only be working on the one site.” referring to the ‘museum site’. He continued, “We actually have a person who maintains the site for the practice. And I should clarify, you would not technically be working for the practice, you would be working directly for Mr. ********. You would also not be under any of the company health plans or a part of the benefits package.”
*CLAXON SOUNDS – SIRENS – DANGER WIL ROBINSON! -ABORT ABORT ABORT!!!*
I managed to keep a straight face. “So, uh, he wants someone who will work for…him… but not the actual practice, to maintain his… hobby site?”
Also keeping a straight face, the assistant said. “Yep.”
“With no health care or benefits package?”
“Ah, well. I assume the pay is….” I trailed off.
“$*very low pay* an hour”, the assistant said.
“$*very low pay* an hour! ” I stammered, incredulous. “I am sorry, but that is…”
“Ridiculous?”, he said. “I know. Sorry to have you come down man.” For the first time, the assistant looks apologetic. “See, he likes your website at KTHV and wanted me to find out who maintains their site and reach out to you to see if you will come to work for him. He is not a guy who likes to hear ‘no’ from the people who work for him, so I reached out to you. So sorry to waste your time.”
“No problem” I said and shook the guy’s hand. “But it is going to be a hard pass from me.”
“Yeaaah” He said, “Kind of what I expected. To be honest with you, I am looking to get out of here too. It is kind of …crazy working here.” And for the first time I saw the weariness that comes from being in a job working for such a demanding employer show on his face.
I wished him well.