back to article 'My dream job at Oracle left me homeless!' – A techie's relocation horror tale

When Bernd Dorfmueller was offered a job in Amsterdam with Oracle, he thought he had lucked into a dream situation that would boost his professional career in IT. Weeks later, the former network admin was homeless, in debt, and without health insurance. The experienced techie says his story began back in March when, while …

Don't people have savings any more? A little bit of planning and some money in the bank to pay a deposit on a home would have saved all this grief... yet apparently it's all someone else's fault.

14
3

Savings... in this economy?

Even if you have savings, the amount of interest you get on £9,000 at the moment is a no more than a few pounds a year... I should know... that's all I got. If you want to lock your savings up in an account you can't access without severe penalties... then it's not really savings.. but at least you've get a few extra pounds on top of the measly few you get in a regular savings account.

Just after the crash of 08, I was able to invest 15k in a guaranteed fund... the guarantee being that I would not get back a penny less than 15k, but had to leave it in for 5yrs

Because of the crappy markets, there was almost no chance of it doing poorly, everything was already at rock bottom... and after 5yrs that 15k became a little over 20k... Enough to clear the last of the mortgage.

Those kinds of investment accounts don't exist any more... you're just as likely to lose as gain.

But being mortgage free in your early 40's is a revelation... I gave up full time work and now consider myself semi retired. I earn enough to pay the bills, put food on the table and occasionally do up a room in the house. It means that I no longer purchase new cars or buy the expensive end of gadgets and boys toys. my cars are 5yrs old but immaculate, my gadgets and toys are more midrange than high end... But I'm happier and free than at any other point in my life and can enjoy it rather than sitting around moaning about having no money and wishing retirement would come sooner when I'm unable to enjoy it properly.

I'm not wealthy, I'm not considered too comfortable... but I am content... and I wouldn't have it any other way now. In 10 years I will retire properly in my mid 50's, sell my house and move further North to the country side where I can buy a nice little 2/3 bed cottage or bungalow for myself and a couple of 1 or 2 bed apartments to rent out for extra income... either with tenants or as holiday lets if I get the right area.... I'm already looking at prices in North Wales, around Snowdonia national park and Anglesey.

13
5
Silver badge

Don't people have savings any more?

Actually, the answer is increasingly "no." The last few decades have seen a fairly steady decline in real wages for a large swath of the working population while the costs of food, housing, and life in general have continued to climb.

The direct result is a decline in personal savings, and an increase in personal debt. Throw in a large medical emergency (in the US) or something like the sub-prime crash and any savings you may have had disapear very fast.

Ultimately a lot of this comes down to blind luck, and a lot of "I'm all right jack", bootstrap types have found out the hard way that self-motivation only goes so far. Some times you really do need help to recover.

15
1
Anonymous Coward

You don't keep savings to earn from interests - you keep some available money exactly to cope with unexpected situations without finding yourself in even worse needs - i.e. having to borrow money at devilish interests.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Actually, the answer is increasingly "no."

Exactly. Because there has been a pressure to make people live out of borrowed money, because the financial system like to earn money without investing in R&D or production, which looks less safe, and with uncertain returns. Also, it made people maintain a level of life they couldn't achieve without asking for higher wages, which of course is a no-no if executives want to achieve higher bonuses (which in turn are invested and probably end in loans to the same employees, which return some of the money to the same people who pay them not enough)

Luckily, I live in one of the European countries were many people, still remembering the hard days of the past, prefer to save and don't listen to the mermaids who try to tell them that making more debts is better! We had financial ministers who advocated the need for families to make more debt, not less!

Want me to buy and spend more, to make the economy great again? OK, pay me more. I won't make debts. And if the economy looks bad, I'll save more.

Actually this is one of the reasons I don't like subscriptions for software. It just means to open more liabilities. I prefer to buy if and when I have the money. and then no future payments is needed. Especially when the software is for personal use, and no income comes from it.

11
1
Silver badge

I had decent savings before the last recession. Now I have nothing. But given how much I lost to the banks, I will think twice before saving again.

7
0
Anonymous Coward

Bring mortgage free is possible in certain parts of the country (UK) but where I live the average house price is £270k and that's for a shit-hole in a shit-hole.

8
0
Silver badge

Being mortgage free was my target and I just piled on overpayments until it was gone.

The mortgage is the main shackle on life, once you are rid of it you suddenly find you are free of the need to prostitute to corporates and life choices open up.

We will get my son through uni now without debt.

10
0
Silver badge

"The last few decades have seen a fairly steady decline in real wages for a large swath of the working population while the costs of food, housing, and life in general have continued to climb."

