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Based in the UK.

Okay so I'm in a slightly messy situation here. I'm currently working for a small company ( let's call them X), it's my first job after university. While I enjoy the job, I have been looking at more demanding roles and recently successfully secured my dream job in a multinational. It's a grad scheme and is due to start between August and November 2016.

All good so far. Now two weeks ago we were told that the company X is closing down and I will be out of a job by the end of the month. This leaves me with quite a bit of time between the two roles and I can't afford the bills/rent in this time!

So I have started applying for jobs, 6 month FTC mostly but also permanent as I don't want to risk being out of a job (I couldn't afford a month of no work) and they're a lot more common. I was recently told that one of the companies (let's call them Y) is going to offer me a permanent position.

Sorry for all that backstory, my question is, is it okay to accept a contract for a permanent role when you have already accepted a contract for a role starting in 6-8 months? Can there be any legal issues?

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    You will surely develop a bad reputation. Whether you want to take that into account is up to you. – Jan Doggen Mar 6 '16 at 13:26
  • @JoeStrazzere "grad scheme" is when a company employs (indoctrinate?) new graduates to there way of thinking – Ed Heal Mar 6 '16 at 13:42
  • @JoeStrazzere In this case, my graduate scheme would be a fixed 3 year contract as a trainee consultant. – ConfusedQuery Mar 6 '16 at 13:45
  • "is due to start between August and November 2016" - why can't they agree on a fixed date? Is there a chance this grad scheme won't materialize? – Brandin Mar 7 '16 at 13:57
  • @Brandin it depends on the stream I am assigned to which is determined closer to the start date. I have already signed the contract so i assume it is for certain. – ConfusedQuery Mar 7 '16 at 21:39
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Is it okay to accept a contract for a permanent role when you have already accepted a contract for a role starting in 6-8 months?

That depends on your definition of okay. You'd be acting in bad faith and it's quite disrespectful to the company you'd join in that time and the person who would otherwise have gotten that job. If you make it a habit to leave employers within 2 years of joining them and a pattern forms on your resume of you doing that then you're marked as a job hopper which is a career-killer.

That said, you may simply not have much of a choice. If your financial situation does not allow you to remain unemployed while looking for short-term work you may need to accept a position that you know you'll leave too soon. Doing this could impact your reputation but if the alternative is a loss of housing, failure to provide for your basic needs or something similarly dreadful then a minor black mark on your resume doesn't really compare.

Note that if you do this it means that you'll have to stay in your next position for at least 2 years to balance out that job hop. You'll want to be absolutely certain that the new position is something that fits your profile and experience and that the company is a good cultural fit. (This doesn't really apply to you since you already signed a contract.) After those two years you could probably get away with dropping the temporary position from your resume. You should omit it if it doesn't have enough value on your resume to make up for the short stay.

As for the legal angle, that's something you need to check for yourself or with a lawyer as we don't offer legal advice here. A contract can have particular clauses that activate when you leave before a set time. In most cases you simply need to tender your resignation and work out your notice period. Some companies ask their recent hires to repay training or certification costs if they leave within X months but that should be in your contract.

  • Thanks for the detailed advice. I understand that it is disrespectful to this particular company, however, from the interview experience and Glassdoor reviews, they do seem to aggressively recruit new grads whilst having quite a high turnover of staff. As such, I don't think my short tenure would have the same impact as, say, a startup. The graduate scheme I will start later has a fixed term of 3 years and I think it will be a very good cultural fit. – ConfusedQuery Mar 6 '16 at 13:52
  • As the op will ill be in his probationary phase in the UK he can just say sorry its not working out its me not you bye. – Pepone Mar 6 '16 at 14:26
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    @JoeStrazzere Well yes, but if the choice is between potentially burning a bridge with an employer and being destitute, then the latter is not much of a choice. If the OP truly cannot afford to be out of work for a month then the choice is already made. I have the good fortune of not being in such a position but the sad reality is that too many hard-working people still live paycheck to paycheck. – Lilienthal Mar 7 '16 at 7:04
  • @JoeStrazzere I am taking the OP at his word when he says "I couldn't afford a month of no work". The OP already mentions that he's looking for temporary work but is asking about the scenario where he has to choose between no work or a full-time position. – Lilienthal Mar 7 '16 at 12:07
  • @JoeStrazzere I am looking for temporary work as well but frankly, in London, the security and pay of this work is such that I would struggle to pay my bills/rent. – ConfusedQuery Mar 7 '16 at 21:44

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