can I accept a job knowing I plan to leave it in a few months?

This was originally published on October 23, 2010.

A reader writes:

I have recently been offered a job with a company locally and have accepted it. However the hiring process a extensive background investigation is needed and will not be able to start this position until the January of 2011. I have more recently been offered a another job a couple of hours away. I would prefer to accept the position locally but I need an income that I could get from the other job a couple hours away. Is it acceptable to use this job until the other job and background investigation on done?

I get versions of this question all the time, all ultimately wanting to know:  When is it okay to take a job knowing you’re likely to leave it quickly as soon as something better comes along?

First, two situations where I’ll give you an immediate pass:  (1) If you’re being honest with the first employer about your intent and they hire you knowing that, go for it, and (2) if this is a job or industry where high turnover is typical and routine, such as retail, call centers, and so forth, fine.

But aside from that, here are some principles that you should apply to any question along these lines:

* If you’re not being candid with the employer, what will the impact be on them? In many businesses, an employee leaving after just a few months means that time, money, and other resources were wasted on training; they have to go through the time and expense of a new hiring process; and often the area your role was responsible for suffers setbacks, either minor or major. Is this a large business that can more easily absorb the impact, or a small business that will feel it much more? Is it a nonprofit that will have to divert resources away from a valuable mission to respond? Different organizations are impacted to different degrees by this, and you want to think about what the impact will be in your case.

* Are you willing to accept a possible hit to your own reputation?  It’s likely that you will always be “the guy who left after we spent two months training him.” You won’t just burn bridges with the first organization; it may impact you other places too, because the world is fairly small. Are you willing to accept the possibility that you might be going after a job you really want some day and find that your interviewer was the co-worker who picked up the slack after you disappeared — or knows one of those co-workers? (I know this sounds like a loaded question, but it’s a genuine one. You might weigh everything and decide that, yes, you are willing to accept this. That’s fine; I just want you to think it through first.)

Speaking of reputation, it’s also worth asking yourself what your new employer will make of this. They may assume you’re willing to do the same thing to them.

* This one is hard to quantify, but you should at least be aware that there were probably other people who really wanted that first job and would have been thrilled to get it … and might have gotten if it the employer had known that you had secret plans to leave after a few months. Again, your call to make, but this should be part of the ethical landscape that you think about.

Now, whenever this topic comes up, someone points out that you don’t owe employers any loyalty because they may fire or lay you off without notice, etc. But it’s a rare employer who will hire someone planning to fire her in a couple of months, or who will hire you and then rescind the job offer when a better applicant shows up. And yes, plenty of employers treat employees badly, but it’s far from true of everyone, so at least make sure you know who you’re dealing with before you paint everyone with the same brush.

All that said, it’s certainly true that employers make decisions based on what’s in their own best interests. But the reason they don’t, for instance, hire someone planning to fire her in two months, is because that’s not in their best interests. It’s not in their best interests to become known as an employer who does that kind of thing, or to make their current employees worry they’ll do it to them. And it’s not in their interests to become known as a company that treats people unfairly or callously, because they want to be able to attract and keep good people. And something similar is true for you: It’s not in your own interests to get a reputation as someone who doesn’t keep commitments, who cuts and runs, or who acts without integrity or concern for others — because you want to to be able to work with good people too.

So just as employers will act in their own best interests, you should too. But you should make sure you have a really comprehensive picture of what those interests are — and for all the reasons above, it’s not as simple as “Job A is better than Job B.”

{ 78 comments… read them below }

  1. Kenny*

    What if you think you might (might!) leave in a few months, but it’s not because of a better job, but because you’re trying to move very far away?

    I’ve been miserable at my job for over a year and a half. But my husband and I decided we were going to move across the country, so instead of looking for a new job, we concentrated on that. It took us almost a year to get our butts in gear and our house on the market, on which it sat for six months with no offers. We’re going to try again this spring. If it sells, we’re out of here. Does that mean I should stay in my miserable job until then? What if it doesn’t sell and I’m STILL HERE in six, eight, twelve months? Should I just look for a job at a larger company where they won’t die if I leave? Because I really am quite miserable. But I also don’t want to screw anybody (or my reputation.)

