3 weeks ago I got a call asking if I could go on a last minute trip as a tech consult (from USA to France). It was supposed to be a week long, but the last day I was asked if I could stay an extra few days while the rest of the team went home and figured out the deal.
Some of our guys come back mid-week. I overhear them on the phone saying “We’ll get 4 people over there next week. OP will be there until October.”
I awaited to be approached to see if that was ok, but they never asked. Thursday night I said “So what’s with everyone assuming I’m going to be here next week? My flight is tomorrow. I was only supposed to stay an extra 4 days, this is another week.”
Out of respect for the team that's coming in blind, I made it happen. I mentioned I wasn’t happy that nobody asked and I had to take initiative to extend my own trip on their behalf instead of being asked.
I’m now going on 17 days in a foreign country I was asked to go to for 5 days. They want me to go home for a few days and come back out. I’m not feeling the love. One of the VPs rolls in for a meeting, and when he’s done and it’s just us left, I bring it up that I was sold as an on-site engineer for the immediate future without being asked: “I’m really sorry for that oversight. If you can’t be on-site we can figure something out. Just think about it for a bit.”
First, how can I communicate with my boss regarding this issue? I haven't really had any communication from them at all and I do not like being scheduled to live overseas for months without anyone asking. I am excited for the potential adventure but the lack of communication is really frustrating.
Second, I feel like this change certainly warrants some or all of:
- A pay increase. I didn’t sign up for this
- A vacation increase. Given that my vacation time will now be spent at home catching up on things I missed while away
- By virtue of “skin in the game,” more stock?
- A proposal from them stating exactly what to expect overseas. How much I can spend a week on lodging, transportation? I don’t have my car, so I’ll certainly make them pay for my personal transportation. How often can I come home? Can I bring my girlfriend?
- Something to make up for the 3 weeks they kicked me around over here. A few days of vacation, maybe
- Something about my huge role in closing a 7 figure deal. The sales guys who put less time in are getting a huge commission.
Something like that. I am not sure what I should be asking for from my boss given the large change in responsibilities (I originally was hired to work locally without traveling). What should I be requesting from my boss given the large life disruption and how should I approach this in order to get those requests fulfilled?
EDIT: Update for the folks who asked. My boss, who was out, ended up sending me an email saying "Don't commit to anything while you're over there. The way this went down isn't cool" - big sigh of relief. I got back home and had a conversation with him where I said "I'm going to start off with a rant, then we'll be constructive. I'm not a fan of any of the management of this project right now." I listed off all the reasonings, the messy parts, and what should have happened instead. He took a deep breath and said something along the lines of, "Man. They committed for me to be there too. They made the client believe every face they ever saw was going to be there often. It wasn't at the management level this happened. I obviously am not leaving my new born for this project. The PM and sales guys panicked and to make the sale they did this. We're going to be coming down on them for that." Both him and I agreed that a 75% allocation to that project would be appropriate and that extra compensation would happen. When they talked to the PM about my allocation, they started at 50% knowing he'd ask for more. Well, it turns out 75% was not enough, they sold 100% on-site people and would prefer spend 4 weeks to get a new guys ramped up on the ground than to have me only there 75% of the time. Now they're searching to see if they can pull somebody from a totally different department - a non-client-facing employee - to do it. It's actually a letdown. 75% allocation and extra pay would have been awesome, but I think bullet dodged if the PM acts this way often. The VP of the company I spoke with had no idea this was going on either and only heard the story from the PM's side.
End of the day, there's another client in the continental US that I'm probably going to end up traveling to instead. It's a shorter term commitment with a smaller audience and a less valuable contract, but now that I've set the expectation that extended travel isn't free, I'm hoping that one is prettier as it comes together.