Author Topic: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma  (Read 8463 times)

Tbill

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Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« on: May 14, 2015, 11:06:33 PM »
Ok, so I spent 5 years at my first job out of college with ending salary at 60k. After 5 years and passing a professional exam I shopped around for a new job. Took a new job at 80k starting salary and a 2k sign on bonus.

So that is fantastic for me but I feel that I accepted this job too quickly and it isnt really a perect fit for me. I dont really get along with the owner very well, his management style is what I would describe as "aloof authoritarian". I could stay at this job but I looked around just barely and recieved two offers at the same salary at companies that seem alot friendlier. I could stay but i'm also thinking if I could upgrade my colleagues, why not? I'm planning to turn in my resignation next week but I feel a little conflicted about it. I feel guilty partly about a $350 professional membership dues that they paid for me right when I started and also the 2k bonus.

I have read my employment agreement and they have no recourse to get it back(the agreement was only 1 page) its a very small company, only about 15 employees and I know I'm there highest paid person. I feel bad for leaving in the first place, the environment isnt that bad and I dont have to leave. The owner is kindof a hardheaded ass sometimes though. Should I offer to pay back the 2k bonus or $350 fees they paid for me? Should I feel guilty for leaving in the first place?

Exflyboy

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2015, 11:19:10 PM »
Personally I wouldn't worry about it. It was a bit foolish to not have a period where you have to pay it back.

If the job is a better fit just move on, the $2300 is a mere trifling. If you feel that guilty offer them half of it back, they might not take it to be honest.

Finish well though, get your work done and hand it over to your replacement well.

Frank

WerKater

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2015, 11:26:08 PM »
In your place, I would certainly keep the signup bonus. They probably did not pay that out of the kindness of their heart but because it was the price for getting a suitable candidate. If they had wanted this to be repaid if you quit early, they could have phrased the contract like that. I had a job offer like that once. They would have paid me X per year plus a bonus of Y after the first year unless I quit before that.
I think the same holds for the membership dues. I might budge on that if this membership was mostly advantageous to me and not the employer and if the employer had been very good to me in the past and I were leaving for other reasons. But that is not the case in your situation.

You should not feel guilty about leaving. Your obligations to the company are those and only those described in your contract. Give at least as much notice as you contractually have to and be done with it.

Fruglette

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2015, 04:52:27 AM »
Hi TBill,

I should say up front that I run a company of about the same size - 10 on my core team, and about 15 independent contractors.  So I wanted to offer the perspective of the folks you're working with, in case it's helpful to you.

I think you're right to cast this as a "moral" dilemma rather than a legal one.  The contract doesn't require you to pay it back, and they can't demand it.

Instead it's a question of how you want to leave everyone feeling treated, and I'd suggest two things on this front:

1. Talk to them about it.  The fact that you're their highest paid employee means they thought long and hard before hiring - about what kind of person they needed, whether they could afford it, how to recruit, and who to select.  I'm not excusing the owner's management style at all.  But I would be upset if my new hire up and quit so quickly without even telling anyone they were unhappy so that we could try to address it.  The more specific you can be about what you want, and how you're feeling, the easier it is to sort out whether it can change.  And at least they are on notice and feel you gave them a chance.

2. Err on the side of generosity.  After this, the money is simply symbolic.  The fact that you're asking the question here suggests that you're feeling at least a little uneasy about keeping the signing bonus and membership.  Making the offer to pay it back may ease the sting of you leaving and forcing them to start over in their search.  They may or may not take you up on it, but it will be appreciated, and also helps reinforce your frame that "I'm sorry, it just feels like we're not a good fit together."

However you handle it, assume that word travels.  In every industry I know of everybody knows everybody, and everybody talks.  At least a few of the people who work here are friends with the people who work at your new place because they used to work together at yet another place, or they're neighbors or they bowl together on the weekends.  I know how young employees at companies in my industry in other STATES have behaved, because the owner and I went to school together or worked on a project in Switzerland eight years ago.  There's no way the (former) employee would guess that I know that when they approach me at a conference interested in a job if I don't know anything about them and learn that they used to work for my friend you can bet I'll pick up the phone).   

The $2k or $2350 investment in your reputation as a fair and generous guy will pay itself back in spades.

Good luck!


ltt

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2015, 05:13:03 AM »
Give them their money back!  Write them a check and attach it to your resignation letter.  Your conscious will then be free and clear while taking the other position.  Not only that, you will look honorable.

Tjat

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2015, 05:54:08 AM »
Agreed. Unless they are the worst company to work for and completely screwed you on something, I would feel too guilty keeping the money. And the comment about reputation is spot on. I say pay it back

mikesinWV

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2015, 06:22:35 AM »
Fruglette brings up a few good points that you should consider.  This one especially struck me as important "But I would be upset if my new hire up and quit so quickly without even telling anyone they were unhappy so that we could try to address it. " 

If you like your colleagues but not your boss, talk to him.  Let him know how you feel.  If they tell you to take a hike, then you have something lined up.  If you don't think their response is adequate, you can turn in your notice.  If you like how the boss responds then you may have just shown what a great asset you are.  Perhaps he didn't realize how his style affects others. 

