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I have been working at this company for almost a year now, and I have been offered a promotion and training to go with. My old job here will be cut, that is part of the reason why I have been offered this one, so they can keep me on. This job was created for me. This means I have to take it or leave.
Meanwhile, I have been studying for university entry into a completely different field (engineering) than the one I have been offered a route into (HR). I have passed all exams well enough to have secured a fully-funded scholarship including living expenses starting from September.
My dilemma is that I will be leaving in September to take up full-time study, but I feel for the people that put in so much work to allow me to stay. Should I open up about my plans? Should I allow things to proceed, hide my plans, and hand in my notice when the time comes?
I am afraid of becoming jobless for the upcoming 8 months, but I don't want to screw these people over - training is expensive!
What would be the most ethical course of action here?

EDIT:
Thank you for your answers. My question is not just a case of 'should I tell my employer that I am leaving?'. It is more like : 'Should I undertake a new role and training regardless of the fact that I will leave?'. Sorry if that was not clear. This question was not a repeat of others.

marked as duplicate by Fattie, gnat, jcmack, gazzz0x2z, USER_8675309 Jan 8 at 18:19

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • How long does the training take? Could you be productive after that? 1 week of training followed by 7.5 months of making them money is different from 6 months of training and then handing your notice after 2 weeks of work. – nvoigt Jan 5 at 12:43
  • @nvoigt The training is ongoing under the regional HR manager as an apprenticeship - while I am training I will still be undertaking full HR functionality as the sole representative at this particular branch. I will have to undertake a self-paced course online as well. The combination will lead to a qualification in HR, but they are yet to say which qualification. – Ninett Jan 5 at 12:53
  • Welcome new user. This is a many times duplicate. The good news is you should say nothing. – Fattie Jan 5 at 14:23
  • New user, this is a good question but it is one of the most frequent questions on here! (The two most frequent questions are: (1) "I'm a new computer programmer and I'm shocked at how bad software engineering is" and (2) "I'm leaving soon, should I say anything?".) I just clicked the first duplicate that came up, but you can search the 100000s of duplicates on here! – Fattie Jan 5 at 14:25
  • Thank you for your answers. My question is not just a case of 'should I tell my employer that I am leaving?'. It is more like : 'Should I undertake a new role and training regardless of the fact that I will leave?'. Sorry if that was not clear. This question was not a repeat of others. I have now edited my original post to reflect this. – Ninett Jan 5 at 14:32
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Don't tell them about your plans for school until you have to. Your current contract or new contract will explain your notice period.

I have passed all exams well enough to have secured a fully-funded scholarship including living expenses starting from September.

I have seen schools renege on a scholarship commitment. It is rare but it does happen. Therefore there is a small chance your plans will change.

This job was created for me. This means I have to take it or leave.

There are two important points here. You know you almost lost your job, and they know that you know.

Management knows that the smart employee sees this as a sign that they need to start thinking about other jobs. The fact that they made this opportunity available to you is a good sign, but it doesn't remove all risk. They will not be surprised if some employees in this situation decide to switch companies, employees need to go where they see the best opportunity and security.

From your comments:

The training is ongoing under the regional HR manager as an apprenticeship - while I am training I will still be undertaking full HR functionality as the sole representative at this particular branch. I will have to undertake a self-paced course online as well

There is a chance you might not like the regional HR manager, or you might not like the job, or could fail the training. So unless they are locking you into paying for the training class, or there is some other obligation to payback the company if you don't stay for X years, the risk is on them.

  • Happy new year, I wonder if it 's worth answering the #2 most duplicated question on the site! (I do all the time; maybe this year I'll stop :) ) – Fattie Jan 5 at 14:26
  • Thank you! I suppose the moral of the story is that I should look out for myself first, then the company. They did indeed announce my termination before this new post was created for me. – Ninett Jan 5 at 14:34
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You definitely should accept the promotion. Even if you plan to give your notice tomorrow, you should accept it. Because the promotion demonstrates to the world, and especially to your next employer, that you were highly valued.

As far as the training is concerned: Eight months is a long time. Your company will benefit from that training. Not as much as they hope perhaps, but they will benefit. So you can accept that with a good conscience. And as I said, eight months is a long time. Enough time for your plans to change.

Check your contract. It should tell you how much notice you should give. The notice period is there to protect you (the company can't fire you at will) and to protect the company (you can't just leave at will). If the company wanted more protection for itself, they would have offered a contract with a longer notice period, which would have given you more protection as well.

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  • Well, the ETHICAL course of action is to inform your employer of your decision to stay for 8 months.

In fact, you could have done so prior to them creating a job for you.

  • Now, the financially more prudent, egoistic but also bridges burning and reputation damaging approach of course still exists.

However, they might successfully claim damages for the training once they realize you just strung them along.

You might also get sued by them if in your jurisdiction witholding the intent to leave while signing for the new job and accepting training is illegal or clashes with your contract.

They might even go as far as charcterizing your behaviour as bordering fraud or theft (at least it may be seen or construed as such).

Your employer offers training in the fair assumption that you intend to stay with them.
They can include a clause in the training or new job contract that obliges you to pay back training costs if you leave before a certain amount of time passed.

The severity of their reaction of course also depends on the length and costs of traing.

On top, your new position assumedly comes with a new contract with its own provisions and time frames which might interfere with you leaving in 8 months.

So if you decide to join the dark side, read all contracts (especially the training contract !) carefully and you should consult a lawyer.

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/leaving-a-job/resigning/if-your-employer-says-you-owe-them-money/

Example
Jo is a social worker and recently handed in her notice. 18 months ago her employer paid for her to attend a course to help her become fully qualified.
Her contract says she must pay back any tuition costs if she doesn’t stay with her employer for 2 years after completing a course.
Jo’s employer is allowed to ask her to pay back the costs of the course.

Please explain downvotes.
OP asked for the ethical course of action and as per the link provided the employer may be entitled to reimbursements.

  • Thank you for your answer. I have not heard of this being potentially illegal before. I live in the UK and work laws here are quite favourable to the employee (or so I like to think). – Ninett Jan 5 at 12:15
  • @Joe Strazzere well, I'm no lawyer but witholding vital information resulting in financial loss might well be prohibited, if not by law, potentially by contract. Hence my inclusion of "or clashes with your contract". Even if it is not illegal per se, it could be sustained in court and seen as aggravating circumstance.As a lay person I think the employer might have a case. – DigitalBlade969 Jan 5 at 12:22
  • @Joe Strazzere ah, no I just meant to differentiate and raise OPs awareness of his "law of the land" as it were. (; I do think btw. OPs case is a bit more definitive than "considering at some point in future.".OP already decided, in which case I would even go as far as charcterizing his behaviour (should he stay to leave in 8 months) as bordering fraud or theft(or at least it may be seen or construed as such).The employer offers training in the fair assumption that OP inteds to stay with them.On top, his new position assumedly comes with a new contract with its own provisions and time frames. – DigitalBlade969 Jan 5 at 12:54
  • @Joe Strazzere are you a lawyer in the UK? – DigitalBlade969 Jan 5 at 13:12
  • @Joanne I don't actually know if it is illegal (I'm not a lawyer) but they certainly might sue you for damages if they feel unfairly treated or used, should they gain knowledge of you preparing to join the school now, before you even started their training. Read all contracts, especially regarding the training and the new position carefully and see if you can get legal counsel to make sure you're in the clear. – DigitalBlade969 Jan 5 at 13:29

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