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I made a big mistake when switching jobs. The new company was a poor fit for what I was looking for, and I am looking to switch after only two weeks. During the current interview process, I have not informed the companies about my current employer.

What are the risks of omitting this short-term employment altogether?

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    Hey user, welcome to The Workplace! Questions that are focused on a single issue usually get better quality answers here (especially when they follow the guidelines in the help center). I've made an aggressive edit to your question to focus it, but feel free to change it if you think I left something important out (bear in mind the original question would probably be put on hold as unclear what you're asking) – jmac Nov 8 '13 at 2:06
  • Hi there, thank you for this edit — exactly what I wanted to say. Just one thing to stress though, I am currently in interview process with a third company outside the old & current one. Thanks again! – user11205 Nov 8 '13 at 2:35
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    user, I think that part is assumed from the context and there's no need to specifically mention it (especially since it uses the plural for companies you are looking at). If you think it should be added, please feel free to edit, and I'm glad I could help -- I think this should get you better answers. – jmac Nov 8 '13 at 2:43
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There are a couple of ways I could see this being risky:

  1. Start time - If the potential new company doesn't believe you are currently working, then you may need to come up with an explanation for not starting tomorrow which a potential employer may expect. I'd stress the may as most companies may take some time to set up some things for a new employee so this may not be a big deal, but this may be an issue to consider if you have to ask for more time to properly exit from your current role.

  2. Rumor/gossip - There may be the potential for someone at a perspective new company to know where you are that may think this is worth discussing in an interview or after you start in a new role. "Hey, weren't you working at XYZ last week?" or something like that may be asked. I'll admit this isn't necessarily likely but it is a possible risk.

On the bright side, only 2 weeks is an extremely short period of time and thus may not be seen as bad as if you had been working there for many months. At least this would be based from what I've seen in Canada and the U.S. that may or may not be common in other parts of the world.


Freelancing at your old company reduces one a little as this may give you some wiggle room if the company says, "we want you to start tomorrow at 9 am," then you can return with, "my old company's current needs will take some time to resolve. Could I start in a week or two?" which may be fine.

The second risk isn't reduced at all if someone knows you are working at another company. To give an example in the second case, imagine a Jim that worked at Microsoft, currently works at Amazon.com and is applying at Starbucks. Unfortunately for Jim, the people at Starbucks that would be his manager are friends with the people at Amazon.com that are Jim's current co-workers that over a coffee it slips and now Jim could be in trouble in terms of getting the job at Starbucks as they find out something that makes them question if Jim would be honest about his situation. Granted these are large companies that may not have the connections I'm implying, it is just a possible situation that could occur.

  • Thanks for the answer. I didn't put the latest position in my application to them. However, I did mention that I am still working on a freelance basis for my old company, in which my old company agreed. So when they asked me, "Are you still with company X?", I said yes, but I said to them that I am on a freelance basis. Would this lessen the risk altogether? – user11205 Nov 8 '13 at 4:06
  • Thanks for the answer. The other day I read about this advice, thinking it can work. However, I see the risks now. workplace.stackexchange.com/a/7446/11205 – user11205 Nov 8 '13 at 4:30
  • I wouldn't worry about start time. The 2 weeks' notice convention is because it gives your employer time to debrief you and "download" your domain knowledge to someone else. After 2 weeks, you don't have anything irreplaceable, and your leaving won't go well, no matter what. If you get an offer that says, "Can you start tomorrow?" Start tomorrow. – Wesley Long Nov 8 '13 at 6:47
  • @WesleyLong: Are you suggesting that if the next company asks me to start tomorrow, then I should just leave abruptly? Would this impact my reputation (although I can see that even just leaving after only a few weeks is bad for my reputation)? – user11205 Nov 8 '13 at 6:51
  • From Microsoft to Starbucks, poor Jim – IEatBagels Jul 14 '14 at 15:11
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First ask yourself why you think you need to omit it? You made a mistake and discovered it quickly that speaks for you, not against you.

You have only worked there 2 weeks so you were able to decide within a generally acknowledged grace period that most companies have before confirming your employment. In most EU countries this grace period for employer and employee can be up to 2 months by law. And allows for easy termination of the contract by either party. In the US this is often determined by the state or your contract.

As I don't know what county you are based I can't tailor the advise to your specific country, and for the companies in the US and EU I have worked for terminating a contract with a 1 day notice in this period is perfectly acceptable.

I wouldn't be too concerned about your reputation, as long as you don't make the mistake of bad mouthing the company you are leaving.

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Honestly, like most of the resumes it comes down to a narrative. If you have this narrative:

  • Worked at company A for > 4 years
  • Switched to current company B for 2 weeks

Then I would tell them the truth. This resume fits the narrative that the culture was a shock to you but that you still have the possibility of a stable career at your next place.

If, however, your resume looks like this:

  • Worked at company A for 1 year
  • Worked at company B for 2 years
  • Worked at company C for 6 months
  • Worked at current company D for 2 weeks

This resume has a lot of moves and little stability. If this is you, I think you are in a tough spot either way because it looks like you are a jumper. I personally would say that instead of joining the current company D that you are freelancing with the current company but realized you don't like freelancing and want something stable again. If they ask about current company D and going full time, just mention how you are not a fit with the culture (which is true).

YMMV, and good luck!

  • I actually enjoyed the conversations, and thanks for giving me another chance :) – Ivan Plenty Dec 3 '13 at 20:49

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