    1. JC*

      Have you considered looking for a temporary job or contract work? If your house sells before the contract runs out, you can stay on knowing that your commitment will end in X months.

    2. Chriama*

      What about looking at companies with multiple offices? I know that’s a lot easier said than done, but it’s worth a shot. In my book, the worst thing would be to find a fantastic job at an amazing company right before your house sells, and have to burn this bridge as well as leave a great position for the unknown.
      You could also try the dreaded long-distance job search, and move before you sell the house. I don’t know whether your finances or the housing market will allow you to keep 2 households / rent your old house until it sells, but it’s another alternative.

      1. MovingRightAlong*

        I was thinking the same thing. If there’s a company with an office in both your current location and your future location, you’d be doing yourself a favor. That could be a long shot, but worth looking in to.

    3. Anonymous*

      I would say that since you ARE currently in a job, you stay at it until you know for sure you will be moving. You can and should not say anything to your currently employer about the possibility that you may be moving until it actually happens, and then give them the appropriate amount of notice. It would be far worse to take another job.

      Your employer won’t “die” if you leave, no matter what size they are, and even if you should sell your house it would be likely you would have time to give them 2 weeks to a month notice until your house goes through settlement and you wrap everything up. If you had to, you could even stay in a hotel for a week or two if you needed.

      1. short'n'stout*

        But it sounds like they’re really unhappy in their current job, with no end in sight, to the point where the advice here would be “Get out. Get out now!”

    4. KellyK*

      That is a tough one. JC’s suggestion is a good one, if that works for you.

      I don’t think you should put off job-hunting, because who knows how long it will take you to find another job, or to put your house on the market again. I wouldn’t stay in a miserable job indefinitely just in case you might move.

      However, once you’ve put your house on the market, I think you owe it to potential employers to either let them know that you’re planning to move, or to decide that if you get the job and your house sells, you’ll get an apartment (or make other arrangements) and stay for a decent length of time.

      But I think you have a much better chance of not being miserable if you start job-hunting now.

  2. Bryan*

    I know someone who left their job for another job after two months. They didn’t like the commute or the pay. They ended up getting fired from the new job after 90 days and while I feel bad because it’s never easy but I couldn’t help to feel it was karma.

    1. Adam V*

      > They didn’t like the commute or the pay.

      What are “two things you should have known were deal-breakers before you accepted the job”, Alex?

      1. De Minimis*

        They probably should have at least done a test run on the commute at first, but I’m guessing they might have thought they could handle it and then the grind of doing it each day wore them down.

        Now the pay is a different matter. Although this could be a case where it was the only job they could find.

        1. Bryan*

          It was their first job out of college, he took the first job. he found with not thinking about it at all. You can tell they don’t read AAM.

          1. De Minimis*

            That explains a lot then, especially when it comes to not figuring out how much pay was acceptable.

      2. Anonymous*

        When you are unemployed you are often obligated to take ANY reasonable and/or acceptable offer of employment, whether you “like” it or not. Maybe that was the case.

        1. KellyK*

          Yeah, there is that. But unless the job is different from what was discussed, I don’t think that necessarily justifies leaving after two months.

      3. Tinker*

        It might not have occurred to them that you could turn down a job for those reasons. It took me probably six years to appreciate the point, and I graduated college in a time when people weren’t quite so vicious towards new graduates as they are today.

  3. Andrew*

    I’m also kind of struggling with this issue right now. Just accepted a job offer overseas, but with a fairly low salary. I’m excited about it and about living in the country, but not so much about the salary and it may take a while for me to get to the starting date. On the other hand, I’m on the waiting list for a salaried position at a local library after working there for almost two years in an hourly part-time position. The pay would be better, but I am really more excited about the other position. If I actually get a job offer from the local library, I’ll have to decide between taking the job temporarily, declining it, or withdrawing from the overseas job.

