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I work for company X which has a contract for developing systems to company Y.

Company Y sent an email announcing available jobs to all people in Y corporative email list. I have an email for actioning in behalf of company Y so I also got the email even though I am not employed by them.

Is it unethical if I apply for company Y job?

If I get hired will the relation between company X and Y be affected?

If I don't get hired will company X people get "mad" at me? I feel like this would create an uncomfortable situation at my work place.

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    Do you have any sort of signed agreement that mentions a non-compete clause or other language dictating if you're allowed to work for clients or not? – dwizum Mar 8 at 13:59
  • No such agreement whatsover. – Shell_Leko Mar 8 at 14:02
  • If you have a contact you know and can trust to be discreet it's also worth checking to see if you can find out whether there is any stipulation the agreement between X & Y preventing Y from employing people from X – motosubatsu Mar 8 at 14:28
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There's really two dimensions to this.

Your first concern should be contract language, if you haven't signed a no-compete clause or a contract stipulating that you're not allowed to work in the same industry, or for clients, or whatever - then you're free to do what you want without retribution.

It's often claimed that such no-compete clauses don't stand up well if companies try to pursue them, but I've been involved in cases where there were actual damages paid as a result, so it's best to be careful and/or seek legal advice if you have signed something.

That said, in comments, you mentioned that you have no such contract. That leaves the second factor: culture. This one will be difficult for us to answer. Some service companies enjoy having employees go work for their clients, it's seen as having a "person on the inside" at the client and strengthening the relationship. On the other hand, some employers don't like to lose employees to clients, it's seen as the employee taking advantage of the relationship. Unfortunately, none of us can tell you which situation you're in.

You can try to feel this out for yourself, though. Have other past employees at your current company gone to work for clients? Do you have a good relationship with someone that's been there a while who you could confidentially ask? It's worth putting in the research as long as you can do it in confidence.

  • I am not aware of any case where people that work for X went to Y. Although there is a case where someone worked for a Z company that also provide service for Y was hired to work at X where I am working now. Does this give us a hint? – Shell_Leko Mar 8 at 14:35
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You should also think of why they want to hire you? Are they trying to get the knowledge transfered, so they dont need to buy the services any more? In this case it could be a problem. Then your current emplyer might want to make sure you dont get that position. This can be done in many ways, and it might affect you in a negative way.

  • Not really, our contract is coming to a halt anyway and they are hiring a different company for doing what we do. – Shell_Leko Mar 8 at 14:49
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  1. You seem to suggest you are a contractor? Do you have a permanent job, or are you on a short term contract? If you're a contract employee, I'm not sure how anyone can fault you for wanting a full-time, permanent job.

  2. I don't know that I'd call it unethical, unless you've signed a contract or promised to stay in your current position.

  3. Having said that, yes--anytime one expresses intent to leave a job, it MAY be taken as a statement that you're unhappy. You may face resentment for it. If it were me, I'd do everything I could to express that I liked the current position, but the potential of the new one was just an opportunity that could not be passed up.

If it were possibly to discretely inquire about the position, I'd perhaps do that. Put out a few feelers and see if there is a possibility of getting the position, and any concerns around hiring you.

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