I have a job as a TI engineer in a small company. I'm well paid and I learn and do a lot of things that other TI engineers don't. I'm really happy here but for several reasons, over the last year the company has been having financial issues. These issues sometimes have caused my pay to be delayed. They always pay me eventually, but I'm getting sick of these delays, because like everyone, I have financial responsibilities of my own.

I don't know if I should quit or stay at the company. I know that if I quit, the company is going to die, because there is no other TI engineer that knows and does the things that I do in my job (It would be like giving the company the last final thrust). It would be hard for the company to get another TI engineer that could learn the how the company operates quickly enough.

I could negotiate an increase of salary, but it's like negotiating a lottery ticket: you don't know if will be worth the paper it's printed on.

Recently, someone got me a job offer to work in a bigger company. I'm really very conflicted about what to do. What would you recommend I do? Quit my current job? Stay and try to negotiate the salary? Or take the other job?

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    When payroll gets spotty, it's time to run. A few companies will recover. Most will not. – Wesley Long Mar 6 at 18:56
  • You may feel a sense of loyalty to the company but you have no ethical or moral obligation to them. If they cease to exist as a result of your leaving that really is their fault and their problem, not yours. – joeqwerty Mar 6 at 20:05
  • What's a TI engineer? Is it an IT engineer? – Nelson Mar 7 at 1:42

Ultimately, you need to do what's right for you. If they can't pay you, your landlord won't care why the rent doesn't get paid.

  • This is the bottom line. Nothing else matters. – Ertai87 Mar 6 at 19:35

It's hard to give advice about quitting or staying put because people make those decisions based on very different, and very personal, factors. Some people will be very risk adverse and will jump ship at the first sign of problems. Other people will want to "ride it out" because they like the rush of uncertainty, they're in the driver's seat in terms of the company's direction, they've got an incentive to help the company perform in the long term, they REALLY like their team mates, or other reasons.

That said, a company that can't always pay their employees on time is a pretty serious situation. That said, if you decide to quit, follow standard advice:

  • Do your best to line up a new job before quitting the current job. This is a good idea because it keeps you in the driver's seat, you're able to hunt for jobs while still getting a paycheck, which lets you be a little more picky about where you go (versus just being desperate for ANY job).
  • Don't tell your current employer you're leaving until after you have accepted a job offer in writing - even if you get a good verbal offer, waiting until you have a written contract allows you to make sure you have the job of your dreams lined up, and there are no surprises (in terms of benefits, working conditions, etc).
  • Don't feel obligated to stay put longer than you want to in order to keep your current employer afloat. This is important, given the concerns you expressed. whether or not your employer can survive you leaving isn't your problem. Do what's right for you. You can bet that the employer would do the same - they're not going to keep you on payroll out of sympathy. You shouldn't keep working for them out of sympathy.
  • Learn from your current situation when you hunt for your next job. If you're not happy in a young, unstable company that doesn't have a stable, reliable future, then make sure you're not simply applying at other companies that look and feel the same.
  • Especially the last point - there's no point in moving if you end up in the exact same situation – user90842 Mar 7 at 0:19
  • Sadly, the last point seems to be the most frequently left out when people give advice about changing jobs. I agree it's the most important. – dwizum Mar 7 at 13:54
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    Let's just quote Mae West here... "When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before." :-).. – user90842 Mar 7 at 22:46

You never want to be in a position where you have to live on your savings. When a company cannot afford to pay its staff then it cannot afford to keep operating, so you are better off finding a new job asap.

As to your thoughts that the company will die if you quit - that's not your problem. Look at it this way: do they pay you as if you are the most essential member of staff?

You have to do what is best for you first and foremost, not the company.


If your current company is having issues paying you on time and you have offers from a more reliable ( in terms of pay ) company, you should consider those offers. At the end of the day, the reason you get a job is to make money and it is not your responsibility if the company "dies" due to you quitting.


Your current company has a lot going for it.

You're happy where you are. That won't happen everywhere. You're well paid. you might not be paid as well elsewhere. You get to learn and do a lot of things that others in your field don't (and that you might not be able to once you leave). Those are significant motivating factors.

Your current position is one you've lovingly crafted for yourself over a long period of time.

You've said that you're the only engineer at your company qualified to do the things you do. That means that you're the only one qualified to make decisions on tools, techniques, standards, and whatnot. All of the little decisions that engineers argue over in larger companies have been yours and yours alone. That can have a large effect on your personal comfort level with the work.

Working for your current company is inherently risky.

They've missed payroll in the past. That's a big ugly sign. They've always payed it back afterwards, which is good - it means that it's a matter of cash flow, rather than a matter of trying to exploit you. The issue is that companies who miss payroll sometimes fail entirely, and if it fails entirely, there wont' be anyone left to give you your back pay. Money is oxygen in the corporate world, and your current company is fighting desperately to get enough to breathe.

If you don't bail now, it's time to start thinking about when you would bail. Would it be after your pay was a month overdue? Two? Basically, if you're going to try to stick it out with these people, you need an emergency fund. Budget it to cover for however long you're willing to let them keep you in arrears before you bail, plus how long you think it would take you to get another job. It doesn't have to give you everything you'd normally buy for yourself when flush with cash, but it does have to be enough to live on. Admittedly, an Emergency fund is worth having regardless. It's especially worth having if you're workign for someone who might not be able to pay you.

Right now, this moment, you have a chance to escape the risk. The question is whether you go for it.

You will almost certainly not like the new job as well as you like this job. You will be forced to adopt practices you disagree with. You will be required to submit to bosses who don't give you as much control as your current bosses. The atmosphere will be different, and you won't have nearly as much access to upper management. Also, you won't be as critically important to the livelihood of everyone you interact with on a daily basis. Maybe these things are important to you. Maybe they are not. You're the only one who can decide whether the financial assurance you'd be getting is worth the carefully cultivated work environment you'd be leaving.

Your current company could recover entirely. It could collapse two months from now. It's a gamble. It's up to you whether or not that gamble is worth it, and how many times you're willing to raise before you fold.

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