There's nothing particularly recent about that. It was the same in the 70s. An FY fund is invaluable but almost impossible to put together when you need it most.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

RE: Savings @I Like Heckling

Even if you have savings, the amount of interest you get on £9,000 at the moment is a no more than a few pounds a year

If you just stick the money in a bank / building society, then that's true, but there are plenty of other ways you can save with much better returns. I put a modest amount into a managed savings fund each month, and I'm getting returns of c.10% per 6 months. It's not a high-risk investment vehicle, and offers money back out on request (no notice period).

The moral of the story - shop around and/or find a decent IFA who will help you to manage your savings.

1
1
Bronze badge

Better to pay off the Mortgage than have savings plus a huge debt.

2
0
Silver badge

Bring mortgage free is possible in certain parts of the country (UK)

Especially when you got a 25-year mortgage in 1989 and the subsequent top-up in 1997 was coterminous..

It's an amazing feeling. For the first 6 months my wife was worried that were had forgotten to pay something as we actually had a surplus in the main bank account at the end of the month.

I'm endeavouring to make sure we don't now :-)

5
0
Anonymous Coward

Better to pay off the Mortgage than have savings plus a huge debt.

I actually made the conscious decision to do the opposite of that.

While I've been running my mortgage, I've been able to build up a decent amount in savings/investments. As I said in my previous post, they are returning double-digit percentages of growth...interest rates for the past few years have been crazily low.

What I make from investments far outweighs what I pay interest on the mortgage.

And I always have the option, if I need it, of taking cash from savings to clear the mortgage.

Like I said, seek out some advice and planning for what's best for you

1
0
Silver badge

Re: CrazyOldCatMan

coterminous - a most excellent word. I shall endeavour to use it in conversation.

Have an upvote

2
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Silver badge
Boffin

Re: RE: Savings @I Like Heckling

.10% per 6 months ???????

I order you a pizza if you manage to get $10 back from them!

Madoff was 15% per YEAR

Yours has to be high risk ... could you tell me, is the business located in Israel, by any chance ? If so ... unlucky ... and don't trust branches, they might have a branch in the UK, but that is NOT where the funds go ... they go to the head office!

I am sorry, I really hope you will get your money back, but at best, this is a ponzi scheme, at worst .... get your funds out of there NOW!!!!!

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: RE: Savings @I Like Heckling

Just a regular ISA, a managed fund of funds, with a UK-based blue chip investment organisation. Performance of each fund reviewed on a monthly basis, and investment redistributed/rebalanced as necessary to maximise returns whilst minimising risk.

0
0
Bronze badge

"Don't people have savings any more?"

Perhaps, perhaps not. Without a full back story, it's hard to know if this person was working in a job for eating money while trying to hook a good position somewhere else. I've been in some tight positions before where the only funds of any consequence I could tap were in retirement or tax-deffered accounts where I would have taken a massive hit in penalties and lost interest. Those also take time to get money out of.

0
0

Oracle is not ethical company

This is the most of not ethical companies and this story is a good example of that. I'm not sure if this is legal under EU laws or even laws in the Netherlands. This is should at least be banned by laws if it is not already.

8
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Oracle is not ethical company

So ethical company is supposed to keep employee who does not show up to work without even letting anyone know, am I getting it right ? And probably even lend him money for a deposit while he's away ?

If you did not get full story go read his blog, to save your time I'll sum it up - entitled millennial without real world experience in anything faced harsh reality of life.

Boo effin hoo.

7
7
Anonymous Coward

Re: Oracle is not ethical company

I'm not sure if this is legal under EU laws

Whatever you may think of Oracle, one thing is sure. They have the best lawyers they can buy, and whatever they did here was legal, it just wouldn't be worth doing otherwise.

It does sound like this guy was naive and foolish. You can forgive that in a college grad, but what big company wants to hire "experienced" people like that?

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Oracle is not ethical company

One moment, he has a disease which needs regular treatment and HE relocates to a place where he will have to be in a hostel for a few months ... anybody in ? He is the twat in this story, if he cannot secure his treatment, then, when he get sick DUE TO NOT GETTING HIS TREATMENT, how is that Oracle's fault ?

Don't get me wrong, I hate the guts of Oracle, but this is unfair.

Now, seriously, I think it is f'd up that not everybody can get treatment in a civilized country (where you have healthcare), even without address ... but then, again, all the patriots, Christians, nationalists, conservatives , think I am a commy ...

1
1

To be fair...

I've never left the state for another job, let alone another country. But when I hear "relocation expenses", it's hard to square that with at least not covering deposits or other requirements of moving. Of those who've used them before in three very different sectors (pharma, surgeon, and... retail store manager), they all seemed to cover the expenses of moving from one place to another, including security deposits. Two of them (the pharma and store manager) were more of the "you keep what you don't use" variety, while the surgeon had to document everything in triplicate. Of course, that was the highest paying job by far, so maybe to be expected, especially given that it's almost guaranteed that a resident going into practice was going to be moving.

