Sorry for the clumsy title, I'm not sure what's the best way to rephrase this. And sorry in advance for the wall of text, I just feel like without the proper background this will not be a solid question.

Throwaway, since I suspect at least one of the companies involved here have people browsing this (awesome) site.

Some background: I live in a certain European country, and I'm a second year Computer Science student (on a 3-year track) at a local, respected private university.

I decided I'd like to dip my toes in "professional", employer-employee type programming (after doing a few programming projects for personal clients of mine). Not sure if that's the correct English term, but a student "Salaryman" position is what I was looking for,

After a few months of applying for jobs, I got an offer from a small local company that seemed like a great fit for me: Great pay, flexible hours (as I'm a student, and require part-time work) and a nice group of people. It's small (think smaller than whatever it is you're thinking right now), and a bit far from me, but all in all it's a good fit. Let's call that company Company A.

The process for applying to Company A was... not great. After the initial interview and the coding test, I got a promise from the CEO that I'll get a contract by date X. That did not happen, and after 2 delays I got fed up and started applying to other jobs since the CEO was not very communicative. Literally one day after I started applying elsewhere, the CEO called me to apologise with a (reasonable-sounding) excuse. It's a small company, I figured, and was just happy that I'd get to work for that company. I stopped applying elsewhere after sending out like 5 applications.

After I got the contract and while I was reviewing it, I heard back from an amazing offshore company that is involved in a field I'm super-excited about (one of the 5 I applied to). After some back and forth in which we discussed a remote job setting, I received a coding test, seemingly passed it, and now have a follow-up personal interview. Let's call that company Company B.

Company B is good. It's a great stepping stone for my career, will probably match the (great) pay I got from Company A, and will involve working with more senior engineers on interesting projects (while in Company A I will mostly work by myself on projects).

I've been with Company A a little over a week, and I have no qualms about jumping ship once (and if) an offer from Company B comes.

My question: How do I make a clean departure as easy as possible from Company A? I'm aware I'll burn that bridge, and that's a risk I'm willing to take. My concern is how to hurt Company A the least, while making sure they don't reach out to Company B in the process and sabotage my chances.

Note: This is a "how" question, not an "if" question. I've weighed my options, and if that offer comes I'm out of there.

Edits: My country's exit rules require me to give one month of notice. I will give that before moving on to the next country, and the exit clause on my contract is loose - you want out, you're gone. Also, this is not an internship - we don't have that here - it's just a student job. It does not fall any under special treatment. I'm just a part-time worker.

  • Ah, thanks for the title edit @Snow. Makes more sense now. Mar 1 '19 at 14:54
  • 4
    The answer here is highly likely going to be dependant on the exit clauses as written in your employment contract, a detail that no one here is aware of. Adding a country tag might enable people to advise you what the country specific statutory rules are.
    – user44108
    Mar 1 '19 at 14:54
  • I think what you mean to say is commonly refereed to as "(paid) internship" Mar 1 '19 at 15:01
  • Possible duplicate ~: workplace.stackexchange.com/q/130497/75821
    – Solar Mike
    Mar 1 '19 at 15:02
  • 1
    Depending on the specifics of the position and the culture in your region, the fact that it's "just a (part time) student job" may be in your favor, compared to a full time career role. I've hired/managed part time student workers and expected lots of turnover. I would be a little upset you were leaving but no harm done, really. On the other hand, if I've just hired an experienced professional position, and the person resigned immediately because of another offer, that would definitely burn bridges. Many of the pro recruiters I work with would immediately blacklist that person.
    – dwizum
    Mar 1 '19 at 15:35

There is usually a probationary period in European countries during which both you and your employer have the right to terminate the job with relatively short notice, in case it “didn’t work out”, with no special reasons required.

Simply give notice according to your local rules, with a polite statement along the lines of “thank you for this time, I will not continue the probationary period”.

  • Probation periods also apply to them!
    – user86742
    Mar 1 '19 at 23:44
  • This seems like the most reasonable way to approach it based on my geography. Also, I don't owe company A anything - they would have no problem firing me if they felt like it at the same period. Not telling them anything seems like the right move. Mar 2 '19 at 23:33

"The truth will set you free." It's not just a Bible quote.

As hard as it will be, tell the current employer what you just wrote here: you applied to other positions because you thought you weren't going to get the job, and now you have an offer that you just can't refuse.

My caveat would be: make certain when you have this talk, because, as you noted, the bridge is going to burn, and likely in spectacular fashion. When you have this talk, don't let it become about salary. Sometimes, a company will try to "outbid" the company you are going to; this happens equally in your situation as well as when you are graduated and working professionally.

Since this is a paid internship type situation, you need to examine whatever contract you signed very carefully. Some internships have a "no exit" clause. Additionally, if your university had any role in you obtaining this position, you will need to inform the school of this situation as well; they might be able to get you out of it easier than you can do for yourself.

Lastly, and to repeat, make certain. Based on the wording of your question, you haven't been given an offer from Company B yet. If your contract with Company A prevents you from seeking other employment, which is pretty standard for an internship, you may not be able to continue the interview process with Company B.

Edit (To take OP's edit into consideration) Given that you feel no loyalty to the company you currently work for, and I'm not sure how I'd feel given the way your hiring process went down, my return question would be: "Why does a 'graceful' exit matter?"

My original answer still stands: Tell Company A the absolute truth about the entire situation, the same way you laid it out here. You thought you weren't going to get hired. You started looking for another position. Then you got hired at both, and the other position is better for my personal growth. I think that is about as graceful as you can be, all things considered.

Good luck and Godspeed!

  • Good advice. I would be really annoyed if a new hire did this to me, so I agree that he had better be sure.
    – Jim Clay
    Mar 1 '19 at 18:32
  • I think we possess very different perspectives of how the world operates. People are not generally nice towards people who quit on them, and for a good reason. Mar 2 '19 at 23:52

I've been with Company A a little over a week, and I have no qualms about jumping ship once (and if) an offer from Company B comes.

My question: How do I make a clean departure as easy as possible from Company A? I'm aware I'll burn that bridge, and that's a risk I'm willing to take.

If you don't care about burning bridges, things are simple.

You simply give your formal notice, work the required notice period (you indicate that it's one month), and leave.

Nothing special is required. You don't need to give a reason why you want to leave. You don't need to explain your thinking.

Depending on your locale, your employer might be permitted to dismiss you on the spot or might be required to pay you for the entire notice period.

Make sure you follow your employer's instructions carefully while working during your notice period. Don't slack off. Don't miss work. It's unlikely you'll be causing a hardship since you've only been there for a week and you are only working part time.

  • I like your answer as well, but @frankhond's answer gives some specific EU-based advice, so I accepted that one. Thank you! Mar 2 '19 at 23:54

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