Is it common for HR to offer to call new employers in consulting?
July 1, 2013 2:50 PM   Subscribe

I work in consulting (technical work) and the company has approved for me to work remotely from afar. During the negotiations, HR mentioned that they were certain that it will work well and I have the company's full support (I fully believe this). However, they did say one thing that peaked my interest during our discussions. They stated that if I ended up wanting to work locally that they would be willing to call firms in the area to help me find a new position should the need arise on either of our parts.

I would certainly not ask them for such a thing until I was absolutely certain I wanted to switch jobs. If the flag for you is to overwhelming to ignore, I don't mind you pointing out it is a trap. However, I would appreciate that if you think this is the case to back it up with explanation rather than a one sentence reply so that I can understand why this might be the case.

My questions are:

Could this end well? Is this common? Does anyone have experience with this? I would particularly like to hear from people in HR, consulting, or law since the parameters of employment are a little different from standard jobs (i.e. billing, part-time flexibility, etc.).
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Would you be salaried or on 1099 status? I work in a technical consulting position and am working on two projects - one that I am on-site weekly for and one that is completely remote. I am salaried, but we have a number of 1099's working on various projects as well. Our work by nature is very project based; and as a project ends, some continue on with my company and move to new projects, others pursue opportunities elsewhere. I know a few serial consultants in my field that are continually switching companies, relying primarily on the strength of recommendations and networks they have built up from previous work.

Overall I would say not a red flag, but more par for the course in consulting. I would think that their saying that is primarily a show of good faith and acknowledgement that this kind of work can be project based.
posted by cccp47 at 3:28 PM on July 1, 2013

Is this by chance your first position working remotely?

Remote working isn't for everyone, and that's really a question of temperament much more than ability. I've worked remotely for the past three years, frequently with other people who also work remotely, and while some people love it, others just don't like the isolation, the lack of routine or strong work/life separation, or the extra work you have to put into connecting with your coworkers.

I think HR's comment is a big green flag - they want to prevent you from feeling stuck and quietly unhappy in your position if it turns out that you're the sort of person that just doesn't like working remotely. The sort of organization that recognizes this is a potential issue and proactively works to address it is likely to be pleasant and well-run in many other ways as well.
posted by psycheslamp at 8:50 PM on July 1, 2013

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