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I have been working at my current job for about 5 months now, and while it's a pretty good opportunity, I've been a bit burnt out with the role and position (Web Development). Since month 1, I've been looking for Product Management jobs at other companies and I've finally landed one in the last week. Currently, I'm going through reference and background checks before finally signing the written offer.

Since I don't have a written offer yet, I haven't said anything to my manager, but he called me in to give me a raise despite only being there 5 months. He says I deserved it after redesigning the whole website, and it was a pretty substantial raise at 15%.

Of course, I gave my thanks and expressed my gratitude and happiness... But I'm also on the verge of signing my offer (assuming it still goes through). Would it look bad on me if I left so soon after getting a raise? Should I ask for them to renege the raise and give my manager a heads up before receiving the offer?

I just feel bad that he was so excited for my contributions and excited for more, and then I quit after getting a good raise. What should I do?

13 Answers 13

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Would it look bad on me if I left so soon after getting a raise?

Look bad to whom? Your current employer? If so, I would say yes, after giving you a 15% raise, you leaving shortly after will leave a bad taste in their mouths. But if the opportunity is worth it, do you care?

Should I ask for them to renege the raise and give my manager a heads up before receiving the offer?

No, why on earth would you do this? If the other offer you have in the works falls through, you just screwed yourself out of a 15% pay raise.

What should I do?

Do what is best for you. If the other offer is more money, or offers you other things that make it more appealing, go for it. Remember at the end of the day, the company will do what is in their best interest.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Jun 21 '18 at 2:46
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    If you have an exit interview, you might mention the issue as feeling a bit awkward for you and saying (again) that you appreciated the raise. – Jan Doggen Jun 21 '18 at 9:13
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    If the other offer was already in hand (or well along) when the raise was received, a reasonable employer should understand that the two events (raise and leaving) are not related. – GalacticCowboy Jun 21 '18 at 14:56
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    Let's look at it from the perspective of a manager. Pay raises are often an annual, cyclic procedure with defined budgets a direct manager cannot influence much. The fact the OP got the pay raise may mean that someone else, who is also deserving (but not deserving as much as the OP), did not get the pay raise. So me as a manager would like to know about the resignation because I like to give pay raises and burn through the corporate budget. The resignation will save the increased costs but getting approval out of cycle for someone else more difficult than hiring someone with 30 % higher pay. – Eleshar Jun 22 '18 at 20:01
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This is business, not personal. No one did you any favors. They didn't give you a raise because they liked you. They gave you a raise because they figured that if they didn't you would leave for more money, and it was cheaper to pay you more than replace you.

You have been offered a position that you feel is a better fit. If it is more attractive than your current position, take it with no regrets.


An additional thought: if you like your current company but want to do different work, you should ask your current employer if they can accommodate you. The answer may be "no", but it may not.

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    Heck, you might even be able to tell your future employer "hey, I just got offered more money where I am now..." and they might bump their counter offer. You haven't signed anything yet, so you're (essentially) still free to decline, and so they have incentive to offer you a bit more money (you might take the job anyway, but you don't have to tell them that). – Draco18s Jun 20 '18 at 16:07
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    @Draco18s That was my first thought. A lot of questions here really show how people think they owe their employer a favour. The second you're no longer needed they'll fire you - they won't think twice about it just because you did some unpaid overtime the help finish off the last project. – bye Jun 21 '18 at 13:45
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    @DrEval Of course, you don't want to burn the bridge with your former employer either. In this scenario it's more of a "Hey, thanks for the raise, but..." sort of thing. You didn't expect it, but its not going to keep you around either. – Draco18s Jun 21 '18 at 15:49
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You have expressed in your question that the primary reasons for looking for and accepting a new job are not really related to the amount you're being paid.
You're moving to a different role (Product Management), and you also feel that your current job is leaving you feeling burnt out.
The 15% raise is great - if you were otherwise happy in your current role. But you're not, so the raise shouldn't (and clearly doesn't) affect your decision to take a different job.
If you express your reasons for moving - particularly the change of role - to your current employers then they shouldn't think poorly of you, and if they do it's their problem, not yours.

