I am an engineer with around 10 years of professional experience. I am currently full-time employed.

I was looking for other positions because I was not totally satisfied with my current job. So I applied to a position in another company that looked very promising. The people were great, the technology they use amazing, the pay was very good, hollidays good also, and to make the story short, I felt is the job of my dreams.

I had in total 3 interviews and lots of discussions with the team and I do believe we liked each other. However eventually they rejected me. They argued that although I am a great candidate they had a better one. What is somewhat fair.

Because I loved the job so much, I asked them if they would offer me another position in the company. I said some position with less responsability and, I quote my self "less benefits" than the original position. What would be totally fine for me. In the second paragraph I remark I mentioned, quoting myself "little benefits" wanted to remark I am fine to be paid little for a short term so that I can work with them and learn plenty of stuff I am interested in. That is what I wanted.

Few days later they replied and to make the story short, we agreed on a specific topic and subject I could help them since they lack knowledge on that specific spot. In the very last email, suggested a time and day to meet and start working. What is cool to me.

However, they did not mention or asked or commented or suggested anything about the benefits or commitement. I.e. they did not say if they will pay me, and if so how much, or how many days or hours per week they want me to invest on this.

For me, any mount of workload is fine, I am flexible but need to know beforehand so that I can plan. For instance 1 day per week workload is fine but need to know so that I can reduce my workload in my current job one day per week. What is also fine. Also, I am really cool with getting paid little, but there must be some pay.

What should I do? I know many people just think "Just ask them straight ahead". However it is a bit difficult to ask so straight now that we have agreed to work together. I know other people will say "you should have asked before". Great, but that was the past. I need an answer for the present, not for the past.

Any ideas on how I can tackle the topic of the working conditions?

  • 2
    Employer believes I want to work for free You say this in your title but there's nothing in your question to indicate that they expect you to work for free. Did they say anything that leads you to think this or is it just that they haven't mentioned salary yet?
    – BSMP
    Nov 6 '18 at 6:53
  • What did you actually agree on so far? It sounds like you agreed that you would like the secondary position, and that they agreed that you are fit for the secondary position. But you didn't actually agree on anything else yet, such as when you'll start, what your working hours will be, how much you'll get paid, etc. These are the sorts of things that you should ask about before accepting a job offer. Ideally you'll have something in writing for reference.
    – Brandin
    Nov 6 '18 at 8:15
  • The title does not match the question asked, and the question text says that you know what the answer is: you ask a question to the person who knows the answer. You state and reject the obvious solution but give no reason for rejecting it other than "it is difficult", without saying what is difficult. I don't understand what this question is really asking or how you expect it to be answered. Nov 6 '18 at 8:16
  • Keep in mind your current company/job might not allow you to work for a different job without permission. Be sure you have proper authorization before doing this as it could get you fired from both places.
    – Dan
    Nov 6 '18 at 14:17

Few days later they replied and to make the story short, we agreed on a specific topic and subject I could help them since they lack knowledge on that specific spot. In the very last email, suggested a time and day to meet and start working. What is cool to me.

I don't think it's too late to negotiate and/or clarify the conditions (workload, pay) considering you haven't actually started. You spent some time negotiating the work you'll be doing and start date, and now it's time to negotiate other things as well. You can't expect to negotiate everything at the same time.

You'll be fine with the "just ask them straight ahead" approach. You could start the email with "To avoid confusion and mismatched expectations in the future, I want to be clear about the workload and benefits" and see where it goes from there.

No sane and honest employer would expect you to "work for free", as you put it in the title. If they do then you'll probably be better off not working for them.

  • It kind of make sense and it is the usual way I would proceed. However in this case we were having very close conversations and it fits very bad to bring it up so straight ahead.
    – Worker
    Nov 6 '18 at 2:32
  • Why would "having close conversations" prevent you from raising it now @Worker? Nov 6 '18 at 2:35
  • Imagine your best friend talks to you about how excited he is about his new house, and you discuss together about it. Then you offer him to help you paint his house together and talk how could would it be. Then make an appointment to paint the house. It is a bit akward to bring up the topic on how much he'll pay you for the help and how much workload it will be. Because you said you help him because find it so exciting the house he is building. Ok this is just a methaphore, do not take it literarilly. It is just an example to illustrate what I mean.
    – Worker
    Nov 6 '18 at 2:39
  • 1
    The difference is that this company isn't your "friend" @Worker. They are a company that will make a profit from your work. This is a very important difference. And even for your friend, asking them "how long do you think it'll take?" is a very normal question. Nov 6 '18 at 2:47
  • 2
    We understand why it feels like a challenging conversation to have. That doesn't change the fact that it is the only way to resolve this. Do it now.
    – Peter
    Nov 6 '18 at 19:23


You are making this more complicated than it needs to be.

"Hey, looking forward to helping you out - I wanted to make sure we were both on the same page as to how much time commitment you're looking for and what compensation will be. What were you thinking?"

There is nothing we anonymous strangers on the internet can tell you that will make this information magically appear because it's entirely between you and that new company.

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