Less than a month ago I was unemployed. I put out a bunch of applications and I landed on a local job that had me start right away. The pay was a lot less than I had anticipated but did it anyway because I needed money for bills and what not. Two weeks after employment, I got a job offer with another company in another part of the world. I want to go with this new company, but I want to break off cleanly from my current job. Also, once I accept the offer, I have about a month before I relocate, so keeping this job as long as I can is greatly preferred.

Should I give my current employer a chance to counter the offer as a common courtesy? And given that I want to keep working for this company until I leave, when would be the best time to quit, and how should I do so in the most professional way possible?

EDIT: I also want to mention that I am "temp-to-hire" at my current employer.

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    The best way to handle this situation is to consider "What can I do in the next 6 weeks to best help my boss succeed?" rather than "What can I do in the next 6 weeks to maximize my own benefits". Believe it or not, the former, if done well, will actually be more beneficial to yourself.
    – BeyondSora
    Apr 19, 2014 at 0:08
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    @BeyondSora Of course. I guess my best course of action is to accept the other job offer and tell my current employer right away, and let them know that I want to stay and help until I leave. It would give them time to find a replacement and the blow from losing an employee would be lessened.
    – tomato
    Apr 19, 2014 at 1:47
  • 'Temp to hire' pretty much sounds like your current employer isn't yet 'all in'. They could let you go, and the fact your pay is lower than expected suggests they're lukewarm. If the economic situation in 'another part of the world' is overall better than where you are, jump at the chance. Giving your current employer a chance to counteroffer is a good idea, but I would leave that to the last two weeks or so, in case they decide to let you go immediately. Apr 19, 2014 at 2:34
  • You are not even an employee at this point it sounds like you are somebody who is temporary who might be hired in the future. I would not expect a counter offer if you are in a "temp for hire" status.
    – Donald
    Apr 22, 2014 at 12:05

4 Answers 4


Point #1 - Make sure you REALLY DO have the new job. You need to have a signed letter offering employment and the terms.

Related question. Be sure to read the comments below that answer, especially from @BrianDHall.

After that, it's entirely up to you. You're still "Temp-to-Hire", which means they haven't made a promise of permanent employment, yet. This (at least to me) means that you haven't made a promise to them, either. You've both stated intent, but you're both still evaluating one another.

I'm betting you'll burn a week getting that offer letter in writing. Until then, don't do anything. The last thing you want is to end up unemployed, again.

If you've only been there 3 weeks, then you're not into anything "critical" yet (unless management is desperate). Once you've got everything signed and counter-signed with your new offer, put in your notice. Tell them why (usually I say don't but I think it would go over well in this case). They should be understanding. If they aren't, then this isn't somewhere you wanted to work long-term anyway. You can be as polite and professional as possible, and whatever you do, be productive at your work. However, as a short-timer, you'll barely be remembered a year from now.

Last item: Be sure to contact HR at this current job once you have your new address so that they can send your tax paperwork to you next year.


Should I give my current employer a chance to counter the offer as a common courtesy?

Either you want to leave, or you want to stay. I don't think it's a good idea to give your current employer said chance (prior to resignation). I definitely don't think they'd view allowing them to counter the offer as courteous, more likely just an attempt to play them to get more money out of them.

If you want a counter offer, during the conversation to hand in your resignation, you could approach it slightly less directly (than mentioned below), sound less sure of making the change or mention reasons for leaving which are easy to change, which could increase the chance of getting a counter offer.

You shouldn't bring up a counter offer yourself (at least in my opinion) - you could list the reasons as wanting to move as primarily related to money and perks (and not say anything bad about them, and plenty of good things), which they could probably give a counter offer to match, if they want to.

Some advice had you been working there for longer, which may, to some extent, apply to you - if you were to consider a counter offer, I'd suggest having good reasons for leaving that could be changed (beyond just money) or nice perks at the target company which could be matched - while some people will go for the highest paying job in their domain, employers tend to like to feel that that's not the case - they want someone who likes working for them, likes what they do there specifically, likes the culture and the perks, and has a bit of loyalty - while honestly expressing loyalty while handing in your resignation is difficult, to say the least, you should be able to express the rest. If they were to bring up the possibility of a counter offer, you'd then negotiate making changes to address said reasons or perks. Then again - if you wanted to address these reasons (rather than playing employers against each other to get out as much money as possible), they might wonder why you didn't do so prior to handing in your resignation.

