Just before New Years, I got an email from my property management company. They were letting me know they’d be raising my rent…effective March 31.
Nice to get plenty of notice.
I signed a 15 month lease last year – well, 2017 – in mid-December. This was after my landlord in the unit right next door refused to negotiate my rent after this unit sat on the market for $200 less than mine…for six months!
When she finally agreed to talk pricing, my current unit had dropped another $100. When she came to me with a $50 reduction, I wished her well and opted to save $300/month on my largest expense. I iced my decision-making cake by telling myself that having a property management company versus a weird mix of hippy and dilettante for a landlord would be better, anyway.
When a property management company can’t figure out how to change the batteries in a smoke detector, run! That was indicative of each of the issues I’ve had since I moved in.
Garbage Disposal: 2 weeks to get a repairman here, 10 minutes to fix.
Balcony Doors Warping: 2 weeks to schedule a handyman, they show up to assess and three weeks later, still not fixed.
But it’s ok…it’s just winter and cold air is just pouring in around the edges of the door.
By all means, though…send me that rent increase email while you’re proving you’re not worth it. That 7% increase is pretty high, given that rents overall in Portland decreased 3% year-over-year from ’17-’18.
But at the same time, I knew I was getting a fairly good value. If they hadn’t been such foot draggers about repairs, I wouldn’t think twice about the $100.
However, since my old land lady had yet to rent my old unit, I thought about reaching out to her. I was curious about her plans for the unit. I thought maybe losing $20,400 over the year versus dropping my rent $200/month might have put her in a mood to negotiate.
Plus, the board president had let slip that her HOAs were in arrears. Oops.
I figured, get past the New Year holiday and see how she felt about a March move-in.
Then a BBQ showed up on my old balcony.
Eight months after I moved out, she put my old unit on the market for $50 more than what I last paid.
Remember how rents went down 3%?
Yeah, she didn’t get the memo.
Two months later, she drops the rent to what I wanted to pay before I moved out. It still took a month to rent and the new tenant moved in this month.
The BBQ was disappointing enough to see show up – our building doesn’t allow them. But now I’m wishing it was just a BBQ.
He’s gonna be one of those neighbors.
So, here I am, thinking of moving out of a building and area that I really love living in. I don’t have much else to do besides think – ok, obsess – go to the gym and write. This was a good lil back burner thought exercise.
Then, out of the blue, I get an email from MudBay about a job. It is a position I applied for in mid-November at the urging of an old colleague of mine. She works for them in Seattle and thinks of me every time there’s an open position.
I applied a couple of years ago, but nothing happened.
This time around, she not only insisted I apply, she arranged a drop-in with a former manager of hers who had moved down here to Portland to open a store for them.
Alright, alright…I’ll go!
The District Manager just happens to be there the day of the drop-in and we all talk for 45 minutes in what felt less like a drop-in conversation and more like a full-on interview. It also felt like they were trying to talk me out of the position. They both kept reiterating how hard it was for people to come from outside retailers because their culture is so different.
Well, at the end of that conversation, I offered to send the DM my resume and asked for her card or contact info.
Oh, that’s ok. If you applied, I’ll find your resume.
“But you said that hundreds of people applied…”, I say, not adding that the job has been posted for five months.
Oh, I’ll be able to find you.
“But you don’t know my last name…” Yeah, this is sounding like the end of a bad date.
But you were referred, so that’ll narrow it down!
She sounds so peppy and sure of herself. Still, I’m thinking for a company that’s so different from other retailers, this feels the same as a lot of other “don’t call us, we’ll call you” interviews I’ve had.
Ah, the joys of the great job hunt.
To say I was surprised to get an email requesting a phone interview…well, that would be an understatement. Nowhere in my mind was the thought that she had actually liked me as a candidate. Or even a person.
That she forgot who I was, well…that was firmly planted at the front of my mind.
I debated reminding her, but then as the conversation began
Before we start, you read the job description – and that’s just the framework of the responsibilities of the role – but do you have any questions about it before we start?
…it really became obvious that she didn’t remember me. At the second question, I was really feeling like we were covering redundant territory.
So, I stopped her and asked, “Just out of curiosity, you aren’t the same person I spoke with in November at the store on Hawthorne, are you?”
I don’t think so…no.
– she says, sounding rather uncertain.
There are two District Managers for Portland.
I was thinking she was worried about stepping on someone else’s toes. But the way she said it made me reconsider.
She doesn’t like her counterpart. I was pretty damn sure I was right, but resisted sharing my experience to suss out my suspicion. Frankly, I found that to be a plus for me.
Sure enough, we went on to have a fantastic hour-long conversation. I think my only obstacle as a candidate for her is my salary; my floor is $2k over their max.
That could be a sticking point.
However, the landlord story above? Yeah…I live in one of the most expensive parts of town. If I get further into the interview process and she/they begin to understand where their openings will be…I could move closer to my assigned store and save a couple hundred bucks a month. That puts me back in the salary/expense ballpark I want to be in.
The Silver Fox would hate that plan – not that I’d be wild about losing the spontaneous nature of our neighborly friendship. But for a job with a company I want to work for? Maybe it would be the right thing to do.
To that, I say