my new employer is funded by my old employer — and they’re making me still work for them

A reader writes:

I have a significant problem with my former managers that is coming to a boiling point, and I could use some advice how to tread the political waters.

In my former role, I was the technical lead in a project that soured because it fell behind schedule when I had to leave the company for a few months on medical disability. When I returned to my role, my manager tried to cut corners at every turn and harassed me daily for results, but never involved himself or allowed me the resources to train anyone else to assist me. Needless to say, I went looking for and found another job due to the poor working environment, even though I loved the project.

I received a job offer at a nonprofit group supported by my former employer, but my now-current employer made a significant error in publishing my name in a presentation as an employee before I had signed an offer. When my former employer came across this error unbeknownst to me, I was “highly encouraged” to leave in order to stay on good terms. I was not given sufficient time to finish the project or train anyone else, nor were adequate replacements found; i.e. the people offered to cover my roles had no knowledge of the programs the data is stored in. I estimated that I needed a month to finish my work and train a new employee, and I was given 5 days.

Nevertheless, I wanted to make sure that this project was successful, so I set a written agreement with my current manager and my former director that I would spend no more than 5% of my time to assist with questions or remaining work items. Given that I had some time in the first few weeks on the job, I worked more like 20-50% on my former employer’s work to try to reduce further obligations. I cannot get my former manager to agree to compensate me for this time.

I have at least 40 hours left to come to a deliverable for my former employer, but spending any more time on this will prevent me from meeting deadlines at my current job. I could not meet a recent deliverable because I was out with the flu for almost a week, but apparently this isn’t a reasonable excuse to my former manager or former director, as both are now breathing down my neck for me to work on my former project against the terms set in my agreement.

Should I go back and play hardball and require that I be compensated for any further work? Even though I have continued to work for the company in this limited capacity, I lost my annual bonus for last year by being offered the position at the time. Given that the non-profit I work for receives donations from my former employer, I fear that angering these people by requesting a reasonable timeline or compensation will only burn bridges.

I wrote back and asked:

Did your agreement with them spell out compensation terms?

Did it specify an end date?

And what’s your current employer’s stance on you still doing work for the old employer and the possible complications you’re encountering?

Her response:

I asked for a consulting arrangement when I left, and my former director refused at the time. Given that his company funds my nonprofit, he cites that he’s “paying me regardless of what I work on.” However, he said that as long as we remained on good terms, then he would look into a consulting arrangement for large-scale work.

I think he’s being unethical in using his political leverage with my current employer to ask me to work for free (even if it is 5%, but particularly for this large update) but I don’t know how to approach this without burning bridges on both sides.

There is no end-date to the agreement as it was meant to offer limited sales assistance and training if/when the project moved forward.

The major problem is that my current employer does not communicate well. I have informed them of these conflicts and received no response from them — no reply whatsoever. So, I continue to get heated emails from my former employer with no recourse.

I am at my wits end here. I feel as if I have no choice but to hire an employment attorney, but this could really set fire to the situation.

Okay, this is all kinds of messed up.

First of all, you have no obligation to your former employer to work for free. None. Zero. Even if they were paying you — which they aren’t — you wouldn’t be obligated to continue working for them as long as they chose it; you have control over who you work for, for what pay, and for how long.

The problem here is that your current employer is dependent on your old employer for part of their funding, which puts them in a subservient position to your old employer and probably makes them reluctant to make waves. That’s understandable to a point — but only to a point. There’s some point where this has gone far enough that they’re going to need to be willing to take a stand … or they’ll need to be willing to lose you over it, but that would be pretty crappy of them, given that it was their error (publishing your name as an employee before you were) that put you in an awkward position with your old employer to begin with.

Your former employer’s claim that they’re “paying you regardless of what you work on” because they fund your employer is ridiculous. That’s not how grant-giving works. There’s also probably some legal regulation in play here about one nonprofit donating staff time to another (and your organization will need to report it), but I’m just guessing there — and really it’s beside the point anyway.

