I've been working for three months at a somewhat early stage startup as a remote employee. Generally things are going well, the company is glad to have me on board and they just gave me a great performance review. There are some issues related to communication - cultural differences, a huge time zone difference meaning that there is always around half a day delay when trying to discuss things, etc.

I went to an interview a local company because a friend who just started there invited me and soon after that I got an offer. The offer itself is mostly a side-grade for me - it's pretty much the same role as an experienced developer and mentor to the junior developers, and the pay is higher but not significantly enough to warrant a transfer.

So now on one hand, I've got a company which has already established trust in me and is very content with my performance, although there's often friction between the main and remote offices regarding organization, unclear requirements, etc. On the other hand, there's this other company which is larger and more successful, offers better management and employs a lot of "gurus" i.e. has a lot of dev talent.

If I were unemployed, I'd accept the new offer without thinking about it. But since I'm currently at a company which is in a somewhat fragile state and I'm a key employee, I'm feeling uneasy about leaving, as it may make life a lot harder for them and they have generally been very good to me. Another concern is that I'm the kind of employee that bounces around a lot from company to company - the longest I've stayed at a company was a bit longer than one year.

So my question is two-fold:

  • Should I feel morally obliged to not leave my current job, considering that it may do more harm to them than it would do good to me and the company I would join? Would this be an example of betrayed trust and burned bridges, or is it just a normal part of professional relationships?
  • Should I be worried that my resume is getting populated with a bunch of contracts that lasted around 3-6 months, even though I've always changed jobs on my own initiative and have a track record of being great at what I do?
  • Do you have equity in the startup, and if so how promising are their prospects? – bharal Feb 13 '15 at 12:07
  • No I do not, so the only way up is in leading a team, which is also offered by the second firm. – npace Feb 13 '15 at 12:42
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    If you can leave in a way that doesn't burn bridges, I say go for it. But people have long memories and down the road you may end up interviewing with someone you worked with 20 years ago. – Voxwoman Feb 13 '15 at 14:24
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    No moral obligation what-so-ever. It's just a job. Anyone that holds a grudge towards you because you found a better opportunity isn't someone you want to work with anyways. – DA. Feb 13 '15 at 18:01
  • And any company will have zero moral obligation to keep you if things go bad or they change priorities/direction. – Juha Untinen Feb 25 '17 at 21:20

My opinion is subjective regarding my experience (others may think differently). I have to tell you that you should do what is best for you and your life. To me this is not negotiable. I have been to a company for just 3 months because I needed a job. Salary was too low and I was working 10 to 11 hours every day with many weeks of delays until my payment. So I left for another company.

This company offered me a competitive salary and a great project to work. I was there for almost two years. As you mention they trusted me and I was important to them. However, life was too difficult. I had to work many weekends without getting extra payments. Sometimes the atmosphere was very depressing and there was lack of communication due to pressure and business trips that made it difficult to organize things.

Thankfully, when I got the chance to work for a big company with slightly bigger salary I did not considered it. I accepted the job immediately, but I offered the other company to help them finish some projects. Now, after almost a year and a half I know that I made the right decision for my career. I work between some senior developers that have made me way better to what I am doing (web development). I got to explore new technologies and frameworks that I added to my CV. The most important thing is that I met new people with great experience which has helped me a lot and I get paid on time every month for 5 days work in a week. It is very important to have time for yourself and do other things as well. Even more this big company adds prestige to my CV for a possible future transfer.

Life has become much better.

So, as conclusion I suggest to do what you think is better for YOU. You can offer your current employer to give them some time to complete your projects. When you see an opportunity you should grab it. You never know what you could have done or been unless you try and even more you don't know when there will be another chance. If you have moral issues (which is not bad, it shows gratitude) you can do what I mentioned earlier and help for a short period of time after you have gone.

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    So I guess that considering the fact that I have no equity and am basically a grunt in the company, I should not worry too much about burning bridges and losing connections... – npace Feb 13 '15 at 12:46
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    Definitely not. Business is business. You can always be polite. Two of my ex-employers have even added me in their LinkedIn network a while after I left. No reason to worry about losing connections (although it is not entirely up to you). – dev Feb 13 '15 at 13:12
  • This. Employee/employer loyalty no longer exists (in the big picture, I'm sure there are exceptions). Employers generally do what is in their best interest with no forethought to the plight of employees, so employees have now learned to do the same. – daaxix Feb 13 '15 at 15:08
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    I'd like to thank everyone for the advice, I ended up accepting the offer of the second company. After a few days' contemplation, I'm now sure this was the right choice, as it is a rapidly growing company with an established user base and revenue stream, as opposed to an early stage startup struggling to gain traction. – npace Feb 16 '15 at 8:56

I am in a similar situation, you can read more here: When to tell my employer about me working somewhere after end of contract

  • no you should not. It's just business
  • you should worry about your resume, look at hire costs, in IT right now it doesn't matter because it's employee market, but it may in 5/10/15 years. If you don't plan to leave future job after few months you should be ok.

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