Please don't mark this as a duplicate question, as I have found similar questions on what to do, but not the best way of how to go about doing it.

I accepted a job offer from Company A. I signed the contract. Legally, this isn't an issue since both the state and contract are employment-at-will on both ends.

Since signing, I have received an offer from Company B. I believe that the job at Company B would be much more interesting, that Company B would value me more as an employee in an abstract/personal sense, and that they do value me more in a concrete sense considering the salary is 33%-38% higher than the job at Company A.

The only questions I've seen on this are what to do here/the consequences of the decision. I have already made up my mind to revoke my employment at A and work at B. I am aware of reputation related consequences, but don't consider it an issue since I don't intend to apply to A in the future again, and the companies are in different industries and are in different states.

My question is, how do I go about doing this with respect to Company A? Do I call the hiring manager? Call HR? Is an email ok? (That seems like a very awkward phone call, especially considering I originally declined Company A's offer and then called them back 2 days later to ask to get the offer re-instated, which they were willing to do.) Or do I just go rogue and ghost them?

Technically speaking, are there really any consequences of ghosting?

I know that it isn't the best thing to do in general, and ghosting in particular. But this comes after 10 straight months of spending almost all of my free time searching, applying, and interviewing for jobs. This would be my second job since graduating. I need this, and the process has been cut-throat, so it's time for me to be cut-throat.

Thanks for any help.

  • 1
    Thank you for not including the phrase "I don't want to burn any bridges" in the question. :-) – Blrfl Apr 25 at 11:39

Phone the person who has been your point of contact during the hiring process and tell them. Like you say it will be an awkward conversation, but it's an awkward situation. Tell them that you've decided to terminate your contract. They'll probably want details, but you don't need to provide any.

Follow up the call with an email saying "As we discussed, I am terminating my employment effective immediately".

Now you are sure that someone appropriate has been made aware of your decision (due to the phone call), and you have a written record if challenged on that (due to the email).

Note that if you were in a country/state where employment could not be terminated for any reason at any time then this advice would not be useful, and you'd probably be in breach of contract.

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    Thanks, that is good advice about the written record. – Justin Apr 25 at 2:44
  • As to your last paragraph: whenever I have started a job (UK, German, and Switzerland - all of which require notice periods), the required notice period was a week for an initial probation period. Even if the OP was less than a week from starting, the losses that the company has suffered due to the OP not turning up at all are probably negative (in that they haven't spent time and money training him). – Martin Bonner supports Monica Apr 25 at 11:03
  • @MartinBonner The majority of my experience is in New Zealand and Australia, which also require notice periods. I've actually worked at an NZ company where a new hire phoned the day before he started to say he wouldn't be coming in. The company did nothing about it (and I'm sure it would have cost them more than they would have gained if they pursued it), but technically he breached his contract. – Player One Apr 25 at 11:09

My question is, how do I go about doing this with respect to Company A? Do I call the hiring manager? Call HR? Is an email ok? (That seems like a very awkward phone call, especially considering I originally declined Company A's offer and then called them back 2 days later to ask to get the offer re-instated, which they were willing to do.)

Call the hiring manager, then follow up with a snail mail letter.

Yes, it will be awkward. Sometimes in the working world you need to do awkward things.

Or do I just go rogue and ghost them?

Technically speaking, are there really any consequences of ghosting?

"Ghosting" is one way to be a jerk. Don't be a jerk. The consequences are the loss of your professional reputation.

If you are apologetic about rescinding your acceptance, you will lose less goodwill than if you just can't be bothered to show up.

  • 1
    "this is jimmy. Jimmy ghosted his recruiter. Jimmy is a jerk. Don't be like Jimmy" – fireshark519 Apr 25 at 11:23
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    Can't agree with this enough. I know OP prefaces the fallout of ghosting by saying it's a different company/industry/state, but once you've been in the workplace long enough you'll be incredibly surprised by how many people you meet from previous employers. Don't unnecessarily burn any bridges just to avoid an awkward encounter. Tell them you've had a change of circumstance and can no longer take the role and they will of course be disappointed, but that will pass - if you just blow them off entirely, that's likely to stick and leave a lasting bad impression. – delinear Apr 25 at 11:38

Don't ghost. Call them, apologize, say you appreciate the offer but you won't be able to join the team. Don't do it in an email, but also don't entertain complaints about it, or pleas to let them compete. Competition for you at this point will yield poor results in the near to mid future.