I can see not covering on-going rental costs... but the security deposit seems to be right up there with moving van, movers, and boxes. No place will rent without a down payment, regardless of your future income.

7
0
Silver badge

Re: To be fair...

I'm not inclined to want to go through the upheaval of a relocate, especially with family, when there is little or no job security.

I have a relative who has hauled himself and his life from one end of the country to the other twice and then came back because the jobs lasted 2 or 3 years.

One of my previous employers was taken over and relocated to the sunny south coast, loads went with them but within 2 years, another takeover and the jobs relocated to somewhere less pleasant.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: To be fair...

I have relocated to another country for work. What you do, is, YOU MAKE 100% SURE YOU CAN SECURE A PLACE TO STAY, even a one room flat, if you cannot, DON'T GO, simple!

I have lived in 4 countries, I know that shit ...managed to move to France, keeping a good job in another country ... ok, I did not get relocation allowance, but that time, I chose ... and prepared.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

My current employers HR dept are utterly f'ing useless. I had to do all their work in getting references as they didn't make any attempt to follow them up, as a consequence I started three weeks later than originally promised in early December a few years ago.

They sent me all the sign up details for payroll and benefits but didn't bother to tell me they weren't actually going to put me on payroll for another month - not quite lying but as good as. It made it a very stressful time, and I racked up a few thousand in credit card debts, it being Christmas with no pay.

Eventually I got a mealy-mouthed half apology.

At the end of that November I managed to get three days of contract work whilst waiting to start, and if that job had a chance to be more permanent, would have taken it.

5
0
Silver badge

Freelance job security

"and if that job had a chance to be more permanent, would have taken it."

Should have stayed contracting, best decision I ever made. I've had more job security since going freelance than I ever did as a permie, since it's all an illusion anyway. At least being freelance you know what the risks are and can mitigate them (which you typically do with a high day rate and only pay yourself a reasonable salary/dividend - that way your company always has money in it to pay you if you are between contracts).

You also know to have 6 months living costs in the bank, just in case.

All that extra money from being a contractor shouldn't really be used to fuel a rock-star lifestyle (unless you want it to end like one too) - it should be used to purchase safety nets.

The upshot of contracting is that you typically end up working on new projects (fixed budget/timelines) and often get to play with new toys and keep your skills up for free, which in turn makes you more employable which provides you with a solid reputation upon which to raise your rates.

4
1

Had he not heard of

Air B&B?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Had he not heard of

... With FREE ride down a flight of stairs courtesy of Basil the III'rd our generous host?

0
0
Silver badge
Meh

Oracle treating employees badly?

Who'd have thought it? Apart from anyone who has ever negotiated pay and conditions with them.

I was headhunted by Oracle in the 1990s. We talked about salary and other benefits. It took months until they realised I wasn't going to work for peanuts. Salary package agreed. Then they sent me the contract. I sent it to my lawyer. He said I would be mad to sign it because Oracle tried to own me body and soul every hour of the day. This included Oracle laying claim to any intellectual property that I created while working for them. That meant that if I wrote a book, composed any music, created a video all royalties would go to Oracle. I write books that are nothing to do with my work and I'm not assigning those rights to an employer. I told them so. They refused to change the contract. I refused to sign the contract. They decided they didn't want to employ me. The hiring manager took it personally and took to calling me at home and telling me I had "Insulted Oracle".

Later I heard that at trade shows Oracle staff were blackening my name and telling people not to hire me. Fortunately the publicity did my career no end of good and I ended up as a very well paid consultant. So I have something to thank them for.

I suppose it didn't help that before they headhunted me that I used to work for someone who had thrashed Team Oracle in the America's Cup.

10
2
Anonymous Coward

Re: Oracle treating employees badly?

Don't let facts get in the way of a good tale, right?

ORACLE TEAM USA was founded on Aug. 11, 2000, by Larry Ellison

Oracle Team USA is an American yacht racing syndicate initially formed to compete for the 2003 America's Cup.

0
6
Silver badge

Re: Oracle treating employees badly?

The hiring manager took it personally and took to calling me at home and telling me I had "Insulted Oracle".

That sounds like a compliment. It's not an easy thing to do.

5
0
Vic
Silver badge

Re: Oracle treating employees badly?

Later I heard that at trade shows Oracle staff were blackening my name and telling people not to hire me. Fortunately the publicity did my career no end of good and I ended up as a very well paid consultant

Many years ago, the department I worked for quit en masse. I'm sure you can imagine how pleasant it had been working there.

A contracting company came in to take over the workload. And that was all fine.

Some years later, I was offered a job at a company that had evolved from that contracting company (via MBO). They told me - just before I left - that a major reason for wanting me was that my former boss (at the first company above) had slagged me off so much, I must be worth talking to...