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    +1 for focusing on the change of role as the reason for the move. With that the OP can genuinely thank the current employer for appreciating his/her talent. – Ethan Bolker Jun 20 '18 at 16:56
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    +1 for telling the current employer your reasons for leaving on the way out. If OP explains to them that (s)he was in the process of leaving before the raise came through, and that it wasn't related to the decision, then that should go a LONG way. The current employer should understand that its nothing personal. – ThunderGuppy Jun 20 '18 at 18:55
  • +1 If the financial compensation was a key reason for looking elsewhere then getting the raise confuses matters but otherwise it has little baring on the decision and should not affect the outcome. How would you feel if there was no raise? That is how you should feel now. – Lord Jebus VII Jun 21 '18 at 16:19
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The fact that you received a raise shouldn't have an impact on the fact that you are planning on leaving the company. Raises, bonuses, and other awards and rewards are given out for your past actions. You should accept them when given.

The only thing to possibly consider is the role and new salary at your current company versus the role and salary at the new company. However, in your specific case, you mention transitioning to a new role (that I'm presuming is more in line with your interests) and feeling burnt out at your current position. The ability to develop your career in the direction that you want and better work/life balance may be worth taking, even if the new position doesn't yield as big of a pay increase.

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The fact that you felt burned out AND you got a raise for your effort suggests you went above and beyond what is expected and, without asking for it, your employer is willing to recognize high-performing behavior through incentives and rewards.

If you weren't pressured by anyone but yourself to be a high performance employee, then there are two things to consider:

  1. Are you going to over-perform on every job and feel burned out each time?
  2. Do you want to work for a company that recognizes good performance?

You don't have to reject an offer or contract from the new company, but you don't have to accept it either. After you receive an offer, you might want to sit down with your present employer and get a clearer understanding of what the opportunities are for you there, both for the type of role you want and for the opportunities to be rewarded for your efforts. It seems that they like you as an employee and are willing to treat you well.

Most people I know haven't been lucky enough to have the type of employer you currently have. Unless there is evidence to the contrary that you didn't mention, they seem like they have some interest in your well being and career development. A bird in the hand...

If you feel a need to give an explanation for rejecting your new offer (if that's the decision you make), then they should quite understand it if you told them exactly what you said in your question: Your present employer has, quite unexpectedly, recognized your good performance, and you have discovered afterwards that your opportunities with that employer are greater than you had thought. Thank you very much for your consideration.

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The main point that other answers miss is that you can only control to a point what other people think about you. You can only control what you do and try to do it in the more appropiated way, but there is never certainty of how your actions will be received.

Two points stick out in your situation:

  • You are leaving after five months at the job. This seems the more substantial issue to me. Your talking points here are:

    • You were honest about this from the beginning about your career objectives.

    • Despite the temporality, you have performed professionally at your position.

    • From your description, you have completed your big project so you are not leaving them in a very delicate situation.

  • You leave them after getting a raise. Your talking points are:

    • You thank them for the raise.

    • Your decision is not related to the salary, so the coincidence with the raise is irrelevant. It might be useful to remind them that you did not ask them for the raise.

    • From the above, you are not using this as a way of negotiating a new raise. State that from the beginning. Do not show interest if nonetheless they probe you; if they offer you a figure just say "No, thank you" and if they ask you for one just repeat this point.

All of that will give them arguments so they get to understand your POV. Of course, some people can just ignore those and take it personally, but that is beyond your control so do not care about that.

4

I was recently in a similar position. An unexpected raise was very much appreciated, but I'd already decided to move on and was near the end of the process of making that happen. Like you, the raise didn't change my mind about that (for me the move wasn't at all about money).

When you resign, throw in a light-hearted comment about it being slightly awkward because of the recent raise, which occurred when you were already in process of signing with your next company. Any decent manager will completely understand that you couldn't reveal this fact at the time, and then you can both move on with the real conversation. If your manager for some reason gets put off about it, then that's their problem and, well, it doesn't really matter any more does it?

