It’s Just Not Working

by Evil HR Lady on June 24, 2008

Expat question for you: I am recently hired by a large international Hospitality organization. The welcome, after the very aggressive recruiting, has been disappointing.

Somebody hinted at the possibility that “the company had let me down” during my probation time and therefor could be found responsible for my relocation costs. (Normally, if the employee resigns during their 3 months probation time, the cost for the return tickt and moving expenses falls back on the employee.) What exactly does this mean: the co. has let someone down on their contract?

As I am in month one of my probation time, I am kind of curious what the answer is.

I have no idea what your company policy is. I have no idea what country you are now located in. I’m going to answer this based on my worldview, so it may or may not apply.

So, you don’t like the job. There’s no technical breach of contract (that I can divine from a short question–which I encouage short questions as they save me the editing time) unless you got here and they said, “oooh, that offer letter, we’re not going to be paying you that salary and so much for relocation costs. You have to repay everything we’ve already spent.” Instead, you don’t like it.

In my world, we’d say tough cookies. Now, we’d say tough cookies to your face, but behind the scenes we’d be screaming at the recuiter and the hiring manager who brought you in with tales of greatness and then dumped you into reality.

Can I say it again? Let’s be honest when we are recruiting. Let’s tell our candidates what the problems are. Best interview I ever had (and I took the job, by the way) was when the hiring manager said to me, “I’ll be honest. There’s a lot of policitical stuff going on. I’ll try to protect you from some of it, but I can’t guarentee you won’t get caught up in it.” She then warned me that her boss was, shall we say, unstable and would yell and scream but rewarded people who put up with her shenanigans with high pay raises. I KNEW what I was getting into. Fortunately for me, her boss was fired three weeks after I started. But even if she hadn’t been, I had no illusions going in.

But, it’s too late for that. You’re there and you don’t like it. But, you’ve only been there for one month. ONE MONTH! You only have to stay for 3 to not have to repay your relocation costs (which seem very small, considering). My advice to you? Suck it up. Three months aren’t going to kill you and you may find out you like it better then you thought you did. New jobs are often awkward and you start to feel stupid because you don’t understand how the company operates. And, since you are a new country, there is a new culture to go with it.

What I would do is first go to your manager and explain your concerns. She may be able to come up with a solution. Perhaps change some aspect of you job to make it a better fit for you. She doesn’t really want to go recruiting again. However, if she’s just as annoyed with you as you are with the job, she may feel it’s the best deal to hand you a return ticket home and wish you well.

Unless the country you are in has laws that vary from this, they are under no obligation to pay for your return because you are “unsatisfied” with the job. If you, contractually, have to repay for terminating voluntarily in less than x number of years, you’ll have to repay.

This can be one of the reasons jobs with relocation are so scary (both domestic and international). You don’t really know if you’ll love a job until you get there (or a town, for that matter). But, you’re on the hook for a huge sum of money if you
don’t stick it out. (Full relocation can cost a ton of money–especially international relcations. We’re talking in excess of $100,000.) I advise people to relocate cautiously.

But, managers don’t want an unhappy employee either. So, talk with your boss. Work on a solution. If that doesn’t work stick it out three months and graciously resign. Getting yourself home will be on your own dime, but so be it.

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