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I am getting an offer for a project in my own company. I kept my terms and conditions before accepting it. My terms and conditions involved taking my wife with me during the onsite visit to a foreign country for which they have not completely agreed. One of the manager on day 1 of discussion told me its not possible as it has budget issues to which I said I can't go. On day 2 of discussion second manager told me that it can be done. But did not provided any written commitment/confirmation.

Now, on day 3, I am getting an email saying,

"Please provide your acceptance that you are ready to work on weekends as well as on holidays if required so that we can move ahead."

I have worked on an earlier project and have seen how miserable this can go. I have worked around 4 months straight without any holiday so I think there can be a similar situation here. Also, I have not received any commitment from their end on my concerns.

I am thinking to respond to this email like this -

I am okay with working on weekends unless it affects my work-life balance. Also, I want a written commitment that my concerns will be taken care by you.

Please let me know if this is the right way to respond? Should I add more details to it? Is it the right thing I am doing? I already have a project to work upon so I am fine if they do not consider me. Let me know if I need to add more details to my question.

UPDATED-

I did follow the advice's and sent an email stating the following points -

  1. Have clarified that I can be available for max 2 weekends each month in case of any critical requirement and compensation in terms of pay or additional leaves should be granted.
  2. Have asked to arrange my spouse's travel.

I did mentioned the nasty things I went through in the last project where I worked several months including weekends without any agreement like this.

This may not work, but I kept my concerns and that's fine with me and I am satisfied.

Thanks all.

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  • I think you meant "unless it does affect...". Also, it would be more useful to state the specific negotiating points rather than "my concerns". Oct 5 '16 at 12:49
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    I think you would need to be more specific than "unless it affects my work-life balance." That's completely subjective, and you can't really hold them to it. Perhaps you mean that you would do it as long as you work less than X hours per week?
    – David K
    Oct 5 '16 at 12:56
  • @JoeStrazzere I know that sounds silly but yes its also being honest. I don't have any real issues with working on weekends. Its just that, it should not take away my time with my family "completely"
    – Techidiot
    Oct 5 '16 at 12:58
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    You need to figure out your requirements and write them an emailing outlining what you want included in the contract. For example: 1) You will work no more than 50 hours a week, 2 weeks/month, and no more than 40 hours a week the other 2 weeks. 2) You must be informed of any planned work during holidays at least 2 weeks in advance, and be offered lieu time in exchange. 3) The company must be willing to cover the expenses of bringing your wife with you during onsite visits to a foreign country. Personally, I agree with @JoeStrazzere and think that you may as well reject them now ...
    – AndreiROM
    Oct 5 '16 at 14:26
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    What's about an actual honest answer? Mine would be "If something in production is on fire during the weekend, of course I'll come." If you can afford to be even a tiny bit picky when looking for jobs, send them yours. Oct 5 '16 at 15:47
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I am okay with working on weekends unless it affects my work-life balance.

Sorry, that seems like a silly response. By definition, all time spent at work affects your work-life balance.

The company is asking you to work whenever the business requires it. The fact that they specifically mentioned weekends and holidays tells you in no uncertain terms that it will be required. You are basically saying that you'll do it only if it doesn't interfere with whatever you want to do on your weekends and holidays. Clearly there is no common understanding on the work requirements. That's a bad way to start off.

Unless you and the company can agree on specifics (such as "I will be required to work no more than 1 weekend per month" or "I will not be required to work more than 45 hours per week" or "I will not be required to work more than 10 days in a row"), I think you are wasting your time.

Inevitably you will be asked to work some (many?) weekends and holidays because it's "required" and inevitably you will not want to work some of those weekends and holidays because it "affects your work-life balance".

Also, I want a written commitment that my concerns will be taken care by you.

It's hard to ask for written assurance that your "concerns will be taken care " without specifying those concerns in detail. No company will say "sure, we'll take care of all your concerns". And certainly no company that knows you are concerned about working lots of weekends/holidays (yet specifically mentions that working these will be required), is going to make such a promise.

If you were on great terms with your employer and you knew that the company is always fair in these matters, it would be one thing. But the fact that they specifically mention weekends/holidays and the fact that you specifically mention your work-life balance, and are asking for written assurance regarding your concerns tells me that you don't trust them to do what you want them to do.

You "have seen how miserable this can go". You have already worked for long stretches without time off and didn't like it. You already suspect a similar situation here.

Time to politely decline and move on from this project.

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To draw from various comments (that I agree with). You need to define what would be acceptable for you, if you only want to work X number of hours and Y number of weekends out of the month that is what you need to respond with.

If you want extra holiday to compensate you for working these weekends you need to raise that in your negotiations. It won't help you if you draw vague and nebulous commitments from your boss.

Personally I think if it's possibly meet your boss face to face with a clear list of what you feel you want and also decide where you'd be willing to negotiate. If you can't agree then possibly it is time for you to move on from this project/company as presumably they will still want someone covering this work.

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  • @Techidiot We're not a free service to write your e-mails for you. We're here to provide Q&As which might be helpful to other people in the future - you still need to do some work here. Oct 5 '16 at 13:23
  • @PhilipKendall Yes I understand that. It was just that the answer was very generic (already included in other comments) and I was expecting some pointers. I take my previous comment back.
    – Techidiot
    Oct 5 '16 at 13:28
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    @Techidiot Even if things have already been mentioned in comments, it is good to put them into an answer. Comments are meant to be temporary, so there's a good chance that useful information would disappear in the future at some point.
    – David K
    Oct 5 '16 at 14:18
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It wouldn't worry me. If you want the job, then just agree. You can always negotiate once you're there. 'When necessary' is pretty vague. You can have a hand in deciding when it applies.

At most I would say I wouldn't work Sundays unless there is an emergency due to my religion, but that's about it. They're not going to make me work 24 hours a day, I'll still have time with the wife and kids and I'll be making money.

If you think your employer is purposely asking in order to make you work seven days a week every week, and you're not comfortable with that, then you're better off not getting the work. But in general, if it's a professional position this doesn't happen, you were unlucky last time. Different story if you were taking a menial position where they can basically control everything you do.

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