Dialog: Accepting an Offer or Resigning From Your Current Job ... Which Should Come First?Posted:Apr 13th, 2014 10:04 pm
by: Joanne Meehl
Dialog is a new blog series that spotlights a short part of a session between a private client and myself, illustrating particular job search or career advice.
Client: Woman, 32, Marketing Manager (All details have been changed for privacy). This dialog took place during a phone call.
Client: I'm so excited about this job offer! [We talk about the new job.] I can finally leave the messed-up company where I am. I'm going to give my notice tomorrow, Thursday. They will probably escort me out of the building on the spot [laughs]. Then on Friday when I have the final discussion with my new employer and accept their written offer, I won't have my resignation on my mind.
Me: So you're going to give your notice before knowing you definitely have your new job? Before the drug test and background check are complete? Suppose the new employer has added something to or subtracted something from the job and is saving those comments for the call - don't you want to know that before alerting your current employer that you are out the door?
Client: (pause) But it's gotten so bad at [current employer] that the idea of leaving is such a relief. And more importantly, if I don't give my notice on Thursday, I'll have to work there into the next week, which is when my new employer wants me to start.
Me: I understand: it's been tough there for some time, and leaving seems like the solution to everything. But you know I would never recommend that approach - always have that last conversation with the new employer before saying "yes" and accepting the offer in writing, and make sure you've passed the drug test and background check. Then give your notice.
Client: Normally I would agree with you -- your advice has been spot on, on everything - but if the offer somehow blows up, I feel so strongly about leaving that I've come up with a strategy: I'll still resign, and will then pursue one or both of the two other opportunities that I've been exploring in parallel to the company now giving me the offer. Those are going well and are still alive. I'd then have the time to pursue those and even other possibilities.
Me: I understand. So you know, then, that if you don't get the offer in writing and are jobless, the question in the minds of prospective employers would be, "Why did she leave before getting another job - she works for a great company - did she do something wrong? Or was she about to be fired?"
Client: I know. That's a risk I'm willing to take. I'm not cocky that I'd get something else right away, but the interest has been very strong in what I've done at [current company name] and in what I can bring a new company.
Result: Client gave her notice on Thursday, and the company made it clear she would stay the two full weeks before leaving - not what she expected or even wanted. But all went well with her new company's background check and drug test, and she negotiated for a one-week delay in starting her new job so she could start fresh. She's on the new job, is enjoying it, and so far, so good.
The message: Although your story could be as successful as this client's, don't take for granted that the new job is locked in. I'll repeat: always have that last conversation with the new employer before saying "yes" and accepting the offer in writing, and make sure you've passed the drug test and background check. Then give your notice.
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