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I'm going to sum up my situation fast:

  • I just got an initial offer for a job
  • To put it in perspective, the initial offer was in the$60-80k a year range
  • I currently live with my parents
  • I have 15 cents in my bank account
  • There is no way I can afford to get to/from work until I get my first paycheck

Can I discuss things such as telecommuting until my first paycheck or getting part of my initial paycheck in advance? What is the best way to be able to begin employment when I currently do not have the financial ability to get to the new job?

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  • 7
    You can't bum a ride or gas money off of your folks?
    – Telastyn
    Jul 9, 2013 at 0:17
  • 16
    Go to your bank and ask for a short term loan, bring your formal offer. Jul 9, 2013 at 0:19
  • 1
    Show your offer letter to your bank and I am 100% sure that they will give you a loan.
    – samarasa
    Jul 9, 2013 at 3:35
  • 5
    If you were in Australia I would send you $50 to give you a start and I bet there are plenty of other people on stack who would do the same.
    – Jastill
    Jul 9, 2013 at 7:08
  • 3
    Also, if you're living with your parents and they can't afford to give you gas money for 2 weeks, i strongly suggest you give them some money for putting you up to help them out.
    – jmorc
    Jul 9, 2013 at 14:14

6 Answers 6

34

Beg, or borrow some cash for fuel or bus fare. There has got to be someone in your life who would gladly lend you the $50-100 you need for your first week, especially if its for you to get to work. Ask you parents, siblings or a close friend for a loan. Then paid them back promptly and buy them dinner with your first paycheck to say thanks.

Adding to this, I'd also suggest not approaching your employer with this unless absolutely necessary. Depending on where you work, or your contract, there may be a probationary or cooling-off period. A less understanding employer may just view this as a reason to renege on your employment offer.

If you can't find someone who can help which I understand isn't always possible, there are other alternatives (in oreder of sanity):

  • See if you can get an overdraft added to your account - there may be fees.
  • Apply for a credit card, hope it arrives quickly and use it to buy only the essential transport costs. Once you get paid, pay it off and if you aren't confident with your financial planning skills cancel the account and chop up the card as soon as its repaid.
  • If your deadlines are short, see if you can pawn some unneccessary stuff - Consoles, DVDs, books, etc... - and then hopefully get them out of hock on your pay day.
  • You could even sell your plasma, but I don't recommend it.

The point is, you need to get to your first day and every day after it.

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    Note that at least here in Europe you don't get a weekly paycheck but a monthly one, but 50$ should usually be enough buy a train/bus ticket for an entire month Jul 9, 2013 at 5:54
  • @TobiasKienzler, 50$ for a whole month, DANG. It costs me 200$ a month (Australia).
    – Jastill
    Jul 9, 2013 at 7:06
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    @Jastill It certainly depends on the city you're living in, and whether you only need to commute within it or to a suburb. And to be more precise, it's 42€ here (city only), so that's around 60 A$. It's twice as much including the region, but gets cheaper if you pay for the entire year... Jul 9, 2013 at 7:10
  • What if literally none of these are an option? May 28, 2015 at 15:28
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You should not disclose your hardship to your employer - it is your responsibility to get to/from work. Use all the resources at your disposal, ask friends or family for a ride or to borrow cash. Your locality may have free/low cost transportation services which could help you get to work. Even if you have to take a cash advance on your credit card, as long as you can pay it off once you get your first paycheck, do it.

4

A lot of used car dealers have signs out that say 'Your job is your credit'. There are also 'signature loan' companies that will loan you a few hundred dollars to get through a week or two. The rates are obscene, make sure you borrow absolutely as little as necessary to get through.

I've been there. Most of my friends were as broke as I was, so they couldn't help. If you ask your parents for help, they'll probably insist that you 'do something' in exchange, something invariably you can't stand.

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    Hopefully the OP has access to a credit card, which invariably will have better terms than the signature loan or buy here pay here places.
    – Jeremy
    Jul 9, 2013 at 1:16
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First off, congratulations on getting such an offer!

