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Thread: Probation clause in letter of offer

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Probation clause in letter of offer

    I "might" have an offer. I'm not going to get into the complexities how I got here, but I withdrew myself from further consideration after a 5 hour in-person interview Saturday morning. I think there was a big misinterpretation on the interviewer's part due to cultural differences and I was very offended. This is for a job here in the US, and even after walking away I am still her number #1 choice out of 4. I think she is sincere and has been contacting me a few times to reconsider.

    This job is entirely GIS doing mostly analysis and map making (non-planning). The firm is also "certified" by ESRI for corporate training, and I might be doing training down the road. I taught myself ArcGIS and have 9 years experience but I think there is a huge learning curve for me to get up to speed as a trainer (2-3 months). The position was hourly but she was willing to reconsider after I explained I was laid off due to my last two jobs due to lack of work.

    Due to the huge learning curve of getting up to speed with GIS, including enterprise, programming, etc. I am wondering if I can ask for a clause in a letter of offer "protecting" myself from being laid off during the probationary period. After losing my job twice in a short period of time, I am still VERY guarded. Has anyone encountered anything similar? Am I unreasonable in my request?

    No, I do not have the letter of offer yet and I'm not waiting for the phone to ring either. I'm getting out two other applications out tonight as I write this.

    Thanks-
    Last edited by nrschmid; 30 Aug 2011 at 8:45 PM.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  2. #2
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    ......Due to the huge learning curve of getting up to speed with GIS, including enterprise, programming, etc. I am wondering if I can ask for a clause in a letter of offer "protecting" myself from being laid off during the probationary period.....
    In a public agency, the short answer is "no". The dark side, I don't know.

    Sometimes it's not just job skills but chemistry with the organization. That's what probation is all about.
    RJ is the KING of . The One

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    During the interview, the owner seemed like a person who could easily get exasperated if things don't run smoothly, and I felt like I was walking on eggshells around her. I didn't bring it up, but that was one of the many reasons I walked away at first. After going a few hours of testing (all Saturday) I felt more like a lab rat than a person interviewing for a mid-level position. If I am working in an environment with a huge learning curve (which may take several months) and at an hourly rate, I could easily be thrown out on the curb if things don't run as smoothly or as quickly as she would like. That's why I am asking for a salaried position (and hopefully salary with paid overtime). I was already thrown out on the curb at the last two jobs in a row and I'm not going through that mess again. I made it clear during the interview that I wouldn't have the skills that she needs immediately and that it would take time.

    So far all I can do is make sure she is 100% aware of my situation and that we are both on the same page regarding her expectations. I understand any new job is a risk BUT I am hoping for some "piece of mind" moving forward (hence the OP). Even though I'm still not working, I already turned down one offer and walked away from this company, so she knows I'm not desperate.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    Not that I've experienced it before, but I don't see what the problem would be asking to include the clause as long as you understand that asking for it could result in you not getting the job (which it sounds like you're prepared for). You also sound like she knows your situation and obviously wants you. This obviously helps in asking for the clause.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  5. #5
    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    During the interview, the owner seemed like a person who could easily get exasperated if things don't run smoothly, and I felt like I was walking on eggshells around her. I didn't bring it up, but that was one of the many reasons I walked away at first. After going a few hours of testing (all Saturday) I felt more like a lab rat than a person interviewing for a mid-level position.
    RUN. If you feel this way right now, before you're even an employee, imagine what it's probably like working for these people. You know what's worse than not having a job? having the job from hell.

    But if you are desperate enough... the clause thing sounds lame. If I was a recruiter I would hear that and think: "who is this guy? he must really be a fuck-up."

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    #1. This isn't a public sector job, which also means this doesn't parallel civil service exams either.
    #2. This isn't a recruiter.
    #3. I already walked away once, so if she passes on me, no big deal.
    #4. I didn't apply for this job. She found my resume on a GIS board. We did a phone interview followed by an extensive in-person interview. Of the other final 3 candidates, one was local and two would need to be flown in for interviewing and testing. The position is not advertised.
    #5. I had mixed feelings after the interview. I interviewed on Saturday at 8 AM over 5 hours (and I only found out about it the night before). That's just odd, especially for a corporate mid-level position. I also took an IQ test and a personality test on top of an extensive GIS test. The personality test and GIS test were acceptable but the IQ test was outright insulting, especially for a highly technical position. She had my resume with credentials, references, and several selected work examples. I'm not a lab rat and deserve some dignity.
    #6. She apologized later for all of the exams and said that wasn't factored into her final decision. From a cultural standpoint, Americans are tested far less for employment than other countries (and most likely she grew up outside of the US). I made it very clear that I was not going to be treated like some hourly lab experiment.
    #7. If I already withdrew myself, she wouldn't go to the trouble of emailing me and calling me to reconsider if she was a jerk. I think after talking to her over the past day or so she sounds more sincere but there was just too much miscommunication on her part.
    #8. Chocolate, why do you swear so much?
    Last edited by nrschmid; 31 Aug 2011 at 12:03 AM.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  7. #7
    Cyburbian SW MI Planner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    I am wondering if I can ask for a clause in a letter of offer "protecting" myself from being laid off during the probationary period. After losing my job twice in a short period of time, I am still VERY guarded. Has anyone encountered anything similar? Am I unreasonable in my request?
    The whole point of a probationary period is to have a trial period to see if the employee fits in with the organization. So while I think you can ask to have be protected "during" the probation period, that won't necessarily mean you'll be protected after it's over.

