My boss gave me a gift, but I am actively looking at a new job. If I get the new job, it would be much higher pay. Can I still leave even though I was given this gift? ($50 value) I would feel awful but I also need to look out for myself, in my opinion.
Try to reverse the situation.
If you offer a gift to your company, can the company still fire you ?
Certainly, a gift often make you not want to part, but if there are some bigger issue, this will not prevent it at all.
If the company doesn't want but need to fire someone for economical reason, they will.
Likewise, it seems that you have a more important issue there, you will (apparently) benefit much more of the new job than this gift of 50$.
And in no way the gift was accompanied by a legal contract "If you take this gift, you are swearing you will never quit the company for the next 3 years, sign this before taking it", wasn't it ?
However, if you feel really bad, and for some reason you know that your current employer will resent this, you can still give back the gift. But that's your choice.
To summarize, analyze your situation rationally and objectively. I think you should treat the 50$ gift nearly as would be a 50$ money bonus on your salary.
Of course I'm not telling that you should only take money into account to influence the decision of quitting or not your job.
Other factors can include, for instance : nice working environment, short commute, possibilities to learn new skill and personal development, flexible working hours...
You of course can. I've seen people quit after going to a very expensive conference before. All paid by the company.
The only thing you should take into consideration is if your field is very small. Think of a small town where there are only 4 doctors offices. It's highly likely every nurse will know each other right? Even higher that all the doctors will. Sometimes fields can be very small. Other times you leave a job and never come in contact with the people again.
Do what's best for you and your family.
Two options - Either way simple answer is, Yes.
Keep it - Yeah take it as an incentive for doing well and leave with it then enjoy your money, you owe nothing and have no loyalties to any company that you’re looking to leave.
Return it - once you find a job return the voucher and explain your situation but avoid being talked into the job again
Can I still leave even though I was given this gift?
Yes you can.
Gifts don't bind you to servitude.
I suspect you are really trying to ask something more like "is it ethical to leave shortly after receiving a gift?"
The answer is still Yes.
On one hand - fifty dollar gift. On the other hand - much higher pay.
Does it make any sense at all to not look for or to not take a job that pays much higher because you got a fifty dollar gift?
I can see lots of managers reading this and finding the solution for all their problems - give everyone a fifty dollar gifts and nobody will ever ask for a raise or look for another job again. Does that sound reasonable to you?
It sounds totally unreasonable to me. If you just married the bosses daughter and he bought a home for you as a wedding present, it might be bad style to switch jobs. For a fifty dollar gift? You say "thank you" and that's it.