I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

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I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by UristMcBunny on Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:26 pm

So. A few months ago I got a job. A full-time, above min-wage job that I enjoyed and was with a good company. It was only temporary, provided through an agency, and involved a commute that cost me a sizeable chunk of my wages, but I enjoyed it. And I did well. And I was able to walk straight out of that one at the end of the contract into another, that is in my home town, also full-time, also enjoyable to me and also temporary - with a different agency to the last one. But temporary ongoing, rather than fixed term, and in a growing company that actively encourages people in the department I'm in to pursue careers in the rest of the business and makes time for them to do so. And provides free ground-from-fresh-beans coffee, fruit squash and tea to all staff.

And now I am in a position I could not, six months ago, have imagined myself in. I have to TURN DOWN A JOB OFFER.

The entire concept is alien to me. But I have to. The job offer is £1ph more than my current one, but the cost of commuting is such that I would essentially be on the same income as I am now (actually a handful of pocket change WORSE off). I would also have commute time to Ashford again, therefore having less free time for studies again, which had to slow down for a time. Like my current job, it is merely "temp ongoing", so not more secure. And it is a 100% customer-contact focused job involving web chat, telephone and email enquiries, which is hell on your mental and emotional wellbeing.

So basically, I'd be no better off financially and worse off in terms of time, and job satisfaction.

But at the same time, it is being offered to me by the agency who found me my previous job. Apparently they received "astoundingly positive" feedback from my last employer, so are keen to retain me and offer me good jobs when they come along. So I REALLY want to keep them sweet and encourage them to keep looking for work for me.

I have absolutely no idea how to do this.

Tips, anyone? Advice?

(I would especially appreciate advice from people who have been in similar situations regarding trying to find work as a 20-30 something person in the current economy. I have had some well-meaning but frankly naive advice from older relatives so far, which amounted to "the agency work for you! Don't worry about being nice - You make THEM money! They should be keeping YOU sweet!") Bless. It's a different world.

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Re: I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:56 pm

I am interested in seeing what comes out of this thread because I might be heading toward a similar situation in the coming week or so. I recently interviewed with two companies and have heard a bit of off-the-record positive feedback from both so far. If by some bizarre plot twist they both extend me an offer, I definitely know which one I'd prefer to take—but since the other one was found via a recruiting agency, ...yeah, very similar situation. Maybe further complicated by the fact that I tried to show my enthusiasm for the job in both interviews, so turning down an offer afterward might make it seem like I was insincere.

ETA: Never mind; less-preferred job just called to let me down gently. Razz

It may transpire that you end up having to burn a bridge in order to cross the other.

I agree the "they should be keeping you sweet" line is pretty naive, but it may help to think more about what you mean when you say you want to encourage them to keep looking for work for you. If two months from now they find you another job that also is temp-ongoing, has about the same pay, and is close but not that close to where you live, will you want to accept that one? Does it depend on how secure you will feel in your current job at that point?

In your particular situation, it might be best just to explain to the agency (via email to avoid getting talked over or "led" through the discussion) exactly what you've said here: this particular job they've found for you isn't better for your finances or other needs than your current one, but you remain very open to future engagements with this agency. Might also help to emphasize that you're happy in your current position, phrased in such a way as to indicate that you're loyal and hard-working and "passionate" about your work. But I think this way of presenting it will likely still make them think you're not likely to accept future offers for temp work, which means if they keep looking for work for you they will use a narrower filter and possibly not find anything for you for a while.

So I guess what I'm trying to ask is: what counts as acceptable losses here?


Last edited by nearly_takuan on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:03 pm

Be polite but honest. No one wants that job (or much any job) on its own, they're willing to do that job because they are being paid enough to do so. So name the price that would make it worth it to you and let them make the call.

Something like: I am not interested in this position at the offered wage because my current job provides an excellent environment and after commute, more take home pay and more free time. I would be willing to consider this position for £3/hr (or 5 or 10) more instead of the current offer of £1/hr.

For the record, while this works for me, some employers can get quite flustered and confused by a prospective employee approaching them on equal terms. I was told at one interview "the only thing we ask is that you be totally flexible with your schedule" and when I replied "that's fine as long as you're wiling to be totally flexible with my schedule, too", the interviewer's reaction made it clear that no one had ever had the nerve to say such a thing to him. The moment I saw his reaction, I knew neither of us wanted me in that job. . . and that's fine. You've already got a job, so you can afford to be a bit more selective and be honest about choosing what's best for you.