    1. Ollie*

      What do you mean by “waiting list”? If there’s an opening, someone on the waiting list automatically gets the job, but there’s a couple people ahead of you on the list?

      1. Andrew*

        Basically, but I don’t know how long the list is or where my position on it is. Also, current salaried employees get preference for the openings, even over those on the waiting list. So, in effect, what happens is a lot of internal transfers with the rare new hire.

        1. Ollie*

          Since there’s no way to tell where you are on the list, it’s probably best to assume that you’re not at the very top. And since job openings generally don’t happen that often, I’d also assume you won’t be offered a position in the near future and stop worrying about it.

          I’m struggling with this “What if? What if? WHAT IF?” mindset too. All the other times I’ve agaonized over “What ifs?” related to possible jobs, I ended up not being offered the job, so I’m trying to remember that. Should just worry about problems as they come up instead of worrying about something that probably isn’t going to be a problem.

  4. De Minimis*

    There’s been a couple at my job….one person quit after their first week. The bad part was that we had paid her relocation. I think eventually they put together an agreement for her to pay it back.

    We also had someone quit after one day! I didn’t see that they were even here until I saw an unfamiliar name along with a very low amount on the payroll report.

    1. Anonymous*

      It happens. Sometimes you just get flakes!
      But two so recently makes me wonder about your company and/or the position. Is something not clear in the job description or is something being misrepresented perhaps?

  5. Ollie*

    Does anyone have any advice on when it’s okay to leave part-time positions? (Not the high turnover retail/call centers kind. More like entry-level for nonprofits that don’t require much training.)

    I interviewed for two part-time positions this week that I’m supposed to hear back from my next week (as well as a full-time position that I won’t hear back from for two or three weeks) . Ideally I’ll be offered both part-time positions so that I’ll be working almost full time hours. If I was only offered one, I’d have to keep job hunting and would continue applying to both full and part-time positions.

    If I was offered a full-time position elsewhere a week or two or a month or two after accepting a part-time position, would it be okay to leave? When you work part-time, it’s generally assumed that you’ll continue job hunting, right?

          1. Sunflower*

            I should say I never came out and said “Hey I’m still looking to get out of this place!’ but my managers definitely knew and never gave me a hard time about switching my schedule for ‘appointments’.

            And yes it probably does depend on the nature of the job. There are some part time jobs at my current company that would require quite a bit of training and it would be a disaster if they quit after a month

      1. KellyK*

        I think it depends a lot on the nature of the job, and on how you present yourself in an interview. If you talk about wanting to scale down to part time and spend more time with your kids, of course they won’t expect you to keep looking. But if you’d happily take full time if they were offering it, especially if it’s a low-paying position, they shouldn’t be too surprised that people keep looking.

    1. Del*

      I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say “it’s generally assumed that you’ll continue job hunting.” From what I’ve experienced, it’s closer to if you get offered a full-time position people will understand that there isn’t much the part-time job can do to keep you. These are two very different things.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yea this exactly. Even in my high turnover jobs, I’m sure they knew I was job hunting but I never came out and said it. If I needed time off for an interview, I still told my managers I had an appointment and never talked about interviews or applications except with some co-workers. They obviously didn’t blame me when I took a full time gig with benefits.

      2. Ollie*

        Oh. I’m a recent graduate, so I’d never just get offered a job without job hunting/applying to it. =/

        1. Sunflower*

          This is what I was going to ask. Because you’re a recent grad, they probably assume full-time work is your goal. As mentioned below, there are lots of reasons people take on part-time work but most recent grads do it to get a foot in the door. I would think most recent grads who are only looking for part-time work have other stuff going on that they would mention in the interview(grad school, etc.) since the schedule might have to work around it.

        2. Del*

          Well, no – the point is that there isn’t an understanding of “oh of course you’re still job-hunting!” You might still be doing it, but they’re not going to automatically assume you are.

