Kvetch- location, location, location (long, long, long)

So, here’s the thing: last fall I quit my job (in NC), essentially, to move back to Columbus, OH, and three weeks after I moved there, I got assigned to a client in Louisville, KY and have been here ever since.

There are more factors, and you can get the whole story here and here, but really, the gist of it was/is that I wanted to live in Columbus.

I was assured by my company when I hired that travel would not exceed 50% and I stressed this as a key factor since I’d been at about 33% prior to signing with these guys. I’ve been here about a week past eight months. They hired me specifically for the client that I am with now, it turns out, and have sort of given me the mushroom treatment since I got here. Let me say that again, they hired me specifically for this job, knowing that it was a long-term out-of-town deal, yet they, my own company, deliberately lied to me (as opposed to the client, which is part of the game.)

Now, I’ve been talking to the client about maybe getting a laptop from them, installing the software and tele-commuting (they have corporate rules regarding the installation of software on outsiders hardware, so it would have to be their computer.) My argument to them was this: they are paying a disgusting amount of money on the corporate rental apartment I’m in, that money would pay for the laptop in the first month and every one following that would be surplus, since it’s already budgeted, that they could do with as they please. I could shoot down weekly or bi-weekly for status meetings, work from home, our Columbus office or even from their (the clients) offices in Columbus.

Why would they do this for a consultant, why should they try to make my life easier and not just get another consultant to take my place you ask? Well, they have had other consultants and they didn’t like them. They didn’t fit in, get along with the rest of the team or otherwise work out. They love me. Seriously, they’ve taken me out to lunch (as opposed to the norm of the consultant taking the client out,) they brought in a cake for my birthday, they’ve invited me out to their house for pool parties and out to movies on Fridays. They seriously don’t want to have to go through the interview process and they really don’t want someone else, they want me. They’ve even, from the corner of their mouths because they can’t really say this sort of thing, offered me a position with the company.

My company, OTOH, drops me an email whenever someone screws up a billing or whenever I send one to them asking when I’ll be heading back to Columbus (which I’ve been doing since about month 3,) but otherwise hasn’t done or said much of anything to me. I’ve been with these yahoos for nine months and have heard from them (non-billing related) maybe five times. Oh wait, except for the time they wanted me to go out to Chicago as a *Subject Matter Expert *and teach a class on the software I’m using down here.

The upside to being on-site for a job is that I have no expenses so I’ve been putting away some decent cash. Well, I have expenses, but all my food is reimbursable and I don’t pay utilities, cable or phone down here and I’ve got a temporary disconnect on them at home. Which brings me to the downside: I’m paying for an apartment I don’t live in. I just figured it out and if you break it down to a per-night cost since I’ve been down here, my apartment at home runs me about $1000/night. Why do I keep it you ask? Well, originally, it was because this was to be a short-term project (so I thought) and I would be heading home soon. Later, it was because I was coming up on six months and I would be going home soon as per my agreement with my company. Now, well now it’s a bit interesting: I have a two month penalty for early cancellation of lease. Add to that the aggravation of packing and moving all of my stuff and the persistent hope that I will, soon, be able to get home, and I’m still reticent to kill my lease.

One final thing, the client has guaranteed work and budget for me (or whomever) until the end of the year, but next years budget has not yet been approved, but probably will be, so the work here, at a large client that my company would love to expand their coverage in, will continue, at least through December. I, however, want to go home.

So, the point of all this, and I thank you for wading through everything to get here, are these questions: [list=1][]should I take my accumulated savings, my F-U money, and tell my company in no uncertain terms that I will be back in Columbus by months end, one way or the other,[]should I tell my company that if they want to keep me, especially if they want to keep me down here, it’s going to cost them (at least the amount of my rent back home, if not more), or should I just suffer in silence, glad that I have a job that allows me the freedom of these choices?[/list=1]

  1. What’s a “mushroom treatment”?

  2. What’s so special about Columbus?

  3. Are there other lives involved here (wife, rugrats), or is it just you?

The Mushroom Treatment: They keep you in the dark and feed you sh*t.

Dr. got #1 right.

#2: I can only tell you that when I’m there, I feel like I’m home even though I was born and raised in Dayton. I have many friends there from college and after, I know where everything is and, frankly, I just really like the city.

#3: just me.

Well, I think patience is the answer here, at least for now.

  1. What does your client’s contract with your company say about hiring people out from under them? Is there even anything in it? Usually there will be. If the client has given serious consideration to hiring you , they’ll be aware of this clause and can figure out a way to work around it. Have you had an opportunity to sit down and have a serious conversation (lunch meeting or something outside of the office?) with your supervisor (or whomever) at the company you trust and just put the cards on the table? I mean, something more than just “yeah, we’d like to have you on the team” remarks and asides. Tell them to put their money where their mouth is [sub]but you know, in a nice way :wink: [/sub]. Telecommute would be Sweet with a capital “S”.

  2. I would definately tell your company that they need to start forking over some cash for that apartment. One, they haven’t lived up to the travel agreement (verbal or not); and two, you’ve been there much longer than they originally said that you’d be. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, sugar. Start complaining…politely, but loudly

  3. I’d hang on to the apartment. Yeah, it’s costing you money (technically), but since you’re in L-town, it gives you a place to go back to that’s really yours. You don’t have to pay storage on your stuff or cart it over to Looneyville. When you go home on weekends, you’ll be really home - not staying at your parents, not visiting a friend, not having to get a hotel. You’ll be home. Plus, where else would we have the OhDope?! (you know I’m just kidding on that!)

As it is, my advice is: be patient. Wait for the client to come up with something (with a little reminder of your interest now and then) and also start pestering your company to fork over some extra dough for the inconvenience they’ve put your through. Don’t let that impatience to be home screw you out of something potentially really good. It sounds like you’ll be hearing something at least within the next couple months.


Just my two cents:

Your current employer lied to you and is using you. You don’t want to consider them a long-term employment option.

That being said, I think you should look on this as an opportunity to build up your nest egg/cushion and make contacts. It’s always easier to get a new job when you already have a job. And Columbus will still be there when you are in a better position.

Another thought: you say your client loves you and they have an office in Columbus. Do you love them? If they offered you a position that allowed you to work out of their Columbus office, at least part of the time, would that be a desirable situation?
Do you have one of those “If you quit to go work for our client we get to tie you to a stake and torture you with cattle prods.” contracts with your current employer?
Does your client have one of those contracts with your employer? Can you talk out of the side of your mouth?

Just musing out loud here. Don’t mind me.

Well, I had a sit-down with the manager I report to (at the client) and tele-commuting is out, as is working from their Columbus location, and the idea of getting a laptop is formally bust, so that’s that.

Usually, and I’ve not read the contract, but usually there is something about not hiring the consutant out from under the company, but even without that, I think I might have agreed, somewhere and in writing, when I joined my company that I wouldn’t got to work for a client for, I think, 18 months from the time I left/completed work there, so I guess that’s out. 'Course, I can talk out of the side of my mouth if need be.

The key factor with that, though, is that I would be working for the in L’ville, so I’m right back, or still in, actually, the same place.


Aww crap. That sucks big time.


Well, I guess I’d start the “complaining politely but loudly” part of the plan. Or start putting out resumes in Columbus.

I’m sorry, friend. That sounded like it could’ve been a sweet set-up.