If you decide to voluntarily leave, offering to pay back the bonus won't hurt.  If he tells you to take a hike, I say keep the bonus. 

And like Fruglette says, it's a small world. If you leave, try to do so on the best possible terms.  Don't burn a bridge. 


mikesinWV

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2015, 06:25:22 AM »
...oh and by the way, I quit a job after only 7 business days when I realized I made a mistake leaving my old job.  I went back to my old job and stayed for another 5+ years. 

Giro

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2015, 06:44:38 AM »
I would offer to give back the sign on bonus as well.  You would not believe how fast and far word of mouth travels.  I fly 1000 miles away and almost always run into someone I know or someone who knows someone I know.

It's a small world and your reputation is worth more than $2k.

WhatIsFrugalAfterAll

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2015, 06:56:25 AM »
The flip side on the keep argument is if they couldn't afford the 2k, they wouldn't have given it without recourse.

But yes, I would still be honest and explain and offer it back.. especially for such a small amount.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2015, 07:20:50 AM »
I envy you. I'd take "aloof authoritarian" over my "psychotic, bi-polar, alcoholic squirrel boss" any day.

Last year I took a job with a big corporation and within 2 hours of starting knew it was insane...I stayed 2 months. But only until I had a backup job. No sign on bonus, but within 24 hours of starting there I was asking my boss and HER boss: "um, is it always like this? Because this is crazy town."

It was, I left.

While we all want to FIRE, reality is that we will spend some time with people who have no social equity and don't play well with others.

Only you can decide how much is too much.

If it were me, I would FIRST try and check in with as many people at the place you are wanting to move to. How is it really like to work there? How many people have been there 10+ years, etc.

And I'd probably say something at the place you're at as well: "I know I'm new, but...I'm not feeling the love here. Is it always going to be this kind of strange vibe or is it just because I'm new?"

If it is only the boss you don't click with I'd ask for a private meeting and ask him: "Are you not happy with my work? Because I feel as though things aren't clicking for me here and want to know if we can change that."

Good luck.

frugalnacho

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2015, 08:00:36 AM »
I say don't give them anything back.  They are big boys and they knew what they were doing, and that's the cost of doing business.  If they want the bonus and training fees back they should have stipulated that in the contract.  I think you should visit the office supply closet and load up on pens, paper clips, and sticky notes before you depart too.

CheapskateWife

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2015, 08:17:22 AM »
Another vote for cutting a check with the resignation letter.  In my humble opinion, its just a classy way to handle what is just a bad fit for you.  You leave with your conscience clear, and your reputation intact.  If they refuse the refund, you still get the same things and get to keep the cash.

I left a high paying job after a very short time as well, for much of the same reasons (coupled with insane commute, crazy child care expenses, etc) It just wasn't worth it to my family.  Take care of you, but be graceful about your departure.

James

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #13 on: May 15, 2015, 08:24:04 AM »
I think offering to return either all or half the signing bonus is a class act. Not required, but if you have the cash I would suggest doing it both to protect your reputation and to protect your good feelings about changing jobs. Half makes sense to me, you stayed a while and helped out, it's not like it's just a couple weeks.

Make sure you either talk to them first about changes they could make, or at a minimum have a full discussion about why the job didn't work for you prior to leaving. That will help them find someone who is a better fit.

Finally, make damn sure you have a new job. You have looked, but are you sure they are better?
« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 08:25:58 AM by James »

Bicycle_B

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2015, 08:33:18 AM »
I strongly agree with Fruglette, on every count. 

Another thought:  If you were supervising employees, and were not satisfied with someone's performance, you'd need to explain that you were dissatisfied, then give them a chance to change.  Consider giving your boss the same courtesy.  If you rise in the world, he will soon be a colleague, even if only on the level that you and he have influence over hiring decisions for skilled young people such as your current self.

And remember - hot job markets don't last forever.  News of bad behavior sometimes does.

norabird

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2015, 08:41:19 AM »
I disagree that leaving so soon is 'bad behavior'. It's an employees job to look after their own interests and happiness. While you can offer to repay the signing bonus/professional fee, you are well within your rights to leave.

kaizen soze

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2015, 10:43:45 AM »
Only thing to add is that if you're pretty certain that you won't be happy in this current position no matter what they do, then don't string anyone along asking them to change their ways only to leave in a few months anyway.  So if you're pretty certain that you want to quit, I say rip off that band-aid.  But if you think the situation is fixable, then by all means address it and see what they say.  As for the bonus money, there's no right answer here.  You will want to handle this situation as professionally as you can, and offering to repay the bonus would probably go a long way towards doing so. 

JLee

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Re: Quitting a job after 3 months - moral delimma
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2015, 11:13:41 AM »
I disagree that leaving so soon is 'bad behavior'. It's an employees job to look after their own interests and happiness. While you can offer to repay the signing bonus/professional fee, you are well within your rights to leave.

^^

If you weren't working out, they'd likely let you go in the first few months. If they aren't working out, I don't see why that'd be any different.