TL;DR: After recently accepting a retention bonus, should I still ask to be transferred?I can give it back and I also have a backup job elsewhere.
I work at a fortune 100 company and I have for over 10 years. I have negotiated extra flexibility in my work hours that would be hard to get elsewhere. I have some health issues that aren't severe enough to prevent me from working altogether. I need to manage it with a lot more rest than the average person.
Things have been going swimmingly, I loved my job until 6 months ago when our entire department was drastically cut from 30 to 5 (me, 3 colleagues and a supervisor).
The remaining people were reassigned to other teams but they kept 5 of us on to help existing customers and keep the lights on. In its heyday we had 90 + on staff working on this project so there are many, many, things I simply do not know how to do but they're asking me to take my time and learn . I don't enjoy this kind of work and it can be stressful at times.
I immediately started looking for another job within the company, but you need permission from management for an internal transfer. Not surprisingly , my manager said no, and not until the end of the project. However, the project's end date keeps shifting. It's now 3 years from now.
The management, understanding that this was a mess and that everyone was a flight risk, offered a cash incentive with the agreement that if we leave before the project ends, we have to give it back. It's only about 2 months' pay and I have to give it back if I leave.
I accepted the bonus in November because a family member said saying no effectively stating that I want to quit. I decided to stay initially because I was worried about my health and I felt like management was empathetic and wouldn't put too much pressure on us.
But it's been 6 months in this new role and I find I'm so demoralized that even with all the flexible schedule I'm unproductive and morose. I find I'm sliding in and out of depression. The pandemic isn't helping, it's been chaos where I live. But I realized that I can't shake the unhappiness and the feeling of being trapped.
This is the problem. I have applied for other jobs outside the company and I have two written full-time offers. I have only until Wednesday to accept. I don't want to leave and I also kind of worry about the impact on my health. It just occurred to me that I would stay on if there was light at the end of the tunnel, if I could transfer internally soon . I'm wondering if I should talk to my manager and say something like,
I don't want to leave this company but I cannot I continue to work on this team indefinitely. I'm wondering what it would take for you to agree to let me transfer internally. I know i accepted the retention bonus but I need a firm date sometime this year that I can work towards because I just don't think I can wait 2.5 to 3.5 years before I'm allowed to transfer.
I also would like a raise (interviewing has shown me I am underpaid)
I'm not sure if I should mention that I have other jobs lined up because the whole point of this conversation is that I don't want to work for him anymore, so to him it might not matter if I leave now or later.
Any thoughts? Thank you!