You have two choices: You can accept the situation and let it continue to play out, for as long as that takes, or you can speak with your current and former employers and insist that this arrangement come to an end. However, because of the funding situation between your current and former employer, you’re going to need to coordinate your actions with your current organization … and if they’re not willing to back you in taking a stand, then you’re out of luck. At that point, you’d need to either accept it or look for another job.

Here’s where I’d start: Talk to your current employer. You say that you’ve tried in the past and have received “no reply whatsoever,” which makes me think these conversations were over email, rather than in person. You need to talk in person. Schedule a meeting — an official one, with whoever has decision-making power in this situation; get it on that person’s calendar. Then sit down with her, and say something like this: “When I left Old Organization, I agreed to continue to help them finish up this project, using up to 5% of my time on it. It has now been X weeks/months, and I’ve spent far more than 5% of my time on it — closer to X%. They have refused to compensate me for this work. At this point, it’s interfering with my ability to do my job here, I’m unhappy with the way Old Organization is pushing me to do more than I’m able and refusing to pay me, and I need to tell them that I’m no longer able to continue working for them. I think this is more than reasonable, and that I’ve done far more than most former employees do when they’ve left an employer. However, I’m sensitive to the relationship between New Organization and Old Organization, and so I want to alert you to what’s going on. I plan to let Old Organization know this week that I can’t continue our arrangement.”

(And by the way, if for some reason you can’t get a meeting with the person you need to talk to, and they stick to their previous “no response” stance, then you should simply put the words above into an email and send it to them. That will give them fair warning of what you intend to do, and they can talk to you about it if they object. Make sure you do give them a few days to respond before you move forward.)

Now, here’s the risk here: Depending on how worried your new employer is about their funding from your old employer, they may tell you to simply consider this work part of your job for them. And then you’re out of luck — because if it’s part of your job for them, you have no real argument to use. You can, of course, ask them to decrease the rest of your work so that you have time for this other project, but that’s the only option you’ll have at that point.

But if that doesn’t happen, then it’s time to talk to your old employer (or email them, so you have it in writing). Let them know that you need to curtail your work on this project due to your other obligations. Hell, mention your health if you want — you said you were out sick recently.

Normally I would say to simply tell them that you’ll transition it over to whichever contact person they designate … but in light of the funding situation, you’re going to need to be more accommodating than that. Instead, you probably need to tell them that you can do X more hours of work over the next X weeks, but no more, in order to give them time to come up with another arrangement. The reason for this is that — as ridiculous as this arrangement is — you actually did agree to it. And while it’s an awful enough arrangement for you that normally you could just pull out without guilt, in this case the fact that your current employer depends on their good will means that you’re going to have to be nicer about it, and not give them the chance to argue that you already agreed to this.

But honestly, what’s most likely to happen is that your current employer is going to direct you to do this work under the auspices of your job for them. But that will at least be better than your current situation.

(I should also add that there’s a small but not inconceivable possibility that your current employer will decide that you taking a hard-line stand on this is more than they want to deal with and will simply decide to part ways with you, so you need to factor that into your thinking as well before you proceed. You mentioned you were considering talking to a lawyer, which you might want to do simply so you understand the lay of the land if indeed that happens. I don’t see any legal issues here so far — and bringing in a lawyer while you’re still working there is guaranteed to ruin your relations with both employers, which will make it hard to continue working there — but a lawyer could potentially advise you in the background, as well as advocate for you if your current employer did decide they wanted to part ways. Which, again, is only a small possibility, but one you should be aware of.)

And here’s to being very, very careful about taking a new job with anyone who’s financially dependent on your old boss.

{ 78 comments… read them below }

  1. Christine

    And here’s to being very, very careful about taking a new job with anyone who’s financially dependent on your old boss.

    Amen to that–exactly what I was just thinking.

    Sounds like a pretty rotten situation; I would be interested in seeing how this turns out for the OP. Good luck.

  2. dejavu2

    There is no way there is not more to this story. I cannot think of a more polite way to say the LW is letting everyone walk all over her. I assume she is young. I hope she takes your advice and stands up for herself.

    1. jennie

      You shouldn’t assume.

      1. All different kinds of people of different ages allow people to walk all over them in different situations. It’s not an indication of youth.

