Torn Between Two Jobs: How do you decide?

Question:

Three months ago, my employer told us he’d had enough. He said he hadn’t been able to negotiate a reduced lease. He planned to the equipment and shut the door.

We, of course, expected that he’d give us severance, but he didn’t. He just said “I can’t do anymore. Today’s your last day.”

I went into panic mode. I needed the job. I applied for every job I could find.

It took me a week to find a job. My new employer is great. I’ve been there almost three months, and they’ve paid hundreds of dollars for me to take classes to get certified.

I didn’t plan what happened next. I got a call to interview for a job that is perfect. I decided to interview. Two days later they offered me the job. Part of the reason they want me is my new certifications.

This new employer wants me to start immediately. I worry if I don’t agree to start immediately, they’ll hire someone else.

Although I like where I’m working, and my boss has been wonderful, I really want the other job. How do explain things to my employer? Do I have to give notice? My prior employer didn’t so why do employees have to? Do I have to pay back for the certification training?

Answer:

You make the best decision between two jobs when you compare them on as many factors as possible. What do you know about how the prospective employer treats employees? What do they offer in terms of training and mentoring? What do you know about the supervisors you’ll work with?

Which position gives you more opportunity to do interesting work? Which job offers you a greater variety and quality in job assignments?

Which job pays more, both today and in the future? What does each job offer in terms of benefits and paid time off? Which job offers a safer and more comfortable work environment? How does each job compare in terms of stress?

How do the jobs compare in terms of flexibility? Which offers you more autonomy and ability to make decisions? Which job offers you most status or respect from both individuals in and outside of your company? Which job has the better long-term prospects?

What does the future look like for each company? What do you know about each organization’s internal stability? Which job gives you the best chance to attain your short and long-term career goals?

To an extent, it sounds as if you’ve already made your decision. My only worry—how much do you know about the new employer in terms of their commitment to you?

If you’ve made your choice, offer your current employer honesty. Explain you weren’t looking, because if they believe while they were doing their best to treat you well and paying for your certifications, you continued hunting for a new job, you’ll leave on bad terms.

Although you’ll cause your current employer frustration, it’s better they lose you now than after they’ve made an even more substantial investment in training you.

Giving notice is professional. You know the pain of being given a unexpected negative decision.

I wouldn’t want you to lose a “perfect” job because you gave your current employer notice, however, I wonder if you might be able to negotiate with your new employer to let you work one final week with your current employer.

How your prospective employer responds to your request will give you additional information about what they might be like three months from now. Most reputable employers would respect an employee who doesn’t want to leave a soon-to-be former employer in the loop. Your current employer may even come back with an enhanced offer.

If you’ve chosen to leave, making an offer to pay a portion of the certificate training would be a quality gesture, as would offering to your current that you’ll help them out in the evening and on weekends while they search for a new employee.

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4 thoughts on “Torn Between Two Jobs: How do you decide?

  1. Your advice is, as always, spot on. What I find a little off-putting is that anyone would consider doing to a good employer what was done to them by an inconsiderate one. Opportunities always look good before you’re in the job. What happens after? The very fact that the new employer didn’t indicate they expect an employee to give two weeks notice before joining them would be suspect to me. I would investigate the company’s rating on Glass Door and ask anyone I knew who might have worked there before about management and company culture. It’s not as if she NEEDS the job. So why be in such a hurry to leave a good employer for one that is unknown?

    1. Wendy, great points.
      FYI, there is substantial dispute concerning Glass Door’s ratings, however, in this era of social media, we can easily find people who know the employer, including often employees who’ve left.

  2. I’m “old school” aka old or old-fashioned, but I’d say, stick where you are. How would you feel if you’d just hired someone for your business and given them a bunch of training and accolades and then they told you they were leaving because they’d gotten this offer they couldn’t refuse from another employer? It sounds fickle and flighty and I’ll tell you that is “the optics” of it, too. Lynne, you’ve given good, concrete questions and tips about how to investigate a potential employer and their promises. This employer sounds like they’re into poaching. Think about a potential employer that wants you to decide (and quickly) on leaving your current, esp. new, one. What else will this employer do and ask of you, and will you feel it’s a good practice when it’s turned on you?

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