    2. CTO*

      No, that’s not always an assumption. Some people are only interested in working part-time for myriad reasons. Organizations prefer to hire those people–those not looking for full-time work instead. (In fact, if I were hiring I’d ask applicants about this.) Turnover may be higher in any entry-level part-time job, but it’s not okay to assume that you’d automatically get a free pass (in terms of a positive reference, etc.) if you leave right away.

      Next time, maybe you can sneakily ask this in an interview by asking, “How long do people usually stay in this position? What do they move to when they leave?” Don’t show that you’re just looking to get out of there as soon as something better comes along, but show some curiosity about the “typical” employee’s career path.

      1. Ollie*

        Thank you for the suggested questions to ask at interviews, especially the second one! I will keep that in mind. :]

        I did ask how long people generally stayed at one of the part-time positions, and their answer was something along the lines of, “People actually really enjoy the work and we had one person stay for over two years, but we realize you’ll probably need to move on eventually.” So I’m not sure how long the people who don’t stay long stick around. =/

        The other part-time position was the type of situation where they’d had someone doing the work full time for the past six years, but when that person moved on, the organization decided to make hire two people part-time so that they wouldn’t have to pay benefits. So they wouldn’t have been able to tell me how long part-timers usually stayed.

        1. Zillah*

          Ugh. Hearing that that’s why it’s a part time position would not make me feel very loyal to them.

          1. Ollie*

            Well, it’s a nonprofit, so they’re probably struggling with money. Part-time jobs without benefits are the type of thing I expect at non-profits, so my reaction was honestly just, “Oh. That makes sense.” =/

    3. Sunflower*

      Not sure if this applies to you but any part time jobs I’ve worked at don’t really provide you with training beyond maybe a day or two of you learning the software. My last part time job was in marketing and I probably got maybe 8 hours of training and that was learning how to use the system and the style of writing they wanted me to use. They replaced me right away when I quit.

      Did they tell you in the interview what kind of employee they’re looking for? Did they say the position could grow into full-time? Did they ask if you have another job?

      1. Ollie*

        Both part-time positions are the kind where it would be part-time forever, and there’s no other positions to be promoted to.

        They did ask if I had another job because they wanted to know what kind of schedule I currently have and when I could start (I’m currently unemployed).

        And, yeah, it’s basically the types of jobs where my education/internships prepared me for them pretty well, but I’d need a day or two to get used to and learn their specific software/polices/procedures.

        1. Sunflower*

          I think in a spot like that, you should take the job. If they were that concerned with the person staying for a while, they probably would have asked how long you expected to stay. I posted below about how the 2 jobs I took after college were ‘I’m taking this til I find something else’ which I thought would happen in a matter of months and the first I was at for 2 years and my current job almost a year. Don’t want to scare you but the job market is tough and it could take longer than you think to land a full time job. And as mentioned above, the company isn’t going to blame you and no bridges will be burned.

          Oh yeah it’s almost ALWAYS easier to get a job when you have one so don’t be shocked if you start to see interest pique up once you have present employment on there.

    4. Chriama*

      If it didn’t come up during the interview process, don’t assume anything. If they’re hiring for part time, they want someone part time. However you also have to think about your well-being, so I think they wouldn’t hold it against you too much. However, that bridge may or may not be singed, if not totally burnt.

  6. Sunflower*

    There’s a difference between ‘im taking this job to bide time til my other job starts’ and ‘I’m jumping ship the minute I get a better offer’

    In the situation that OP stated, I would definitely NOT take the job in the meantime. If you have an offer and are looking for money in the meantime, take a high turnover job. Retail, call center, food service. For me, I would prefer doing that rather than going to an office and pretending to be excited and want to know things. Also, I’d be annoyed about having to learn a bunch of stuff that I know I wouldn’t even need to use.

