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I accepted a job offer less than a month ago which was based in a different city. However, I find myself reluctant to relocate due to personal circumstances. How do I communicate to my manager about staying at my position and in my current city?

For context: my manager, their manager, and 2/3 of my co-workers are remote in different states. Only one co-worker works in the office I will be relocating to. Therefore I find myself at a loss about changing cities when I will effectively be meeting colleagues remotely anyways.

What are the ethics of changing my mind this early into a job? How do I communicate my case to my manager?

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    What are you going to do if your manager says "nope, the job offer is in that city. Relocate, or resign"? Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 18:44
  • I will relocate as the last resort
    – JohnDoe
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 18:48
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    How is this a question of ethics? Is it inconvenient? Maybe. Is it unprofessional? Possibly. Is it unethical? Absolutely not. Is it unethical to change your mind? No, it is not.
    – joeqwerty
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 19:01
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    They may have location-dependent compensation, so your salary may change.
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 21, 2023 at 21:44
  • @Nelson - I did not say there was an ethical issue, just a warning that if the OP wants changes they may as well…
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 1:36

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There's nothing unethical about changing your mind. Not a bit. Communicating this is may be as simple as saying, "Sorry, I changed my mind."

However, there may be consequences for you reneging on such an agreement with your company. I'd say this could be the case most especially if the company has covered any direct expenses based on you accepting the position, or turned down other candidates, or burned time on meetings related to your new role.

This is not going to help your reputation, as management may become reluctant to rely on you to do as you say. If you've inconvenienced the organization, you might need to make some grand overture to get back in good graces. At an extreme, they could terminate you if you live in an at-will venue -- for being wishy-washy.

Good luck!

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How do I communicate to my manager about staying at my position and in my current city?

You tell your manager that you changed your mind and want to stay. Then you ask if that is possible.

Sometimes, if you were a good worker and gave a professional notice, they will take you back.

Other times, they will know that when people accept another job and then reneg, it's only a short matter of time before they inevitably leave again. And thus, they might not take you back.

You'll only know by asking.

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I'm assuming that you want to work in home office rather than at the new employer's site.

In my country, the work location is fixed in the work contract. I assume this is the case in your work contract. If you change your mind about this, your employer might just as well change his mind e.g. about the salary and pay you USD 500 less per month. Therefore, I think your negotiating position is weak, but it's worth discussing.

You may want to ask if you can also work remotely, for the following reasons:

  • because most other employees work remotely
  • because of personal circumstances that have changed (my assumption) since the contract was signed.

In my job, when my new employees ask whether they can work in a partial home office (2 days a week), I answer as follows: During the trial period (in my country, 3 months), I want them to be in the office (no home office working). After that, we discuss it again, and I approve it depending on the nature of the work, the employee's degree of autonomy, the possibility of doing the work remotely, and so on (and usually it is a yes).

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