I took a position with another company, and put in my two week notice with my current employer; this week is supposed to be my last one here.

But today I talked to my new boss, and he informed me that the position is on hold - I am not to start work there until he notifies me. Now what should I do?

Can I take back my two week notice and hopefully keep my position, or am I out with no job? What are my options?

  • 68
    Did you sign a written contract with the new employer? Did it include a start date? Do you have any other written, signed documentation with the new employer?
    – dwizum
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:26
  • 17
    Is there any chance the hold has to do with the federal shutdown? Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 20:49
  • 5
    @JoAnn You had (unpaid) training before you actually started working? That sounds strange, and unethical and potentially illegal (on their part). How well did you perform? Could it be that they decided not to hire you after all based on that? Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 21:32
  • 4
    Do you know why the position is on hold? Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 23:07
  • 8
    Because, pretty much every day, there are people on this forum saying "I have a job offer" or "I've accepted a job offer" who haven't actually received anything in writing and are operating off verbal promises. Or, they have received very non-standard written offers or contracts, that don't include start dates or termination clauses. I'm trying to determine the baseline we're working from, before making any assumptions.
    – dwizum
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 12:25

5 Answers 5


Talk to your boss immediately and begin job searching now

You have just learned a very important, and unflattering fact about your new company. Namely, they don't want to hire you right now.

I know you're excited about the new position, but take a long hard look at your new company. This is probably a place you DO NOT want to work. The rest of this post assumes you will not start working there.

First, talk to your boss, and try to save your current job say something like.

I know I turned in my resignation, but my new company just told me they can't hire me right now. Would it be possible to rescind/cancel my resignation? I have no intention of working for [new company].

Be apologetic, realize that your boss may decide that you'll be out the door soon anyway, and not allow you to "un-resign". Remember, they may have already reached out to another person to replace you.

It's probably worth specifically mentioning you don't want to work for New Company anymore.

Continue job searching

You've just announced to your current company you're heading for the door. They may look to lay you off or fire you in the near future. Unless you know this isn't true, keep job searching (be really sure about this).

If you're without a paycheck, then go work for New Company as a stop-gap, but don't stay long term. They will likely find new ways to not pay you.

  • 6
    Yeah, if they'd do this to the OP coming in the door, they obviously don't value him. Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 16:17
  • "Unless you know this isn't true" even if it is true, they'll certainly overlook you for any potential promotion
    – UKMonkey
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 10:28
  • @UKMonkey - I'm giving the company the benefit of the doubt, and assume that the company and the OP are working to fix the issue that caused the job hunt. Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 18:29
  • @LordFarquaad I thought I fixed that. Apologies, OP Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 19:03

Talk to your boss about it. Tell him that your start date has been delayed by an as of yet undisclosed amount of time, and ask whether you can stick around for another week or two.

Whether they agree or not depends on a lot of variables, but you stand to lose nothing by simply asking.

In the mean time I would contact your new employers and tell them that this situation puts you in a difficult position, and ask for an estimate of when they'll be ready to take you on (at least a high level one).

If they don't offer you any information I would suggest you start applying to other jobs, or talk to your not-quite-former employer about keeping your current job.

  • 71
    If it were me I would NOT start at this company. They just burned you hard. Even if they give you some reason, this deal is dead and you need to move on quickly. Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:27
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    @BillLeeper Exactly. This is a major red flag.
    – Mast
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 18:42
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    I agree with @BillLeeper. Do NOT move on with the new company. When the new employer notifies you, say "thank you but I decided to pursue other opportunities".
    – Sandra K
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 18:47
  • 3
    @BillLeeper: This very much depends whether you have a source of revenues in the mean time, or not. The new company may be a rotten branch, but unless you've found a new branch to hang onto, might as well hang onto the rotten one: it's better than nothing. Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 19:30
  • 2
    I once found myself in this situation-- rather than wait around for my 'new' job (when they could not commit to any specific date when I could start working), and not wishing to linger with one foot out the door in my 'old' job, I ended up resigning the on-hold position and working at a third company. Anecdotally, it worked out very well for me.
    – Meg
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 20:47

It depends on your relationship with your former (current?) employer specifically your direct boss and it sound from your question that you didn't burned bridges already - which plays in your advantage.
They may put in the corner as you're in a "weak" position, but do not reveal too much information on why you want to withdraw your notice.

It'a a bit too late of an advice but for next time never hand-out your notice letter without having a solid formal written promise of hire with effective start date in the new company; doing so protects your behind from these kind of situations.

Also, start searching for open positions elsewhere NOW.

  • It sounds like OP did have a formal start date which the new company has gone back on.
    – Notts90
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 13:28

I personally feel that retracting your resignation is not the best way to handle this. For starters, it's too awkward and could put your manager in a position to let you go anyway which is even worse. Now you have embarrassed yourself and got let go.

I will assume that:

  • You didn't burn bridges
  • You didn't turn down any counter offer or any negotiations from your current employer to stay
  • You can financially survive for a while without a job

What I suggest is:

  1. Do not work in that new place even if they confirm the position to you. Unless a very good reason is provided for why it was put on hold after they gave you the offer. Which is very unlikely. Companies like that tend to have bad/mediocre management and would hurt you on the long run
  2. Start applying for jobs
  3. Leave your current job at the date you provided them and give them a hint that you liked it here and would return if things don't work out. Again, this assumes you didn't burn bridges already.
  4. Give yourself 2 weeks after your last day and if things are not working out in the job hunting, start emailing HR or your manager about wanting to get your job back. You don't have to provide details. Just go with "it didn't work out for me" and "I liked it here better"

I've seen this work many times. Someone finds a better offer somewhere else, goes there, doesn't like it then returns back with a match for the salary increase. I'd not aim for that though. Just focus on getting your job back. In most cases, they wouldn't have even started interviewing for a replacement yet.


It is a pretty bad sign to withdraw an already accepted offer. You need to talk with new boss and ask him for a definite deadline on when you should join.

You can try to withdraw, if you are not happy with terms specified by new employer. The current employer may or may not accept that. But if the new job comes through meanwhile and you wish to continue, it will look really bad on you.

You have to act quick here, before both jobs closes on you.

  • 1
    The new employer is the one changing the terms on the OP; it wouldn't be the OP withdrawing as much as the new employer moving the goalposts before the OP even starts.
    – panoptical
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 15:52
  • I think he meant to withdraw the two weeks' notice from OP's current employer.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 16:01
  • 3
    Thank you all so much. I will consider everything you all have said. I am supposed to train my replacement this week since Saturday is my last day at work. I was training on my new job as of lastweek. I would go in on the new job before I had to go to work at my job I'm leaving. I have left a message for my current boss to call me so we can discuss my options about staying at my current job. What a mess for sure.
    – JoAnn
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 20:16

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