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Here is the question:
Day 1 – I’m laid off from my job
Day 2 – I’ve got a job offer. Great, right? Actually, no. The pay is 20% less.  :( And I have to give my answer pretty soon.

Here is the question, what do you do:
1) Take a job, keep looking for something better, quit the job as soon as you find something.
2) Go on unemployment until you find something better.

The extra problem is that I really respect the manager and would hate to accept his offer only to quit a few weeks or months later. Is it a question of loyalty to an employer? I have some other leads now, but nothing is for sure. So, what would you do? And what would influence your choice?

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

Take the job. Keep your loyalty to yourself.

When you sign an employment agreement, then you are entering a business transaction. Loyalty or any other promised not present in your agreement means nothing (or at the most, very, very, very little).

If the company was short of money for any reason, they would not think twice, they will just lay you off.  Period.

Save your loyalty for friends and family.


Monday, November 17, 2003

That's true. But then, I personally know the manager…

Did any of you have to quit within the first few weeks of employment? Was there any problem? How do you do it and not screw up the relationship with the employer? Or you just think that it’s all business and not personal? I guess my problem is that I take it personally.

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

I agree morally with eclectic_, but in practical terms - bailing out of a job after a really short period is a red flag to future employers.  It's a kind of slap in the face; they stop searching for a candidate, they start working you into their project plans, they stop advertising, etc. Bailing creates an inconvenience. The next place you submit an application to will think "flake".

If you are seeing a lot of activity in your job search, best to hold out for the job that you believe that you'll keep for awhile (6+ months is "awhile" in the SW industry.)

Bored Bystander
Monday, November 17, 2003

So you think of their interest first. What about yourself? And the risk you take? Who knows when I’ll be able to find another job? Maybe next week and maybe in 6 month. And I’d rather be working. 

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

Do be careful. One quick walk out would not trigger my alarm bells when reading your resume, but more than one quick job change would make me wonder (it has in the past, and we hired the guy in spite of it. In that case, my misgivings were well justified)

As to the manager being a friend - remember, friend or not, unless he owns the company, he probably doesn't get a vote when it comes to layoff time. Even if he does, it may well be you that gets the short end of the stick simply because other folks are more necessary to the team. I don't like leaving friends hanging, but you have to look out for YOU.

If it were me, I'd take the job and keep looking. Of course, I've got a wife, a mortgage, a house, a kid and a newborn due in December. So I'm the sort that would be a BIT more desperate than you for a paycheck.

Michael Kohne
Monday, November 17, 2003

Quiting after a couple of weeks is nasty.

It takes a lot of work to hire someone and
get  them started. And you've just punked my
schedules by several months.

If you value your relationship and your rep
then you won't. It's unlikely i would forgive
you, especially since you planned on it.

If you don't care then of course do as you will.

son of parnas
Monday, November 17, 2003

Forgot, you will make your manager friend look
really bad to his management and coworkers.
This could impact him when promoting/firing/etc.

son of parnas
Monday, November 17, 2003

No, he's not a friend, just someone I respect very much.

As for resume, I wouldn't put a job on my resume unless I stayed for at least a few month or it was a short contract/project.

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

Should a company not listen to offers of getting bought out? Since they can and they do, then employees can listen to offers to better their careers.

He knows that he is offering you 20% less than what you currently make, chances are, he knows what he is getting into, i.e. that you may leave soon.

I'd take the job which would give you the freedom to look for a job that would make you happier, both financially and intellectually.

David Nemeth
Monday, November 17, 2003

loyalty doesn't exist... take the job then take a hike when (and IF) something better comes along

Monday, November 17, 2003

What would you want if you were in his shoes (the new manager)?

I am betting that he thinks you will be there at least six months to a year.  Of course he would understand if you had to resign for personal reasons (death or sickness in family, etc.).  That is because he cares about you (i'm assuming).

But isn't that the reason he is offering you the job anyway, because to some extent he wants to help you?  And if you accept his help and then leave right away for a better offer, then would that be helping him?

