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Accepting a Job You May Leave in a Few Months?

Accepting a Job You May Leave in a Few Months?

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

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.”

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