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Re: I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by UristMcBunny on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:16 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:I agree the "they should be keeping you sweet" line is pretty naive, but it may help to think more about what you mean when you say you want to encourage them to keep looking for work for you. If two months from now they find you another job that also is temp-ongoing, has about the same pay, and is close but not that close to where you live, will you want to accept that one? Does it depend on how secure you will feel in your current job at that point?

In your particular situation, it might be best just to explain to the agency (via email to avoid getting talked over or "led" through the discussion) exactly what you've said here: this particular job they've found for you isn't better for your finances or other needs than your current one, but you remain very open to future engagements with this agency. Might also help to emphasize that you're happy in your current position, phrased in such a way as to indicate that you're loyal and hard-working and "passionate" about your work. But I think this way of presenting it will likely still make them think you're not likely to accept future offers for temp work, which means if they keep looking for work for you they will use a narrower filter and possibly not find anything for you for a while.

So I guess what I'm trying to ask is: what counts as acceptable losses here?

Good advice! I'm bolding that bit in particular to reply to it.

Basically, yeah, if the exact same job they were offering me now was offered to me two months from now, I might take it. My one priority - the one I have above all else - is to be in continuous employment. I start searching for new work about a month before the stated end date of any contract work, and while I like temp-ongoing contracts, I generally continue to actively seek work while employed on one because you could literally be fired at any moment. In addition, the agency in question also sometimes receives contracts for permanent positions, in which they procure top candidates from their existing worker pool to try and make the best possible fit for the employer. So if I end up taking 2-3 temp positions with them over the next year or so, and get feedback as good as I did in my last one with them, I could easily see myself being put at the top of the list for some very tempting permanent roles - including in accounting, a field I'm currently studying to enter right now.

I do like your mention of wording it in a way that suggests loyalty and passion, though. I can legitimately say that, as the employer for my current role has invested significant time and expense in training me for what is actually a rather complex and involved job with Very Important Clients, that it would be disloyal to them of me to leave so soon after starting the role. Maybe if I take that tactic - if the agency comes back to me again in a couple of months with a more tempting offer, and this job isn't looking secure enough, I'd be up for it. They do also have vacancies posted online that I can just apply for, albeit not their best ones, so I can make sure they know about it as soon as I'm available again.

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Re: I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:21 pm

Oh yea, definitely leave the door open. I've told several recruiters "I'm not looking to relocate at this time but if you find anything in Vegas, please contact me. If I become open to relocation I will let you know immediately."

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Re: I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by Caffeinated on Wed Jan 21, 2015 7:03 pm

UristMcBunny wrote:I can legitimately say that, as the employer for my current role has invested significant time and expense in training me for what is actually a rather complex and involved job with Very Important Clients, that it would be disloyal to them of me to leave so soon after starting the role.  Maybe if I take that tactic - if the agency comes back to me again in a couple of months with a more tempting offer, and this job isn't looking secure enough, I'd be up for it.  They do also have vacancies posted online that I can just apply for, albeit not their best ones, so I can make sure they know about it as soon as I'm available again.

Yes, this is a good direction for your response. It shows your good work qualities (loyalty! being trained to do important client stuff!), but doesn't slam the door in their face about future possibilities.
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Re: I have never had to do this before and I don't know how

Post by kath on Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:26 pm

Yes, that's totally the right thing to do!

I also wanted to say that they are unlikely to be mad or think the less of you. I am 100% certain that, given that they usually work with temp contracts, a bunch of the people they tend to work with will be on changing contracts and will say "sorry, I've got another position at the moment, but my contract is likely to wrap up in X months. Please keep me in mind for other positions and I'll be back in touch nearer the end of my current contract" - a lot like how people working with contractors do it. Plenty of contractors might not have time for Job X when it comes up, but if you liked working with them before or think they do great work, you'll call them back when you have something else. That's also how it works in theatre with actors or stage managers, who sometimes have to turn down work, and sometimes have no work at all. Being honest and polite will not constitute burning that bridge at all.
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