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I have a wonderful job. I've been here just over a year and I love everything about it really.

But...

I've been offered an even better one. Double the salary, more than double in benefits (cost to benefit ratio), greater career prestige (big name company), and still a wonderful work environment (maybe even better than what I do now).

I'm conflicted because I love this company and my co-workers but I do want the benefits and excitement of the new opportunity. I'm a senior developer here and they do need me, but I'm obviously not irreplaceable.

In short, I'm feeling torn between a sense of loyalty to this good company and my personal career goals.

I guess my question is how can I avoid burning bridges and is this an acceptable reason to leave?

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    I was "loyal" to a company, once. They changed management one day and became total jerks. I 'Stuck it out" because of a personal friendship with the owner, but it was the wrong choice. You have to manage YOUR career for YOUR benefit. Having said that - VTC - off-topic for this site ("what job to take, ...") - BTW - You stole my avatar! :) – Wesley Long Jun 1 '15 at 16:34
  • Agree with all you said. But your avatar is nothing... Lol. – OneHoopyFrood Jun 1 '15 at 16:41
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    I don't know what is the market like in your specialization/area/..., but if someone is willing to pay you twice as much for the same thing, then the company you work for is not exactly showing that they need you. – njzk2 Jun 1 '15 at 17:53
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    You're in the tech business, obviously. HR people and managers in this world know that software engineering is a seller's market--if you are at all a desirable employee, the burden is on them to make you want to work there. If they don't understand that, then tough luck for them. You have to look out for number one. Changing jobs once a year in order to get a salary bump is quickly becoming the norm for developers, especially those with hot skills. – dodgethesteamroller Jun 1 '15 at 18:50
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    If you love your current job but decide the new offer is too good to pass up, don't be afraid to go to your current company and say "I have an offer from a competitor with X salary and Y benefits. Can you match it?" Best case, you get the best of both worlds, and worse case you maintain a better relationship with your current company, since you gave them a clear reason for your departure and a chance to keep you. – Dan Staley Jun 1 '15 at 21:18
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The problem with loyalty to a company is that said loyalty is not typically reciprocal. There are exceptions of course, but for the most part you are a resource that can be laid off if the numbers aren't looking right.

Also consider, if you have a family or expect one in the future, that your loyalty to them supersedes any concern for a company. And would they not be more secure if you had twice the salary and better benefits?

So make decisions based on what is best for you and yours. The other company will survive.

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    Your first paragraph is absolute gospel! Even top management is not immune to this. – Mr. Mascaro Jun 1 '15 at 19:09
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    If you do decide to switch jobs, DON'T burn your bridges. Give them as much notice as practical, and work with them to make the transition as easy as possible. You never know when you will be talking with them again. – Bradley Uffner Jun 1 '15 at 20:05
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In short, I'm feeling torn between a sense of loyalty to this good company and my personal career goals.

Why?

You might work for the outlier, but the overwhelming majority of companies would literally throw you under a bus if was profitable. Thankfully laws and PR blowback makes it unprofitable, but there are certainly more subtle ways of screwing you over for money.

Double the salary, more than double in benefits (cost to benefit ratio), greater career prestige (big name company), and still a wonderful work environment (maybe even better than what I do now).

Like paying you significantly less than market wage with crappy benefits.

I guess my question is how can I avoid burning bridges and is this an acceptable reason to leave?

Yes, a better opportunity is always an acceptable reason to leave. You can avoid bridge burning by giving your current company a reasonable amount of time for knowledge transfer. You can be honest and open about why you're leaving.

But in the end, you wouldn't be leaving if they paid you remotely what you're worth.

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    ״Like paying you significantly less than market wage and crappy benefits.״ LOL - this 1000 times over. Your company isn't stupid, chances are they interviewed other developers and have a good estimation of what the market looks like - the other offer is twice as much. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Jun 1 '15 at 21:32
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I guess my question is how can I avoid burning bridges and is this an acceptable reason to leave?

You can avoid burning bridges as best you can by giving plenty of notice to your current company, and letting folks know that you have gotten an offer "that is too good to turn down". People understand that. In my experience, I've been able to leave on a good note in similar circumstances.

"Acceptable reason to leave" is in the eye of the beholder. Some will understand. A few won't. Not much you can do about it.

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    +1 for '"Acceptable reason to leave" is in the eye of the beholder. Some will understand. A few won't. Not much you can do about it.' Don't worry so much about what people think. Some bridges burn all by themselves regardless of what you do. But you may have more sympathetic colleagues than you think. You're probably not the only person there who has a nagging feeling they could be better doing elsewhere. Those are the people to seek out and maintain relationships with for recommendations. – dodgethesteamroller Jun 1 '15 at 18:53
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    In my opinion, part of the mark of a truly great job would be the fact "giving plenty of notice to your current company, and letting folks know that you have gotten an offer that is too good to turn down" gets you an exit on a good note. – Selali Adobor Jun 1 '15 at 20:21
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Personally I think the key thing is to put yourself and your career first, and expect every organisation to put themselves first as well.

What you need to do is decide what drives you. Is it more money and benefits? Is it a chance for promotion? Is is the opportunity to become an expert in your field? Is the work environment? Does it matter if work life impinges of your private life? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. It very much depends on who you are, your priorities and your current situation. You may find your self having to trade one set of rewards for others. This isn't a bad thing, but you do need to be aware of the choices you make.

If you do leave I would got out of my way to leave on good terms. In my experience I've frequently bumped into old colleagues in new companies. I've also gone back to old companies to ask for future references. I've even known people decide that the new job sucks are have returned to the old one!

One thing I would avoid doing is telling everybody how great your new company is going to be. Your current management has just lost you - they won't want other people following you!

May be you could leave them with e-mail address so you can answer any questions odd questions they might come up with (I've always done this, but it's never been taken up).

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