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I work 3 days with my team, and 2 days a week at a far away campus (think an hour and a half) my work is fully remote, I'm a data analyst for a large school with 5 campuses. I'm being paid the lower end for my job role, and I've been asking for a pay increase since 1 year.

I've been told to work the full 5 days at this specific campus, which has a very toxic culture and is quite far, and to work closely with faculty there and which is why no one else from my team wants to cover those days.

I rejected that, they told me it was a management directive and it is effective immediately. I still said no and I will work my regular days, I chatted with the managers at the other campus, and they were fully okay with another team member covering the other days.

It is just easier for my manager to tell me as I'm kind of known to say yes to a lot of things.

I wanted to leverage this to have a pay increase, only issue is on my contract it says "You might occasionally be asked to attend or work at a different campus" which they are saying it is simply part of my job contract.

How do I go about this?

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    "How do I go about this?" what's the end result you hope to achieve? Are you actually willing to do the long commute every day for a sensible pay rise?
    – Aida Paul
    Sep 13, 2023 at 10:04
  • "I've been told to work the full 5 days at this specific campus". Do you mean 5 days a week for a long time, or just a total of 5 days? Sep 13, 2023 at 10:09
  • @DJClayworth Most likely the former, as they're already doing it 2 days out of 5. Sep 13, 2023 at 10:36
  • @TymoteuszPaul Ideally I do not want the commute, but if I have no choice- then I would only want to do it with the increase in pay.
    – Lana
    Sep 13, 2023 at 10:40
  • Also, is the work still going to be remote, or are you being required to work at this campus in person? Sep 13, 2023 at 10:40

3 Answers 3

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It sounds like you're either being managed out, or they can't find anyone to work at the other campus due to the toxic culture and for some reason can't replace the people causing the toxic culture.

I've been in a similar position before with a 45 mile commute each way to a toxic workplace. I developed a stomach ulcer and fell asleep at the wheel after getting stuck in traffic for several hours on my way home and drove across 4 lanes of traffic and spun my car around into a ditch.

If you would consider moving closer to the other location you can figure out which situation you're in by agreeing to move to the other location for a raise effective immediately and be sure to get it in writing. If they won't do that then it's a pay cut for you since the commute will be expensive and they're probably trying to get you to quit. If you take the job and move closer you can work on changing the toxic culture. If they are managing you out, you should look for a better job.

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Refusing an assignment will reflect negatively on your job evaluation at best, and may be a Career Limiting Action.

You can say you'd rather not, you can ask if there's another way to handle it, you can ask how long this will be and whether someone else could be rotated in eventually. You can ask to be compensated for reasonable additional commuting costs. You could even ask if they'd pay for lodging closer to the worksite,

But if management says that the customer needs someone on site, that's going to happen. And if they think you're the best choice for that role it's going to be you. Unless you can move out of a position where you are that best choice, either by changing assignments inside the company or by changing employers.

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First, talk with HR. Most companies have provisions for paying mileage and expenses in cases like this, where the employee is required to work off-site (i.e., away from his home site) for extended periods. Yes, your contract does talk about "occasional" off-site work, but five days out of five on an ongoing indefinite basis is not "occasional", not by any stretch of the imagination.

Related HR option: Inquire about them paying your relocation expenses.

You don't say how far up the food chain you've taken this. If you've only discussed it with your immediate supervisor, it is time and then some for HIS/HER supervisor to be briefed, in detail. Express concern about professional growth, advancement, communications, all the things they supposedly are concerned about for their employees. SPECIFICALLY ASK THEM ABOUT BACKUP, in the event that you are suddenly seriously ill. (My employer had to learn this one the hard way, when two electrical engineers died suddenly, and a software engineer had to be hospitalized a few times.) (Do NOT say anything about you looking for another job. Let them figure that one out on their own.)

Obviously, dust off your resume and start looking around.

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