I'm working for a company which has started a one-year project with government aid. For this project the composition of the team and every member must be approved by the government. Because of some reasons it was easier to start the project without me and switch me and a coworker after two months. Now all documents for my approval are prepared and I only have to interview with someone from the government.

Since we started the project I got an offer to work for another company with which I worked before as a freelancer. They don't have an open position, but they are willing to create one for me and we want to talk about everything in a few weeks. Because it's not an open position I'm not sure if and when I could start at this other firm, but I would prefer to work for them.

Now I looked into the government contract and it stresses that there can't be an exchange of team members after six months. I'm pretty sure the new job wouldn't start until these six months are over but before the end of the year and therefore if I switch now into the team I would risk the whole project failing.

I really don't want my current company to lose this project, but I can't think of an excuse why after all the preparation I now suddenly can't switch with my coworker and I don't want to tell them about the offer because at this moment it's too vague. What can I do? The interview could be this week and after that the exchange is complete.

P.S.: I didn't sign anything new. I can legally quit and leave the company after 30 days if I want to. But the government put in the contract with the company that if they change the team after the 6 months the government is allowed to stop the project.

I'm not a huge fan of burning bridges. I love to work for my current company and they were always more than fair. I finished my master thesis while working for them and they never had any problem with taking time off or leaving mid-day for a meeting with my prof. But I hear you and maybe I'm just a little naive to think they would do something similar if the roles were inverted.

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    You say the project has terms that members must stay onboard for 6 months. Did you ever sign any agreement or anything that says you promise to not quit for 6 months under some penalty?
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 16:49
  • @Dan It doesn't sound like they must stay onboard. It sounds like the govt doesnt want changes after 6 months to who is working on the project. This might be so they don't have to worry about continually adding permissions for more people, doing paperwork getting clearance, etc. OP would have to clarify what it really means.
    – dfundako
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 17:59
  • If the new company doesn't have an open position, do they have a real need for you right now or is it a more relaxed situation? Two months into a year-long contract with the govt means it will only last another ten months. Is there any possibility of doing the remaining 10 months of the govt contract and then switching to the new company?
    – Dragonel
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 19:55
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    I can just say that bussines is bussines and you are not "friends" with your company or your boss. I have seen my own boss that is acting friends with all becomes super cold and distant to coworkers as soon as they tell him they quit. No matter what, your own life, wishes and luck comes first. No company will burn down if someone quits.
    – Chapz
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 8:19

5 Answers 5


In my opinion, your priorities and obligations when it relates to work should be to yourself, your health, your relationships, and your career path. Again, in my opinion, company loyalty should not be considered because no matter what, you will always be replaceable and if it benefits the company, you will be replaced.

While you are employed by your company, you should work as if you are going to be there for the next 30 years and retire there right up until the moment that you leave for your next opportunity. If your new gig falls through, then nothing happens. If your new gig works out, you can pursue it as long as your employment contract permits it. Your company will get by. If the whole contract falls through because you leave, that is a huge failure on the part of management for not having a manageable bus-factor.

You can use your unique position to make sure there is sufficient knowledge sharing and redundancy on the project to accommodate a loss of a teammate for any reason. That should not be viewed as odd by anyone on your team since it is just good practice. That way, if you leave, the team moves on and can absorb your absence and if you don't leave, nothing is impacted.

