Terminated! Proposing a way back in to the company??
December 8, 2011 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Should I try to present a proposal to my old company for re-hire after they terminated me due to not getting the certifications required for the job?

I was hired into a management role about 10 months ago and part of my offer letter was that I needed to obtain three licenses. After passing the required exams and obtaining two of them, I was unable to pass the third exam after two attempts. As an external hire, I was allotted two attempts to pass the exam or I would be terminated. If I had been an internal hire, I would have been allotted three attempts.

Once I failed the test the second time, my boss went to HR/legal to see if an exception could be made and was denied due to having to be "consistent" in applying the rules. I left on very good terms otherwise - I had a full team reporting to me and my peer management team all attempted to "go to bat" for me in trying to bend the rules, but the company is very conservative and wary of lawsuits.

In order to take the exam again, a company has to sponsor me, so my proposal would be for my old employer to hire me as a "temp" with no salary or benefits and sponsor me to take the exam again after the waiting period. If I pass, I am awarded the opportunity to apply for my old job again (it's been posted already) and if I fail, then the company cancels the "temp" contract and they're out nothing as I would pay the cost of the exam as well.

Alternatively, I could search for other positions within the company that don't require this final license and just get back in that way. I built up a network of people in my time there who are helping me try to find opportunities (jobs are rarely posted externally).

As a big piece of information, I don't need this license to do my actual job, it's a technicality. The position is new and the company made a decision to require this license, but it's not used and although they're considering changing the criteria in the future (a lot of people take 2-3 times to pass this license exam), it's not likely to change in the near future, so I can't just wait it out.

I'm looking for pros/cons for the company and my future reputation in proposing this. There is a chance I wouldn't pass it the third time. The company, being conservative, isn't much of a risk-taker and is probably not likely to agree to this. I need an outside perspective because so far, my co-workers, family and friends have all gone with the "what do you have to lose?" answer, but I really need an outside perspective to push holes and/or provide ammo for this being a good or bad idea. I don't even know if it's legal for the company to do this, but I'm not asking for legal advice.

I'm not looking for reasons to try and fight the termination, the rules were clear; I'm simply looking for the best way to get back in with the company while keeping my reputation. At this point, I rather feel like someone broke up with me and I'm stalking them to get back together. So, do I try this because I truly have nothing to lose or do I walk away from this job with my head held high and move on to trying to get other positions?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
You don't say what exam you have to pass but many exams that require a sponsor won't work for a temp. You're either a self-employed contractor, i.e. a 1099 employee, or you're an employee of another company contracted to work there, i.e. Manpower or Booz Allen, which is W2. That's how it works for securities exams (Series 6, 63, 7, etc.).

I would look for another job in the company that doesn't require the license. You could still take the test, which would open up other opportunities for you with the company. Before taking the test, study your ass off and do sample tests until you're consistently getting 90%. Don't hope you're prepared, be prepared.
posted by shoesietart at 10:43 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you are a temp, you either work for yourself, or you work for another company. So your old company can't sponsor you for this. I would think that if they were interested in taking a risk on you, they would have done this prior to dismissing you after your second failure, anyway.

I would network with your former colleauges as well as searching elsewhere. In fact, I probably would not seek re-employment with a company that rigid but if there are positions there for which you might be qualified I wouldn't rule them out entirely.
posted by sm1tten at 10:52 AM on December 8, 2011

(If we presume all the risk-adverse behavior you ascribe to the company) I wouldn't go out on a limb to hire you if I'm wagering on you passing a licensing exam you've failed twice.

Honestly, if they want to do this why wouldn't they just remove the requirement from the position? They could require you to re-apply and therefor be judged against other possible hires, which arguably is less a 'cheat' than simply removing the requirement from the job while you're in it. But hiring you own to take a third swing? It doesn't sound like something I'd do in their shoes (and with their proclivities).
posted by phearlez at 12:09 PM on December 8, 2011

If you can make a good case that you would pass this time, I'd say go for it!

The key is making a case for why this time is different. Better study materials? More familiarity with the exam? Outside coaching? Something tangible. If you give them a reason why you feel likely to pass this time, it seems like a good idea.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:33 PM on December 8, 2011

Oh, and I've failed a licensing exam too and had to retake it. It always feels like a bigger deal to the person who failed than it does to anybody else. So don't feel bad.
posted by selfmedicating at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2011

No. You should apply elsewhere and move on with life.
posted by rr at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

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