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I have a verbal job offer for a position where I made it clear that I would be working remotely and they said no problem they have lots of remote workers. However they have said that I should not take the job if I wouldn't consider possibly relocating at some point in the future.

Written job offer is pending.

The job offer sounds great and I am very excited about it, however, I'm a little concerned they will try to force me to relocate at some point. I feel they are offering me a remote job because they want me, but their strong preference is to have me locally. I can't accommodate that in the next 12-18 months, and I have communicated that to them.

I live close enough to the job place that I could make twice monthly trips down to connect with them and my hope is I can make the job work that way for the foreseeable future.

My fear is that "possibly relocating" to them means "if any problems are encountered with remote working" and "possibly relocating" means to me "if I so choose that relocating is in my best interest." If this job offer had required me to move in one years time, I would probably not take it, but in this situation, I think i can work things out.

What do you think I should do with this job offer?

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closed as off topic by Yannis Rizos Mar 7 '12 at 5:54

Questions on Programmers Stack Exchange are expected to relate to software development within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

When you have questions about an employment offer, ask the employer. It is important to clear up any of these sorts of questions before you agree to anything as it could lead to unpleasant or messy situations later on. The employer will not take it poorly as they know a clear understanding of their intentions is better for them as well. –  MaQleod May 9 '11 at 18:14
General employment questions are off topic on Programmers. While software developers are in a better position than most to work remotely the situation is not unique to our profession. –  ChrisF May 9 '11 at 20:56

3 Answers 3

You should definitely clarify what your intentions are to see if they match. There may be a job offer on the table, but it's very much a possibility it's different from the job you think you are agreeing to.

Here's what I would do:

  1. Talk to the people that will be your direct manager, as well as that person's manager (your grandboss).
  2. Tell them both what your percentage of acceptable travel is. Mine is 10% because it involves a plane flight. Yours sounds more like 30-50%.
  3. Ask them what conditions would require you to relocate, such as change in business, change in job function, inability to meet expectations as a remote employee, etc.
  4. If you are worried about them switching things on you, say that you want in writing a guarantee that you will be a purely remote employee for at least 12 or 18 months.

If you want a purely remote job, they have to be offering a purely remote job. Everyone involved may as well go into it with open eyes and matched expectations.

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I think you're right when you are reading into their offer. They want you, are okay with having you remote but would rather have you locally.

I think you can make this work. You'll need to give them no excuse to ask you to relocate. That means always going above and beyond what is expected of you. There can't be any hesitation in their thoughts about you and your remoteness. (ie. I'd like to give him this project but he's just so hard to get in touch with - or whatever). Additionally, since you do live close enough to make trips to meet in person that will make a huge difference.

I've seen employers make the same requests to colleagues of mine but the quality of their work and their ability to schedule visits have kept the doubting managers from having any excuses to ask them to relocate.

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However they have said that I should not take the job if I wouldn't consider possibly relocating at some point in the future.

Take them literally, and take the job. At some point in the future, you would possibly consider relocating. That is not a commitment to relocate, ever. It's a commitment to think about it again later. If/when that time comes, your situation may be different and you may actually want to relocate. If not, you don't have to. And they don't have to keep you, but that can happen regardless of whether you work remotely or not.

As long as you are kicking ascii remotely, there's no reason to relocate. If there are "problems" with remote work, chances are the problems are with you and/or the company, and not the fact that you work remotely.

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