I have to share story with you. It’s one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened in my freelance writing career—and it happened to me just recently.
Now before I share this story with you, I want you to know that I thought I had pretty much seen it all… I work with some of the largest companies in the world (and some of the smallest) and have seen the many hoops they make us freelancers jump through. But I’ve never experienced about to share with you…
Recently I was in discussions with a rather well-known brand-name. They came to me, and were interested in a white paper project. The discussion went very well and we decided to move to the purchase order stage. After a day or so, I received an e-mail from my primary contact, telling me a bunch of forms would be coming via e-mail.
I was kind of surprised by one of the documents they sent me, entitled “Background Check Packet.” I thought, “Background check? What do they need to do a background check for?”
So I closely examine the document. It asked me to authorize them to:
- Investigate my consumer credit
- Check into my education
- Examine my prior employment
The document also asked for my Social Security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, and places I’ve lived over the last few years.
The cover letter explained that they were going to pull my credit history, criminal history, DMV records, and anything else they will need.
Of course, I objected to having them run my credit report as I was refinancing my house and didn’t see any reason for them to run a credit report on me. I figured it must just be some HR department mistake, but wait, there was more…
Things got really interesting after my objection to the credit report. My contact at the company came back and said, “No need to run the credit report, however we will need to run a drug test on you, watch for a packet in the mail.”
What?? They’re hiring me to write a white paper, and they need to run a drug test!
This really doesn’t make any sense. The only foreign objects in my system will be caffeine. I’m not going to argue this one, but instead decided to document my experience here for your edification.
IMPLICATIONS: Is this the future for freelance writers, where corporations run criminal background checks, credit reports and drug tests prior to hiring a contractor to write something—that exclusively involves telephone calls and delivering Microsoft Word documents?
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced this before?Receive email updates when new articles are posted.