Line in the sand

Posted by @ 2:05 pm on Wednesday 7th November, 2012.
Categories: Rambling on...

An employment agency found a job that they thought would suit me. Local Company, precision engineering, quality department, all stuff that I've done before with both hands tied behind my back. Acceptable salary range, three months probation as an agency-contractor then the Company would have the option to offer me a permanent job at the going rate. I told the agent to put me forward for consideration.

Now, I've been a Domestic Engineer for some time now and the agent thought it best if I was to be put in at £2k less than the low end of the salary range (pro-rata) for the duration of the probation period, this to demonstrate my willingness to get my foot firmly back on the employment ladder. A show of commitment, if you like. I agreed to this concession, sometimes you have to give now to receive later. I'd bagged an interview.

The interview went well, I liked the Company and, according to the agent, the Company liked me. I told the agent that after actually seeing the place and the work I considered the job to be worth a minimum of the low end of the salary range so I asked him to ditch his £2k concession idea. He got back to the Company and I was informed that they understood that I didn't want to sell myself short. I was in the mix.

Today is the Company's decision day. They have a short-list and I'm on it.

The agent called me again and asked if there was anything I could do to demonstrate that I wouldn't jump ship if a better opportunity came along. It seems that the depth and range of my previous experience is a sticking-point - I consider it a useful bonus for the Company, as in times of need I'd be able to cover for others in roles above mine, but allegedly the Company thinks it makes me more likely to leave for greener pastures. I'd have thought that it would be up to the Company to try to retain me, it's called "market forces", nobody knows what opportunities and calamities the future will bring and only a fool would agree to rebuff a better offer from elsewhere. The ensuing conversation went a bit like this:

"After the probation period, would you contract to stay with the Company for n years, no matter what?"

"Well, would they contract to keep me on for n years, no matter what?"


"Well my answer's "no" too. Commitment is a double-edged sword, it cuts both ways."

"How about one year then?"

"Contracted both ways?"


"Well, tell them that my CV clearly demonstrates my commitment and loyalty to previous employers. I'm trying for a job in engineering, not taking the Queen's Shilling!"

I considered my options and suggested a different concession on my part - I told the agent that I would agree to having a no-leaving clause in my contract with the Agency during the probation period but not in any subsequent permy contract with the Company. That seemed fair.

That wasn't good enough.

I suggested a third concession - ditch the agency-contracted period, the Company could set me on as a permy at the low-end salary for a full year, then review the salary after that year. That would demonstrate commitments from both me and the Company.

No, that wasn't good enough either.

I've no more concessions in my bag but I'm happy to let them have the stick that I've used to draw my line in the sand. I'm not willing to buy myself a job and then sell my soul to keep it even when I no longer want it.

Time will tell if I'm back in the rat-race.

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One Response to “Line in the sand”

  1. Geoff says:

    What a bunch of idiots!
    Unfortunately many employers seem to be behaving in a similar fashion, my daughter had a interview last year where they asked if she would work for a year without pay as an intern. They seemed quite surprised when she declined their offer!

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