    The other situation is trickier. I waitressed right out of college because I didn’t want to get a job that involved training and then leave once I found something better. Then 2 years passed and I started thinking to myself ‘Should I have just taken any old office job?’ I generally enjoyed waitressing so I can’t say it was mistake but I wondered a lot if I made a mistake doing that.

    I accepted my current job now thinking I’d leave here as soon as something better came along. Well I’m still on the train of thinking and it’s been almost a year. I’d be kicking myself if I had turned down this job that I ended up being in for a while.

    In situations like that, I’m still not sure what is right to do. You have to do what’s right for you but damaging your rep might not be that. Guess it depends by situation

    1. Ollie*

      “I accepted my current job now thinking I’d leave here as soon as something better came along. Well I’m still on the train of thinking and it’s been almost a year. I’d be kicking myself if I had turned down this job that I ended up being in for a while.”

      Yeah. I’ve been job hunting since the summer, so I feel like I’d better take whatever job is offered to me first, because who knows how long it’d take to find a better job. =/ Worrying about taking a part-time job and then being offered a full-time position might actually be silly of me.

  7. NomadTX*

    I don’t even think this is a borderline question. It seems pretty black and white that you can’t, ‘appropriately’, take a job knowing you’re going to leave in two months, without informing the employer. I can’t imagine how awkward that time would be, living a lie like that. I don’t think this is very close to, “I’ll leave when something better comes along” because you can’t know the future, and that better thing doesn’t exist yet. In the OP case, it exists for sure and he would just be using the company for a paycheck.

    The only way I could imagine this being a bit grayer is if the OP is literally going to be out on the street if he misses that two months of income. Doing something to survive is different than doing something to be more comfortable.

  8. JenTheNiceHRGirl*

    We just went through the same thing with a candidate. We hired him, trained him, and then when he got the offer from the job that he “really” wanted, and he left. It really burned bridges with the team here. What made it worse is that he knew that he had a really good chance of getting this other job, was still interviewing with them, all while pretending that he was happy to be joining our team, and accepting expensive training and travel. His excuse was that he simply needed a paycheck while waiting for this other deal to come through. Taking a job, knowing you are going to be leaving in a few months, is probably not the way to go unless you are desperate for that paycheck in the meantime and don’t really have any other options (needing to eat and pay your bills is going to trump burning bridges). Sure, sometimes things simply happen this way, you work a few months at a new job and all of a sudden a great opportunity falls in your lap, but employers are going to be more forgiving knowing that you didn’t intentionally deceive them.

    1. Adam V*

      Especially in cases like this, where initial startup involves “expensive training and travel”, I’d think you could have new hires sign something saying “if you quit before [X date / Y period of time], you’ll owe a prorated amount of your initial training and travel expenses”. It’s slightly insulting to people who would never think of incurring huge expenses and then bailing, but it would protect you in cases like these.

      1. JenTheNiceHRGirl*

        Good point. I will have to look into that and see what we can legally do in my state. Makes sense.

      2. Windchime*

        We actually have new hires in one of our departments sign a contract now. It takes about $10k to get them certified and able to be proficient in the application that they need to use to do their jobs, and certification isn’t really optional. We had the problem with people joining to get the certification paid for and a few months’ experience, then they would jump ship to be a contractor. So now they have to sign a contract agreeing to stay X amount of time, or else they have to pay back a percentage of the certification fees (prorated, based on how long they stay).

    2. Anonymous*

      I feel like I’ve lost out on jobs because of that very thing. GRRRR!
      I was not the “candidate of choice” and then the person they did hire bailed in two months.

    3. Anxious*

      That’s what really sucks.

      You do what you have to do to eat, but then that haunts you professionally, limiting your upward mobility.

      It sucks that as a society we expect people to do whatever it takes to survive, but then professionally we expect that any decent candidate has the resources to be professional above all else. I don’t blame employers…it just…sucks.

