I just started my first job at a well reputed global company. I had received an email containing my offer letter in which my work location building was clearly mentioned. I had this strange incident today.

I have had few email conversations, texts and phone conversations with my manager. Today, when I went to my office to get the laptop which was assigned to me, I learned from IT help-desk it was not there. They speculated that it was misplaced, but it turns out it was actually at a different office building.

When I was able to get a hold of my manager, he told me that my cubicle isn't in the building I had reported to (and the building where his office is), but at a separate location entirely, 2-3 hours away.

I was shocked to hear this, as I've been trying to look for housing near that office building. I didn't say anything much but now I feel like I've been fooled. How I should I react to this? Is it worth bringing up with HR?

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    Ask yourself this: What are you hoping to accomplish by going to HR? Are you expecting a positive outcome for yourself, or a negative outcome for your new boss, or both? – user17163 Jun 29 '16 at 19:32
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    @Thebluefish I'm not expecting anything, but if they expect me to be a professional, they should be also professionals and keep their word, especially when given in written(signed) and also email. – ABcDexter Jun 29 '16 at 19:41
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    Did you ask your new boss about the issue? There may be a specific reason that they want you at the location such as that is where the team is based or there are onsite resources. If there isnt a specific reason you may get the outcome you are looking for (being in location A) but I have a feeling this may be a deal breaker. Good Luck. – JasonJ Jun 29 '16 at 19:43
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    Ouch. Sounds like a painful situation to find yourself in :( – user17163 Jun 29 '16 at 19:47
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    One of the questions I always ask in interviews (2nd or 3rd round): "Where will I be working?" And I don't mean the street address. Show me the office/desk. – Wesley Long Jun 30 '16 at 0:10

There's the "myth of HR" and then there's reality. The myth is what you read in the employee manual and are told repeatedly during orientation. It's that they're there to help you, "open door policy" and as always, "where to go when you have a problem with your boss".

The reality, based on decades of experience, is usually much different. You need to understand a few things about HR first:

  1. Their loyalty is always to the company. Their job is (among other things) to protect the company from liability, lawsuits, and any other matter that may arise as a result of having employees. Think of them in that context and a lot of what they do will make sense.
  2. Their secondary loyalty is going to be toward management. Management is going to be believed in most situations or at the least, given so much benefit of the doubt as to render complaints nearly useless.
  3. New people essentially don't matter. I know that's a broad statement, but I stand by it. Their reasons are actually sound. If a manager hasn't had issues with several employees but only the "new guy" has them, there's probably a problem with the new guy.

(NOTE: I'm only referring to normal disputes here between management and peons. In cases of serious transgression especially sexually related,HR will do great. Because of #1)

The bottom line is that because you're #3, HR really isn't going to listen to you unfortunately. Additionally, all they could even do would be mediate.

You need to discuss this with your boss. If you don't get satisfaction, your choices are "suck it up" or leave.

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    Thank you for such a brutally honest answer. As the saying goes, "The thing about truth is, it can be denied but not avoided!". Thanks again, I'll talk to my manager and ask about an explanation in a very polite manner. – ABcDexter Jun 29 '16 at 19:59
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    THIS answer should be enshrined in gold. HR is NOT your friend. +1 – Old_Lamplighter Jun 29 '16 at 20:54
  • Thanks, Richard. Glad I'm not the only one who realizes that. I would put that on a list with real estate agents, car dealers and insurance companies. Especially insurance companies. – Chris E Jun 29 '16 at 21:25
  • Good answer, personally I think you only have one realistic choice 'suck it up', but the other is always an option. – Kilisi Jun 29 '16 at 22:16
  • And that's why I put it. No matter what complaint, problem or issue you have with your employer, barring a contract that says otherwise, you can always leave. :) – Chris E Jun 29 '16 at 22:53

Since you're working for a large, global company, what we have here is likely a failure to communicate. Or a misunderstanding. Don't escalate to HR right away without a clear understanding of the facts.

What you need is an answer and an explanation, and it seems that your manager would be the best person to contact for those.

You need to have an honest and open discussion with your manager, if you haven't already. Do not assume that anyone is trying to fool you if you don't have any evidence to that fact.

What you should be attempting to do is find out why your current work location is different from what you thought it would be, and determine what steps you'd need to take to get to your desired location.

If those next steps involve a discussion with HR, work with your manager if possible to make it happen. Start your employment on a positive note, showing your willingness to work with people to solve problems.

If ultimately you're required to work in the location you don't want, and can't turn down the job, I believe you'll find that to accept your situation with grace (even if it's really their fault) works out better for you in the long run.

  • Thank you, it will really help a lot to be in the positive frame of mind. – ABcDexter Jun 29 '16 at 19:54
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    It would also be worth finding out how often your work location is likely to change. There's important differences between "this week B, but I'm trying to get you moved to C, and eventually A" and "you work at B. Always B". – Móż Jun 30 '16 at 2:09

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