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I have not found a duplicate question dealing with this exact situation.

I have been steadily applying for jobs since the end of January. My field is very specific, there are a few large companies that operate only in thatfield, and other larger companies that offer services in that field with their main business being in another. My preference is to work for a company that specialize in my field.

I have all the signs that a company I have been interviewing with is about to make an offer. I have a final in person interview, and they have been sending employment forms to fill out, double checking my targets for compensation, etc.

By all accounts, this is a good company to work for, and a good position. I am still in the process of interviewing with other companies, none of which are a sure thing, and may take another month to get back to me. Accepting an offer is a rather urgent need due to my personal circumstances.

So, I do want to accept this offer, but I know I don't want to stay with this company longterm. I don't want to, and really can't afford to wait another month having interviews and seeing where things may lead. Indeed, one of the company's I would ideally like to work for only just got back to me when I applied a month ago.

I would like to be able to have this company on my resume and have references at this company also. I just know it isn't the best position for me or company longterm, for my career goals.

So, I would like to accept this job, but I am wondering what the minimum time I could work for them and quit would be without being unethical, without being 'rude', without leaving a bad impression. Would six months be suitable? Three months?

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    Does this answer your question? How can one resign from a new job gracefully?
    – DarkCygnus
    Mar 5, 2020 at 16:42
  • @DarkCygnus Thank you I hadn't found that question while searching. I would say the motivation and circamstances are different as this is a good company to work for, and I am a perfect fit, it's just that the employer is not my ideal one.
    – Ken Rogers
    Mar 5, 2020 at 16:50
  • @DarkCygnus Will this question stay closed? I don't feel the answers in the other question really apply to my situation as I am a very good fit for the position and the company is good, just not ideal.
    – Ken Rogers
    Mar 5, 2020 at 16:58
  • @KenRogers although I didn't close this, I am hesitant to reopen. What you are asking I feel is a bit opinion based, and a bit broad... It's hard to know what "being unethical", "being rude", "leaving a bad impression" means in your context and for this company... Thinking of possible answers to your post, I already see myself writing too many "it depends"...
    – DarkCygnus
    Mar 5, 2020 at 17:06
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    Does this answer your question? Leaving a job very early to accept another offer
    – gnat
    Mar 5, 2020 at 21:10

3 Answers 3

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So, I would like to accept this job, but I am wondering what the minimum time I could work for them and quit would be without being unethical, without being 'rude', without leaving a bad impression. Would six months be suitable? Three months?

Rude is in the eye of the beholder. And you have to consult your personal ethics here.

Whenever I hired anyone, I always considered it a mistake if they didn't stick around for 2 years. Onboarding, training, responsibilities, projects, etc - all of these take time and investment, at least in my domain.

IMHO, you should take temp/short-term-contracting jobs if you can, in order to give yourself time to find a job you really want, rather than trying to determine how quickly you can leave a job you don't really want.

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    It might not be completely clear that "temp job" here is likely a term with a specific meaning, not just temporarily taking any job and leaving it. Even more-so because not every industry has temp-work
    – Mars
    Mar 6, 2020 at 1:57
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So much to say here.

Your answers will vary based on the field and location that you're in. It will also depend on how long your previous stays at companies have been.

Firstly, I think you may be making some mistakes in your pretenses here:

  • I would like to be able to have this company on my resume

    The company on your resume means very little if you quit too soon. This again depends on industry and location, but a stint of less than 1 year is probably not very credible in most industries. In other words, the company on your resume is worthless if you're not considering staying there long (and are not a contract employee).

  • I would like to be able to ... have references at this company

    I would be genuinely shocked if you had a decent reference in less than a year. If you did, I'd assume that this is a "we fired OP, but we don't have any malice, so we'll at least give them a decent reference" type situation. In other words, a reference in this case would possibly be a negative.

Another aspect you mentioned, but did not dive into was that you work in a small field. It's possible that your short stint here may close some industry doors for you. Your coworkers (aka possible future managers, coworkers, interviewers) may remember you.

Lastly, your work history is also very important here. If you have little history or have made a few recent jumps, this will trigger some "job hopper" flags for future companies. You can explain why you're not a job hopper during interview... if you're not filtered out before you get a chance.


But of course short stints happen all the time.
Sometimes a company isn't a good fit. Sometimes life happens.

Some doors will likely close.
This job hop will likely become a small stain on your resume.

But usually both of those will get better after a long enough stay at a new company anyway. Being able to enter the company that you want to is probably very much worth these small demerits.


PS, if you have an emergency fund that you can live off of for a few months, this may be the time to use it. You can properly prepare for the job search, you won't have a notice period (meaning you can start right away) and you'll avoid closing any doors.

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Ethics aside it is normal "business as usual" for employees to leave quickly after joining a company. All my friends have stories about employees that left after the first day on a job at various jobs. The shorter the stay the more likely you have burned a few bridges on the way out.

Interestingly it's not terribly bad for the company if it's the first few weeks as the company is really still in the recruitment phase and can probably put out offers to the others who interviewed, unless they have already told them it's a no. Which is why a lot of companies will ghost you as it means you're a backup. Recruitment companies normally only get paid if you last in the company a certain number of months so money wise it can be salvaged. Not always though for example if you stay 4 months then the company will have to start the recruitment all over again and has potentially paid out high recruitment fees.

All this aside the person who recruited you will have serious egg on their face and the likelihood is will have you marked in their mind (maybe even a little book) as never wanting to deal with ever again. Not only have you potentially cost the company money, you've made them look like they are poor at making decisions on who to recruit.

Depending on the business, the company and the recruiter this can be devastating on your career. Example here being imagine doing this to Steve Jobs early in his career and trying to work in tech afterwards. Steve would very much sought out to ruin your career.

So as much as it's normal you have to make a careful decision.

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