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I received a job offer. I asked for a higher salary. They came back with an offer I'm happy with. In the time that elapsed a part time employer I had worked for asked if I could work a few more days. These days are specific and conflict with the start date of the offer. I had suggested the start date but this was before they asked me to do more work. As an example if the new job starts on the 1st, my previous employer is asking me to work on the 1st and 2nd. I would like to push the start date of the new job to the 4th as I think I may be working late at night and want to be energized for my first day.

I want to be absolutely clear that this new job takes 100% priority and it's not a problem if this request if declined. How should I word my response to the job offer with the new salary?

Hi. Thank you very much for the offer. This number is good. One of my previous employers asked if it's possible for me to do a couple more days of work for them. If it's not a problem would I be able to start on the 4th instead of the 1st? Either way I accept this offer.

As an aside, how do salary negotiations normally work? This is a very small company. The offer was made to me by email and the person who sent it is the CEO. This was the first time I had communicated with him. Given the timing of events (such as the weekend and corresponding by email) things seemed to drag on longer than expected. In salary negotiations is it normally done with whoever sent you the offer, as opposed to your manager or whoever interviewed you? Is it normally done over the phone or by email?

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    Old job can buy you from new job. Feb 22 at 23:34
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    I wouldn't mention any reason just ask if it's possible to move a few days.
    – deep64blue
    Feb 23 at 19:41
  • This seems to be something that varies by country and industry, so that might be useful context. Eg, the US has relatively short notice periods of 1-2 weeks; 4 weeks or more can be common elsewhere.
    – Adam Burke
    Feb 24 at 3:57

4 Answers 4

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Assuming you've given the correct amount of notice for your old job, the correct answer here is almost certainly

Sorry <old job manager>, but I gave my word to <new job manager> that I'd start on the 1st. It was good working with you, and I hope our paths cross again in the future."

If you really, really want to go through with your proposed idea, your wording is fine.

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    Upvoted. Speaking as a manager, a new person asking for something like this is a fairly bad look and immediately raises an eyebrow.
    – Mookuh
    Feb 24 at 15:32
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As a person who has been recently in the exact same problem, the best tip I can give you is: don't push back a single day.

If you are fully meeting your legal requirements (respecting legal notice), that is what you are contractually liable for in your previous company.

There will always be a reason in your previous company to have you stay a couple more days. By staying, the only benefited is the old company. You don't get any benefits, the new company loses a few days of this new hire and probably a planification mess.

You gave your proper notices and since that day, they are aware of it. They know you are totally OK to reject to do that work, and it is no longer a problem of yours, but for your former employer.

You will not really "quit in bad terms", which is a common fear. As long as you have respected your legal obligations, it's all business and they cannot fault you for exercising your rights. Don't worry for future references, most likely your company will only give factual information, and even if they decide to badmouth you, what they can really say about this?

On the other hand, you are starting a relationship with a new employer that hopefully lasts for long. You don't want to start it wrong by messing with their plannings and starting later than their original intent.

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If you haven't formally agreed an exact date, it's fine to ask for an alternative one. There are lots of reasons to do so. Many people prefer to take at least a week between an old job and a new one, for exactly the reason you mention: to start the new one energized and refreshed. Some people take more.

I agree with other answers that the old boss will often ask for more time, and that you should be very cautious about it. However, two days for a very specific task is quite different to more open-ended requests which are usually cover for other organizational failures, especially in handover.

The notice period is also relevant. If the notice is only one week, it's easy to see why an alternative is challenging to schedule. If it's four weeks or more, I'd be more skeptical about their real priorities.

Lastly, two (paid) days to ensure a clean handover and a job well done would not indicate any wavering loyalties to me, just pride in your work.

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Couple of things. If you didn't get an offer letter through some trackable medium (a letter with the new company's letterhead, for example) then your new opportunity might not be as solid as you think. Email alone is not a component of salary negotiations, because you can be accused of writing fake emails to yourself. It's a small company, and that's all the more reason to get something with a signature (even an electronic one) on it.

That said, if you start pushing back on your current job to favor the new one, you might end up with no job at all.

Make sure you've done a reasonable amount of research on the new job before you give it priority!

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