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I work for a really small company- less than 15 employees rn. They hired me on when I was still in school and super green- just to file paperwork. They ended up liking me a lot and trained me in everything that had to do with the field. My sister works in a similar position (she's on the contract side and I'm on the project side) and is at a huge company- more than 10,000 employees. She recently sent my resume to one of the directors on the team she's working on. I thought he might just give me some advice or tell me to talk to him again in a year as I only have 1-2 years of experience. He was so excited about my resume that he has pushed hard for my interviews. He told my sister that he created a job description for me. So now, after three weeks, my final interview is tomorrow (Thursday). It took my sister 3 months to get to this point. I'm very excited because this is my dream job, but I'm also feeling really guilty because my tiny company is sending me to a conference this weekend. I leave on Friday!

We set everything up for it months ago and now this other hiring process is going so much faster than I thought it would. Should I not go to the conference? Should I pay back the airfare and conference fees and whatever? Should I warn my company now that this may happen?

TL;DR:

Tiny company plucked me up and trained me. Sending me to conference to learn new cool stuff. But gigantic company is swooping in to grab. Should I still go to conference?

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You only have gotten to the point of the final interview. You don't actually have a job offer in writing yet, so you are still working for your first company. I would still recommend going to the interview as it could been seen as unprofessional by people looking for references at your previous employers.

Put in your notice once you finally have a written job offer, just in case the big company ends up not hiring you, leaving you jobless. I would not recommend telling your manager that you are leaving until you actually get the job offer and put in your notice.

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    Treat your job as your job until you turn in your notice period. The ole saying goes you don't have it until you do. – Mister Positive Jun 6 '18 at 16:47
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    It's not uncommon at all for companies to change their minds, even after promising a job. Never go on promises. – Dan Jun 6 '18 at 17:38
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  • Go to the conference, do the job you have now.

  • IF you are offered employment at the other company explain that you want to give your current employer proper notice before leaving. The larger company should respect that.

  • Get your offer in writing.

  • Continue working hard at your current company.

  • After you receive a written offer that is agreeable to you, sign it and it's accepted, then:

  • Give your current employer notice.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, you don't want to be empty handed. Wait.

Small companies that don't ensure that no one would leave risk having people leave.

The size of where you work now is not your fault. If you were certain that the small company was expanding and so was your paycheck you wouldn't be leaving for a harder job that paid less.

The reason things aren't that way and the reason small places hire young people at the bottom, giving them training, is so that they'd feel indebted to stay. A larger place would pay you and pay for your training, the small place expects you to give up pay for your training which gives you skills often not valued by other companies.

If that were not true you could simply write on your resume that: "You were trained by company "X", they sent you to a conference". I've met hundreds of people whom have said "I was trained at 'tiny company' that failed, therefore I know how to do X, Y and Z very well " - I don't buy it.

Do the job you have now to the best of your ability, it's not like they have someone else whom is going to drop everything and fly to some conference - that's all you owe for your paycheck.

You don't have to pay back company expenses.

Telling them a month ago that you wanted a raise or to look for a new job could have placed your current job at risk and given them time to choose someone else - they won't be happier that you bring this up at the last minute and you don't know that you have the other job or like the offer.

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