0

One of my past freelance clients (Company X) recently reached out to me to discuss a job offer for a full-time, salaried position. The real dilemma is that I just started a full-time job with a different company (Company Y) just a week before this conversation. I hadn't done any work with Company X for a little over a month and thought I had finished all of the work they needed, so I was caught completely off-guard by this. Frankly, it's out-of-character for me to even be considering their offer, because I've already made a commitment with Company Y and know it's not a good look to immediately bail.

But my work with Company X has been one of my favorite projects that I've done; I worked with them from their inception, have a great rapport with their small team (about 20), and a great working relationship with the CTO who has acted as a sort of mentor to me. (I'm very early in my dev career, and while I've got a grasp on front-end fundamentals and frameworks, he's set up one-on-one calls with me to 'teach' concepts otherwise well-outside my wheelhouse, and has solid understanding of and patience for what I do know and what I don't.) I feel particularly attached to their project, as I've been acting as the sole front-end dev and built their UI from the ground-up with free reign to use the methodologies and structures I prefer most. Plus, they're offering about $10k more than my position at Company Y.

Company Y is a much larger, more established company, but I'm not sure how I feel after my first week. There was no onboarding process, very little communication--I spent two days coding the pages that were assigned to me only to find after pushing them that they had already been assigned to and completed by someone else in our group of 6--and from what I've seen, the code looks a little 'dumbed-down' from what I normally write; there's not much reason or rhyme to the HTML structure and I'm not 'allowed' to work with CSS preprocessors as not everyone on the team knows how to use them. (The last bit is the most frustrating for me, as I consider myself someone who specializes in Sass and told them as much in multiple interviews.)

All else being equal, it should be easy for me to decide to just accept the offer from Company X. I feel proud of the work I've done with them. (Company Y is a financial group, I'm a hippie-dippie art school alum; our morals are oil and water.) But my biggest concern is this: Company X is a very fledgling startup company, and while they've landed some very large and high profile customers, if I'm completely honest, I'm not sure how much I believe in their longevity. Plus, because it's such a small team, I don't know how much room their is for vertical movement. The structure of Company Y has a clear path for growth and a much stronger sense of long-term job security. If I were further in my career and had more networking and experience to leverage, I would probably feel much more comfortable taking the risk working with a young start-up. As a fledgling 'career-changer,' it's been extremely difficult to land any sort of full-time gig and I'm terrified of ending up back on the job market with little professional development should Company X not make it.

tl;dr I have the opportunity to do work that I love with a team I've got great rapport and chemistry with, but seems very risky long-run. Is it in my best interest to just stick with lesser-responsibility work that I don't necessarily feel motivated by and a team that I so far have struggled just to connect with if it means stronger job security as a relatively new dev?

3
  • Do you have a probation period ?
    – Hilmar
    Dec 4 '21 at 20:36
  • @JoeStrazzere Oh shoot, I didn't realize I posted this in Decision Makers Wanted. Do you know if there are any websites where I can seek some advice and expertise from others who might have some experience or insight with similar situations? Bonus points if there are users with humility.
    – burningup
    Dec 4 '21 at 21:28
  • 4
    Man, if your team refuses to use SASS because it's too complex, you're not going to learn anything at this new job... Dec 4 '21 at 22:01
3

The fact that you've technically signed CompanyY and worked there one week is of imperceptibly small importance. Really this situation should be framed as a "Which job offer do I choose between X and Y?" question.

  • CompanyX - Offers mentorship, good rapport, a project you can feel ownership in (considering you already do), more choice/control over which technologies you implement (Sass, etc.), $10k better pay, but as a downside is a small startup making long-term stability a gamble and making your future career-trajectory more opaque.

  • CompanyY - Offers more traditional long-term job security, and a more clear-cut roadmap for career advancement, but the downside is everything else.

Assuming that you're a young professional with relatively few responsibilities (i.e. no triplets back home or massive mortgage to worry about) then the answer should be clear: CompanyX offers a much better environment to grow a range of skills quickly. And, even a year or two down the line it goes belly up, it sounds like your coworkers (and even the dang CTO!) will be excellent references in the next job hunt should it come to that.

1
  • Wow those are some really helpful ways of looking at things. Thanks for this, I really appreciate it.
    – burningup
    Dec 5 '21 at 4:45
2

You're asking a couple of questions at the same time. Should you stick with this company? Should I start working for a startup?

As for quitting: you can just go, your manager/recruiter won't be happy but they haven't invested much in you. I don't think I would mention working somewhere less than a month on my resume so there's no risk for your future job searches.

"I consider myself someone who specializes in Sass" Did you discuss whether you would be working with a preprocessor in your new job? If it is a must-have for you you should ask whether a job includes it. However you'll specialize in a lot of things over the years.

Should you work for a startup? That depends on where you are in life, do you need job security? You are correct a startup can disappear at any time. Can you handle that risk? Are you the sole breadwinner of a family of five or a young single guy for whom losing income would mean not going on a holiday this year? Also, how do you feel about the job market in your place? Where I'm at young engineers with a couple of years of experience don't have to worry about being without a job for long.

In conclusion: what do you want to do? Do you want to stay at company y given what you've learned? How do feel about taking risk with a startup?

1

You're approaching your risk profile backwards.

At the start of your career, it's much easier to go out on a limb and try new things. If it backfires, you haven't shot yourself in the foot too much. If it doesn't, you've gotten an opportunity to learn new technologies in a startup environment which will teach you way more than working for a bloated company. On the other hand, at the end of your career, it makes sense to go with a bigger company that has more stable financials because you might have kids/a mortgage that you're worried about paying.

What you're learning (or not learning) at the big company is pretty important. Nobody uses raw CSS and HTML anymore. You use a precompiler, you have a templating language if you're working on a CMS, or you're creating a headless site using something like react/angular. You're learning outdated skills at your established company, for less pay, with worse people, for the idea that it's less risky. It's actually more risky to waste time at a job that's not going to teach you any new skills for the job market later.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .