Japanese Squeeze

Hello,

Our company seeks a Customer Liaison Officers to help manage and facilitate communication with our North America customers.

You were recommended by our recruiting team for the position, after assessments of your online professional profile.

If you are interested, I will be happy to provide you with more details.
Warm Regards
.

The email appeared in my inbox on a Friday at 5:18pm.

Of COURSE I knew it sounded fishy. I mean, the typo’s alone raised some red flags.

But, out of either curiosity or boredom (or both), I took the bait, responding with a brief and to-the-point: “Sure, I’d like to know more. Thanks.”

From there, I embarked on a two-week roller coaster ride of high hopes and dashed dreams.

The offer? $4,800 monthly to spend 6-8 hours per week as a glorified bill collector for a Japanese machinery manufacturer.

They had a legit website. No hits turned up when I Googled “company name + scam.”

I did my homework and came to the conclusion that this was a non-English speaking company looking for a qualified customer-facing English speaker.

Simple as that.

Then, I spoke with the North American Sales Rep. Her name was Jo and her accent was both completely mysterious and utterly suspicious.

I asked some questions… is this legit? Who are you people? What the hell is going on here? Her answers were mostly unintelligible and obscure.

The call ended with me not knowing a whole lot more than I did to start. But $4,800 for less than a week’s worth of work…

I wasn’t really looking for answers. I was looking for reasons to just hit “go.”

It’s funny how much you can overlook when you’re determined to get a payday.

$4,800 may not seem like much to some, but for us (when combined with my hubby’s income and my pay-out from freelance gigs) it’s “change your life” money.

And with a roof in desperate need of replacing and a dishwasher on the fritz, we could honestly use it.

So, I moved forward. I completed their onboarding questionnaire (which was filled with typo’s), responded to their emails, told them I was in.

Last Friday, I suddenly received an email with the name of my first client. I was instructed (by email) to contact the company and request the money they owed, over $40,000 in total.

Unsure of where, exactly, to direct their payment, I contacted Jo… and heard crickets. I received zero response to my texts or emails about where clients should send payment…

… and, by the way, how does the company plan to pay ME, its humble bill collector?

Finally, on Monday morning, while going the distance on a stationary bike at the Y, I received this:

“I got your text messages and email. As regards to the payment, you will be receiving it on our behalf. This is one of the duties of the CLO.”

Ah, fuck. That text ding was the sound of the shit (as expected) hitting the fan.

“Hmm,” I responded, “That sounds an awful lot like money laundering. Is there no US account to which I can direct client funds?”

In the 10 minutes that followed, there was a flurry of text activity – both between me and Jo, and between me and my best friend, an IP attorney in Houston.

“Yeah, that’s definitely money laundering” she said. Goddammit. Just when I’m on the come-up and finally about to feel like a real, live adult with a real, live disposable income.

FML.

The next 5 minutes were spent feverishly considering a life of crime.

What has Netflix taught me, if not that crime pays for disillusioned stay-at-home moms?

In the end, I politely told Jo where she could shove it and followed my bestie’s instructions to email the company and decline the position.

When it comes to a possible white collar crime rap, I’m all about leaving a paper trail.

And then I spent the next 24 hours intermittently sobbing and cursing.

I grieved for the loss of the shit loads of money I’d hoped to make…

… the money that was supposed to end all of our financial struggles, pay for a bomb-ass roof, and hook us up with a Sprinter van that could carry us away from here on a moment’s notice.

I also felt a good bit of anger at having been hoodwinked. Although, let’s be honest, I was a willing participant in my downfall.

And now, did I need to worry about a Japanese assassin showing up at my door? I mean, they know I’m onto them… and they have my address…

Let’s just say the next several months, I’ll be sleeping with one eye open, waiting for ninjas to descend out of nowhere.

But the worst part, perhaps, is that all of these shenanigans detracted from a REAL win: landing another copywriting client.

Instead of celebrating a victory and feeling confident in my abilities, I spent days feeling like a ridiculous fuck-wit.

Still, life goes on. And with every fuck-wit moment comes important lessons for the journey:

A. Easy money is easy for a reason

B. With a little confidence and determination, I know I can come by the same amount of money honestly (and feel better about myself in the process)

C. Always keep a lookout for ninjas

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