Is it normal to be assigned work before the official start date at new job?

My gut is telling me no, that the new job doesn’t respect the new person’s time and space, and that the place is likely overworked. Strangely though, I was told that the previous person who left found this job too slow-paced for her liking.


A friend managed to convince me to interview for a role I did not initially consider, where she is working. After receiving a verbal offer, I took a few days to mull over it and decided to go ahead with it. Today, after confirming my acceptance of the verbal offer via email, my friend forwarded me a text by my would-be manager, asking for permission to have my number so that she could get me working on some projects once I have sorted out my resignation date at my current company and have done the pre-employment checks. And mind you, my notice period is 1 month. So does this mean that I will be doing work for the new company for an entire month UNPAID, while I settle existing work at my current company?

This made my body react very viscerally. I just felt bad all over.

My previous job (the one before my current one) did something similar, which felt like a red flag back then, but I still stupidly went into it. A month before my start date, they made me turn up to a kickoff meeting to a client they were meeting for the first time in person, and that literally was also the first time I met everyone else (except for the boss himself) in the company. They did not bother to do any proper introductions and just told me to take notes. It was so unprofessional in my opinion.

Anyway, please give me your thoughts – is this acceptable?

At the moment, I’m just so sick of workplaces with poor boundaries.

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