Lenient dress code.
Plenty of physical activity.
I don't know where to start on this one, so I'll give an abridged chronology of grievances I had with this company throughout the most miserable stint of my life. This will be a long a detailed account, so If you would like a concise summary of why I am writing this, head on down to the last paragraph. If you are reading this, odds are that you hold some sort of engineering degree and are relatively new out in the real world as this is a company who preys on this demographic (more on that to come). Congratulations. This is exactly where I was when I was first contacted by this company. If this is where you are in life, listen up and learn from my experience. If not then by some miracle the sorry excuse for those who call themselves management have finally gotten their act together and hired other necessary people for this operation. Pay attention too, there is information here that you need to know as well.
I'll start at ground zero; the interviews. The first interview was with one of the HR execs who flew in from Italy. We talk a little bit about the company and what they do and how I would fit into the picture as an engineer. I tell her a little bit about my education, projects and interning experiences, all of which were straightforward bread and butter mechanical engineering endeavors. She tells me that all which I had learned and which I had worked so diligently at would come into play at this job. She says that Torrecid is a new way of business and technology with a strong sense of values. After we had what, I will admit, was a very open and honest conversation, I shook her hand and thanked her and went on my way. Two weeks later I get a call from the manager of Torrecid USA, overconfidently trying to convey to me through cyphered English that he wants me in for another interview. Great. I met with him later in the week for a dictated one way conversation that, from what I could make out, was all propagating the glorious Torrecid regime. Several times I tried to interject by relating some of my professional experience to the job, however any talk of what I had accomplished as an engineer wisped away into some kind of egotistical abyss, never to be acknowledged. In retrospect, this was red flag number one, but as young and inexperienced as I was, I didn't know any better. After learning about how honesty is this group's number one priority and that I would be working for them as a full fledged engineer I was told that Torrecid promotes a healthy work life balance for her workers in that they observe the standard American 8:00 to 5:00. I would come to find out in an alarmingly short amount of time that there was not to be even a facet of truth to any of these statements.
So a week later, in I go to my first day of real life. The first week is spent eagerly learning all there is to learn about the technicality of aesthetic tile. And by all there is to learn I mean ALL there is to learn. Red flag number two. I was sitting there on Monday of week two being told that I had mastered the technical training of this allegedly engineering career. Week two was when I was introduced to the Torrecid Way. The Torrecid Way is the creed by which all management at this company had been indoctrinated. The Torrecid Way is shorthand for thoughtless inertia. As in "hey this idea may not work" or "you know this method uses eight times as much resources and energy" and retorting with "but it's just the way it is, so let's not bother ourselves with coming up with a better solution". Among other examples, this was the reason that the manager of Torrecid USA was brought in from Mexico and ran his ship with minimal English skills, no regard for effective marketing in the US, and without even considering respecting the American working hours. And it's the reason that they initially planned to hire a team of engineers and pay them $20,000 per year. That strategy worked out in other countries of the world, of course it will work in America.
Whilst being educated in the Torrecid Way, I am gradually introduced to their marketing game plan, although I can't gather why. Shouldn't they have a team of people who are educated in marketing and dedicated to that aspect of the business? Before I could rationalize that this was certainly the case in my own head, I was handed the handset to the company's landline and told to get to work on selling raw ceramic material. Red flag the third. By the end of that day my stomach had dropped into my pants and my throat was telling my brain to make some room. I am an engineer by trade and that carries with it the typical engineering personality. As you might gather, not only does that make for some of the worst sales mojo that is out there, it makes for one extremely anxious guy making cold calls to complete strangers. The ensuing nerves coupled with the fact that I had just realized that I was completely blindsided by a telemarketing operation was a cold shocking whitecap right into the face. But just like getting caught in the tide, by the time I knew what was going on it was too late. I had been promised great things in life, and at this point all I had to show for the years of rigorous education was a BSME and getting in on a telemarketing ring.
