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I just started working at my new job, as a mechanical engineer, three weeks ago. I was interviewing with two companies (A and B) and I didn't do so well on B's interview (I wouldn't say I flunked it, but I didn't ace it like I did with A) so I thought there would be no way I'd get an offer from B.

I got an offer from A and I accepted it. It was a pretty nice offer. Median compensation. Commute's pretty decent (45 minutes one way), benefits, etc. I'm still in my probation period and can be fired at any time.

I've been working at company A for three weeks now and really I don't have any complaints.

Here's the problem. Company B just reached out to me with an offer. I couldn't believe it. The pay's 50% higher, the position is permanently remote, and the company is much more prestigious than company A so it would look better on my resume and open more doors for me in the future. And I'd be saving almost 2 hours a day because I wouldn't have to commute. Not to mention how much higher the pay is. It would really improve my living situation because with company A and repaying student loans I'd practically be living paycheck to paycheck.

Is it bad to quit company A and go with company B in this situation? Did I screw up by accepting company A's job? Should I just do my year and then try to get into company B in the future?

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    Hey there, welcome to The Workplace. May I suggest you also try browsing our past questions, as this scenario I recall has been asked before a couple of times (if not many times). Don't have much time now to go searching for a couple of duplicate posts for your reading, but I am sure you will find at least something related if you search, that will help you answer your question
    – DarkCygnus
    May 14 at 17:41
  • All I can say right now is that you say you are still in probation, so that opens a possibility to make the transition... although these are the types of "risks" you take when pursuing multiple job offers
    – DarkCygnus
    May 14 at 17:43
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    Are you an indentured servant? Are there laws that would prohibit you from quitting A and joining B? Did you swear a blood oath to A promising your undying loyalty, punishable by death if you break it? If the answer to these questions is no, then take the job at B. Is it professional? Well... it's not the best situation but in 5 years will you care? Will anyone at A care? Will they even remember you?
    – joeqwerty
    May 14 at 18:52
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    @SolarMike, with just 3 weeks, I wouldn't list company A on my resume at all. It effectively never happened. Who isn't working for the money?
    – Seth R
    May 14 at 19:39
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    @SolarMike it is highly unlikely a 3 week job will show up on a background check. If it does, the conversation will go something like this: "Can you comment on this other job you had for 3 weeks?" "I started at A, but a few weeks in B gave me an offer too good to turn down. I had to take it." "Ok, that makes sense. Let's talk about your offer here."
    – Seth R
    May 14 at 22:22

6 Answers 6

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I don't disagree with Joe Strazzere's answer. I just want to make an alternative, one that I would probably take, which mitigates the downsides

Go to you manager and tell them exactly what has happened. Say you didn't expect the offer. Tell them what the offer is. Say something like "I'm enjoying working here, but an offer like this is something I can't turn down financially. I'm intending to accept it, but if you can match the salary and conditions of this offer I'll stay." Make it clear they only have enough time until the offer runs out.

It's 99% likely that the company can't and won't match the offer, and you then accept Company B. But they have a chance, and they are likely to understand your motives. Your manager would probably do the same if he was offered a 50% pay raise.

In future resumes leave the 3 week employment off the resume. If you are forced to disclose it, and asked about the reason for leaving, say "I was offered a 50% pay raise.". Again, the interviewer would probably quit their job for a 50% raise too.

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    @LoremIpsum how is that lying? Most people would find a 50% raise something they can't turn down financially. I know I would have a hard time with it.
    – Seth R
    May 14 at 22:25
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    @LoremIpsum That's not what I meant, not what anyone who said it would mean, and I think you know that. May 14 at 23:55
  • @LoremIpsum people can live with basic income as well does that mean they shouldn't strive for good salary? May 15 at 4:03
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    I agree with having an open conversation but I would NOT actively ask them for a match: this feels too aggressive and pushy to me. Unless the manager is a total idiot, they can put 2+2 together themselves, so let them make the first move in whatever way feels best to them. This will increase your chances of minimizing the damage
    – Hilmar
    May 15 at 14:01
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Is it bad to quit company A and go with company B in this situation?

You're in your probation period. Company A can fire you at any time, and I'm assuming your contract states that you can leave at any time during the probation period. The probation period is effectively a short-term trial to make sure both parties are happy with the situation before the role becomes permanent.