I think you are doing well even to ask the question, it is better to think about it now when you are free of implied or explicit commitments.

Scot Doyle
Monday, November 17, 2003

Loyalty, shmoyalty.  They will lay off in a second if they think it will help the next quarter's numbers look better.

Monday, November 17, 2003

What to do if you get a better offer?

Talk to your new manager and tell him about it, maybe he can do something maybe he can't, but now it's HIS call

My 2 cents

Monday, November 17, 2003

>"The pay is 20% less.  :( And I have to give my answer pretty soon."

Even though the pay is 20% less than what you were making before, is it actually below market levels? In other words, what are the chances of finding another job with the same or greater salary as what you were making before?  If you had a high salary as a result of a job obtained in the dotcom boom, maybe the 20% cut is actually a realistic figure.

Monday, November 17, 2003

I agree with David, it would make me much happier, both financially and intellectually to take a new job and keep looking.

But I'd hate to quit so soon after starting. And it makes it worse that I plan on it. I mean if you intend to stay on the job and then something better (much better pay, cool project, better location) comes along, you'd take it anyway, wouldn't youi?

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

So, does this guy know that he is offering you 20% less?  And also, what do you think he expects the minimum time you would stay for is?

Scot Doyle
Monday, November 17, 2003

> does this guy know that he is offering you 20% less?

he does. I can take it or not, it's up to me, and I'm not sure what he expects. He's not the one to set the rules, I guess he offers me as much as he can right now.

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

Are there other benefits other than pay that might want you to take this job? For example:

* Cool projects
* Flex hours
* Non-PHB management

What are your prospects of getting a raise in the first, say 6 months, that might put you into a salary bracket that you might like?  Were there any indications of this in your interview?

If so, you might want to consider the job.  Otherwise, keep trucking.  Screwing people over sucks.

Monday, November 17, 2003

if he knows that, then it seems that he would also know you might leave for a better offer.  was that just his first proposal, or did he say he couldn't pay more?

Scot Doyle
Monday, November 17, 2003

Try to negotiate non-monetary benefits. One thing you might try for, if it suits the job - would he let you work from home 2 days a week? That can have a huge positive effect on your quality of life.


Monday, November 17, 2003

Unfortunatly there aren't too many benefits in that job.  I don't see much benefit from working from home. I'd rather go to the office.  I'd take less money for a very cool project and technology but it's neither.

There are prospects of a raise in 6 months. Even with the raise, if I can get something better, I'd quit.

Boris Bergman
Monday, November 17, 2003

I think you can assume that they already know this.  Did you let them know your previous salary?

If they are informed, no foul imo.

Monday, November 17, 2003

You only owe a company loyalty if they are loyal to you.

Are they?  Do you have a contract? 

I agree with ee.  Be loyal to your friends & family.  Your job is simply a business agreement.  You do what they ask, they pay you. 

I don't worry about short-term jobs on my resume. 

I have enough savings not to have to worry about pleasing some corporate boneheads that are looking for sheep to tow the line.

Monday, November 17, 2003


Have you considered offering to work as a "temp" or "consultant" in oder for HIM and YOU to both "test" the relationship.

I think this is a great idea for both employer and employee. After a month or so, you have a much better idea of the fit.  But you avoid the high costs of hiring.

Think of it as Rent to own <g> or living together before getting married.

The side benefit for you, here, is that you can keep looking for a job.  Also, you may find the job is better than you think.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Just a note about "going on unemployment":

In order to get unemployment insurance payments, you certify that you are willing and able to work and that you are searching for work.

If you reject a job offer you will probably be ineligible to receive payments.  Check with your state to be sure.

Monday, November 17, 2003

My original advice was based on the premise that this guy didn't know that he was low-balling you.  If he knows this, then he also probably knows that you will leave if something better comes along.  One way you might be able to find out more about how he feels about this issue without raising any red flags is to ask him what project you'd be working on and when it will be completed.

Hope things work out for you!

