4

I'm currently working as a junior software developer with Company A. My contract is a casual contract, so I come in approximately 2 times a week so I can balance employment and my university degree. Being a casual employee, I get no sick pay or annual leave, and my contract can be terminated with no notice by either party, but I get a higher rate of pay to make up for these drawbacks.

My contract is due to terminate at the end of June, because that's when the funding to my project runs out. My employer told me that if more funding becomes available after June, they will offer me another contract or an extention of my contract. As you can tell, there's not much job security at Company A, basically all their projects are reliant on funding from external parties, so your work could get cut at any moment. Because of this, Company A is not a company I could see myself working at for an extended period of time, I really want a job with more security.

I have received a 2 month internship offer from Company B, and I have accepted it. My contract with company B begins at the start of June, so you can see that there's some overlap between the two contract dates. I definitely want to take the internship with company B, they are a great company and will do wonders for my career development, especially since I'm just a junior.

Now I need to tell Company A that I will be leaving approximately one month before the end of my contract. Legally, I can simply up and leave since my contract is a casual one, but I want to leave on good terms without burning bridges, because I want Company A to be able to call me back if funding becomes available in the future. I feel like they won't be pleased if I tell them I've chosen to work at another company.

Is it acceptable to lie to them, and say that I'll be studying abroad for two months, so as not to burn any bridges? I feel they'll take much more kindly to that. If not, how should I best approach this situation?

  • Could the downvotes please be explained? I'm more than happy to edit my question if something is wrong. – JuniorPerson Apr 6 '17 at 23:29
  • 5
    It's never a good idea to lie! Especially why should you do so in your situation? There is really no need of lying. If you have a problem with leaving without explanation, than explain your situation, but don't lie... – Artery Apr 7 '17 at 4:50
  • 2
    you seem to think that switching jobs is somehow viewed badly (not loyal, betrayal, unprofessional etc.) from the viewpoint of the company you are leaving. That is not true. Leaving a job is something normal and as long as you did good work for them and don't leave on bad terms (criticizing them, saying bad things about them) you will remain in good terms with them. – bolov Apr 7 '17 at 10:36
  • 3
    If this means anything - The correct answer to 90% of the questions on SO:Workplace boil down to "Tell the truth and tell it now." – Ethan The Brave Apr 7 '17 at 15:36
  • 1
    To me, the biggest portion of this is "if more funding becomes available " They don't know and you don't know if they'll even have the funds to keep you, so just be honest (always the best policy) and tell them that you're leaving. No need to discuss anything beyond that. No need to tell them where you are/are not going, that's personal business. It boils down to "don't lie, and don't include private information in your resignation", especially in a situation where no notice needs to be given. – SliderBlackrose Apr 7 '17 at 18:12
11

Don't lie. Because why would you? Are you going to lie every time you take a different offer? If you do short-term contract work, it's just going to be assumed that you are working somewhere else when you aren't working for them. You still need to eat. Nor do they have any reason to feel even remotely upset by you choosing to work somewhere else. If they want you to keep working for them, they'll either offer to extend your contract or provide you a full-time position. That they haven't done this means they are okay with you leaving (admittedly, they may have been planning to offer to extend the contract closer to the end date).

That said, you don't have to tell them anything. To the extent that you need to give a response socially, you can say something generic like "I'm looking at some other time-sensitive opportunities".

Personally, I generally lean toward openness and transparency as most people readily understand your motivations (assuming you have reasonable ones which you seem to in this case) and have no hard feelings. It also gives them an opportunity to make a counter-offer if they think they can address your concerns.

To directly address the title question: lying in this way isn't against the law, so... But it's unlikely telling the truth or saying nothing would actually "burn bridges" in this scenario, and getting caught in a lie is definitely more likely to burn bridges. Particularly for the software world and the scenario you're describing, it sounds like having you even potentially available is highly valuable to them. It takes a lot of effort to find competent developers/QA and many other roles related to software. In your case they can pitch an offer without needing to evaluate you, and if you say "no" it's a very minor cost. The upshot of this is that it's quite possible you would have to try pretty hard to really burn bridges.

4

No company should have an issue with you taking on another opportunity for a while. But the way you frame your decision can have a big impact on the impression you leave.

I'd say something like: "Since my contract is about to expire and it isn't clear yet whether or not I can stay on I started to look for contingency options. Now this great opportunity came along for a 2 month internship. As such I'll be leaving by the end of May. But I've enjoyed my time here and if the funding materializes I'd really like to return afterwards." Maybe sprinkle in something about broadening your experiences.

Of course there are always some employers who are crazy and take trivial stuff like this personally. But I'd always err on the side of polite openness.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.