    It sounds like you have been pretty honest with her about things (ie the testing), but maybe schedule a meeting where you can "interview" her. If she'll be your direct supervisor, ask her about her management style, discipline process, their expectations, as well as lay out yours.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Employment, like life, is full of unknowns and unforeseens. Its hard enough to find a job today and as one who is actively looking for something new, I'm kind of offended that there are people out there who believe that the current depressed job economy is something that they can play with. Move on and let someone who is really interested in getting the job get hired.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by smccutchan1 View post
    Employment, like life, is full of unknowns and unforeseens. Its hard enough to find a job today and as one who is actively looking for something new, I'm kind of offended that there are people out there who believe that the current depressed job economy is something that they can play with. Move on and let someone who is really interested in getting the job get hired.
    Well I'm very offended that I worked my tail off at my last two jobs, including a huge relocation, and was chucked out the back door without so much as a thank you. I interviewed for this job because I was interested, or at least curious about the position. I wasn't that interested at first so I withdrew myself and went back to the job search. She kept on contacting me afterwords, not me. If an employer really wants me and is willing to make some concessions, the ball is in my court. This is a business agreement. The much larger economy is an externality and has little to do with this. Just because I am unemployed does not mean I am desperate. I took what I could I get at my last two jobs, but they turned out to be miserable experiences in the end. I'm not doing that again. If that means I have to hold out a little longer so be it. As for the probationary clause, I agree it is asking too much but I wanted to clarify.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Brocktoon's avatar
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    "Being protected" negates the entire point of probation. If they like that much then ask for no probation and 3 months salary if terminated without cause during the first year.
    "If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less" General Eric Shinseki

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by SW MI Planner View post
    The whole point of a probationary period is to have a trial period to see if the employee fits in with the organization.
    SWMI Planner is spot on. Nick, do some true soul searching on this one. If you feel like you can do the job that no reason not to, get some skills and keep actively looking for something bigger and better.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    In my fair state, we have "at-will" employment which says, outside of a "contract for a definite term governing the employment relationship" and assuming the employer does not recognize a union, that both parties can quit the relationship at any time and for any reason.

    In your example, you are seeking to have some kind of contract governing a period of employment. In a state with at-will employment, this might protect you from termination in that period, but not beyond. On the other hand, as other have pointed out, the reason for the probationary period is to assess the fit, allowing both parties to walk away without repercussions (even if your state does not recognize at-will employment). That means you, too, in the event the job is just terrible.

    My gut feeling is that the employer may balk at this proposal, but its worth a try, especially if you can explain the rationale behind why you want to do this (and also since it doesn't seem to matter to you too much whether you end up here or not). But the probationary period from their point of view is about them reserving the right to let you go if its a bad match or you can't do the work as expected. For them to undermine this option by promising to keep you on regardless seems counter productive on their end.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  13. #13
    Cyburbian dw914er's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by CPSURaf View post
    SWMI Planner is spot on. Nick, do some true soul searching on this one. If you feel like you can do the job that no reason not to, get some skills and keep actively looking for something bigger and better.
    I agree. You seem very concerned that this job won't be a good fit. I think you find the GIS experience valuable, but you are more concerned with getting a job vs getting the right job. Which has to be tough. I'm starting out and finding a job is stressful enough for me, but being knee-deep in life, full of responsibilities must make the search that much harder.

    I think Brookton's idea might be worth considering, since it is mindful of what you want as well as respecting what the probationary period is... However, you make it sound like you will have buyers remorse for taking this job. The idea of interviewing her might also be a good idea...

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Tarf's avatar
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    Just a thought, but probationary period can also be a two way street...

    Assuming you're not currently employed, you can always take the position and leave during the probationary period if it doesn't work out - all the while, continuing to apply to other positions. (Obviously, not an option if you are currently employed).
    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. (Douglas Adams)

  15. #15
    maudit anglais
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    Sounds like you've been up front with them about the learning curve issue - if they are a responsive employer they will be factoring that into their hiring decision. If you don't feel confident they will do that, don't take the job.

    If you don't care whether you get the job or not, there is no harm in asking for the protection, but if I was the hiring firm I'd say no.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tranplanner View post
    Sounds like you've been up front with them about the learning curve issue - if they are a responsive employer they will be factoring that into their hiring decision. If you don't feel confident they will do that, don't take the job.

    If you don't care whether you get the job or not, there is no harm in asking for the protection, but if I was the hiring firm I'd say no.
    I agree with Tranplanner. I would be suprised if they removed the probabtion clause, but if they did, clearly they are very interested in employing you. Its just up to you, as to whether you really want ( or need) the job.
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  17. #17
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by natski View post
    I agree with Tranplanner. I would be suprised if they removed the probabtion clause, but if they did, clearly they are very interested in employing you. Its just up to you, as to whether you really want ( or need) the job.
    Mee three. I doubt they will. Personally, I don't think you can walk away from work, but you should factor personal self-medication costs into your decision, if the information is accurately presented. Just saying.

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