General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Right to refusal?

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Dark Annie:
This situation is at this stage hypothetical but may become an issue in the future.
Person is new uni graduate and looking for work. They apply at two companies: Company A and Company B. Job A is an ok job, in an ok area and in the field of what the person wants to do- say foster care case managent as opposed to child protection. Job B is child protection and investigation, exactly what the person wants to do- but it had a later cut off date than Job A and is harder to get into.

Person applies, gets Job A and accepts. A few weeks later, Job B rings and offers a job to person B. is it wrong for the person to take Job B and quit job A after only a few weeks? Or (etiquette-ly and professionally speaking, should person turn down job B and keep their commitment to job A? Keep in mind Job B will most likely never be offered again.

Inspired by a debate raised in my uni class.

It's just been a few weeks - well within a normal adjustment period. It could just as well be that Company A will turn around and let this person go (not suitable for the job, doesn't get along with peers etc).  It happens.

If the person feels that they *really* aren't happy about doing Foster care management, then they should leave - politely, not burning any bridges.

Since both jobs are in roughly the same field, quitting Job A would have to be done carefully, to not burn any bridges or get a poor reputation. You never know what consequences will arise, years down the road.

Forty years ago, the advice would have been to stay. But the workplace has changed quite a bit since then--companies are no longer as loyal to their employees as they used to be. People change jobs much more frequently.

This happened once when I was a manager. I'd hired a young man who was working out really well--he caught on to things quickly, paid attention to the little details, got along with the entire department, and all-around did a great job. A month and a half after hiring him, he came to me. He'd just been offered his dream job; a job he'd never thought he'd get.

What could we do? We let him go, with regret. He wrote a lovely thank you letter about the attention and training he'd gotten at our company, and expressed his thanks that we had been understanding about his situation.

The reality was that once he'd received that dream job offer, he'd never have been fully happy with our company. He'd have been thinking about the job that got away. We didn't want to let him go, but could completely understand why he made that decision. And he handled the situation with a grace and tact that was pretty impressive for someone just out of college.

To me, the first few months of a job is a trial period for employer and employee.

Many employers have formalized this idea; they might wait 3 months before providing health insurance or other benefits, have a review after 3 months, or have other policies that make it clear that new employees are provisional during this period.

If the perfect job came along, I would take it. I would try to make my exit a gracious one, giving appropriate notice, etc.

I'd rather move on quickly, before an employer became dependent on my work.

gramma dishes:
I agree with everyone above.  I think the candidate should carefully and politely leave Job A and accept job B.  That's what s/he really wanted all along and s/he will regret it forever if they don't accept the offer now. 

I especially agree that leaving Position A needs to be done carefully, with humility and gratitude for the opportunity because the two jobs are actually "related" and the candidate may indeed have future dealings with people currently at Place A.  It's best not to burn bridges.


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