Scot Doyle
Monday, November 17, 2003

"I think this is a great idea for both employer and employee. After a month or so, you have a much better idea of the fit.  But you avoid the high costs of hiring."

Yea, whatever.  I suppose you're a big believer in "friends with benefits," too. :)

It just doesn't work.  The employer has too much power in the "relationship," and frankly, the "testing the relationship" bit usually has a lot more to do with the employer wanting to have his cake and eat it, too.  Hiring with no risk is every employer's pipe dream.

What's the advantage to the employee in this situation?  He can leave whenever?  That doesn't make much business sense.  If I'm an employee and I'm using a job to hedge against financial uncertainty--as the OP seems to be doing--why on Earth do I want to give up that security to absolve the employer of any risk whatsoever, and put all the power in the relationship in his hands?

Avoid this one.  I've seen too many "permatemps" come out of those "let's see if it works out" situations, especially in this market...

Monday, November 17, 2003

Is the job any good?

If it's an ok job, stay, make a contribution and ask for more money. If they say 'No' then fairs, fair, you're free to leave.

Then at your next job interview you say they didn't pay well enough, every business man understands that.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Leaving a job after a short period of time is not a huge deal.  Just don't make a habit of it.

I've had jobs that simply were a bad fit, despite efforts at due diligence on my part and the employers part. 

Do what you have to do to live the life you want to live.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Leaving a job shortly after starting is uncool, no doubt.  I'd have a really hard time doing it, myself.

That said, if I knew I was hiring someone at 20% less than they were just making, I wouldn't be shocked if he left shortly thereafter.  You KNOW he had resumes out there already, so it makes sense that if he's good (I hired them, so obviously he's good), he'll get other nibbles.

If you get another offer shortly after starting, you simply tell the company you are currently at what the deal is.  If you've proven your worth, they might counter offer just to avoid restarting the hiring process.  Maybe they won't be happy, but that's life in the real world.  No one blindly ignores a potential 20% salary hike.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Why everybody is assuming that a job search has a huge cost in this case? What if the guy was offered a job because the company needs somebody now, and they were not really looking that much? How much was invested in this case for job search anyway?

He comes in today, starts helping them out. There is not much hassle with the new employee paperwork. He is just a contractor assumed to be a regular employee.

Better opportunities might come, or may not ... Who knows? He may very well stick at this place for 6 months even if he is looking actively since job search is a very random thing. In any event, since he has nothing definite otherwise, let's assume that the new dream job is at least 6-8 weeks away.

Take the job, but let them know that you're paid less than what you're worth(?), so it is natural for you to keep looking.

Mr Curiousity
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The number of "f*** the employer" posts on this board is way out of control.

Richard Kuo
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

> Take the job, but let them know that you're paid less
> than what you're worth(?)

How do you know what you are worth? By what someone
will pay you. As you don't have an offer for more then
are you really worth more?

If you haven't noticed rates and salaries
have dropped quite a bit. Only a 20% drop could be
considered damn good.

A lot of people in this thread seem to be ethically
challenged. You don't need to be one of them.
What an employer will not do or will do has nothing
to do with your ethics.

son of parnas
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

why don't you just explain your position to the employer and negotiate an hourly (weekly/monthly) consulting agreement?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


No one is f*king anyone, there are  no favors in capitalism.
Company change employment terms, SLA's, prices etc at the drop of a hat, everyone is free to do what they wan't if a company wants him for a critical project etc... they should have signed him to a contract, but that is what at will means, no contracts on either side!

the artist formerly known as prince
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Why do you think he's hiring you? Because he knows you're looking for work and wants to do you a favor, or because he knows you're competant and reliable? If the former he may be more upset than the latter.

Z is right about unemployment, but check your local laws. While on unemployment you shouldn't refuse any job offer, though there are limits to this. I.e. you're not required to accept anything less than x% of what you were making previously.

Go through some worst case scenarios.

1. You turn down the job and nothing better turns up. You took the gamble and it didn't pay off. How long can you survive? Do you dip into your savings? Does it strain your relationship with this guy anyway because you turned him down?

