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I am a contract employee and a new company is taking over. I was offered a better position with the new company but when I received the verbal offer I was told not to tell anyone. I have received the written offer and shared the news with some people as rumors were flying that I got a position I hadn't applied for. Someone else told me they received a better position too but they were told not to announce it until the new company announced it.

Have I made a huge mistake by sharing my news? Could they/ would they rescind the offer. I had assumed that when they said not to tell they meant until it was formally offered.

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    They can choose to react any way they want to your breach in confidentiality. Don't say another word going forward. – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 22 '14 at 6:14
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    "Shared the news" did you get specific? The rumors were "flying around" before you admitted it. Practice office politics and rely on plausible deniability. – user8365 Apr 22 '14 at 13:03
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Have I made a huge mistake by sharing my news?

Not necessarily, as long as you handle it correctly. The rumor-mill does what it does, doubly so when you've got a new company taking over an existing one.

Unless you announced your news by something that leaves a trail (such as an e-mail, SMS message, etc.), then the rumors that you were offered a better position can't really be traced to you personally (as you say, people were already spreading manufactured news around before you even mentioned anything). So as long as you don't spill the beans about having been the one who spilled the beans, probably nothing will come of your mistake.

Or if you must discuss the issue, frame it as you have above. Your understanding was that you were to keep the matter quiet until you received the formal/written offer, and that once you had the formal offer you were free to discuss it. In other words, frame it as a miscommunication/misunderstanding as opposed to "I deliberately did something I was told not to do".

Note that depending upon your location, you may have a legal entitlement to openly discuss your terms/prospective terms of employment with your colleagues regardless of whether or not your employer wants you to. Not that it should be necessary (or wise) to invoke such an entitlement in this instance. Just keep a low profile and probably it will all blow over on its own.

Could they/ would they rescind the offer.

In general I don't believe anything would prevent them from rescinding the offer if they really wanted to. Unless there are some specific contract terms or other agreements in play in your specific circumstances. But in the general case, yes, they can rescind the offer.

Will they rescind it, however? I'd say almost certainly not. Especially if you don't make any further noise on the subject, and provided that there's no "smoking gun" showing that you clearly and deliberately ignored their request (like an e-mail showing you bragging about the offer 5 minutes after you received it).

  • I think you mean "something that leaves a trail (such as an e-mail, SMS message, or a question on The Workplace" – Richie Cotton Apr 24 '14 at 11:00
  • @RichieCotton - If the OP's profile listed their real name, then certainly. But it doesn't seem to. And hopefully they had enough sense to make the post from outside the office. – aroth Apr 24 '14 at 11:55
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Have I made a huge mistake by sharing my news? Could they/ would they rescind the offer. I had assumed that when they said not to tell they meant until it was formally offered.

It's definitely a mistake. If they asked you not to share the offer, they definitely didn't mean "until we give you a written offer," they meant until the whole deal was closed and you were in the new position and they announced it. Why? Because there are "rumors flying around" and everyone's freaking over who's getting jobs, who's losing them, etc.

They may or may not rescind the offer over it; your best bet is to shut the hell up about it and keep shut up until everything has shaken out.

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    +1 - No excuse for spilling the beans when you were told not to. Besides, under such circumstances - when risk is high and fear is rampant - "keeping your cards close to your chest" is always the smart thing to do. – Vector Apr 24 '14 at 2:40
  • "Why? Because there are "rumors flying around" and everyone's freaking over who's getting jobs, who's losing them, etc." Which, if you think about it, is all the more reason why companies should avoid making things like this secret/"confidential" in the first place. Every single one of these issues is avoided if the company simply and plainly states "here is what will happen". – aroth Apr 24 '14 at 4:44
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    I prefer transparency too but that's completely irrelevant to this issue. They said don't share it, and he agreed. Sharing it after that is a sign of poor faith and/or poor judgement, and given that the company IS the kind that keeps secrets, they are also probably the kind that punishes breach of those secrets. He could "go work for a transparent company" but that's outside the scope of his question. In this context, and with the agreement he personally made, he did the wrong thing. – mxyzplk says reinstate Monica Apr 24 '14 at 12:43

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