Otherwise proceed as normal. Don't sabotage your raise, don't reveal a new job that you haven't formally signed yet, and… don't worry!

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Should you leave despite getting a raise? That depends on you. How much is the new position worth to you? Is the salary post-raise worth it to keep doing a job you don't enjoy over a job you do enjoy (and whatever salary comes with that)?

Will it be looked upon poorly? Absolutely. Don't expect to return to this company again, and you may not get a good recommendation from them (although in my experience it's industry standard to not get any reference at all anyway so this isn't a huge loss). That said, if your new job is awesome, then do you care?

One word of advice though: Until you have the offer letter from the other company in hand, the offer is not legally binding, and they can cancel the offer at any time. Don't hand in your resignation at your current company until you have the other offer letter in hand ready to sign, or you may find yourself up a creek.

  • And if you're in a right-to-work state a job offer isn't really technically binding anyway, since you can be fired for any or no reason (unless it can look like it was due to your being in a protected class) – Wayne Werner Jun 22 '18 at 21:10
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    I've had this happen to me twice. "Don't expect to return to this company again" is dead wrong. Either would be happy to sign me up again. – TOOGAM Jun 23 '18 at 19:48
  • Sure. YMMV regarding returning to the company. But it is more likely to be negative than positive. – Ertai87 Jun 25 '18 at 14:30
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It may end up burning bridges at your current company if anyone takes it personally, so if you do leave, don't expect to come back (it could happen, but not likely). I know that if I was a manager in that situation, I'd feel foolish if I just gave a huge raise to someone, only to see them leave. So there is that.

Other than that, it won't harm your rep in your industry, as it is just a business decision on your part and will be interpreted as such.

  • Could you please elaborate on how this would burn bridges? You say so yourself that its just a business decision for the OP, so why wouldn't their current company see it as such? – ThunderGuppy Jun 20 '18 at 18:58
  • @ThunderGuppy done. – Richard Says Reinstate Monica Jun 20 '18 at 19:00
  • @ThunderGuppy maybe the company sees it like that, but maybe some of the employees don't. – mathreadler Jun 25 '18 at 13:35
1

Look - I've got some useful information to share. This is a secret, so don't pass it along, and no matter what else happens you should NEVER post it on a public forum like, say, Workplace.

You ready?

Potential employers do NOT all know each other, do NOT get together and discuss potential hires, and do NOT blackball That Guy - like, the one who got a raise and then bailed for another job JUST BECAUSE he was unhappy in his first job. There is no magical Potential Employees Database out there in Ethernet-Land somewhere that every hiring manager will check to determine if you've ever been a bad boy/girl. Nobody knows, and nobody cares.

Another bit of secret information - when an employer or potential employer tells you, "You'll never work again in this town!" - they're full of **it. They have NO WAY to make that stick. None. What they're really saying is, "I am a sad and floppy sock puppet who is trying to make myself sound infinitely important than I really am. My feeble attempts to sow fear, uncertainty, and doubt in your mind should be taken for what they're worth - nothing. Pity me".

What should you do? In my opinion you should continue pursuing your new opportunity. You didn't go looking for a new job because you were happy where you're at, and a few bucks aren't going to suddenly make you all smiley-happy about being there. So, you got a raise. Nice. Now, go work somewhere (else) where perhaps you'll get to be Happy.

Best of luck.

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Others have given good advice from the practical side of things, but there's another aspect that you need to work on that's been touched on.

It's nothing personal.

Businesses (that last long) don't give out raises simply because they like someone. They give out raises because it makes financial sense to do so. Hiring an employee is expensive - it takes a lot of time and resources. You apparently have performed admirably, so good job! You're worth more than you thought you were!

