Depends on how you look at it, but I'll say about two years.
When I was in college, I interned at a company and hated it. Due to the pressure of finding a job, I ultimately decided to apply full-time anyway, and I somehow got the job.
After chatting with my family, they agreed that I should stick with it because I was young and didn't know any better. To deal with the anxiety, I tried to rationalize the decision by saying things like "maybe other teams will be different", etc.
After I started, I was unhappy everywhere I went. Ironically, they liked the quality of my work, so they made it as hard as possible for me to quit. When I did, they ultimately forced me to return my relocation money which was about six weeks of income. In other words, I had to stay on an extra six weeks just to ensure I could pay that off, and it was really draining on my mental health.
Feel free to take whatever lessons you can from this story. haha
Definitely not a nice situation to be in, knowing you have to pay back money to leave a job you're not enjoying. Completely drains motivation too, knowing you want to be elsewhere but can't afford to be :(
Yeah it was tough. Luckily, my wife and I were able to survive on her income for a bit while I tried to figure things out.
It's hard to leave when you a) know you're going to have to either take a pay cut/pay something back and b) when they're trying to hard to keep you, you can't help feeling a bit guilty even though you shouldn't (at least this happened in my case). You worry for so long then a few months after starting a new job you think to yourself hang on, why was I so stressed? Glad you got it sorted though! Must have felt good when it was done with.
I'm surprised it was legal for them to ask for the relocation money back. Sounds like a good thing to keep an eye on when looking at contracts.
Yeah, it was a sticky situation because the contract was ambiguous. It basically stated that the relocation money had to be paid back if you left within a year of the expiration date of the benefit. Apparently, the expiration date of the money (not sure how a lump sum expires) was a year after I got it, so I had to stay two years to avoid the penalty (left 4 months early).
That's rough. I'm trying to think of an alternative contract that would protect the employer's initial investment but also not hold your money hostage. One year seems like a more reasonable compromise.
Agreed! Two years is a long time, and I’d argue that I more than paid them back at the time. Rules are rules though—or so I’m told! Haha
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