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Job offer too good to be true

by jepri (Parson)
on May 25, 2004 at 13:30 UTC ( #356198=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
jepri has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Well, I'm seeking wisdom and it's perl related. I guess this goes in SOPW.

Recently someone posted on the CLUG mailing list about a fantastic chance for perl programmers to live and work in Japan. But he wasn't giving out the details unless he was mailed personally - a bit suspicious already.

Feeling bored, I did so, and got sent a mail that was a few pages of headers (warning sign there), and a link to

Have a quick look at the site, and see if anything rings a few warning bells, like:

They have different closing dates on different pages.

They need exactly 30 perl programmers. 30? That's an immense team of programmers. If it was five programmers, a few designers, some technical writers and some guys to make the coffee, I'd believe. Besides, that's nearly two million bucks worth at the rates they're offering.

They encourage anyone with any level of experience to apply, but they can't find 30 Japanese perl programmers of varying experience.

I was only in the contracting scene for a short while, but I saw some pretty dodgy behaviour on the part of recruiters. Could someone with more experience please speculate on this offer?

And even better, if anyone has experience with this company, please post your experiences.

I have to admit, it sounds awfully appealing.

I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Job offer too good to be true
by Art_XIV (Hermit) on May 25, 2004 at 17:38 UTC

    My cousin told me this story about one of her friend's friends who is a Perl developer... I think his name was Fred.

    Anyway, one day Fred saw this advertisement for Perl developers at comp.lang.perl. The job was supposed to be in Hong Kong, where this 'multimedia' company was looking for '15 talented CGI developers who speak excellent engrish', and was offering $75,000 (US) a year.

    Fred couldn't believe his eyes. He had always wanted to see Hong Kong. He imagined himself in exotic Hong Kong, hacking away at thoroughly-tested and well-designed CGI::Application modules during the day while spending the evenings with women who might not mind the fact that he was a big damned geek quite so much. Fred picked up the phone with a 'recruiter', and after a few phone-screenings and an on-line certification test he found himself with a ticket to Hong Kong!

    After a few weeks he gets to HK, where he is met by the 'recruiter' who asks him to take a ride in a boat. Fred and the 'recruiter' pull into the dock in front of a mysterious-looking building. Fred starts to to become suspicous because there are so few other building in the vicinity, and because this area didn't look the HK he'd seen in pictures at all. When he asked the 'recruiter' what was going on, the recruiter explained that the chef was making dim-sum for dinner that evening and that Fred had best hurry in 'before the other geeks get it all.'

    After Fred goes in, he soon realized that this 'multimedia' company wasn't a multimedia company at all, but a bunch of SPAMMERS! That, and he wasn't even in Hong Kong anymore, but the People's Republic of China!!!!

    The spam-gang forced him work 14 hours a day, writing scripts that would harvest email address from web pages, starting DOS attacks on spam black-list servers, creating random subject lines, and making 'punch-the-monkey'-style Flash animations. They DID pay him $75,000 a year, as agreed, but deducted food, rent and computer-time until he was left with about fifty dollars a week, which Fred always blew on colas and tobacco.

    He was forced to live in a dormitory-style room with three other geeks, one of whom wasn't really even a Perl developer, but was actually a VB developer who just lied on his resume. He didn't even know to find how many elements were in an array. The VB-guy ended up getting screamed at and beaten by the spam-gangers, until a few weeks went by and they moved him into management.

    Overall, Fred found the situation to be pretty intolerable, even though the gang had bunches of bootleg anime DVDs that they could watch in the evenings, and not too unlike being back in college. He had to escape.

    Nearby was a building from which boats left every evening. It turned out to be the building in which 'Marvel HeroClix' figures were painted, so Fred snuck in to it early in the morning and packed himself into a crate full of 'Clix stuff. About two weeks later, the crate was opened and Fred found himself in a 'Hobbytown U.S.A.' in Texas.

    Fred had to undergo several weeks worth of psychotherapy after being forced to spam for a pittance, but he's supposed to be okay, nowadays, and he now has some government job, from what I understand.

    I don't know if this story is really true or not, but my cousin and her friend swear that it is, and there's a part of me that believes it. ;)

    Hanlon's Razor - "Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity"
      Awesome! They still hiring?
      The "Fred" story can't be true. He would have died of dehydration if he was packed in a crate for two weeks. A person can only live 8-10 days without water.
      Studying at the feet of the masters
Re: Job offer too good to be true
by tbone1 (Monsignor) on May 25, 2004 at 14:50 UTC
    First rule of contracting: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    Second rule of contracting: there are times when the best win comes from not playing the game.

    tbone1, YAPS (Yet Another Perl Schlub)
    And remember, if he succeeds, so what.
    - Chick McGee

Re: Job offer too good to be true
by EvdB (Deacon) on May 25, 2004 at 13:54 UTC
    bash # whois Found a referral to Registrant: Stephen 4 E / 28 Stanwell St Parnell Auckland, NZ Domain name: SATURNMEDIA.NET Administrative Contact: Weir, Stephen 4 E / 28 Stanwell St Parnell Auckland, NZ +64 9 3007557
    Give him a call...
      Thx. His name was in the (nested) headers of the email.