You are feeling dissatisfied with your current job - that's why you're leaving. And that may be personal to you, but it's also professional. Working at a job you hate and are miserable at means it's hard to do a great job. You want different challenges that (presumably) aren't available at your current company. You don't owe your employer anything. You've provided a fair exchange and you've been compensated for it. Now you are looking for new challenges, so it's time to move on.

It's unfortunate that you weren't aware prior to the 5 months what you were interested, but just because it's only been a short period of time doesn't mean that you should stick around to hit some arbitrary amount of time - especially, as has been noted, you seem to have wrapped up your projects.

Now, if you do actually like the company that you work for and the only reason that you're changing is because you want a different kind of job, then it's absolutely professional to go to your boss (especially once you get the offer) and say, "Hey boss, I'd like to have a discussion. I've done this project and I know that everyone has been pleased with my performance on it. It's been a great experience. However, I've learned that I'm just not that into frobnosticating the widgets. I discovered that I really enjoy the project management side of things. I found this company that has an opportunity for that I'm really excited for, doing project management. They've offered and would like me to start in two weeks. I've really enjoyed my time here, and if we could come up with a position that gives me the kind of opportunities that I'll be getting at this other company, I'd really love to stay. They're looking to get an answer from me by Monday. Do you think there's opportunities for me to grow like that here?"

The response will basically be one of the following:

  • "No, I'm sorry I don't think we have any opportunities like that for you here." Your response: "Well, thank you for the time I've had here, here's my 2-weeks notice."
  • "Yes/let me see what I can do - you said they needed an answer by Monday?", "Yes, so if you can give me a counter offer by end of day Friday, that would be great!"
  • "No. Hold on here, I'll have security escort you to get any personal belongings and escort you from the building."
  • "I'm sure we can find something. Meanwhile, can you keep working on these busy project doing what you've been doing?" Which may be code for, "We don't want to lose you until we've found your replacement." Beware.

Good luck!

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I've had this happen twice. In both cases, I had already decided that I was going to move on. In one case, I had already been in contact with another organization that ended up being my next employer.

The proper response: accept the raise. In my case, I've typically worked outside of metropolitan areas, for small companies, and so I knew each owner of the company. And I performed my standard response: go around (on a break) and personally thank each person who had a say in authorizing the raise. I appreciate the kind gesture.

Still, I left. And leaving has never been a nice thing to do for a current employer. However, my decision to leave wasn't financially motivated, and so the raise didn't really change my reasons for deciding to depart.

I believe that in both cases, I did mention the raise in my letter that notified them of impending departure. The letter said something like, "I appreciate the recent raise that has been provided. [However,] I still do plan to engage in this alternate plan/opportunity..."

In neither case did the raise come with attached strings of remaining, and so I figured it was just a business decision that probably didn't work out the way they hoped for. But, then again, when I've decided to leave, I've already decided to pursue a course of action that I know is different than what my current employer hopes for, so that's already been determined to be an acceptable outcome.

Maybe giving me a raise was an incorrect business decision on their part. (Maybe they should have tried to trade me the raise for a statement of intent to remain, which I, in fact, would not have given in either case.) I don't bring up the awkwardness of any perceived potential mistake, as I don't want to rub that in their face. I only mention it at all because I did appreciate the nice gesture, and so I simply wished to re-communicate an acknowledgement of that appreciation, despite my decision of making a different career move,

In both cases, they quickly expressed that they weren't happy to see me go, and that continued to be the position shown up to my last day there. One was open to having me work for them years later. (Didn't end up happening.) The other is more recent, and after my employment was over the CEO has already (in March) been talking about inviting me (an ex-staff member) to the company Christmas party. How I handled it clearly didn't badly burn any bridges.

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It'll reflect on you as follows:

Monetary compensation is not your top priority in choosing your job. The job duties and workplace environment are bigger factors.

Based on what you wrote in your question, this is accurate. It's also valuable information for your employer and the industry in general. Whether it's "bad" is completely subjective, but you can be confident that it's truthful and offered in good faith.

protected by Mister Positive Jun 21 '18 at 18:45

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