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A close friend of mine has recently secured her first graduate job. Since it's field based, she's expected to travel for various courses, meetings, research etc, and has been told she will receive reimbursement. Now, she's been asked to attend an educational seminar for employees in her industry - not compulsory but 'strongly recommended'. In addition to this, her contract start-date isn't actually for a couple of weeks yet, and her employer hasn't mentioned anything about reimbursement. The seminar is about 100 miles one-way.

So my question is, does one ask for reimbursement in the circumstances (new job/unofficial start-date/non-compulsory event); and if so, what is the best way of going about it?

  • Is this seminar before her start date or after? – alroc Jan 7 '17 at 12:51
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    The easy answer is I start in two weeks and have already made other plans. 'Strongly recommended' is not a good sign. – paparazzo Jan 7 '17 at 13:16
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    Alroc, before the start date. Paparazzi, I know what you're saying, and maybe as someone who's been in the job at least a year it's a feasible reply. But in practice, as a fresh graduate trying to get a step into the industry, make an impression and accrue strong contacts along the way, I'm not sure what kind of impression that would make to the employer. Especially before you've even officially started. – Littletee Jan 7 '17 at 14:03
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    Why do people overthink things like this and get very scared and awkward about it ? Just go in and ask. Keep it simple and don't overthink it. – Radu Murzea Jan 7 '17 at 16:04
  • People think in terms of how they feel about a certain thing at a certain moment in time. Something which flusters you won't fluster someone else. Doesn't make your concern any less important than another person's. Just subjective. – Littletee Jan 7 '17 at 16:57
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If a company/manager offers reimbursement for certain things and is going to have a problem if someone asks a question about something very similar getting reimbursed, then shame on them.

I think the same lines of communication that have been used throughout the interview process (email, phone) should be maintained. This way you know they're comfortable communicating this way. Just ask. "I know this isn't mandatory and I haven't officially started yet, but I was wondering if this trip is eligible for reimbursement. If this were local I wouldn't ask, but it's more than 100 miles away..."

I took one job and because I was getting bored and excited about the new job, I asked if I could stop by the office, hang out and get to know everyone. I was there for a few hours and joined a meeting and was able to contribute to the discussion. The boss told his book keeper to write me a check for half a day. I didn't ask. His attitude was, "If someone works for me, they get paid." These are the kind of people you should want to work for and emulate.

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  • Thanks Jeffo, I agree that 'these are the kinds of people you should want to work for and emulate'. She has plenty academic credit to her name, but no 'real-world' job offer despite having had hundreds of interviews in the last year. So unfortunately it was really a matter of beggars can't be choosers. Your wording is helpful though, thanks. – Littletee Jan 7 '17 at 14:30
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Nothing happens before the start date. Because the employment contract does not kick in until her official first day on the job. Until the contract kicks in, she's not an employee of the firm.

I really would discourage her from showing up - she does not have business cards, she does not have a business telephone number nor a business email, she does not know her official title nor does she know who she is reporting to. In other words, she does not have official proof that she is working for the company. And she doesn't have proof that she is an employee because she is not an employee. Yet. That would put a cramp on her networking.

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  • Can't hurt to ask, and asking may yield a letter of introduction to address some of the other points. At worst, looking eager to get started is not a bad thing. – keshlam Jan 7 '17 at 16:30
  • Hmm. Suppose it's just a matter of balancing priorities. I like that 'looking eager to get started is not a bad thing.' It's certainly not. – Littletee Jan 7 '17 at 17:02

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