  9. the_scientist*

    What about when you have applied to grad school and are waiting to hear back? For many graduate programs, there is a period of 6 months to a year between application date and start date, and anywhere from 3 to 6 months from application to acceptance (plus who knows if you’re going to get in or not, some programs are incredibly competitive). In an ideal world, obviously, you would stay in the job you were in when you initially applied, but sometimes that doesn’t work out for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it also varies by field; in entry-level research positions in Canada (where, as opposed to the US, it’s common to do a master’s before doing a PhD) it’s basically understood that ~75% of employees are going to move on to grad or professional school.

    1. Anonymous*

      This happened to me – sort of. I took a new job knowing that my husband was applying to a very competitive program out of state. We thought it was a long shot, so I took a job knowing there was (in our minds) a miniscule chance we would have to leave in 6 months.

      Well, he got in and it was one of those programs that you just don’t say no and we aren’t a LDR type of marriage. I quit my job after 6 months and we’ve lived to tell the tale. I have a new job where I’m earning more money and he’s graduating soon. But it was my only short-term job on my resume and people (both at my old job and the places I applied) were understanding of the move. But in retrospect, I do think my old job would have been less understanding if they knew that he applied to the school before I took the job and I feel bad about that.

      1. KellyK*

        I don’t think you should feel bad about that. You took the new job knowing for sure that you’d be there for six months, and pretty confident that you’d be there longer. Especially because the out-of-state program sounds like a long shot.

    2. Anonymous*

      I think you’d try to stay in a job you have until you KNOW for sure and then give appropriate notice OR try to take a job that might involve less commitment should you leave, or maybe even intern-type jobs. And there’s always temping and short-contract jobs!

      1. KellyK*

        I think that’s asking a lot, honestly, especially depending on why she took the new job. (Six months would be a ridiculous amount of time to stay in a job where you’re horribly underpaid and your boss is a jerk—if you’re just looking for something more challenging or a better commute, it’s not so bad.)

        Six months at a job is short-term, but it’s not so long that they wasted their time training you. You’ve certainly started to earn your paycheck by that point.

        Between that and the fact that they thought it was a long-shot, I don’t think expecting her to put her career on hold is a reasonable expectation.

      2. the_scientist*

        Right, that’s the ideal situation, but it’s not possible all the time. For example, what if you are job searching while applying to school? If the program/school is a long shot, you don’t want to take a temporary job while you wait to hear- because if you don’t get in, you’ve wasted time that could have been spent advancing your career. Given the length of time that elapses between applying and starting a graduate program, you could be in a new role for 6-8 months (assuming you got really lucky and found a job around the time you applied, which is a big assumption). That’s not totally flaky. And I know the norm for entry-level positions is 2-3 years, but aren’t people so bored their brains are liquifying inside their skulls by that point? I’m already feeling that I’m not being sufficiently challenged and I’ve been in my current position for less than a year.

  10. Anonymous*

    At my old company, we had a woman start on a Monday and quit by Friday of the same week. She had previously worked at the same company for 10+ years and I think she was terrified of change/new environment (ad agency).

  11. Andi*

    Ugh! I also need some advice. I have applied to two positions within one week of each other. Company 1: Is an hour away, double what I make now. Company 2: Uses the same software I currently do, is also more than double my salary, and is twenty minutes away.

    I really want company 2. They sent me an email that interviews will be resuming in about two weeks.

    Company 1: I had a phone interview. Was told I would be notified the next business week telling me if I made it to the second round or what not. They emailed me the next day asking to come in for the interview on Monday.

    Of course I don’t have either one of the jobs and it could turn out I don’t get an offer from either one. The next job I get I want to stay at for a long time. I would take company 1 as a second choice if I had no other offers. The potential timeline would probably not give me any indication about company 2 though for 2-4 weeks after my interviews are done with company 1.

    Could I accept the position and then recant it before starting officially if I was offered position at company 2.

    This is a horrible economy and I don’t want to not accept company one if company two does not work out.

    Advice please!

