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I got a great job offer — right after I started with a new employer

Today I’m talking about how to handle quitting a job you just started.

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When I first got laid off, I was selective in the jobs for which I applied. I was tired of working dead-end jobs that had no future. After six weeks went by, I got scared and started applying for every job available.

Two weeks later, just before my money ran out, I landed a job with a small company. My new employer has been great. When he learned I was down to my last seven dollars, he gave me an advance to pay rent and get groceries. He liked how hard I worked, and after three weeks, he sent me to a two-day Excel class.

I didn’t plan what happened next. Five weeks after I started my job, I got a call to interview for a job that I’d applied for right after I got laid off. It was a company I wanted to work for, one large enough to offer promotional opportunities. I decided to interview and two days later was offered the job. They want me to start immediately, and that meant quitting the job I have now, with no notice.

I’m torn because I hate to do this to the boss who was so good to me, but I don’t feel I have a choice. How do I explain things to him so he won’t hate me?

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It sounds as if you’ve already made your decision and are only working out the details. If so, it’s better for both you and your employer if you move to the job you want more. Although you’ll cause your current employer short-term frustration, it’s better for him if you leave now than after he makes an even more substantial training investment in you.

How do you explain things to him? Tell the truth. You didn’t seek out this new job; it was one of the ones you tried for before he hired you. Also, offer to pay him back for the Excel class. He invested in you thinking he’d hired a long-term employee.

Most importantly, don’t leave without notice. Talk with the employer who wants to hire you immediately and ask that they give you at least a week to continue working for your current employer so you won’t leave him in a lurch. Two weeks would be better, but they might not be willing to wait that long. If they tell you their job vanishes unless you can start immediately, consider whether you want to work for them. An employer that forces an applicant to leave his current employer without notice may themselves lack ethics. If so, your decision to work for them may burn you in the long run.

Before you leave, however, really think this through. It’s not that you owe your new employer — it’s that he might be the kind of employer you’ll want to work for long-term. Not only did he take a chance on you but he also went the extra mile for you from day one. What’s possible if you stay with his company?

Yes, large employers offer advantages; however, so do small employers, as you’ve already experienced. Small employers may give employees a chance to stretch and grow into new duties and may offer flexibility larger employers can’t. So consider this: Which employer will give you more opportunity to do worthwhile and simulating work? Which job offers you job assignments of a greater variety and quality? Which job gives you the best chance to attain your short- and long-term career goals? Which job offers a safer and more comfortable work environment? How does each job compare in terms of stress? How do the jobs compare in terms of the freedom you’ll have to make decisions?

Finally, if you leave your current job without notice, you show your next employer how you may later treat them. In other words, if you jump ship, do so with grace.

© 2016, Lynne Curry. If you’d like an answer to your career question, it’s easy. Write Lynne authored Solutions and Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM. You can also follow Lynne@lynnecurry10 on Twitter or access her other posts on, or

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