Craigslist: Friend or Foe?

In my quest to relocate to Oregon I have been searching for ways to earn extra money for moving expenses.  I’ve had a lot of luck using Craigslist in the past to buy and sell household items as well as search for jobs and apartments.  I’ve even used it to search for volunteers and post events for my work. I have been keeping an eye on Craigslist for money making opportunities and so when I came across a post from someone seeking a person with QuickBooks experience to open and sort mail, perform data entry and other miscellaneous tasks for five hours a week, I clicked the reply button and proceeded to email my notice of interest.  Within a couple of days, I had heard back and we set a meeting time and place to discuss the position in further detail. 

On a Saturday morning, I met with the business owner at a local coffee shop here in Madison.  After buying me a coffee, he wanted me to know a few key points right away before we got started. 

RED FLAG #1:  He explained that he lives in a sketchy neighborhood and that this is where his office was.  Second, that he is a diabetic and prone to crankiness when his blood sugar gets low.  Lastly, that is he is bipolar.  He told me that the last person he had helping him quit without notice via email.  My mind began to race with the possibilities of why.

RED FLAG #2:  The job was advertised at $12 per hour.  When asked my salary requirements, I said the $12 per hour he advertised was acceptable.  He then said it was actually $10 to $12 an hour at which point I stated I would expect $12 per hour.  Then he asked if I would accept $9 per hour and with clear hesitation and disapproval in my voice, I said I would have to think about that.  He then began to explain to me that the correct answer to his question is “no” and that my answer made him reconsider if I was qualified to work for him. 

RED FLAG #3:  When I asked if this position would be paid through his payroll or if it would be a contract position, he asked if I had a preference.  When I stated I preferred to be on contact and receive a 1099 at the end of the year he asked if I had workers compensation insurance.  I thought this to be a strange question and when I said no, he said I would have to be on his payroll then since by law, he couldn’t utilize my services if I didn’t have my own workers compensation policy. 

It was fairly obvious from the beginning of this meeting that this opportunity was not meant for me.  I suppose the free coffee and entertainment value of the situation was worth an hour of my time.  I wonder what other strange encounters are around the corner in the land of Craigslist jobs?    

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