      1. Andi*

        I know so true. This has happened to me before. A company offered me the job the same day as my interview, so I want to have a plan. I don’t want to be that person who accepts a position and then leaves if I can avoid it but job at company 2 is my dream job.

    1. Adam*

      I suppose if you interview for company 1 you can ask them to clarify their timeline for when they expect to make a final decision, and if you do receive an offer take advantage of as much time as they are willing to give before you make a decision as you see where things go with company 2.

      I guess the most important thing is give a great interview and express interest in the job (assuming it is one you’d actually want) without falling all over yourself to endear yourself to them to the point where if you did back out they’d be surprised/confused.

      If you did accept an offer from company 1 and company 2 comes along later, I don’t know if there’s any real gentile way of backing out from 1 at the eleventh hour without taking a hit on your reputation, at least with them and maybe through the industry depending on how networking is in your field. I’ve heard in some fields news/gossip can spread wildly like love notes through a middle school cafeteria.

    2. KellyK*

      I wouldn’t accept a position if you’re not willing to take it. I think that’s dishonest.

      I think Alison had some advice about this kind of situation—something about letting your first-choice company know that you’re getting into the late stages with another employer and asking what their timeline is.

  12. Soharaz*

    What if you didn’t know that you would need to leave when you accepted the job? I took a job in November that I was overqualified for and had to convince the hiring manager that I wasn’t going to quit in three months. My husband works in the military while I live about 3 hours away and now I am seriously considering moving down there (I got my degree in publishing which has a large presence in my current city but not in my husbands which Is why I didn’t move in September when I got my degree). If I move when my lease is up in August and quit my job, how will this look to future employers (a less than a year stint in an industry I’m now disillusioned with)?

  13. Anon #8664*

    I’m a college graduate and considering working in retail until I find a permanent job. If I get fired for a bad reason or no reason, would I be able to shrug it off and just move on to the next store? I’m asking because I feel that my job isn’t likely to be secure — hardly any skills would be required, so I could be easily replaced by just about anyone.

    Or is finding a job in retail not easy enough for it be worth it anyway?

  14. J*

    Just came here to look for the answer to a very similar question! Here’s my situation and I do need to make a quick decision about what to do:

    I just got a job yesterday after not being employed for a few months. It’s a part time position and I know I’d do really well with it considering the duties I’d have. It pays well, but again, part-time. No benefits, and reading up on the company, it’s a rarity that they promote people beyond part time.

    Because of the nature of the job I’m taking up, I need to get a drug screening within approximately 48 hours (not from today, but Saturday) and also get some other information verified within a tight time period.

    Cut to today when I check my inbox, I received an interview offer with another company I applied to at the beginning of the month that I figured passed on me. It’s full time, pays a little less but considering the hours, I’d earn a decent chunk more, and I’d get full benefits right from the start. My interview is Sunday.

    Tomorrow I will be preoccupied with an event I go to every year and won’t be able to do anything regarding the job I’ve accepted.

    If I do get an offer from the second job, I will definitely take it. But what the heck do I do about the first job?!

    I mean, I’d love to be able to work with them in the future, so I don’t want to burn any bridges, but it’s not my ultimate career goal area (I’m taking programming courses and this isn’t in that field).

    What should I do?

  15. B*

    Along the same lines, but slightly different: how would this translate into leaving your job for a new one shortly atfter receiving a promotion?

    I’ve been performing duties outside of my job descriptions for a while, which is not uncommon. I feel I’m realistically performing 2 levels higher than my current title. This has been brought up with my manager, and they’ve notified me they’d try and get me a bump. It’s been several months and the issue seems to not be a priority for them, and I’ve been consistently search for a new job in the meantime.

    My company has annual reviews coming up in the near future, at which time my concerns will be brought up again. What if they bump my title up one level, and a little while later I receive a job offer for a job that’s at one level higher? Is there some sort of etiquette on how long you should stick it out after a promotion?

  16. Curious*

    Thoughts on accepting a short-term consulting offer while waiting for word back after final interviews?