      2. She left her first job when conditions became intolerable and insisted on terms in writing for doing the work. I think she’s done a great job standing up for herself so far.

  3. Lizabeth

    Ouch…you have my sympathy OP. This doesn’t sound like it can be turned into a win/win. Please keep us posted on what happens!

  4. Frances

    Oof. My institution has one funder that provides about 90% of our operating budget and it’s resulted in some fairly complex politics. It’s nothing quite this bad (my boss is pretty good at running interference for the staff when the funder gets too pushy), but it’s certainly not uncommon in our building to have the answer to “Why are we doing/not doing X?” be “because [funder] wants it that way.”

    I’d definitely be prepared for the likelihood that your current bosses won’t get you out of the work, or even back you up much, given their lack of response so far. But you should at least try to explain how overwhelmed you are by essentially working for two places– maybe they can push back a deadline on their end to make things a bit less stressful.

    1. Lisa

      This is ridiculous, new org is paying your salary so that you continue working like you did at old org, but since old org funds new org they think they are just paying you indirectly.

      New org will never stand up to old org, so you are stuck doing 2 jobs for the rest of your time there. But that doesn’t mean you have to work 80 hour weeks. It means telling new org, ‘sorry old org says this is a priority, do you want me to tell them no?’ of course they won’t and you are just working for old org in a new building. Did you at least get a raise with your new / old job that just changed locations?

  5. KayDay

    This is really all sorts of messed up, and I’m not sure where exactly to begin.

    First, does your current employer know about your consulting situation? Because a current employee doing outside consulting for a funder sounds like a conflict of interests to me.

    Second, there is a big difference between answering questions and producing a deliverable–it’s a completely different scope of work that is outside of your original agreement. So normally, I would just stay to let them know that it is outside of your agreement and you aren’t going to do it, but that may not be a good idea here.

    1. TheSnarkyB

      Yeah I completely agree with this. It isn’t totally clear that the current employer has even agreed that this situation is okay, so they may think OP is just doing 1 job for them while OP is including them in all of these complicated politics.
      Here’s hoping for an update!

  6. Mike C.

    How is working for free not a legal issue? Is it considered “volunteering” for the organization at hand? Maybe I’m missing something here.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      It’s a nonprofit, so it could be considered volunteering … but there’s also a huge complication with the fact that the old employer funds the new one, and thus is arguing that the work the OP is doing is covered under that funding.

      1. Mike C.

        I guess it matters how the individual is being paid. I would think that the lack of a W-2 from the old employer documenting the work done (and wages paid/taxes withheld) from that work wouldn’t look so hot in front of the legal authorities. Even if they tired to claim the OP was a private contractor, there are similar forms and paperwork that need to be kept. Anyway, I think you already hinted at this.

        Wow is this a screwy situation!

      2. Hate My Company

        Did the part where she said the old company get cut for time? I see where she says that the new company is a nonprofit, but do not see anywhere in the redacted post that the old one is. In fact, she refers to the old place as “the company” but the new one as a “nonprofit group”. If it is not a nonprofit and they are financially gaining from her work, this is all kinds of illegal.

          1. OP

            My former employer in question was a large for-profit private company. They are definitely hoping to profit from the ongoing work and have cited potential sales from my finishing the project.

      3. Sunshine DC

        I was wondering though (having learned so much from this blog on these issues,) how is considered “volunteering” if it is FORCED?

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          There’s an agreement between the OP, new org, and old old that she’ll do the work for old org as part of her work time for new org. So it’s not volunteering; she’s being paid by new org.

          1. OP

            Correct. Rather than set up a consulting agreement with my former company, my new employer saw no problem with paying me for time spent for my old employer if such time was a small fraction of my work hours (thus the 5% limit).
            I had to fight to get this in writing as neither my new or old employers were concerned with having any boundaries in writing.

    2. jennie

      This is the part I didn’t get. When it kept referring to 5% of her time I took that to mean 5% of her workweek on the new company’s time. Does this mean she’s only getting paid a partial salary by new company and nothing for the time she spends on old company’s work?