Given that I want to keep working for this company until I leave, when would be the best time to quit, ...

I recommend telling them as soon as possible. You're likely still largely in training (depending on the job, of course), so telling them that you're leaving in 6 weeks will probably allow them to maximize your usefulness during this time, rather than waste time training you (from their point of view, and possibly from yours as well).

But you'll need to check what your contract says regarding the amount of notice required (note that you may still be on probation, which may have a different time frame). In certain cases, you may even end up being escorted from the premises right after handing in your resignation. With the exception of this, I expect that employers will see you giving way more notice that what's required as a good thing, however, don't expect this to happen everywhere - I can't imagine it's common, but some might expect you to leave when the end of your notice period comes - if staying is more important than maintaining good relationships, hand in your resignation at exactly the required time.

Just make sure you have a signed contract at your destination employer prior to giving notice, as not to end up unemployed by resigning when your new employment is not legally confirmed and then withdrawn (it being 'legally confirmed' doesn't mean it's not trivially easy to get rid of you in many parts of the world, but I don't expect many employers to do so without very good reason, which is unlikely to have much to do with you personally, and I guess in some parts of the world 'legal confirmation' might not happen until your first day on the job, so this doesn't necessarily apply to everyone).

... and how should I do so in the most professional way possible?

Walk into your manager's office and ask them if they have a few minutes (or, if you work in an open plan, or he shares an office with a third party, ask if you can have a word in private - in a meeting room, presumably).

Take your resignation letter with you (you can find some templates for this online - be sure to check out a few of them, as a badly written one can leave a bad impression of you) - special mention - it should include the date that you're leaving, and the date you wrote it (as letters often do), for reference.

Say that you're resigning (and possibly include some apology about doing this so soon after starting), and let your manager take it from there - they should enquire about why you're leaving (stay away from reasons which might leave a bad opinion about you, if at all possible), where you're going, possibly how much you're going to get paid, possibly if there's any way they could keep you, etc. If they don't ask any questions, you can probably assume they're not really interested.

Then thank them for the opportunity of having been able to work for them (or do so prior to the questions).

You should probably spend much of your last day cleaning up your computer of any personal data (e.g. clear cookies and delete history in browser, delete personal files) or anything else, and saying goodbye to everyone (thanks your boss again) - if they require an exit interview, you to fill in any forms, or anything like that, they should tell you.


Should I give my current employer a chance to counter the offer as a common courtesy?

Not necessarily, unless you'd rather stay. And only if you have an actual chance of being hired as a regular worker - since you are a temp for now. If you feel your chances of being hired as minimal (some companies say "temp-to-hire" but you never leave the "temp" status), don't bother.

If you have already made up your mind and decided to go, you don't want to have them undergo the burden of making you a new offer that you know you will not accept (it takes time and effort in some companies, it may require an additional budget approval for instance).

And given that I want to keep working for this company until I leave, when would be the best time to quit, and how should I do so in the most professional way possible?

EDIT: I also want to mention that I am "temp-to-hire" at my current employer.

Well, "milking" the company until the last minute leaving them blind sighted to the fact that you are leaving soon would not be very professional. I would say you need to just let them know about your new offer, tell them why this offer has appealed to you (this is not normally required, but you are trying to justify why you are leaving so soon, and you want to leave in good terms, from what I understand) and let them know you are not abandoning them, and you intend to stay for a few more weeks to help them find a suitable replacement (although that would only be relevant depending on your line of work and how hard it would be to find a replacement).

About the reason the new offer is appealing maybe it is not for a "temp" job, and you will feel safer as a regular worker (assuming your new offer is not for a temp job); or maybe you want to work in that part of the world (assuming that is the case - you see moving elsewhere as a good thing); telling them why may help them identify if they need to improve anything in order to be able to retain their new hires.


You said it is "temp-to-hire." I think you could easily be "let go" since you're a temp now. If the other job has offered you a job in writing and you accepted it, then I would give your two weeks at any point.

I would avoid getting counter-offers/bidding wars. Those never end well.

  • I agree. Based on the describe status of "temp for hire" I wouldn't provide anymore then a 2 week notice. Because they could also in 2 weeks change your status to "former temp for hire". This would be my plan unless my status changed in those 6 weeks.
    – Donald
    Apr 22, 2014 at 12:10

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