To answer your question, this is one situation where I do firmly believe that a short-term loan is called for. Take the signed, formal offer -- it is proof that even though you don't have any money now, you very soon will -- dress up a little if you think it'll help (mostly, this would depend on how you dress normally), walk over to your bank and simply ask for a line of credit associated with your account. If you are about to start earning $5K+/month, then issuing a line of credit for $1000-$2000 should not be a problem at all for the bank. Keep in mind that even after taxes, we are talking about at most perhaps two weeks' pay. In many cases, LoCs also don't charge any interest unless you use it, although there may be a fee involved for setting it up or for simply having access to the credit (much like the fee for a credit card). If so, ask if they are willing to waive at least the application fee, and if they aren't, ask if they can take it out of the newly approved credit.

$2000 should easily pay for a used scooter, some basic safety gear (buy new from a reputable brick-and-mortar store where you can get help picking out sizes etc.!) and gas to get you through your first month, let alone a bus pass if there are useful routes, and after that first month you can pay off the loan with a part of your pay and still have plenty of money left over. A used scooter might not be "cool", but it absolutely will get you from point A to point B with little difficulty. Depending on circumstances, should you get a scooter, you might want to call the company and ask if there is a good place near the office to park it. Don't ask for a parking spot outright; if they can offer you one, they likely will when asked where you can park; if they can't offer one, they should be able to give you good suggestions about where to park.

The interest rate on such a line of credit will likely be fairly high (I would expect on the order of 10%, maybe more if you don't have much of a history with the bank), but if you borrow $1000 at 10% interest and pay it back after one month, the actual interest cost will be around $10 (actually right around $1000 * 10% / 12, minus any applicable tax deductions). As you see, this is such a small amount as to be negligible. (This is not to say that you should use credit carelessly!)

And I definitely agree with what others have said already: don't bring up your financial hardships with the company or even with your new colleagues. This is a temporary situation that you have every possibility of resolving on your own, and getting to and from work is your own responsibility.

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I noticed you called it an initial offer. If you have no money and no way to get money via a credit card, then you must quickly get to the point that you can report for your first day of work.

I would immediately sign the offer letter and return it to the company. You delay the start date and thus the date of your first paycheck by negotiating for relocation, advance of pay, etc. Any time you make a counter offer you risk them rescinding the offer letter.

Make sure you understand any additional steps that might need to be completed such as a drug test and background investigation. Complete these tasks as quickly as possible.

Expect that you will not get paid until 3 weeks after you start, assuming that you are paid every two weeks. If you are lucky your company pays every week; if you are unlucky you get paid once a month.

Map out the cheapest way to get to work for the first few months. Consider a carpool, public transportation, even a taxi. Know exactly what you will need for transportation. Between now and the start date, work on getting the money you need via borrowing from friends and family. Go frugal between now and the first few paychecks. Pay back the money as soon as you get the first paycheck.

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-8

I'd just ask if you could have the first paycheck in advance. I think it's a fairly common situation for a first job. Yes, it's mildly embarrassing to have to ask, but much better than turning up late, or not getting there at all.

Asking to telecommute in your first week is a terrible idea. You want to meet people in your first week, and telecommuting is often perceived as a 'perk' which makes no sense for a new starter.

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    I would disagree with the comment that an advance on your first paycheck "is a fairly common situation for a first job." I would agree with most of the other posters that borrowing money is the best way to approach the situation. Jul 9, 2013 at 8:46
  • Ah - that was ambiguous. I meant, the situation of being broke before your first paycheck is pretty common for new grads. I'd also agree that borrowing from friends/family is probably the best way, but I was assuming that that wasn't an option. (If the OP can easily borrow money from the parents he's living with, and instead posts a question implying he's going to quit his new job before starting...well, srsly?) Jul 10, 2013 at 8:23
  • @SteveBennett - Its very rare for somebody not to have a job previous to their "first job" out of college. They had bills before that unless they were living entirely off their parents, and if thats the case, they can do so until the first pay check.
    – Donald
    Jul 10, 2013 at 15:36
  • Dunno. Neither of us have any figures. I was in a similar situation, but managed to beg a lift for the first few weeks. Bought a car with my first paycheque. Jul 11, 2013 at 0:33

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