        1. OP

          I get paid full salary from my current employer to continue working for my old employer 5% of my workweek. The perhaps important detail is that I am technically a consultant to my new employer due to their 3 month initial trial period. I am paid at a monthly rate. So, I am calculating this 25% of my actual labor spent on my prior employer based on all hours worked during the month.

          1. fposte

            Now I’m confused about your current work arrangement. When you say “technically a consultant” do you just mean that they haven’t given you your final title to emphasize the fact that they could fire you before then (which they could anyway)? Or do you mean they’re actually hiring you as a contractor rather than an employee for this period, which raises some serious questions about the legality at *this* organization?

  7. fposte

    This is bonkers. These aren’t your deliverables. Their deadline is not your problem. And I’m not finding where that the OP’s new employer is actually worried about the funding relationship–just that the OP is worried about that. The written agreement is likely completely bereft of legal validity, because both parties have to receive a consideration for it to be a contract, and you’re not getting a freaking thing here.

    Is your prior employer a private foundation or public? Is the director actually aware that a non-employee is being charged with significant organization responsibilities? Is there a board? Is anybody guarding these nutcases?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      I think the issue might be that there’s a written agreement between the old organization and the new one, to have the OP continue to perform this work. (She wrote, “so I set a written agreement with my current manager and my former director…”) So it sounds like the new organization has agreed to it, perhaps even seeing it as part of her job for them.

      1. fposte

        Oops, you’re right, I missed that. Wow, what a bad thing for the current manager to agree to. Frying pans and fires come to mind here.

        1. Heather

          Especially because it’s the new org’s fault that she’s in this position in the first place!

      2. fposte

        Though thinking about it, there could still be a considerable difference between “Is it okay with you if I’m still working x hours for Old Place?” and “I understand you want me to work x hours at Old Place–is this arrangement enough?”

        1. V

          This.

          If the current employer’s involvement in the “agreement” was limited to “yes, it is ok that you do some work on the side, and we’ll even let you spend 5% of your “work time” doing it” then the “agreement” is really only between the former employer and the OP, and because OP is not receiving any consideration, it is not an enforceable contract (hence my use of quotation marks around the term “agreement.”)

          If the current empoyer’s involvement in the contract was more along the lines of “We, Cuurent Employer, agree to give you, Old Employer/Funder, 5% of OP’s time while she is working for us until Project X is completed,” then it is really a service contract between the two employers, and both OP AND Current Employer should treat it that way (and adjust OP’s workload accordingly, or push back on Former Employer/Funder if it is demanding more than 5% of OP’s time). However, as others have pointed out, the two employers could be running a foul of tax laws with an agreement like this.

          Either way, OP could benefit from speaking with a lawyer to sort this out and get some advice as to how to move forward, but I agree that OP should not let either employer know about the lawyer unless and until it is absolutely necessary to do so.

          1. fposte

            One reason why I wondered about the new company’s level of buy-in is that the narrative here had the OP already committing (in what to me is the main root of the problem) to completing the project despite the employer’s de facto early acceptance of notice. So I feel like the OP’s ownership, which is impressive but misplaced, may have driven that conversation when it shouldn’t have, and that the new place may not realize that this is kind of a blackmail situation.

            1. Laura L

              “So I feel like the OP’s ownership, which is impressive but misplaced, may have driven that conversation when it shouldn’t have, and that the new place may not realize that this is kind of a blackmail situation.”

              I agree. I was really confused about why the old company would want to OP to keep working for them if they were forcing the OP to take early notice.

          2. Ann O'Nemity

            +1 to V. This is the part that confused me as well – the level of the current manager’s involvement in this agreement. Based on the OP’s original wording, it almost sounds like the OP instigated the agreement in the first place!

            1. OP

              I did instigate the agreement- primarily because my former employer was demanding I finish my former project regardless of whether I had any agreement in place, and regardless of my start date with my new employer.
              Furthermore, I need to use this product in my new position, so it’s definitely in my best interest to see the project through rather than start from scratch (which would take months). This is the leverage point which I think is being abused by my old employer.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Ah, I think here is the root of the problem. Your employer has no standing to demand that you do anything for them when you’re no longer employed by them. They can demand all they want; you can (and should) simply decline.