As a side note, always follow up on actions discussion/done over the phone with an email or other written correspondence that you control.

It's not being cutthroat either. Businesses pull this kind of thing on employees now and again as well. They love at-will employment because it lets them do basically whatever they want. They should be getting it back.


Since you are covered legally (especially if you follow "make records" advice) there is not much harm and only benefit in being honest.

If company A behaves professionally and won't harass you, then you didn't lose anything. Hopefully you have neutral relationship with A. I haven't been hiring a lot of people, but I would definitely just shrug and not take your resignation personally.

If company A starts to behave unprofessionally, then you definitely didn't lose anything and can breath easily knowing you made right decision for that reason as well.

Finally, here is a hypothetical: you sign up contract with company A and the next day you have to go across the country to help your parents/aunt/sister/whatever for indefinite period of time. Would your actions be any different? I would argue there is no difference: your circumstances changed, you are very sorry for the inconvenience


First of all, I would say do not even think of ghosting. It is considered totally unethical in professional fields. So forget about that.

Then coming to how you are going to inform Company A that you are not planning on joining them, I would say you could do the following:

This is probably your best bet, plus nothing should go against you in this case. You can send them an email, preferably to the HR, informing that you would like to come down to the office and have a face-to-face meeting. You can very briefly mention in the email that you have something important/personal concerns regarding the contract/position that you would like to discuss with them. Since this is a very sensitive issue, I would not recommend ending the ties/informing them about your intentions via email or a phone call. Thus, by meeting them, you will indirectly show that you are very much concerned and that you respect the contract that you have already signed. By ending it via an email or a phone call, your carelessness and callous attitude will be shown.

Here (in the meeting), you can do any of the following 2 options. It totally depends on how you feel, and what you want to do:

  1. Go Commando! Well, not exactly! I mean, just say that you have received a better offer from another company, and mention the major advantages with that offer. In other words, you can say that you are very interested in the offer by Company B. Then you ask the HR about your options. Say that you are seeking their help. You do not want to simply run away from the contract. You want to end it in proper way. Ask them/the HR your options. Say that you know that you have already signed the contract, but say that you are very much interested in Company B and that you would like to join them. They should help you.

    Not many people will agree with this option as this shows the lack of clarity in your mind. But, at the same time, some people might see the honesty in you - that you are not simply trying to run away and make up some hocus-pocus stories. You have taken the effort of coming all the way down to the office and have made a point to personally meet with the HR and inform them of your thoughts. This option could go either way.

  2. This would be my pick. I would cook up a story - but not in any unethical manner. I mean, something like, "Company B is in my hometown, and that you have been targeting positions in your hometown since a very long time. Since now that you have got one, you do not want to let go of this opportunity. If the HR is understanding, he/she should let you go. You have been honest about your intentions of not honoring the contract that you have signed, but you fully respect the contract. Mention that you want them to help you in this situation. (Do not specifically say that you are willing to pay any kind of compensation/fine for breaking the contract, but that should be the idea). In this way, I feel you are not stepping on anyone's toes. The HR should be understanding and I am sure you should be able to work a way out.
  • So you think they will appreciate you wasting even more of their time by scheduling a meeting with you? That will certainly make them dislike you! – TonyK Apr 26 at 20:18
  • @TonyK I thought about the same while typing out the answer. But then I felt just backing out without any proper communication would be very bad for him. – Dashamlav Apr 29 at 12:16
  • Yes, of course. But you don't have to schedule a meeting, for heaven's sake. Just let them know by e-mail and/or telephone. – TonyK Apr 29 at 12:48

You signed a contract with A, but that doesn't stop you from terminating it. The contract must have something like one-week notice period.

Start your first day, make your final decision whether you like the company. You don't know until you start the job.

If you decide to go for A, say nothing but quietly drop B.

If you decide not to go for A, inform your boss at the end of the day you would like to resign. Extreme likely, you won't be allowed to stay for a week and will be asked not to come back the next day.

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    I stated in the question that I am terminating the contract and that it is employment-at-will. I'm not going to move to this job, sign an apartment lease etc, to work one day at Company A. Besides, I will be at Company B on that day. Not to mention this did not address the question asked. – Justin Apr 25 at 2:36

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