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    Relating to work, one should always leave on a good note if possible just so there are always - good - references and the ability to return to the company in the future. The OP is stating that there are terms in the contract where the company cannot change employees for six months. By leaving, and jeopardizing the contract, he may burn that bridge or even face legal consequences if he signed anything. Ultimately it is the company's problem but one should be careful in burning bridges.
    – Dan
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 16:52
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    @Dan the company can always pay more money to stop that happening ...
    – bharal
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 18:50
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    I think it's interesting that you Americans always seem so skeptical against your employers. Wherever you are in the world, employee/employer is always a mutually beneficial relationship. Companies should take care of their workforce, employees should look out for their company. If you don't think company loyalty is a factor to consider, do you also think that companies should not consider loyalty to their employees?
    – Alex
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 19:56
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    @Alex Maybe things are different where you are, but companies rarely seem to consider loyalty to their employees in North America. At least, if by "loyalty" you mean "we won't fire you on the spot if we deem it necessary." Here in Canada, things are better than what I hear about from down south, but it's still not unheard of for people to be let go without any warning whatever. (Literally, you show up for work one day and HR is waiting by your desk to escort you out.)
    – Steve-O
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 20:11
  • 6
    Alex - in an ideal world that's how it should work. However, we're not in an ideal world. Companies expect loyalty but (in my experience) do not return. I'm an optimistic person but have gotten jaded after many years in the workforce. The company is out for the company and I need to look at my bottom line. I've been sc**wed by employers where I was loyal. Does not go both ways...
    – JazzmanJim
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 21:07

This is a many-times duplicate.

Do nothing.

Every programmer is continually looking for another job. Every employer of programmers is continually looking for other programmers.

  1. The possibility that you may be leaving in a month or two is irrelevant. Say absolutely nothing.

  2. If, as it happened, you absolutely know you will be leaving in a month or two, say absolutely nothing.

You'll be obligated to give a certain amount of notice (say, one week).

You should no more give them more notice, than, they would randomly give you more money in your paycheck one week.

  • 1
    When this is a duplicate then you should flag it as one.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 0:38
  • 1
    hi @Philipp - I did. You should too!
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 1:00

Unless you have an offer and a start date in hand, you should not alter your plans at your current job. The new project is probably to your benefit, particularly if the job offer never materializes.

The contract/exchange should have clauses for employee replacement in the event an employee quits, dies, or otherwise becomes unavailable. Tying a project to a certain group of employees and making a contract that guarantees the project will fail if any employee leaves is just not reasonable - but if that's the route they've chosen, that's their responsibility, not yours.

The only contracts you should concern yourself with are those you sign. Don't feel you need to support some third party contract if your circumstances change.


I agree with Adam Davis that unless you have an offer, you do not change your plans about your current project. Your current employer will get by. You need to prioritize your own interest.

When I was in job market few years ago (I was looking to leave my first job after college), I was given an offer letter, which I quickly signed and returned to my new employer while putting my two weeks in. Long story short, they did my background check and I almost didn't get the job. This is the reason why you should be careful quitting your current job or making it obvious you'll be leaving them soon.

If you really want to lookout for their best interest, may be talk to your manager and let him/her know you have a future vacation plan abroad and you were planning to take several weeks off. This would work depending on your company policy and whether your department have a resource to handle this project without you while giving you something else to work on. Again, I would not do this if I were you. Always look after yourself before anyone else. That's why you're told to put your own oxygen mask on before helping others on airplane!

  • 3
    Just to repeat myself, it does not even relate to "company loyalty". Say the OP said "Oh, I think I will give my employer $1250 this week - because I like them." It literally doesn't even make sense. If they wanted him to have a long term of notice, they would have asked for that (and paid accordingly).
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 22:40

I've been in a similar position before, so will offer a different perspective.

Talk to your prospective employer and let them know about the situation you are in - how important the contract is for your current company, and why your delayed departure can affect it adversely. Then, request them if they can hasten the timelines a bit to help you avoid burning any bridges.

The fact that you don't want to jeopardise a project by your premature departure displays your work ethics, and any competent hiring manager will view it favourably. Also, Karma. In my case, the nudge was sufficient to put things on the fast track.

There are only 2 responses you could get by calling their hand - either they hurry things up, which is an improvement upon your current situation, or they don't, which maintains the status quo.

(Personal Opinion) - If the prospective employer maintained status quo without any concrete reason, after I explained the situation, I would consider that as a red flag.

  • This is a great answer: moreover, why is the new employer waiting so long?
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 10:21

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