  8. Mike C.

    AaM, another question if I might, given your experience in the non-profit world.

    I know that someone giving an organization money can pretty much put any limits on where the money goes (outside of illegal activities of course). Did you ever see or hear of situations where the funding organization would go so far as to direct the work of individuals at the organizations being funded? More than routine publicity type stuff?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yes, although not quite like this. It’s not uncommon for one nonprofit to fund (or even form) another group and have major input into its activities, including even directing some of its work … but generally in a situation like that, all the players involved know up-front that that’s how it’s going to work.

      What’s not at all common about this situation is that the OP thought she was quitting her job and ended up still tethered to it, because of the relationship between the new employer and the old one. I wouldn’t be surprised if this came about because the new org felt the old org was displeased that they’d poached the old org’s staff member … and so the new org agreed to this arrangement in order to placate them (preserving the good will and thus the funding), and the OP felt she had to agree in order to get the job (which at that point she had to take because the new org had outed her by mistakenly publishing that thing).

      There are all kind of crazy dynamics when funding is involved. People/orgs treat you totally differently when your organization controls the purse strings. (My old organization used to run a major grants program that dispensed funding for most of the other organizations in the country working on our issue, and the strange power dynamics it caused were real issues. On both sides, frankly.)

      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Adding: It was pointed out below that the old organization might not be a nonprofit. If that’s the case and it’s actually a for-profit business, then the stuff above wouldn’t apply (at least not in my experience, and it would cause all kind of tax status issues).

      2. Just a Reader

        I can’t imagine quitting a job due to a bad work environment and then essentially being forced to stay in that environment for an unspecified amount of time. What a nightmare.

  9. HR Pufnstuf

    I think the best solution would be for her current management to meet w/ previous and negotiate a timeline out. If they’re capable there is no reason it can’t be handled professionally.

  10. Yup

    Just want to point out all the organizational risks that are separate from the OP’s rotten working situation. Broadly speaking, in the US a for-profit institution can’t receive free services from an NPO in return for tax deductible donations. (It can go the opposite way, where a for-profit donates free or discounted services to an NPO.) I’m not a lawyer or an accountant, but if any of this is happening through the official auspices of the NPO (and not with the OP as an independent contractor or something), then this inverted stream of donated services sounds like it could be pushing the line on personal benefit and impermissible transactions for the for-profit. They may be the funder, but that doesn’t mean they can demand free services from the NPO’s employees.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      You know what, I missed that — I thought both groups were nonprofits. If the former employer is a for-profit, you’re absolutely right that the new org cannot donate staff time to them, at least not without some major hoop-jumping. If the old employer is a for-profit, there is indeed a legal issue here for the both organizations.

      1. Yup

        Yeah, the status of the former employer wasn’t totally clear to me, so I just wanted to throw that out there in case it’s relevant. (If it is a for-profit, wow! That’s going to be some mess for the board and the accountants.)

      2. DownSide Up

        It’s unlikely OP is non-exempt, but if she is, she also cannot be forced to “volunteer” these services if they are moved under the auspices of her new employer, if those services are within her job description at her new employer, to wit: if she was a chocolate teapot handle designer at old employer, and she was hired to design chocolate teapot handles at new employer, she cannot volunteer to design chocolate teapots handles for her new employer without being compensated for it–because it’s her job. So even if the NPO says she has to continue the work under their auspices, if it’s the kind of work she was hired by them to do, she should be compensated for it.

        At least, that’s how it was explained to me by HR when they moved me from exempt to non-exempt at my old job, which included a lot of volunteer management.

        1. fposte

          I wonder if there’d be a loophole here–they can claim that the required volunteering isn’t for the current employer, and it’s akin to work policies where you have to do some pro bono work. (Though I still think it’d be sailing mighty close to the wind in a non-exempt position, and it might take an employment lawyer or plain old day in court to really get a ruling.)

          1. OP

            I think the loophole is that I’m technically hired as a consultant for these first 3 months under a trial period with the non-profit?

