I just had the most astonishing real life experience today that I want to share to offer a heads up to others who might benefit from my experience as I feel I hve experienced emotional abuse from the MarsVenus staff.
I had been studying a relationship model based on John Gray's Men are From Mars Women are From Venus books for the past several months.
I applied to be a relationship coach over a month ago. I was then contacted nearly two weeks before the deadline to start a class. I was very interested in participating in a relationship training course and eagerly geared myself up to win their favor.
During this process I learned that in order to apply I needed to have a land line, with call waiting removed, internet access and a computer with a CD Rom drive, Windows 98, internet access, and that I would be available to work 20 hours a week, where I might get calls and make .30 cents a minute or nothing at all. My office would need to be quiet so as not to disturb callers.
The coach coordinator sent me the first phase of my information packet. During our interview she described the schedule which she volunteered to email me. I failed to receive a written copy of the basic information of the dates, times, fees, hours etc that I would be working. I politely emailed her about three or four times for this information. The coach coordinator, emailed a confused message and then insisted we talk on the phone.
The next experiences with this coach set me up to fail multiple times before I even realized it. Via email she set times the night before for the next afternoon without checking with me if I were aware or available at times she wanted to talk. She failed to inform me that she would be contacting me within this time frame and that I must be at my computer at all times to await her response. My only contact information for her was an email address, so I was unable to reach her by phone, something she failed to do with me past our first and only interview. This put me at a disadvantage and left me feeling desperate to achieve the unachievable!
From my first request to get additional information, the coach implied I was uninterested in the position. Then again she did this when I was unable to make her unrealistic unconfirmed phone calls. This doubtfulness on her part became demoralizing for me.
Initially what I wondered was why did she have to phone me to tell me the schedule? Why not email me these mundane facts? Was the schedule and such supposed to be a verbal agreement? This began to give me a bad feeling.
A couple days ago I finally did get the supplemental documentation which had been delayed due to technical difficulties with the internet which included what I wanted to know.
What I wonder about now, is since she had my contact information of my interest in the training a month or so ago, why did she wait until it was close to a deadline to start the process, rather than giving me ample time to work out normal snafus and to read the legal information etc?
Back to the supplemental documentation: it detailed a rigorous schedule (unpaid for training and the first six months) which would have been fine. I have worked for free a lot and with great satisfaction.
Also, there were intense legal document signing away my right to offer my opinions in the context of a coach. Thus contract made it my legal responsibility to compensate the MarsVenus organization for damages, should I make such an error.
Working for free 20 hours a week for six months and more, enduring what seemed to me disorganized and accusatory behavior from an organization claiming to be (and regarded by many) world class relationship coaching made me so uneasy. I wrote the coach a letter describing the specifics of my concerns, requesting an apology and two referrals (MarsVenus asked for three of mine) from their coaches on what it was like to work with MarsVenus.
I feel like she waited til the last couple weeks to get me to give in to all their demands and get myself all excited and attached to the notion of being a relationship coach without allowing for the problems that occur when relying entirely on the internet and email to establish a working relationship. Additionally, I felt that the corporate culture at MarsVenus could use some emotional development.
And this is her and the MarsVenus response:
"Thank you for very much for your interest in the Mars Venus coaching position. At this time we do not feel that this position is a good match for you. We appreciate your interest, and wish you the best of luck in your employment search.
Mars Venus Coaching
To me this dismissive email is completely lacking in taking responsibility for any part of the problems in this process, much less a model for relationships, personal or professional.
I realize this may be something many other people experience on other telephone coaching jobs as well. So I hope you can learn from this and take the best care of yourself!
elow is a list of ten signs of a safe leader. Which of the pieces of my story fails to match all of these?
Ten signs of a safe group/leader.
1. A safe group/leader will answer your questions without becoming judgmental and punitive.
2. A safe group/leader will disclose information such as finances and often offer an independently audited financial statement regarding budget and expenses. Safe groups and leaders will tell you more than you want to know.
3. A safe group/leader is often democratic, sharing decision making and encouraging accountability and oversight.
4. A safe group/leader may have disgruntled former followers, but will not vilify, excommunicate and forbid others from associating with them.
5. A safe group/leader will not have a paper trail of overwhelmingly negative records, books, articles and statements about them.
6. A safe group/leader will encourage family communication, community interaction and existing friendships and not feel threatened.
7. A safe group/leader will recognize reasonable boundaries and limitations when dealing with others.
8. A safe group/leader will encourage critical thinking, individual autonomy and feelings of self-esteem.
9. A safe group/leader will admit failings and mistakes and accept constructive criticism and advice.
10. A safe group/leader will not be the only source of knowledge and learning excluding everyone else, but value dialogue and the free exchange of ideas.
Ten warning signs of a potentially unsafe group/leader.
1. Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
2. No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
3. No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
4. Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
5. There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
6. Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
7. There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
8. Followers feel they can never be "good enough".
9. The group/leader is always right.
10. The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing "truth" or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.
Ten warning signs regarding people involved in/with a potentially unsafe group/leader.
1. Extreme obsessiveness regarding the group/leader resulting in the exclusion of almost every practical consideration.
2. Individual identity, the group, the leader and/or God as distinct and separate categories of existence become increasingly blurred. Instead, in the follower's mind these identities become substantially and increasingly fused--as that person's involvement with the group/leader continues and deepens.
3. Whenever the group/leader is criticized or questioned it is characterized as "persecution".
4. Uncharacteristically stilted and seemingly programmed conversation and mannerisms, Cloning of the group/leader in personal behavior.
5. Dependency upon the group/leader for problem solving, solutions, and definitions without meaningful reflective thought. A seeming inability to think independently or analyze situations without group/leader involvement.
6. Hyperactivity centered on the group/leader agenda, which seems to supercede any personal goals or individual interests.
7. A dramatic loss of spontaneity and sense of humor.
8. Increasing isolation from family and old friends unless they demonstrate an interest in the group/leader.
9. Anything the group/leader does can be justified no matter how harsh or harmful.
10. Former followers are at best-considered negative or worse evil and under bad influences. They can not be trusted and personal contact is avoided.