My first-ever employer made a serious mistake in assessing how much they could offer. My salary offer got reduced significantly right after starting at the company, and I don't intend on accepting it. However I've had difficulties finding a position and as such I'd like to get the most out of this role. I can't afford going back to searching for jobs as a graduate, so I want to try and stay for a while and use this role as leverage to improve my chances.

I want to have my contract changed into a 3-month fixed-term contract with the stated "goal" of working on a specific project at this company. HR and my team agree that this would be the best option for me, but the boss does not. So the boss wants me to accept the new offer and stay for the 3-month probation period. They claim it'd be best for both parties and tried to offer compensation in the form of paid courses and conferences.

My issue is that quitting after 3 months of probation does not sound like a good idea for my CV. Having had a short-term contract - in my opinion - would look much better and I would be in a better position to find employment.

Which one is more valuable on a CV:

  • leaving after 3-months probation having gained experience
  • having a graduate on a short contract for a specific project

Can I even safely include the probation on my CV?

  • Also keep in mind that the probation is a two ways test: the company test if you are a good hire and you test if the company is good for you (culture, working environment, working time, colleagues, boss and so on). So it is not such a problem if you leave, while having a written offer, at the end of it and mention it on your CV. – Gianluca Nov 6 '18 at 13:11
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    Wait - you're working FOR FREE? – Fattie Nov 6 '18 at 16:48
  • Could you tell us what country you're in? The answer may vary depending on country. Also, did you actually start working at a particular pay rate and then they lowered it? I'd like to understand more about how that actually happened. – David Thornley Nov 6 '18 at 18:29
  • How did they say they legally reduced you salary after you "started" working - the offer letter once accepted is a binding contract – Neuromancer Nov 6 '18 at 21:32

Which one is more valuable on a CV:

  • leaving after 3-months probation having gained experience
  • having a graduate on a short contract for a specific project

Really about the same value if it's your first job after graduation - unless you're looking to continue with short term contracting.

Can I even safely include the probation on my CV?

Yes. It's experience - even though it's short. You can also remove it after getting a better/longer position at the next company.

You have been baited and switched, by the sound of things - but be careful how you phrase it to others. It's not too much of an issue for you to say it wasn't a good fit for you and leave it at that, if you're asked why you're leaving by your next potential employer.

Some advice:

  • Don't mention it as a probationary thing.
  • Keep working there until you get a written offer elsewhere. Underpaid is better than unpaid.
  • Any suggestions how I could describe the situation if the new employer starts probing into the reason of leaving? I imagine they might ask what I mean by not being a good fit and I'm not sure I can come up with a good reason that's honest and also acceptable for an interview – Budge Rigar Nov 6 '18 at 14:04
  • Don't "describe" it as anything. Type the begin/end dates. It will look like any of the planet's other trillion programming contracts. – Fattie Nov 6 '18 at 16:49
  • @Fattie: That's great for a resume, but asking why a candidate left a previous job is perfectly reasonable in an interview, and it's best to have an answer ahead of time. – David Thornley Nov 6 '18 at 18:31
  • I think that describing it as a bait-and-switch might be acceptable in an interview. I'd keep the answer short and factual. Badmouthing the previous company can be acceptable, provided the reason for leaving is gross misconduct on their part. – David Thornley Nov 6 '18 at 18:34
  • Leaving after 3 months probation is a sign that you failed and they sacked you this answer is dangerous – Neuromancer Nov 6 '18 at 21:29

Also – sincerely try to reconcile the situation at your present job. You've barely started working at your very first job. You really can discuss your concerns and your discontents with your present supervisor, and quite possibly get some very good advice which it sounds like you could use right now. (And be sure to listen to what s/he has to say, realizing that a supervisor's discussions are limited by law: the "HR Department" is full of your advocates, who in some cases can talk more freely.) None of them want you to fail or to be unhappy.

I'm a believer in "bloom where you are planted," and, "the grass is always greener ... where you plant it."

I suggest: "yes, take(!) the (reduced) offer, with a smile," after politely asking why the offer has been reduced and listening to their response. There are strict laws concerning compensation – it is never arbitrary. You imagine that they are insulting you. But, you simply haven't been in the work-force yet ... you haven't had a chance to see how these things actually go. You don't have experience to guide you – yet.

Resolve to give them at least one full year of your best efforts without asking to re-negotiate anything. Establish a good working relationship with your supervisor and resolve to learn from him or her. Work hard, watch, and learn.

"Patience, Padewan ... give them a fair chance."

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    I appreciate your input, but the company was unprofessional. Lack of internal communication resulted in a situation that would chase off anyone, let alone a rookie. They reduced the offer drastically to avoid offending existing employees. I won't waste a year of my life underpaid at a company that started our professional relationship by tricking me - whether they did it intentionally or not. I don't imagine any insult. There was an insult. I should offer them my best effort? In exchange for what? With half a year experience I could get my original offer from any company in this area. – Budge Rigar Nov 6 '18 at 15:04
  • It sounds like the OP was utterly ripped-off. "My salary offer got reduced significantly right after starting at the company" Should have walked out that day, perhaps? – Fattie Nov 6 '18 at 16:49

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