Vic.

3
0
Bronze badge

Re: Oracle treating employees badly?

"That meant that if I wrote a book, composed any music, created a video all royalties would go to Oracle."

This is a common type of clause except that they usually say if it's related to your work, or that you have to get agreement in writing to exceptions. Many employers would be reasonable about such things I think, and I doubt that Oracle would be able to win a case claiming that since JR Hartley worked for them when he wrote "Fly Fishing", they owned the rights.

6
0
Silver badge

Re: Oracle treating employees badly?

Upvote just for the J.R. Hartley reference.

1
0
Silver badge
WTF?

Re: Oracle treating employees badly?

"Don't let facts get in the way of a good tale, right?"

I used to work in Switzerland. My employer won the America's Cup for Switzerland, beating Larry Ellison, go figure.

I like the way that you feel it necessary to hide behind Anonymous Coward because you're the second of those things.

0
0
Silver badge

If you are relocating for a job it is in your best interests to understand the relocation package and understand all costs involved and what is needed to register yourself with councils, setup a bank account etc etc.

It sounds like he didn't do the research required for this. He think he could have handled the move better but what is Oracle's excuse for leaving someone with homeless in a foreign country?

1
0

I'm all for thinking Oracle are the root of all evil (they are!) but I can't help thinking that the employee inflicted much of the damage himself. Maybe just through naiveity or maybe not.

I know when I moved countries I managed to get a lot of the pre-work done remotely beforehand - such as setting up a bank account, by using my current banks official partner in that country.

Any relocation agency worth their salt should have at least been able to provide advice on the shortest path to getting settled. I wonder what went wrong?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Paying Oracle prices is also known to leave you homeless.

0
0
Silver badge

Raw Deal?

As a Netherlands resident, I have heard strange stories about banks doing x or saying y when it comes to creating accounts, usually for Non-EU citizens, but this one is a bit over the top. Health insurance is mandatory in NL and I don't think it just gets cut off by your employer effective immediately as YOU the insured have to pay for a substantial duration (3 months?) at the beginning.

In the Netherlands it's not about being told "no" but about asking the question differently to get to 'Ja'

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

One has to ask

At €150 a night? How many hookers came with the room?!!

and what math? €150 x 30 = 3000 my brain and calculator confirms 4500. Was the room above a Coffeeshop?

0
0
Bronze badge

Re: One has to ask

Coffee shop? In Amsterdam? A pot shop more likely and that may also explain the bad math and health issues...

0
1
Bronze badge

Re: One has to ask

Regardless of what they serve, It's still a coffee shop.

1
0
Bronze badge

Well, shit happens. My brother in law once moved across country to a new job, only to find that the new job he was hired for doesn't exist anymore and was stuck in a different position for a while. I once moved to another country, only to find that the company I signed up with doesn't exist anymore and was hired by a sister company a few weeks later.

1
1
Anonymous Coward

Huge tracts of this story don't make a lot of sense. He's an EU citizen moving from another EU country. Why doesn't he just use his home bank account until he's moved? Why isn't he using his EHIC to access health services until his employer's insurance comes through? He's moving into a €60kpa job. Why can't he access an overdraft or take out a loan to cover the expenses his relocation loan isn't covering? He's been in the technology workforce for nigh on 30 years. Doesn't he have a credit card with a five figure limit like the rest of us? Why was he surprised there might be a six week delay until he got paid?

I'm sympathetic to the chap; he's obviously had a horrific experience, but he does honestly just sounds a bit daft, and I'd bet that's the reason more than any other why he didn't pass his probation.

4
2
Bronze badge
Headmaster

The banks in some countries, like Sweden, do not issue proper credit cards. What you get instead is a charge card with an account that has an overdraft facility. This sucks because usually the full amount has to be paid every month and if the card gets ripped off, the money goes away immediately and its entirely your problem to get it back, with a proper credit card one just dispute the fraudulent entry in the ledger.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I'm a diabetic. I bare this in mind when I make change of employment decisions. I try and keep a years salary available for problems like this. When I get re-employed, I pay back my emergency fund.

0
0
IT Angle

I'm not in IT but a sincere naive question, advance on salary ?

Is it unheard of in IT to be given an advance on your salary ? I was thinking, Oracle (if they were really nice) could have given him an advance on his salary. He was a brand new hire, so I'm sure trust issues would come into play instantly.

0
0
Silver badge

Olympics? Er...

"Wow, Oracle," ... "I was proud. I made it into the Olympics of IT"

Uh...does this guy read, like, any tech news?

1
0
Silver badge
Happy

Re: Olympics? Er...

Uh...does this guy read, like, any tech news?

No, he is a sales droid ... and as a sales droid, considered Oracle his dream-come-true job, Oracle, who have an open court case for screwing their successful sales droids ...

0
0

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017