  17. Too much profanity at work*

    I completely agree with this post in most cases. However in the situation I’m in, where I’ve started a new job and it’s been nothing but a hostile work environment, I have no problem leaving it as quickly as they’ve hired me. There was no way I could have known the situation I was coming into without actually starting the position itself. Since I’ve been treated with a complete lack of respect and being harassed, intimidated and bullied on a daily basis, I don’t see a point in staying around any longer than possible.

  18. Ingrid*

    I wonder what would we appropriate if instead of pretending to leave the new job in a few months you would have in mind to leave after a few years, let’s say around 2-3. Should you be upfront with it or is it a reasonable time to stay at a job and after that move on?

  19. Elysian*

    I had a similar problem to this when I was in college. I was forced to go home for the summer, and had to get a summer job that I would only have for about 2 months (had to – otherwise I wouldn’t eat for two months). No one would hire me when I was upfront about needing to go back to college. I struggled for a long time about whether to just omit that information from my applications at restaurants, retail stores, etc. In the end I just couldn’t do it. The only job I could end up getting was just the worst job I’ve ever had. At least I could eat.

    1. BW*

      Yeah it just doesn’t feel like a job seeker is rewarded at all for being upfront. I mean in terms of better job-seeking results, not the internal rewards you feel for having been honest. An employer would appreciate it, sure, but then they’re still going to do what they’re going to do.

  20. ScarlettJ*

    What if you live in one of the most expensive cities in the US and need a job until you move back home in three months?

    I had to quit a job a few months back because of sexual harassment (long story short: I am filing against them) and it took a toll on my health; mental and physical. So I’ve been looking for work like crazy.

    My partner and I have decided to move out of this $$ city and move to my hometown that is affordable and he can still work. That’s in 3 months now.

    I have been looking for temp work to no available. Got a call back and phone interview with one that I really like! It’s a great company, but now I’m feeling some guilt if I do get accepted. But the other part of me is thinking that I gotta do what I have to do to survive! I have bills, their multiplying!

    One thing I also thought of is that this business also has locations near (but not logically close) to my hometown. Maybe I could work for those three months and give my 2-3 weeks notice, tell them I’m moving to be closer to family and didn’t see this coming (oh the guilt!) and hope to be on their good side.

    Any advice? I’ve already applied for UI and was denied because my previous employer lied about the sexual harassment – of course. And appealing takes forever.

    Thank you!

  21. ITsojourner*

    I have had job once where I was hired on a contract to hire, and someone they like better showed up after my first 3 days. And they didn’t tell me but they planned on dumping me after 1 month. I have countless unethical examples of unethical approaches by recruiters and even well known companies.

  22. edubs*

    What if you took a job you thought you wanted/needed but immediately discovered it wasn’t what you thought? This happened to me with a part-time benefitted job I started in December, and though I was recruited by a friend who works there and asked around and thought I had done all my homework, no specifics regarding hours were given until after I had already signed my paperwork on Day One (nothing had been listed in the job description and the interview was non-specific) -at which point I learn “weekends” means every Saturday and Sunday, 10 hours both days. I know some of this is my fault for failing to ask the questions, but I have always always always been able to discuss hours and needs upfront before an offer so I just didn’t make much of it. I work in the theatre (which is not, sadly, regular) and took this for regular income with the understanding I could move shifts around if needed and it turns out its almost impossible. So it wasn’t my intention to stay only a few months, but I started looking about 2 weeks after I started and am planning to leave in the spring whether I have something new or not. I have told them I am unhappy with this but not that I’m looking (because I still need the benefits until I can move on) but there is very little anyone will do. I enjoy the work well enough, but im miserable because of the hours, I feel a lot of resentment and regret for leaving my way more flexible but not benefitted, lower paying old job, resentment and stress that I was misled. I’m super conflicted. And I feel like a fraud for sticking around getting paid.

    What would you suggest in this situation about leaving after 2.5, 3, maybe 4 months?

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