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Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Old Mar 16th 2015, 10:40 pm
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Default Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Ok. So my wife got a job in New York on an H1B and we all moved over here mid November last year (2014).
From the start of this year her department have been landed with way more work than is humanly possible to complete. Even the Boards she is doing work for (but doesn't work directly for) say the projects aren't achievable in the time frame but her boss just smiles and says it will be done and it will all be fine.
Well, unsurprisingly she's pretty much had enough of working until midnight every night and all weekend to still not have everything done she needs to.
On top of that, the job description specified 8 to 10 days overseas travel a year. She's already done 16 days so far this year and it's likely to be 35 days by the end of the year. That's not fair on her or the kids.
The shame of it is the kids have settled in well at school, they like the area, they like the house we're renting and I'm doing ok as the stay at home Dad (They even like my cooking).

So the big question - what do we do?

They seem to be trying to recruit 1 maybe 2 new people but as they generally come from overseas it can takes months and months before a new person even starts let alone starts taking work off others.
To be honest, I don't think she can last much longer. Certainly not months. I'm surprised she can stay awake. In theory she gets 5 weeks holiday a year but there's never time to take it. We've booked a long weekend away with kids to a water park and she now says she'll need to take her laptop and work while we're there!

I've said she needs to have a serious long meeting with her boss and see what he says. She seems to think not much will happen. If that's the case should she speak to his boss, HR, just hand her notice in?
Suggestions and comments welcome.
Obviously if she leaves we'll need to go back to the UK with no jobs and nowhere to live (we sold our house) and a car to sell before leaving. On the plus side we have money from the house sale and we could both try at our old employers I guess.
I don't think the kids will mind either way as they still miss home despite making new friends.
If we do go home I guess they'll try and get us to repay most of the moving costs of getting us here although I would argue that the job is not as per the job description in respect of overseas travel (we have it in black and white).
Any help gratefully received.
Thanks for reading.
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 11:16 pm
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Look for another job with a company that would be willing to transfer the H1B?
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 11:22 pm
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

In fairness it's hard to get a true vacation nowadays. My husband is always working or at least available. It's annoying but I'm just saying it because she may not find things that different with another employer.
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 11:47 pm
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Bob - she's in quite a specialised field (hence the H1B) so other jobs not easy to find. Maybe in one of the big audit firms.
Also, she's on a cap exempt H1B whereas an audit firm would not be cap exempt. Is it still possible to transfer?

Sally - yes we're both used to having, on occasion, to work while on holiday. But when you're already working 7 days a week it's a bit much.
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Old Mar 16th 2015, 11:56 pm
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Originally Posted by smarty156 View Post
Bob - she's in quite a specialised field (hence the H1B) so other jobs not easy to find. Maybe in one of the big audit firms.
Also, she's on a cap exempt H1B whereas an audit firm would not be cap exempt. Is it still possible to transfer?
No.
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Old Mar 17th 2015, 12:05 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Originally Posted by smarty156 View Post
Bob - she's in quite a specialised field (hence the H1B) so other jobs not easy to find. Maybe in one of the big audit firms.
Also, she's on a cap exempt H1B whereas an audit firm would not be cap exempt. Is it still possible to transfer?

Sally - yes we're both used to having, on occasion, to work while on holiday. But when you're already working 7 days a week it's a bit much.
Oh sure, not trying to belittle the issue but it may be widespread.
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Old Mar 17th 2015, 3:42 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Originally Posted by Sally Redux View Post
Oh sure, not trying to belittle the issue but it may be widespread.
Not at all. I didn't think you were belittling it. I just wanted to clarify that I know in many professional roles this does happen and that is ok now and then.
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Old Mar 17th 2015, 4:27 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Sounds like she is in a pretty strong negotiating position, time to play hard ball.
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Old Mar 17th 2015, 4:42 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Nobody ever looks back and wishes they'd spent more time in the office. At some point you have to accept that you can only do what is humanly possible. They have vacancies so it's obvious your wife is doing more than her own job... what can you do them to spur on the recruitment? Can they get some temporary labor into the department?
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Old Mar 17th 2015, 4:56 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Apparently they have a long lead in for staff.
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Old Mar 18th 2015, 4:59 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Originally Posted by Boiler View Post
Sounds like she is in a pretty strong negotiating position, time to play hard ball.
You know what, you're right. Just depends if they see it that way. If she leaves they will be in the sh#t and none of the projects will be done on time.
I've asked if they'll get someone in quick on secondment from one of the big audit firms. We'll see what they say.
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Old Mar 18th 2015, 9:46 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Is it really worth it to stay? Sounds like its draining everything your wife has.

