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6 months ago I interviewed at two companies (Company A and Company B), heavily interested in working at both. Ultimately, Company B said I was overqualified, but they'd love to keep me in mind if a more senior position opens up down the line. Company A gave me an offer. The pay was a little less than my goal, but it was on the highest end of their scale and I had been in a bad job for several years.

Company A has been a bit of a dream job since I was a kid: I love the environment, love the team, and love what I'm working on. The pay and benefits could be a bit better. I'm currently in the middle of a big project, but Phase 1 of it will be launching shortly.

Today, Company B has reached out to see if I was interested in a FT job (I've been with Company A for about 5 months). I don't know the details of the job yet, but I'm assuming the pay will be a step up.

How would you approach this?

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In my mind, it really depends on how much you value money. Personally, being in secure employment in a place that I truly enjoy working is more valuable than a modest salary increase. You likely spend almost half of your waking adult life going to work and so if a job makes you happy then you cannot put a price tag on that. As an anecdote, a couple of years ago I took a very large pay cut moving to a new job simply because I was miserable in my higher-paid job. I worked hard and over those two years I became a key member of the team and was rewarded accordingly. Even if I hadn't had a pay rise, I'd still be infinitely happier than I was before; I no longer wake up in the morning and think "oh hell, I have to go to work today", which is an incredibly valuable thing to me.

However, if it's a substantial increase in pay or if you really need the extra to make ends meet, then there's plenty to suggest you consider the new offer. But in this situation there's nothing to stop you, should you be offered the job, to speak to your current employer and let them know that you love your current position but cannot afford to turn down the higher salary. Worst case scenario they'll be sorry to see you go and wish you well; best case they might increase your pay and/or benefits if they are keen to keep you on board. Either way, you've shown that you appreciate the environment you're currently in.

I'd say you should check out the details of the new position, go for an interview and do a little research on how they operate to help you decide if it's somewhere you'd be as happy or happier than you are now (and whether or not the pay increase will add to that happiness!). It never hurts to get more interview experience and, should they offer you the job and you decline, you've made a new contact that may keep you in mind wherever they end up in their future career.

  • Thanks Herr Pink! I'd upvote you, but I'm new around here so it won't let me ;) – EdwardV Apr 24 '15 at 18:24
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    +1 for the last paragraph particularly. It never hurts to look or interview if offered the chance, and the best place you can negotiate from is as a passive job seeker. – logophobe Apr 24 '15 at 20:15
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Is it okay to switch jobs shortly after accepting a position?

Yes, but generally only once. If you make a habit of jumping ship early that will be reflected in your job history and will mark you as a job hopper which is not the reputation you want. Everyone can end up in a job that simply doesn't work out but recruiters are wary of people with a pattern of short-term employment. This also means that it's risky to leave a job early for non-pressing reasons. If you judge the new role badly and find yourself going to work miserably when you've already wasted your hop. You'd have to spend well over a year in that position just to avoid the job hopping stigma.


Should I respond to interviews or recruiters shortly after accepting a position?

It's fine to respond to interviews after you've just changed jobs but there are some things to consider.

Advantages:

  • you might come across a great opportunity that justifies leaving your current job early
  • these interviews are good practice since there's no pressure on you
  • you can build solid connections for future opportunities (as you saw with company B)

Disadvantages:

  • if you're not honest with the interviewers or string them along for multiple interviews when you have no intention of accepting an offer you risk burning a bridge
  • if your current employer finds out that you're interviewing they might think you're acting in bad faith. Reasonable employers will simply ask you about it and accept that you're not actively looking to leave but are simply exploring options or connections. Unreasonable employers won't.
  • as mentioned above, if you misjudge the new position you could be stuck in a miserable job for quite some time
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Unless you have a term to which you agreed you don't have a moral obligation to stay with "A" beyond the standard notice period. It's worth interviewing again with "B" and hearing what they offer. This part is cut and dry.

At that point you are at a decision that only you can decide on: "Which job will make you happier in the long run?"

Consider pay and benefits, how much you would enjoy the actual work, and how it will help you progress through your professional and personal goals.

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