            However, to throw another wrench in the mess, I understand that my former large for-profit technically budgets in-kind services for my non-profit employment as a vendor/contractor agreement. So, it’s possible that I’m a contractor to the non-profit which is a contractor to my former employer?

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              This is getting confusing, but is your nonprofit complying with the laws on independent contractor? Trial period or not, they can’t treat you as a contractor if you don’t meet the federal government rules for contractors — Suzanne Lucas recently wrote a good summary of those rules here:
              http://www.inc.com/suzanne-lucas/5-things-you-need-to-know-about-hiring-contractors.html

              I’m betting you don’t meet the legal standard for being paid as a contractor, and your current org is in the wrong there. Not to throw another wrench in…

  11. Dan

    This is all kinds of crazy.

    I’m just curious, did the OP actually know about the funding relationship between the two parties? I know that I have no clue who my company supports through charitable activities.

    1. AL Lo

      Perhaps not on the funding company’s side, but on the non-profit side, it’s not uncommon to be familiar with major donors /sponsors (and I would assume that would be part of the research done in the interview/application process). I could see it being an instance where it came up as she was applying to the second company.

  12. Laura L

    I’m confused about why the written agreement was to continue working was drawn up in the first place? Is it because the old company wanted it or because the OP wanted to finish the project?

    Personally, I would not agree to continue working for a former employer. Did the OP agree because of the funding situation? Would this not be an issue if the OP had originally said they couldn’t continue working for old org after they left? Would old org really punish new org because of that?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, I think the best way to ward this off would have been not to have agreed to the arrangement in the first place. However, it’s possible that New Org said, “We can’t poach you from Old Org and cause bad feelings with them, unless you’re willing to do this thing for them.” OP, can you clarify?

      1. Laura L

        Okay, that makes more sense. Thanks for all your clarifications, I understand the situation a lot better now.

      2. OP

        I felt strongly, knowing my former employer’s habits, that not having some type of agreement would have them feel justified in asking me for unlimited amounts of work on very unreasonable schedules.

        Yes, keeping goodwill between the two companies and everything involved has been a big part of the situation. Because my former employer provides in-kind services to my current employer, it was stressed to me that keeping such relationships are important to both sides.

        1. Ask a Manager Post author

          Who stressed that to you? Your old employer? Your new employer?

          Regardless… because you’re being paid a full salary for this period, if this is work your new employer is asking you to do, then it really isn’t an issue about your old employer at all. It’s about working with your new employer to ensure that your workload is adjusted to make room for this other work. Does that sound right, or am I missing the piece that’s really bothering you?

          1. OP

            My new employer isn’t asking me to complete this work- perhaps that’s the issue I’m not communicating well. My new employer is putting up with the fact that I work on this project because they believe it’s limited in scope to 5% of my time.
            I am increasingly bothered that my former employer believes to have leverage to enforce their unresonable timetables- and need to put a stop to it or I risk falling ill (to provide a specific, the all-nighters I used to pull to try to meet their imposed deadlines are known migraine triggers for me, and my migraines totally knock me out of any useful work). I am also increasingly concerned that, given the lack of capacity of my supposed replacement, I will continue to be called upon pro bono to complete the large updates which I know are pending regardless of my primary job priorities.

            1. Ask a Manager Post author

              So if your new employer isn’t pushing you to do it, then you should just stop, per the advice in the post, right?

              I’m confused about why you seem to feel you lack agency in this situation. It’s not your problem if they can’t find a replacement. You don’t work there any more. They don’t have power over you. Say no, and stop. What’s the obstacle to that?

              1. OP

                My point in writing was that the politics in stopping is too complex for me to just drop the ball. My former director is quite powerful within the organization so keeping everyone happy is important.

                I really appreciate the advice, and am speaking with my current management tomorrow.

                1. Laura L

                  Does that mean there is some push from your current employer to continue working for your old employer? Or is your old employer just making threats to you (but not to your new employer)?

                2. Heather

                  But…you don’t work for the former director anymore. You don’t have to keep her happy. Even though you want your current employer to maintain a good relationship with their funder, that responsibility isn’t (or shouldn’t be, anyway) entirely on your shoulders.