I'd explore getting our old jobs back and make sure we'd be okay going back.

Then I'd get tough with the us employer knowing we didn't have much to lose. Either the extra workload goes or we do.

what does your wife want to do? Ultimately she has to do all the fighting and bear most of the burden here.

Having said all that if it was me personally I'd take my wife home (to the uk) and give her a well deserved rest whilst I worked hard to get back on our feet.

Sometimes it doesn't work out and that is okay.

Last edited by jb82; Mar 18th 2015 at 9:50 am.
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Old Mar 18th 2015, 12:11 pm
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Thanks for your input.
Yes, sometimes it's just not worth it.
If necessary we are prepared to go back to the UK without jobs, rent a place, get the kids in school (hopefully their old one) and then look for jobs. Not ideal and we will of course in the mean time investigate our old firms and getting this resolved.
We're from Kent where, if we were in the UK, our oldest would do his 11+ this September. We've already booked flights back to UK end July for a month. If it comes to it we'll fly back and stay there. Then he can do his 11+ as normal. If it gets resolved and we stay then all will be good.
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 5:26 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

So, as I'm typing this my wife is working away in the study at home and it's gone midnight. No doubt she'll be leaving the house in a few hours to go to the office too.

It's looking more and more like she won't be able to stick it much longer. However, as part of the contract, if she leaves in the first 3 years we have to pay back a proportionate amount of the costs of getting us here. I would argue that as the overseas travel is well in excess of that quoted in the published job description then we shouldn't have to repay the costs as she wasn't employed in accordance with the job description which I believe is part of the visa petition.
Any thoughts?
Anyone know of a good employment lawyer in New York City that could give us an opinion before we do anything?
I'm assuming the fact she's working 70+ hours a week incl weekends is not justification to leave and not pay. I guess in the US there's no reasonable hours laws and even if she was told to work 24 hours a day or be sacked she'd have no alternative other than quit?

The sad thing in all this is that, even though she's just churning out reports and board papers as fast as she can (rather than spending more time on them checking them properly etc before they go out) she's had numerous emails from Board members etc saying what great work she's done. These are boards that her organization works with rather than her employers. Also her boss got her a small pay rise recently even though she only started at the beginning of December last year and so wasn't strictly speaking eligible for.
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Old Mar 20th 2015, 6:18 am
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Default Re: Help/advice - may need to call it a day

Originally Posted by smarty156 View Post
Bob - she's in quite a specialised field (hence the H1B) so other jobs not easy to find. Maybe in one of the big audit firms.
Also, she's on a cap exempt H1B whereas an audit firm would not be cap exempt. Is it still possible to transfer?

Sally - yes we're both used to having, on occasion, to work while on holiday. But when you're already working 7 days a week it's a bit much.
As we have also recently found out, Cap exempt H1bs look quite the prize on paper (no waiting period or lottery) but in reality they handcuff you to your job in a way that you are not with a capped H1b (you can transfer easily as long as you find someone who wants you enough to complete the transfer).

Purely speculation, but my guess is that employers rub their hands together with glee when someone comes over on a cap-exempt H1b because they are literally shackled to the job and can be treated like crap because it's very hard for that person to up sticks and go. Even more so if they've brought their whole family with them.

For your wife to get a capped H1b she would have to go through the lottery and the deadline for applications is 1 April for a 1 October start (if successful) so I am afraid you are out of luck.

I sympathize because we are in the exact same situation :/
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