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After a year of unemployment interspersed with temporary jobs, I finally found employment with a small (including me there are 3 of us), local company. I was a bit overqualified for this position, and when I was offered the job my employer they expressed concern of this, and asked if I would be willing to stay there for at least 12 months, as they would be investing a fair bit of time and resources in order to train me, which seemed fair and so I agreed.

I was obviously very grateful for the opportunity, and escape from unemployment, but this job is completely outside of my degree area, does not really challenge or interest me, and will not offer any progression in the career that I am trying to build.

I have recently been offered a chance to put my name forward for a job that will finally give me a foot on the ladder, pay more and require less hours. However, it has only been 5 months or so since I started, and I am hesitant about going against the agreement that I made (a verbal agreement, nothing in writing or in my contract).

Additionally, recent developments have made it such that we are trying to cut down costs quite dramatically, and I am concerned that my leaving at this time would have quite the adverse effect on the company.

I am not conflicted out of a sense of loyalty as such, business is business after all, but I am hesitant to go back on my word and potentially cause financial issues for the company.

Am I wrong to start applying for positions and potentially leave the company early?

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    Why would you need to stay to cut costs? Normally, people are laid off to cut costs. – nvoigt Jan 30 '17 at 9:13
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I am not conflicted out of a sense of loyalty as such, business is business after all, but I am hesitant to go back on my word and potentially cause financial issues for the company.

Am I wrong to start applying for positions and potentially leave the company early?

I understand your concern. Whenever I give my word, it's important to me. And in the grand scheme of things, my reputation means a lot.

I would most likely stick it out at least 12 months as I had specifically promised, before starting to look for another job. I would indeed feel a sense of obligation, since this company gave me an opportunity to be on a payroll that no other company would, invested a fair bit of time and resources in order to train me, and specifically asked me ahead of time if I would commit to staying at least 12 months.

Legally, you can clearly do whatever you like. But you did make a promise. Now you get to decide if you are the kind of person who lives up to their promises or not.

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