                3. fposte

                  But from what you’re saying the people to whom the politics really matter–your new employers–aren’t concerned with it. And that’s the only angle from which there could be any leverage. If your new employer doesn’t care if you stop, there’s nothing the old employer can do to you. There is no leverage there. Stop killing yourself over imaginary leverage.

                  I’m wondering if your underlying objective here is to do anything you have to do to keep somebody from being mad at you, because it seems like you’re giving “keeping everyone happy” an inappropriate priority here. It is not your job–it is *literally* not your job–to keep your prior employer happy unless your current employer tells you it is–which you have clearly indicated they haven’t. It’s not even always *preferable* to have people happy. Let your former employer be displeased. It’s a rational outcome of his own bad decisions, not a judgment on you as an employee.

  13. Maire

    This reminds me of Madmen, when Roger had to endure being humiliated by Lee Garner Jr because Lucky Strike were their biggest client.

  14. Dana

    If you end up being the one to discuss this with the former manager I would say something along the lines of:

    ‘I have two more weeks in which I can devote some of my time to this project as my workload in my current position no longer able to accomodate these extra responsibilities, this should give you adequate time to find a replacement. I understand this is not your preference, and I hate to ask but feel a responsiblity to do so, do you plan on pulling the funding for x non-profit as a result?’

    Shaming can be powerful.

    1. fposte

      If you know you’re talking to somebody who would be ashamed. My concern with that is that this sounds like a manager who’s quite happy to have the threat of funding withdrawal there.

  15. Ann O'Nemity

    I’m confused about the compensation angle. The OP mentioned compensation several times and specifically talked about working for free. If the new company is paying the OP to do work for the old company, why would the OP expect additional compensation? I know there’s some legal/tax issues with this kind of indirect payment scheme, but it sounds like the OP *is* getting paid for the work – by the new employer. Right?

    1. A Teacher

      My read is that she’s basically being expected to do two jobs but being paid for one by the new employer. Her old employer does some of the funding for her new employer so they feel they are paying her indirectly–if that isn’t a load of BS, I don’t know what is.

      Don’t have much to add from what the others posted but what a horrible position to be stuck in.

      1. Ann O'Nemity

        But the OP hasn’t even mentioned doing any work for old company outside of their regular work hours for the new company. If the combined workload is too high to complete in the regular work week, then the issue is more about setting priorities than asking to be paid twice. (Specifically, I’m looking at the bit about working up to 25% during the first few weeks at the new job. It sounds like the OP had some downtime and used it on the old project, yet expects additional compensation.)

        1. OP

          You’re correct, in part: I have used down time during working hours to complete tasks for my former employer, but I have more often come in early, worked late, or used time on weekends to attack this work. I would consider this to qualify as worth additional compensation.
          As of late, my current employer’s workload is quickly accelerating and I need this overtime to complete core responsibilities. Thus, my predicament is now both a priority issue as well as being work above and beyond a 40-hr week.

    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Yeah, I think that’s right — the new org is paying the OP’s full salary but allowing her to spend part of her time doing work for the old org, but it’s getting in the way of her new job.

    1. Chloe

      The outcome that you have to deliver. For an author, a book; for a mechanic, a fixed car; for a baker, a loaf of bread; for a project manger, a successful project. For many other people, who the hell knows.

      1. Construction HR

        10-4.

        I get the whole:short term project/end of project/ mission critical info kind of thing, but I have several questions
        1) Why didn’t the NPO ask the funder about hiring the OP?

        2) Didn’t the NPO think there was going to be any fall out from poaching one the their funder’s personnel?

        3) Why would the funder think that this arrangement is a good idea for their “deliverable”?

        4) Why would the funder let the OP go early and then require this awkward arrangement?

        5) If the funder has this much control over the NPO, why not just tell them “You can’t have OP until delivery of the project.”?

        Very curious

  16. Elizabeth West

    Please, OP, PLEASE update us. I hope this gets worked out. The stress of worrying about it isn’t good for your health either.

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