      I shall contact, but I'd like to know a little more first..

      Does anyone live in Rapponngi?

      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

        As far as I understand it, Rapponngi is the red light district in Tokyo. Check out Wai Wai, where it features often.

Re: Job offer too good to be true
by jepri (Parson) on May 25, 2004 at 15:26 UTC
    Dang, I was hoping for some juicy stories from people who got lured overseas then ended up performing novelty acts wearing Lemur suits for drunk businessmen.

    Maybe that just doesn't happen anymore.

    I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: Job offer too good to be true
by theorbtwo (Prior) on May 25, 2004 at 15:15 UTC

    Note that while 4.5 M is approx 65 kNZD, it's also 45 kUSD, or 33 kEUR... which doesn't sound nearly as good as $65k... and while they are a NZ compony, from the sound of it, it could also be that they just shopped for a unit that people would assume was around a dollar or euro, even though it's nowhere close.

      Actually, 65 grand NZ is just over 40 grand US, so it sucks even harder than that. On the other hand, it would certainly be an adventure. A friend of mine went to Japan to teach English (and avoid being served a summons). He had a blast and met his wife. (I think he may have made more than 40 grand US, too.)

Re: Job offer too good to be true
by Plankton (Vicar) on May 25, 2004 at 15:33 UTC
    If I where you I'd find out if they have hired any programmers yet. If they haven't hired any yet that is probably a bad sign. If they have hired some, insist on talking to a couple of them. If they tell you they're too busy, don't believe them. Then again if you are unemployeed and need the money go for it. Japan sounds fun.

    Plankton: 1% Evil, 99% Hot Gas.
      This is what worries me. I've got a job that suits me to a T. But I also crave travel and adventure.

      OTOH my attitude would drive stereotypical Japanese people crazy (and has in the past).

      Still, I always wanted to see Tokyo once. It would be like living in a cyberpunk novel, I imagine.

      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

Re: Job offer too good to be true
by Trag (Monk) on May 25, 2004 at 13:48 UTC
    It seems odd to say the least. I mean, they have tell a friend button on the sidebar. Also, gives a 404 error. Why would the main site of the company be non-existant? I think you should be wary of this.

    our @item = reverse (114, 101, 107, 99, 97, 104, 32, 108, 114, 101, 80, 32, 114, 101, 104, 116, 111, 110, 97, 32, 116, 115, 117, + 74); local $my = reverse ")meti@\ ,rhc (pam tnirp";eval $my;
      Why would the main site of the company be non-existant?

      So that you can't accidentally stumble upon the site, you have to be given the 'secret link'?

      BTW your sig screws the table rendering in mozilla. Could I get you to pop a line break in there please?

      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

        I am known to be somewhat paranoid, but you never know... I mean, if the link is in a mail archive somewhere, how long until google spiders it? As for my sig, it looks fine in firefox... Where do you think I should put the line break?

        our @item = reverse (114, 101, 107, 99, 97, 104, 32, 108, 114, 101, 80, 32, 114, 101, 104, 116, 111, 110, 97, 32, 116, 115, 117, + 74); local $my = reverse ")meti@\ ,rhc (pam tnirp";eval $my;
Re: Job offer too good to be true
by valdez (Monsignor) on May 25, 2004 at 21:14 UTC

    Now listed also on 1509.

    Ciao, Valerio

Re: Job offer too good to be true
by tachyon (Chancellor) on May 25, 2004 at 16:37 UTC
    Livedoor ltd japan which is supposed to be who saturn are running the campaign for are a listed multinational by the looks of it. Here is their stock ticker

    As to why they would choose to use a NZ company with what looks like a fairly cheapo website.....



Re: Job offer too good to be true
by crenz (Priest) on May 26, 2004 at 13:35 UTC

    There are lots of good Perl programmers out there, especially since they are searching internationally. Why are their requirements so low? It doesn't make sense. The salary is not very high, especially given that Japan is rather expensive. I can think of only three different reasons:

    • They are scammers. "Please pay a $500 fee so we can send in and gauge your application."
    • They look for programmers doing semi-legal/illegal/unethical work.
    • They can't find anyone at this salary? Unlikely...
      Well, I've received a preliminary reply from the recruiter. It's notably short on details, but I have not been asked to pay a fee of any sort. I don't think it's a scam.

      I had been hoping that some of the perl programemrs already involved would drop by and say hi, but no luck yet.

      I didn't believe in evil until I dated it.

        Well, keep us updated. I'm interested to see how it turns out. I wish for you that it is a legit and nice job - should be nice to have a chance to stay in Tokyo and be paid for it!

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