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Edit: Some answers and comments have made it clear that in choosing not to elaborate very much on my issues with management, I may have poorly described the breadth of the issue. What makes me choose the word "disrespect" is that the unresponsiveness of my management has caused my work life to clash with my personal life. I cannot contact them when I'm sick and need to stay home, or just when I want to request some vacation time. Most recently, I have been unable to reach them when I needed to care for a loved one recovering from surgery. I had to go to work because I couldn't get any approvals to stay home. I have also been encouraged by them to violate company policy by coming to the office with possible covid symptoms.

Early this year I accepted a promotion-in-place at my place of employment. For reference, this is a very large company. I had been with the company for about a year and a half already. I negotiated a higher than average salary for my new title, and agreed with my management that I would remain with the company for at least another full year after accepting the offer. I am not contractually bound to do this, but it is standard etiquette.

However, I no longer feel as respected by the company as I once did. There have been changes in management that have resulted in less flexibility for me than there was when I accepted the offer. It has become difficult for me to contact some of my management team, and I am usually left without a response when I need to ask a question or make a request.

But perhaps my biggest complaint is that the IT department at my company is extremely difficult to work with. They take months to respond to requests that are blocking productivity. Even when they do respond, they often do not properly understand the request, do something incorrectly, and they must be asked again. They also regularly take a year or longer to deliver new computers. And they come through once or twice a month to repossess assets they believe are unused, sometimes going behind my back to steal a machine I have explicitly told them we need to keep. I could list more grievances with them, but you get the point. I recognize my management is not at fault for this, but it does make my colleagues and I all feel like we are not valued by the company.

Is it appropriate for me to leave this position even though only about 6 months have passed since I agreed to stay for another year?

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  • This doesn't sound like disrespect. It sounds like poor communication, possibly poor management, and an IT department that marches to the beat of their own drum. I personally wouldn't feel disrespected in this situation. Frustrated? Yes. Disrespected? No.
    – joeqwerty
    Aug 22, 2022 at 22:22
  • @Thomas, Do you want to leave this position and still stay & work at this company ? Or do you want to leave the company ? -- If you move to a different position at this company, will your salary go back to the previous level or stay the same as at the current position? Aug 22, 2022 at 22:41
  • @Job_September_2020 I don't have anything specific in mind yet. I hear that other branches of the company have much better IT departments, so it's possible I'd be interested in staying. If I transfer, my salary is likely to be unaffected by my current one. I would be interviewing and negotiating again, and it could go up or down.
    – Thomas
    Aug 23, 2022 at 0:36
  • "...but it is standard etiquette." Is it standard at this company, in your region, or in your industry? Are you only going to upset your management by leaving or is Joe correct that future employers are going to see that you're trying to leave within a year of your promotion as breaking a promise?
    – BSMP
    Aug 23, 2022 at 17:51

4 Answers 4

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If there is no contractual obligation that will keep you there, or one that would impose a big penalty if you leave early; then you have to decide if you want to leave early.

Even if you decide that your goal is to leave after a year and a day there are things you can do now to prepare for the move.

  • Look at companies/positions to see what is out there.
  • See if you can learn a new skill to help you qualify for another position.
  • Prepare your resume/CV
  • Review your employment documents to understand your required notice period.
  • See if there are bonuses and the like that require you to still be an employee on a certain date. You don't want to give notice the day before you qualify for the bonus
  • See what happens at the end of your employment period: vacation, holidays, Insurance. Then make sure you don't lose any of your benefits because you misunderstood a deadline.

The job search will take time. Sure there are stories about people getting hired on day one. But in my experience there are still a couple of months between applying and accepting and starting, even when the notice period is only two weeks. So you can start to apply before the 12 months is up.

But if you are wanting to leave before the 12 months is up, and want to start looking now you still have time to be picky about the offers you will accept. Because your current job isn't in danger, you can be more selective.

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    Assuming their current job isn't in danger. It didn't really look like it would be, but with "changes in management", surprises might be possible. In particular, the lack of contractual obligations enforcing that one-year minimum goes both ways.
    – ilkkachu
    Aug 24, 2022 at 19:48
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If management is failing you, by not properly doing their job (not being available), or even actively, maliciously doing it wrong (going against COVID restrictions), then you need to make a choice: do you actively tolerate and encourage that, or do you fire them.

Personally, I would not feel bound by any "workplace promise" if my or my families health or well-being is concerned. When I say "I will stay for X amount of time", I mean I will not seek out competitors for offers and I will not take offers from competitors, just because they pay more or have other work-related benefits.

Having a faster IT department is a work related benefit. Better pay, more vacation days, all work related benefits.

Not being able to care for a sick loved one? Being told to come to work sick? Having to assume that the colleages are being told to come to work sick, too, so you're in danger of being exposed to diseases?

Those are not work related. And I would not feel like I broke my word for a second, taking a job where I do not have to be afraid for my or my families health.

However, I think you do owe it to your employer to talk about this and ask for guidance. You could not reach them for taking a day of, how to handle that in the future? If their answer is that you should have informed them and not waited for a response, then I guess that problem is solved. If they tell you you cannot care for your loved one because you need approval and the person was too busy to care, then you do have a problem that is bigger than your workplace and in my personal view, not bound by any workplace promises.

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  • Wish I could accept 2 answers because you're right, it is definitely important that I discuss this with someone. Ideally, I could solve some of these issues and be more comfortable staying in my current role for the rest of the year.
    – Thomas
    Aug 23, 2022 at 23:41
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This isn't an issue of "respect".

The company is just inefficient.

However, if you realize that the time they waste are their own, then simply document everything to CYA, and either coast, spend the extra time to look for work, upgrade yourself, or whatever.

If a company is wasting your time, you're under no obligation to fix their inefficiencies. Do what is reasonably expected, make extra documentation, make sure there is a paper trail for every delay.

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Is it appropriate for me to leave this position even though only about 6 months have passed since I agreed to stay for another year?

You gave your word that you would stay at least a year. I assume when you agreed to do so, you didn't indicate that it would only apply if you felt respected.

We each get to personally decide if we wish to honor our promises or not. You get to decide what actions are appropriate, and what actions are not.

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    It feels like you are framing the issue as an ethical dilemma when it is not. One could argue that many unspoken promises have been broken on the other end of this issue already. The ethics are blurry at best. Would it be honorable of me to stay? Sure. But I would prefer not to do so if I end up stuck with management that doesn't hold up their end. I am interested in how appropriate another person, like a future employer, would consider my actions under the circumstances.
    – Thomas
    Aug 23, 2022 at 0:31
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    @Thomas I think it is an ethical dilemma. But I support maybe I mildly disagree with Joe around his rationale. I think with all promises there are implicit conditions around them. Personally, I would consider significant restructuring as a reason for me re-evaluate any personal commitments I made to people orchestrating those changes. Aug 23, 2022 at 7:38
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    Joe is right. You gave a spoken promise. You did not indicate that your boss, or the company, gave any promises in return. You're trying to justify leaving based on feelings and broken "unspoken promises". Those are irrelevant. This is a question of ethics and honor. Either your word is worth something or it isn't. The honorable approach would be to have a conversation about the issues with your management. As for what future employers will think about it... they won't have any knowledge of it unless you tell them. The question is whether or not you are ok breaking your word.
    – mikem
    Aug 24, 2022 at 7:27

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