Monday, September 28, 2009

Cirque Lodge: An Un-Classy Tale

Have you heard of Cirque Lodge ? I bet you have. It’s a prestigious in-patient addiction recovery center in the mountains near Robert Redford’s Sundance Resort near Orem, Utah.

Take a look at some of these pictures.

Information from 2007 says that a month-long stay at Cirque Lodge costs $30,000. And they don’t take Medicaid. And chances are, they are out of your insurance network. So the people who go there are stable enough to write a check for $30,000 and take a month off work. 

Some of the Cirque Lodge ’s alumni:

Richie Sambora from the band Bon Jovi

You’ve heard of it, right?

On September 10, Justin read an ad in the Salt Lake City Tribune posted by Cirque Lodge. They were looking for a masters level counselor with certain experience. Justin’s education and experience fit their request to a tee, and he submitted his resume. The very next day there was a message on our answering machine from Brittany Asay from Cirque Lodge . They were interested in Justin! Whoohoo!!!

Justin called back the very next business day—September 14. After determining that his Idaho credentials would easily transfer over to Utah, Justin had a 20-minute phone interview with the clinical director at Cirque Lodge, a woman named Beverly Roesch. Bev wanted to meet and interview Justin as soon as possible. They said they had others interviewing as well, so Justin definitely wanted to go down quickly. They scheduled an interview for that very Friday—September 18.

Beverly Roesch - clinical director of Cirque Lodge

We were so excited! Justin spent hours pouring over their website, familiarizing himself with the company and their practices. Everything he learned got him more and more excited. What an incredible opportunity. We would love to live in Utah and be closer to family and Justin would love to work at such an elite company.

Justin cleared his schedule on Friday and I did the same. For me, it meant taking a paid day off. For Justin, it meant cancelling eight sessions of therapy and since he doesn’t get paid time off at this moment, missing those appointments is a $200 loss for him. But, hey, he was headed for an interview at Cirque Lodge ! What a cool place to work! And they sure seemed interested in him judging by how fast they called him and how they asked him to come down so quickly. We figured a $200 investment in an interview was worth it.

However, two things struck me as odd right off the bat. One—Justin’s interview was at 4:30 p.m. on a Friday. Where I work, interviews last all day. Especially for a candidate who is traveling from out of state. Two—they did not offer to provide or pay for travel to get to the interview. Isn’t that pretty standard for a big company? Maybe they’d figure reimbursement out at the interview.

We drove down on Friday and made it to Orem at 3:30. I met up with my friend Jessica who lives down there and we lounged in Provo Canyon while Justin went to his interview.

Justin called me about 5 minutes after the interview was to have started. He told me that the receptionist couldn't find the clinical director, Bev Roesch , who was supposed to interview him. After a few phone calls, they determined that Bev’s car was at the Cirque’s other location in the mountains, and they couldn’t get a hold of her. Maybe there was a crisis or something. So the receptionist took Justin’s phone number down and sent him away, saying she’d call if there were news.

Seriously—she sent him away. To his car. No “wait right here and I’ll get you a glass of water.” No “I’ll have you talk with so-and-so who while I figure out what happened.”  Not even an “I’m sorry.”  

So Justin waited in his car boiling in all the nerves and excitement that normally accompany an interview, with confusion, frustration, embarrassment, and hurt heaped on top.

He had Bev Roesch’s personal cell number from his phone interview, so he tried to reach her himself. She wasn’t answering and her voicemail was full. Finally, over an hour after the interview was supposed to start, Bev answered. Justin kindly introduced himself and asked if she was still planning on meeting with him. Beverly abruptly told him she was in the middle of a crisis that would continue for another couple hours and that she would call him Monday to reschedule. Click. Conversation over.

What the…?

Justin called me back at this point, pretty upset. Heck, I was too. He knows crises happen in this line of work. What really bothered him was that Bev Roesch sounded “put out” on the phone. Again, no apology. No sympathy. I told Justin to talk to Bev or the receptionist again to request an interview the next morning because we would still be in the area.

So Justin called the receptionist back and asked if she’d give a message to Beverly Roesch and see if she could interview him the next morning. “But tomorrow’s Saturday!” she said. “Yes,” Justin replied, “but I’ve driven three hundred miles from Idaho to come to this interview and I will still be in town tomorrow.”

Who knows if the message was passed on or not, but nothing happened Saturday. Justin was too upset later that night and Saturday morning to call and follow up. So we drove home, disappointed, discouraged, and feeling very taken advantage of.

So Monday came. No phone call in the morning. Justin sent a nice follow up email saying he understood that crises happen and he was still interested and would love the chance to talk to Beverly Roesch again. He left his cell phone number so they could get a hold of him any time.

No call on Monday.

Tuesday…no call in the morning. Upset again, Justin called and left Brittany Asay a message venting his frustrations. He invited a call back.

No call on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, we came home to a message on our answering machine from Brittany Asay at the Lodge. Finally, a bit of an apology. She said she was sorry and understood how frustrating this was. She asked for Justin’s sympathy for their crisis. Brittany Asay said she was calling on behalf of Beverly and that Bev wanted Justin to call back. Since this message was left at our home number and not Justin's cell - the number he'd requested they'd call to get a hold of him since their very first encounter - Justin could not possibly call back until the next day. It made us feel like they were avoiding him and didn't really want to apologize to him directly.

