Can I extend my probationary period if I'm not ready to commit to the job? Is that even done?

I joined a start-up six weeks ago as a part-time (25 hr/week) probationary hire. In the next two weeks, the company will either release me or make me an offer for full-time employment. I've been learning a lot about a field I would like to transition into. I've been making connections internally and externally, and I've been documenting my daily accomplishments, all with the idea of having a convincing pitch for myself in that fateful meeting.

The company is dynamic, exciting, fun... and unpredictable. It's a twelve-person outfit, and they've already laid off one person to save money and terminated another for sub-par performance (he became a father eleven days ago and he missed some key deadlines).

I don't want to accept an offer for full-time employment only to be canned in a few months due to the shifting sands. My managers, the company founders, are so busy with investors, PR, and big-picture stuff that I don't have a good sense of what they think of my work aside from brief conversations and E-mails. I suppose it's possible, if unlikely, that they won't even offer me a job, obviating the question. 

Is it outlandish/ odd/ sensible to ask for a "snooze button" wherein I'd stay part-time for a few more weeks and we continued to get to know one another?


Many thanks,



BrianT's picture
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In two weeks, your employer will either offer you a full-time job or terminate your part-time position; correct?  Honestly, I probably wouldn't ask for an extension.  Try to look at this from the perspective of your employer.  

If I were your employer and offered you a permanent position, then I'm probably doing so because I'm pleased with your performance and really need someone doing that work on a full-time basis.  If you respond wanting to remain probationary and part-time, then I likely wouldn't give you an extension.  As an employer, I'm evaluating you during that probationary period, and I'm also investing in you by training you and sharing my time and knowledge with you.  When you become a full-time employee, then I can (hopefully) start to derive benefit from that investment.  

But if you can't come to a decision after we've both evaluated each other during a probationary period, then I may consider if I want to continue investing in you, or if I should put someone else on that track.  

Think about what you need in order to make this decision.  Sounds like you already have an impression of this company.  What do you expect to know in two more weeks that you don't already know now?  

Small start-up companies frequently have more churn and turbulence than larger, more well-established businesses.  Although in fairness, nothing is guaranteed in any size of company nowadays.  

Best of luck.  



jzklein's picture


The meeting is for your company to evaluate your work, not the other way around.

Probationary meetings are stressful. Good you are preparing for it! Remember your loyalty is being evaluated too, wanting to end your probation cannot be more important. My boss told me my work is good but she wanted me to stay on probation so she could keep evaluating my progress. I told her that if she thinks my work is good she should end my probation and we can meet anytime to evaluate my progress. That ended my probation. I am trying to hit home: passing your probation is normal life goes on, not passing is bad for you and means your work is below standards.

Keep your problems with the company to yourself(The Delta File Postcast) unless they are breaking the law. If you are thinking about leaving your job, don't talk about it until you have found another job. If you get another offer, give your old company 6 week’s notice, don't burn bridges and try out your new job(How to Resign Podcasts).


acao162's picture

What are the negatives in accepting a full time position and then changing your mind in a month's time?  You still had an amount of time you worked for the employer, so it should be on your resume.  If you decide to take another job in a month, presumably the new company knows you have a short tenure at the previous one.

Also to Jacob, that was a gutsy move with your boss.  I would have ended your probation and your employment.  No one tells me when and if a probation period ends.  The point of a probation period is to determine fit as well as competence. You can produce stellar results but if you don't get along in the company's culture, you won't last.

I would look negatively on an employee who asked for an extension to probation and likely show them the door.  Commit or don't.

afmoffa's picture

Thank you Brian, Jacob, ACAO. There's a lot of good advice here.

ACAO: You ask a perfectly fair question. For the sake of brevity, my original post left out background details. My regular job is mostly evenings and weekends; I did not resign from my regular job to test the waters at this start-up. An offer of full-time employment would most likely force me to choose between the start-up and my steady job.

I think you're right, ACAO; were I to ask for an extension, that would be a smudge on my record. Eight weeks part-time ought to be enough for both parties to decide if it's the right fit. I'm six weeks in, so I'll keep doing good work and tracking my achievements. If they were to offer me a full-time job today, I would pass. But there are two more weeks left, so I'll keep an open mind. There's a lot that makes me uneasy at this place, but there is a lot to like, too.

I'll let you know how it turns out. Thank you again for your advice.

Mark's picture
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...but I wouldn't recommend it.

They'll come to the meeting with a decision.  You could ask for time to consider the offer, but surely not more than a week.  You can't reasonably make a case for one more week to truly "know" - it would send the wrong message to the kinds of guys I've known who make offers like that.  It would make me wonder.

I think they'll see it as you're not sure.  And if they've offered you, they'll feel stupid.  They'll either then say, okay, no offer after all, or say take it or leave it.  There's a small chance they'll tolerate it, but if you decide to come on board, your pause will stick with you.

Time to make a decision.

Let us know how it goes.