How should I navigate this job situation?
October 12, 2014 12:39 PM   Subscribe

I want to ask my (new*) company for a transfer to a different office. I'm not sure how this will be received, so I feel like I need to have a back up plan. I'm not sure how best to handle the timing on asking versus looking at other options.

*My company, which is small but awesome, was just purchased by a larger, and possibly less-awesome company. I moved across the country three years ago to help my company establish an office in a new market. It's gone great, professionally speaking, but personally, the move hasn't been what I had hoped. The idea of heading back home had crossed my mind many times over the last few years, but now that my motivation for staying (help the company I love) has basically disappeared, it's got me thinking that I might try to make the move sooner rather than later.

My company didn't have a presence in my home state, but new big company does. This got me thinking - why not take advantage of this fact and get myself back geographically where I want to be, while still giving new company a chance to see how it plays out? If they were to say no to my request, I know I could find a job in my field back home anyway, though it might take a few months.

So, long story short - ideally I'd like to make a move in February/March based on my lease ending. The ownership transition is supposed to take 6 - 12 months; reviews are in December and will be handled by old company. I am likely due for a promotion/raise, but with the transition I'm not sure what will happen. With all that said:

1) When should I ask my company about the transfer?
2) If I want to start talking to other companies as a plan B, do I start that process before or after I talk to my company?
3) Am I risking "showing my hand" so-to-speak by asking? They are going to know by my asking that I'm ready to move back home, so am I putting myself in danger of being let go in the middle of this takeover transition?
4) Should I have an offer in hand from another company in home state before I ask?

Other possibly relevant info - I'm single, 35, been in my field for about 10 years. I have a specialized but very in-demand set of skills, and I am contacted by recruiters fairly regularly.

Sorry if this is a bit rambly. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give to help me develop a plan of action.
posted by tryniti to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you looked at positions at the other office and identified any gaps? Basically, saying, hey I see there is a challenge in the Des Moines Office with a lack of widget-makers that can use left-handed wrenches. I have demonstraed my skill in using left-handed wrenches this past three years. I would lile to transfer over so I can train and supervise staff in the safe and efficent use of left-handed wrenches, elminating the need for expensive contract workers and saving the business $Xx dollars in the next two years." Make it a win-win. I see nothing wrong in mentioning it is your homestate and you have deep ties that would make it more likely you would not leave the company immediately after transferring.
posted by saucysault at 12:46 PM on October 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I once worked for a company that was purchased by a much larger company. While the ownership transition was taking place, the people that worked for the smaller company were allowed to look for and apply for other positions within the larger company, but we could not start working for the larger company until the transition was complete. This might be true for your larger company too - do you have access to HR policies for the new company? As part of the transition, they might even provide guidance on how to transfer to a new position within the larger company (mine did).

That said, do you want to do your current position from the new company's other location, or do you want to find a new position that meets your skills? The new company may or may not want to have your current position operating out of the new location, so be prepared for that. Still, I don't think it hurts to ask, you just have to get the timing right.
posted by bedhead at 1:00 PM on October 12, 2014


I'm actually in a similar-ish boat with similar timing. Since performance reviews are at the end of the year, I was thinking of bringing it up to my direct supervisor in November. My goal is transfer and I'm thinking to ask for both a transfer and a raise, so that if they are reluctant, getting them to give me just the transfer without a raise will still seem to them like they bargained down. All I really care about is the transfer. I got the sense, at least at my office, that once the performance review is finished, the timeline for making decisions like raises and transfers may have passed. My boss told me to speak with him about a raise in November. It's a process that takes time and it seems like they start figuring out who gets them in preparation for the face-to-face performance reviews during an evaluation period, not afterward. Plus, at the end of the year with the holidays, it won't be dealt with until January, it seems.

If you can, I would try to offer a business reason why this move is good for you and the company. In my case, my argument is about timezones and having the capacity deal with our state affiliates in a more timely manner. Personally though, I just desperately want to go back to where I am from as I just simply don't like living where I moved for this job. Try to make it have a benefit for the company, not just you if you can or if you think you should. Maybe in your case, that isn't necessary.

As for other job options, I would start looking now. It doesn't hurt to get a sense of what is out there and having a backup plan. Finding a job you want to apply to and then getting a callback is a long process. You can start looking now, but may not actually find a viable option for months.

And in the middle of a transition, I don't think it hurts to ask. I see it as the right time to ask. I can't see them firing you because you suggested it. Rather than them saying, "Well, tryniti doesn't want to be here anyway, so let's just fire them!" I think the more likely scenario is that if they are restructuring and want to send people to another office, they will consider you because they know you want it. It could also be, or at least I am hoping in my case, that they are still figuring things out for the transition so I can create a new option where one didn't exist for. I am hoping they will see it as a good idea to send me where I want to go while a lot of other positions at my company are changing. I think the fact that you've been there three years helps -- you paid your dues.

There may be some stuff that complicates your situation in regard to what decisions the old company can make vs. what can't happen until the new company takes over. If I were you though, I'd try to get into the process early. Just seems more likely they will go for it while everything is up in the air rather than once things have started settling down. That's just me though. Good luck!
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:02 PM on October 12, 2014


Oh, this is a great time to start looking for openings in your old home town. Start seeing what's opening out there, and formulate some ideas about what the company might need done there.

It's not like you've got a brand new gig, you've been there for 3 years. So you should be fine.

1) When should I ask my company about the transfer?

Now is good. They may be looking to move folks around anyway and they might appreciate it.

2. If I want to start talking to other companies as a plan B, do I start that process before or after I talk to my company?

Yes. about 2 months out, or in January, unless it's a government job.

3) Am I risking "showing my hand" so-to-speak by asking? They are going to know by my asking that I'm ready to move back home, so am I putting myself in danger of being let go in the middle of this takeover transition?

Yes, but you're at risk anyway, so just cowboy up and think of it as being proactive. "Hey boss, I know that things are going to be hairy here with the merger and whatnot, it seems like it would be a good time for me to make a change. I'd like to know if you'd be on-board with my applying for jobs in my home town." More than likely he or she will be on board. If not, hang out, wait to see if there's a buy out or a lay-off, take the severance, go on unemployment and THEN move, and find a job in your home town.

I mean, either way you want to move home. So it works for you.

4) Should I have an offer in hand from another company in home state before I ask?

Nope


Good luck!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:51 PM on October 12, 2014


I agree with Ruthless Bunny that you should pursue the change now.
It might put you ahead of others who are thinking along similar lines, but more timid about stating their desires.
posted by SallyHitMeOntheHead at 3:29 PM on October 12, 2014


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