Justin was still frustrated and didn’t know how he should respond. Being brushed off for an interview was one thing. Crises do happen. But to have no follow up? No apology? No phone call first thing Monday morning? He wasn’t sure he wanted to work for this company anymore.

After  the two of us talked, Justin decided call them back. After all, they deserved the benefit of the doubt and one phone call wouldn’t put him out anything. We’ve all had horrible moments when we lose our minds and maybe we don’t act as we would like to and we would hate to be judged by those moments. Maybe they had a moment like that. So Justin decided he’d call. He was a little gun-shy, but still interested.

He wasn’t able to call right away on Friday because of appointments with clients. Well, at noon Brittany Asay sent an email from Cirque Lodge saying, “Thank you for your resume we have decided to go in a different direction.  I will keep your resume for future reference.”

Are they for real?

Am I wrong to be mad? I am someone who turns the other cheek—a lot. But for me, this was low. To treat him the way they treated him, to finally call and apologize and offer the olive branch of another chance to talk to them, and then to renege that and just completely blow him off again. It makes me fume. If I were Bev Roesch and I had extenuating circumstances that made me blow off an out-of-state interview candidate that way (first off, if that were me I would’ve called first thing Monday morning like I said I would) and then in the meantime I interviewed another candidate that I really liked and wanted to hire, I would still give that other candidate at least an in-depth phone interview because that person deserved it. And because that would be the right thing to do. Hello, that’s not even above and beyond. That’s common courtesy.

And now we are stuck with a paycheck that is $200 less and we spent over $100 in gas and food driving for this interview. Luckily we had family in Salt Lake we spent the night with, so at least we didn’t have to fork over money for a hotel and even more money on food.

First, I want to say that Brittany Asay, the receptionist at Cirque Lodge , was very kind throughout this whole thing. However, the whole situation and the lack of follow-through on the part of Bev Roesch really makes me wonder about the integrity of the whole company. Oh, and another thing…the weekend we were there was The Cirque Lodge ’s alumni reunion. I seriously wonder if their “crisis” had more to do with the wrong flavor of punch than a patient threatening to self-harm or something truly defined as a “major crisis that can’t be explained.”

I still shake with fury when I think about it. I especially get upset when someone I love gets hurt. I would probably deal with it better if it happened to me, but it just really gets to me that it happened to my sweetheart. I can’t believe we’re down over $300 dollars for nothing more than a wasted weekend and a week’s worth of disappointment and poisonous rage. Bargain price for that, huh?

Should Justin ask they pay our expenses for the interview that never happened? How should we go about this? How can I get over this because it has seriously been eating me up for over a week now?

I just want to be heard. We’ve gotten over the idea of Justin working there. But there is something healing in being listened to and understood. Problem is—having our mothers as the people listening to us doesn’t help. I just want the people at Cirque Lodge to understand that they handled this in such an uncool way. Seriously uncool. I don’t need an apology and groveling. Just for them to think about think about how they treated us. That we are real people with emotions and lives, not just a name on a resume. And I hope that after thinking about it, they’ll vow to never treat another interview candidate like that again.

Justin currently works with people overcoming addictions. As addicts who have hit bottom, it’s essential to show these people respect and honor their worth. I wonder how Cirque Lodge treats their clients when they treat “normal” human beings this way. I wonder about a lot of their integrity and business practices.

Sorry for the uber-long post. Hopefully this rant will help me get out some of these noxious feelings and breathe again. I’m not here to drag anyone’s name through the mud, I just am telling it how it is. Can’t sue me for libel if it’s the truth.J

Have you ever had an experience like this? How would you handle this? Am I overreacting?  Cheer me up with your horror stories, sympathy, and happy comments.


Stefanie Sayre said...

it wasn't a wasted weekend.. at least you got to spend time with family a great friends! Hang in there. You have a right to be upset with the way they handled everything.

Jamie Boyd said...

I would write them a detailed letter similar to this blog post and exactly itemize the expenses. (gas receipts, exact amounts of Justin's missed work, etc. Maybe not meals because you don't want to look too greedy, but just the basics that they sincerely cost them, like gas and wages) I would request that they reimburse you for those amounts. That's what I would do.

Liz Smith said...

that is so frustrating. i'm sorry you guys had to go through that. i hope you feel better soon.

Briant Giles said...

Oh man, that is super lame. Reading this blog brings me back to the good ol' college days when there were Lindsay Lohan sightings all over Provo. There was even talk of her going out with some BYU kid.


I think that it's good you guys got to see the true colors of this company right off the bat! While it would have been an awesome opportunity for your family, Justin doesn't need to work for people who are only interested in whether or not some celebrity has had their coffee that day, and if they need help wiping their nose. You guys are too good for "the world". I'm sorry you had such a crappy experience. Ditch these guys in the slime pit they belong in, and remember that the Lord knows what you're really worth! Love you!

Anonymous said...

I'd contact Bill Gephardt and have him follow-up. Who knows, he might do an investigation. If nothing more, it would give them a good scare.

Groff Family said...

I love the Gephardt idea! Especially if they refuse to reimburse.

Anonymous said...

I'm late to this party but just want to say, as a happily-former Cirque Lodge worker, you may never fully understand how lucky you were to dodge the bullet of working for the most cheapskate amateurs in the rehab biz.


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