In most cases you also don't need to give a reason when leaving a role, so there's no need to tell them about company B.

Did I screw up by accepting company A's job?

You mentioned you felt you didn't do well in company B's interview, so there was no reason to assume they'd give you an offer. You accepted the first offer that came along, and now another one's come along. How is that screwing up?

Should I just do my year and then try to get into company B in the future?

Can you guarantee that you'll be able to get into company B in the future? "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

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At the old company, they will hate you. On the other hand, it’s 50% more salary. An old saying slightly modified: If you stay, they are happy, you are unhappy. If you leave, you are happy, they are unhappy. Better if you are happy.

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    Hate is a bit much. It may just be that they're professionals, who know that such things happen. They probably won't hire him again. I wouldn't even be sure about that, though, depending on how it's handled
    – bytepusher
    May 16 at 19:43
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Probation works two ways. First, it gives the company the right to terminate the contract for whatever reason they like. To keep things fair you also then have the same right to terminate the contract as you like within your probation period.

It usually is not very useful for the employee to use this right, but you are now in a situation where it is. Therefore, you should have no compunction to do exactly that. The company wouldn't.

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  • I agree, I am worried that OP will listen to the other answers and decline the much better offer, which would be a major mistake IMHO May 16 at 6:03
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Is it bad to quit company A and go with company B in this situation?

It depends on what "bad" means to you in this context.

Clearly it would be good for you financially. But it's pretty bad for your professional reputation. It will burn bridges to Company A, and with anyone in A who remembers your name.

Did I screw up by accepting company A's job?

Apparently, you didn't have enough confidence in yourself to await B's response. These things happen.

Should I just do my year and then try to get into company B in the future?

That's something only you can decide for yourself. We each get to decide what our word and our reputation are worth.

It would be pretty hard to decline a 50% raise. Most wouldn't.

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    I get what you are saying, but the key question here is "how long are you bound by your word and what exactly did you promise?" If OP gets a dream offer in a year from now and decides to take it, no one would blink an eye. So what exactly is the difference between now and in a year or two? In this case you could even argue that leaving now does way less damage to company A than leaving in a year. As long as OP took the offer in good faith and had full intention to make this work, this doesn't feel like a major transgression to me.
    – Hilmar
    May 15 at 13:58
  • I find this answer fairly harsh. Now if someone doesn't even show, that's definitely bad style. Leaving during probation? That's what it's for! Personally, it would actually help if OP mentioned the reason - a 50% pay rise? At least I know OP didn't leave because of me then ;)
    – bytepusher
    May 16 at 19:41
  • I would say it depends on how big the employment pool is in the area, where I live software jobs are quite rare, and you WILL meet the same people again in different companies. You really can't burn bridges.
    – WendyG
    May 17 at 9:59
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I have to disagree somewhat with a few of the other answers.

First, this answer depends on what exactly 50% higher salary means. Are you grossly underpaid now due to your negotiating prowess? Then I definitely agree with the other answers, you should really get to at least a market baseline for your pay.

However, if you are making a relatively acceptable pay at your new role, then things get a little more complicated. It goes without saying that you won't just be burning bridges, you'll be nuking them from orbit. You will be seen as a mercenary only interested in their next paycheck. I can't know exactly what your strategy is for your career at this phase (perhaps cash truly is king for circumstances you can't get into here), but you will need to obviously scrub this from your resume entirely and diligently hope you never run into anybody from this company in the future. With respect to DJClayworth's answer, "I was paid more" is a horrible answer to give to any recruiter, just say literally anything else--avoid even mentioning it, or say that you knew quickly that it wasn't the right fit.

As an aside, most people outside management won't even know why you left. It'll more likely seem like there was some kind of explosive event leading to your dismissal after a very short amount of time, like lying on your resume or some kind of criminal conduct.

Anyway, here's what I see your options as being:

  1. Try to forget about the other offer, play it safe and remember how much more you could be making at your next performance review at the end of the year.
  2. Explain the situation to the company making this other offer, maybe they can throw in an incentive to offset the nuclear bridge bomb and make it a no-brainer.
  3. Leverage this offer to make more at your new role. I can't imagine this going well with your new manager.

If you are comfortable enough with your compensation, I'd recommend option 1. If you are desiring something more, try option 2, the worst they can do is push back. Option 3 is just not a good idea, in my opinion.

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