2. You get the job, and something turns up quickly, and it strains your relationship with this person. Just how uncomfortable is this for you? him? A third party that knows both of you?

As far as having a short job on your resume, it may be better than having a gap on your resume, but you have to approach it with some delicacy in interviews. If I were interviewing you, I'd want to be sure you weren't using my company to hedge your bets until something better came along. If it's really short, you may simply not want to include it on your resume.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Option 1. You know this already.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"The number of "f*** the employer" posts on this board is way out of control."

Thyt's probably because the number of employers willing to f*** their employees is way out of control.

F*** 'em
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

What happened to doing business on a handshake??

Loyalty goes both ways.

I would sign up for the new job (bird in hand and all that), and maybe committ (as in contract) while you search for a job you *really* like.

Most here would concur that it is a lot easier to get a job if you already have one. (same thing with girls too)

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

LoL! Tapiwa, i've never thought of it that way, but it is *so* true.  Very astute observation.  :-D

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Everybody here seems to assume the original poster was actually worth the previously earned salary.  For a company to knowingly make an offer for 20% less, it suggests the possibility that the previous salary was an unusually high value and that the offer is more in line with today's market.

I would advise the poster not to look at what he was making before, but to look at what others with similar qualifications earn in the current market.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Most of the time, when one accepts a job there's an unspoken assumption that the candidate will not keep looking for new jobs and the employer will not keep looking for new employees to fill the position. It's not so much loyalty as good faith on both sides.

If you left a job to take a new job, and a week later the new boss was bringing in people to interview in the hopes that he might find someone even better than you, wouldn't you be upset?

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Beth: Aren't they still collecting résumés?

Nothing is forever.

Why not: "For +20%, I'd start today."?

R. M.
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Richard Kuo wrote: "The number of 'f*** the employer' posts on this board is way out of control. "

One could easily argue that the total number of "f*** the employee" occurrences on this planet is way out of control. Luckily corporate entities do not have ethical dilemmas like the economic ramifications to an employee.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

in a few weeks or months...
this company is suddenly facing a different set of circumstances...
and has the need to eliminate your position or department...
or institute across-the-board cuts...

will they think about you and and decide not to?

There's yourr answer.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003


The "unspoken assumption" that employees won't keep looking for a job and employers won't keep looking for staff is just not correct.

Employers easily have it in their power to make a job irresistable if they choose, by offering suitably high pay, for example. They choose not to.

Second, employers are bound by employment laws once they offer a job. They can't just reject a new staffer without reason.

So forget this idea that there's mutual trust.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"They can't just reject a new staffer without reason"

In the USA, most states are "at-will".  That means they can offer you a job on monday and tell you to get lost on tuesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

"That's true. But then, I personally know the manager…"

You will not have an employment relationship with the manager.  You will have an employment relationship with an inhuman entity called a corporation.

Jim Rankin
Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Jim, he may be worried about how it will go for his aquaintance/friend (the manager) if he fscks off after a couple of weeks.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Hiring people is a real pain, especially hiring "permanent employees", and quitting after a few weeks will cause trouble.  If you respect the manager highly, other people probably do as well, and burning him could hurt you for a long time to come.

Now, I once quit a contract job after a week, but only because the employer was a charming amoral sociopath.  (The warning sign: The senior external consultant at his company saying, "You have somewhere else to go.  Run away.  Now!")  He may badmouth me for the rest of time, but I don't care, because he's already badmouthing two-thirds of the people he's ever worked with.

You have your reputation as a professional to consider.  This doesn't mean you should be a sucker, but it does mean you need to play fair, and not take drastic measures until you'd feel comfortable justifying them to future employers and colleagues.

J. Random Hacker
Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Thanks for your input. Was interesting to read how different people would react in this situation. I've decided to decline the offer. I hope I can find something better. To be happy at work is important to me and I'm not willing to settle for something less. I'm also not willing to go screwing people around. But that's my choice. Hope I won't regret it.

Boris Bergman
Friday, November 21, 2003

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