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After being unemployed and struggling to find a full time job, I accepted a part time job with an organization I really respect. Overall, I am enjoying the job and it will help my career in the long run. The only problem is that it is part time, which is obviously financially very difficult. Since starting the job, an old supervisor contacted me and offered me a full time job with their organization. It will be a similar job, but at a higher level.

I'm currently trying to figure out what's best for me, and, since the job descriptions are so similar, I think the main reason I would leave and accept the offer is because of the financial security that a full time job provides. I live in a very expensive area and am currently barely scraping by, but I feel uncomfortable with the idea of leaving my current job after only a couple of months. I really want to stay on good terms with this organization, as well as my connections and contacts that helped get me this job. I feel like leaving so soon could hurt my reputation within the field, even if it's leaving a part time job for a full time one. I'm curious as to what others think about this type of situation. Would it be unprofessional of me to leave my current job for the new offer?

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    It's acceptable to look out for your own best interests. After all, you are the only person that is. – DA. Mar 28 '13 at 4:53
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Legal Obligations

Check your contract in regards to anything involving notice period, non-competition, or other clauses that impact you leaving the company.

As long as you follow those, you are legally protected.

Ethical Obligations

You are a part-time employee who has only been there for a few months. Chances are that you are not a mission-critical employee.

Did you sign up to any long-term commitment? Does your employer expect you to stick around forever? Did you join with promises of a switch to full-time in X months if you are a good fit? If not, then there isn't much of a chance that they will blame you for leaving. If there are expectations that have been expressed by the employer, and agreed to (explicitly or tacitly) then it's a bit less clear.

Practical Obligations

At the end of the day, you have to look out for yourself. You say money is tight, and the full-time job will help. If your current employer says, "We will blacklist you if you take the full-time position" would it stop you from switching? If not, you need to make the decision that the improvement in conditions is worth the hit to your reputation with that company.

Suggestion

If you trust your employer, then talk to them. Explain that you really like the job and want to work with them more. Ask them if they have any opportunities for you to switch to a full-time position. Figure out if there's any way to solve it with this company.

If they hem and haw and don't work with you, then you can either decide to thank them and quit once you have the new position sorted out, or to explain that you have an offer for a full-time position to try to gain leverage in the negotiation. I just suggest not telling your boss who the new employer would be (lest they get spiteful and try to get the offer revoked so you don't leave).

Most reasonable people will not fault you for taking a better position, especially if you try to work out a way to stay beforehand. And quite frankly, a boss who spites me for doing what's best for myself is not one I would care much to curry future favor with.

  • I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to give such a thoughtful response - thank you! You've brought up a few points that I really haven't given much thought to yet. I work in a small, competitive industry which is why I'm worried about ruffling the wrong feathers this early in my career (but it also means that full time jobs at my level don't come around all too often). So, while my first thought was that they would understand if I chose the new offer for financial reasons, but the politics of the industry I'm in have me questioning that a little. Anyway, thank you again! – user8440 Mar 28 '13 at 6:08
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    When the company only offered part time employment they took a risk that you would not jump to a full time job. The increase in gross pay and benefits would be very tempting. Give them a chance to make you full time, then accept the full-time offer. – mhoran_psprep Mar 28 '13 at 10:41
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    @user8440 - This is a good answer. I do suggest that you not try and 'split the baby' with the old job. Get a written offer from the full time gig, and then give two week's notice to your part-time gig. If the part-timers would 'black ball' you for making such a clearly beneficial move then you want to run way from them as possible in any case!!!! I promise you that as a part-timer, you will be the first to be laid off if your current employer needs to cut back. They won't hesitate to act in their own best interests, and neither should you. – Jim In Texas Mar 28 '13 at 15:18
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Yes, it is acceptable. It isn't likely that any future interviewer will fault you for leaving part time employment in order to take a full time job.

When you give your notice, you could ask about the possibility of swinging both jobs at the same time. Maybe the part time employer would be willing to offer some flexibility in working hours that would allow you to do both.

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    Thank you for responding! It's comforting to hear that others think such a decision wouldn't necessarily hurt me in future interviews. Unfortunately, the hours are not flexible at all. – user8440 Mar 28 '13 at 6:12

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