After a few weeks of occasionally shaking off the panic long enough to actually make some marketing calls (resulting in exactly zero sales and a myriad of being hung up on) I was finally granted the opportunity to accompany our lead technician on an errand to the tile factory. It was here that I ended up splitting the rest of my time with the company. If I wasn't making futile sales calls to anonymous ceramic peddlers I was at the factory, repeating the same banal tasks which included and were limited to milling some small variety of raw materials into a liquid enamel, spraying it onto a tile, and waiting an hour for it to cook in the industrial kiln before we could analyze it to determine that it needs 0.0015 grams more of wollastonite, rinse, and repeat. From time to time, though, the tedium was broken by what I like to refer to as the Italian matchathon. Every few months this factory will get an order to start production on ten to twenty new tile products from Italy. It was our job to figure out how to formulate the glaze and which digital graphic would result in the best match. "Engineering". This generation defining challenge was met with great vigor and enthusiasm by out technician, a fresh Italian man who, via virtue of the Torrecid Way, would see to it that we conquer this feat in Italian style. That is to say that we would go to this factory from 8:00 in the morning to, on average, 7:30 at night to either correct the most pedantic little detail, or ofter to create a new problem just to experience the joy of spending a large chunk of time solving it as inefficiently as possible. We went through the ordeal three different times while I was there, and each recurrence lasted between six and eight weeks.
Flash forward to a few month after the third matchathon. Under my belt I have several more stories and instances where all of the cracks that have shown in this organization start to grow. I am called into my manager's office after analyzing my marketing performance where he reveals to me that he would "hire anyone off of the streets to do the technical aspects of this job", that he "hires engineers to find out the best way to market our products", statements that truly speak volumes for themselves. I don't think that I had been so offended in my life, but in that moment it didn't matter. I was trying to navigate back into reality after being sucked into a realm of bleak disbelief by his words where I left any remaining iota of respect I had for this guy. I went home that night and updated my resume to begin a new job search.
A few weeks pass, filled with overzealous 8:00 AM meetings to spend hours discussing the same topics that everyone had already tread to death and knew better than their own name at that point, late hours with no compensation, and general incompetence. Eventually I was let go for two reasons. The first being that I approached work like an engineer and not enough like a marketer. The second that I "was not willing to set aside all outside interested in order to work at any hour of any day". I took this job because I was told during two separate interviews that I would be a bonafide engineer in a company that values work and life balance-the very reasons I was fired.
To sum up my experience at this company, i would say that it completely twisted my outlook on work, my self worth, and life in general. This is a company run by a manager who hires young and inexperienced scapegoats to do jobs that they are not qualified to do and do not want to do so that when things inevitably go wrong he has someone to fire. I worked at this establishment with five other twenty-something Americans who all had the exact same thing to say. I have written a lot of strong opinions here, but I hope that does not skew what I am trying to say. This is how i actually felt about this company and I would not wish the same fate on even those who sweet talked me into this situation. This is a group of over zealous fascists who do not care about you, your life, your happiness, or your future. They will throw any of that under the bus in a heartbeat if it means that there is tile to sell. They will chew you up for all the labor you can stand with absolutely no overtime compensation, benefits, or incentives and drop you off on the side of the road. I am not the first person who this has happened to. Torrecid tears through employees in America and abroad to turn a profit, which works globally, but since they have no interest in adjusting their business model I don't see them being around in the US much longer. Take it from me here and now, I am not the only one who sees it this way or so strongly. I don't write this in hopes that someone from the company reads this and is taken aback by how awful their methods of management made life for many people. My hope in writing this is that those who are considering working with Torrecid know what they are getting themselves into and that they will choose their own path wisely. You may take my advice with a grain of salt or take it for what it is worth- that is your decision to make. But should you choose to make a future with this company, may God be with you.
Advice to Management
The only way to rectify the position you have created for your employees is to do what should have been done in the first place when you decided to expand to the US. That is to quit and replace yourself with someone who actually has an ounce of the machinations of the American way of working. You tyrannical and close minded and it affects the well being and productivity of your employees and the future security of your company.
I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Torrecid (Alcora (Spain)) in May 2017.
- self-introduction + answering a few question giving beforehand (1min.)
- some extra question to those who did not answer everything during their self-introduction or had not given the information the company needed in the application online. (e.g: languages).
- problem question (behavioural question: what would you o in this situation?)
- group debate: try to convince the others that your answer is adequate and make them change their mind
- questions and answers time
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