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The Situation

My department has undergone radical transformations in the past few years, moving from 9 Regional departments to a set of geo-redundant departments, one in our headquarters on the East Coast, and one in the Southwest. Last year, they closed the last two of the regional offices, and consolidated the work to the two main groups. During the consolidation, they offered relocation packages including a 15% raise and 15k for relocation expenses, they also offered the same package to anyone in the two main groups that wanted to transfer to their corresponding group. I was ineligible at the time of the offer as I had not been in my current position for the pre-requisite year.

Why I want this

Personal reasons however have made it expedient for us to move however, I currently work in the Western group and commute between 1.5 and 3 hours as I live over 40 miles from our Western headquarters. This year it was also announced that our office would be moving even further away from me. On top of that, management has decided that business needs necessitate a change in our schedules which would make it impossible for me to be home consistently in the evenings, where I am needed with our 3 young kids. In short, we need to move, and soon. We've considered moving closer to our headquarters in the SW, however, it's a more expensive area than where we currently live, and we have family in the city on the East coast that we wouldn't mind being closer to.

In short, we need to be closer to work, and while the traffic is terrible on the East Coast, there are reasonable areas that I can afford with what I currently make (even without a cost of living raise). There are also several advantages to this company in terms of experience and benefits that make it hard to find a position with equal compensation elsewhere in my current city. Relocating would also place me closer to the next level in my career as the groups I am interested in moving into in the long-term are still only located on the East Coast and building relationships in those groups is a crucial part of that transition.

The response

I began putting out feelers through my director and a friend who is in the process of relocating to the East as he is moving from Supervisor in the West to Manager in the East. They reached out and while I wasn't shocked to find that the old offer is no longer available, however I was surprised to find out that there was nothing my department would do in terms of relocation. Going over it this week, it would be a minimum of 8k to relocate our family to the East coast, and this is not something we can take out of pocket as we've focused on paying off debts this year.

At this point I feel frustrated with the lack of support from my department, and the reasoning that "relocation is only given to management" frankly pisses me off. This has not always been the case, not only recently with the transformation, but historically these types of moves have been supported.

Points in my favor

  1. There has been high turnover associated with the transformation

    • Our central office was staffed before with salaried specialists who handled platform specific functions, and those roles are now being moved to more specialized groups of which we are not a part of
    • The majority of those who took relocation packages from our regional offices have left to do bigger and better things closer to home
  2. The East is short of fully functioning staff, especially in the areas where I am highly trained.

  3. By the numbers, I am one of the highest performing engineers across both departments, both in quantity of work and quality

I have permission to approach management in the East from my current group, I am trying to put this as an advantage to them, without it appear as if they are doing a favor for me, if possible I would like to be offered relocation and a raise. How can I best present this with the information given?

  • One one hand, you can write off moving expenses on taxes. On the other, that only recoups the taxes on that amount of money, not the actual amount. I'm surprised they wouldn't offer relocation for a cross-country move. – PoloHoleSet Nov 1 '18 at 17:52
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You want this to be a win on both sides - you and the Eastern managers. You'd like to relocate. They'd like to have you. (Don't be shy about reminding them why.) Tell them that you can't afford the relocation expenses to make that happen. You can mention the earlier offer. It's over, but if it was a good idea then it's probably still a good idea.

You do want to tell them that you want to work there, because that makes you a more valuable employee. Don't worry about it looking like a favor to you, because it's a favor to them also.

Then you can let them figure out how to finance your relocation. They've got authority, and they have incentive to figure out how to do that. Your department in the West has no incentive to pay you to go away.

Don't threaten to quit. You don't want to sound disgruntled, and it isn't necessary. You're dealing with people who want you out East.

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Welcome new user!

The one and only secret to negotiation is: you must be prepared to walk away.

To this end the ONLY way to achieve your goal is: seek and achieve an alternate new job offer. Then you can honestly say to them "I would like X or I will leave to company C."

Unlike in movies, there's no "bluffing!" or "cleverness!" in negotiations. Either you can walk or not.

Good luck!

  • Negotiations are a lot more complex than that. – David Thornley Nov 1 '18 at 19:34
  • To elaborate on my earlier comment, negotiations should be about getting to win-win, as opposed to one side winning and one side losing. This can require cleverness and understanding. If you threaten to quit to get your way, you will always be the guy who threatened to quit, and that's not a good position to be in. – David Thornley Nov 2 '18 at 15:09
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There are two types of relocation:

Relocation Reimbursement, and Relocation Bonus.

Relocation Reimbursement is much more common. As a more junior employee, it's unlikely you will qualify for a relocation bonus - at worst, they could potentially see it as you being greedy. However, relocation reimbursement is perfectly understandable.

In requesting relocation reimbursement, notify them that you simply don't see how you will be able to afford the relocation without it. Without listing costs, list different items that will specifically increase the cost - Family, Moving Costs, Transportation, etc - and tell them that you will need reimbursement to keep it as a "viable option". You never want to say "I'll leave", but you have to insinuate that you want to stay, but that you may not be able to without the reimbursement.

However, you may need to come to the realization that you may need to walk away. Many times when a company firmly says "No", they stubbornly stick to it, in order to seem authoritative. It may be time for you to move on to a new job, but certainly give it one last try for reimbursement.

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