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I recently moved to a new city with my husband, and we live about 20 minutes outside of town. I was thrilled to get a job offer that had great pay/benefits and has a main office in our new city (they have multiple locations).

During my first interview, I was told this position had the option of working out of the main office (where we moved) or another location an hour away. Obviously I chose the location we are closest to. The supervisor has staff at both locations, so he travels back and forth weekly.

After reviewing the job offer I asked about travel, and was told I would need to commute an hour to the other location about 4 times per week. It's very strange to me that they said this, considering they gave me the location option early in the interview process, and we had agreed on the closest office.

I don't want to lose this offer, but I can't commute that far 4 times per week. What's the best approach to negotiate this while still keeping my job?

  • 3
    What advice are you looking for? If they won't budge on the travel requirement and it's a non-starter for you then there's not much to do but decline. – Lilienthal Jun 30 '16 at 19:44
  • if you have already moved for this offer, it is a moot point. unless you can live your life without your income from this employent. You will have to suck it up. If you haven't, you just kindly decline, stating the travel requirements being too much of a burden for you. – MelBurslan Jun 30 '16 at 19:58
  • Unfortunately things can change quickly, the need at one office can become a news at another. At least they are telling you before you accept, I've seen companies that would wait until you were a few weeks in. As to what you do, you have to decide if this is a game changer, if yes, you need to look at alternatives, plain and simple – The Wandering Dev Manager Jun 30 '16 at 19:58
  • I'm asking how I politely say wtf? – user53406 Jun 30 '16 at 20:00
  • Did you ask a follow up question about how that was not what you were initially told? – JasonJ Jun 30 '16 at 20:00
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If you can't commute that far 4x a week then you simply need to tell them that. In a very polite way mention you thought you had the option and had disclosed to them you wanted to work in the main office in the first interview. If they strong arm you then you may have more reason not to work for this company than just the commute.

If they do strong arm you and you need the money then maybe take the job and look for another. When you find one resign. I would not feel guilty about resigning if they changed the rules last minute.

I worked for a company that had a policy a transfer 50 miles away not a transfer and sure enough I got that transfer but it was a position that was good for my career.

  • That's a rather generic policy. I'll bet that 50 miles out here in Eastern Colorado is a lot easier to cover than in greater NYC. – Wesley Long Jun 30 '16 at 20:29
  • @WesleyLong So, what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? That was the exact policy of the company and although not in NYC it happened to be on opposite sides of one of the 10 largest cities in the US and I moved without getting reimbursed to deal with it. – paparazzo Jun 30 '16 at 20:45
  • that's the tea! Point being: 50 miles is a very subjective amount of distance. We cover it in less than an hour out here, maybe an hour and a half inside Denver. A whole different story to do that across NYC or Atlanta. – Wesley Long Jun 30 '16 at 20:47
  • @WesleyLong I don't get you sense of logic. 50 miles was in fact the polity. 50 miles is not subjective - it is very measurable. Commute time on the other hand is subjective. It was vary day to day. Access to freeway. Public transportation. Ride bike to work. Walk to work. – paparazzo Jun 30 '16 at 20:51
  • Yeah, we're on different wavelengths, here. 50 miles is a static measurement, to be sure, but time/effort covering 50 miles is very different depending on location. That's my point. I guess we're just not connecting. – Wesley Long Jun 30 '16 at 20:52
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Given that they will let you work at that location 1 day a week means that you can work at that location. It just seems they would rather you work at the other location for whatever reasons - maybe to be next to other team members or whatever.

I would suggest that you do the math. How much do you make per hour? How much wear/tear will the drive put on your car plus gas? An hour commute can also turn into 1.5-2 hours with traffic. At a minimum you are looking at "working" an extra 6-8 hours a week. Which is about 15-20% of your salary with everything else involved.

So I would simply counter. Say - "I gave you a salary based on me working at the location nearest me. With the extra commute hours plus extra expenses I would now need to make XXXXX (at least 15% more)."

I would also mention to them that you do not mind working at the other location maybe for 3-4 weeks as you are being trained but would then expect to work at the closer location. Once you accept the job working at the further location you have no leverage.

1

It sounds like you need to weigh the actual cost of the commute. Ask yourself the following: If you had to commute 5 times a week, would that job still be worth it? Are you willing to re-enter the job market and risk not finding another position? Or finding a position with lower pay/less optimal hours/a longer commute?

Once you have determined these things, if you really think that the job is not worthwhile given the 4x weekly commute, talk to the person who hired you. Be vocal and communicate that you are unwilling or unable to make the commute for reasons A, B... Convey that you have a strong desire to hold the position, but that you simply cannot do so given the commute and your initial agreement to work in the city. Chances are, if you go this route, you will see at least some improvement. Maybe that means not commuting at all, maybe it means fewer times each week.

Best of luck!

  • Thanks! That's what I'm going to do. Appreciate your thoughts and kindness. – user53406 Jun 30 '16 at 20:06

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