By Liz Ryan
Some people hold job-seekers to an impossibly high standard. What’s funny about that viewpoint is that we don’t hold employers to the same standard.
The old-school rule was “If you take a job, you have to be committed to it!” and in the old days, that made sense.
Nowadays, we can’t admonish job-seekers to “be committed” to a job they’ve just started, when their employer is not especially committed to them. Employers hire people every day and make no commitment to those people whatsoever. They can fire the newcomer two weeks later. So why shouldn’t job-seekers view the employment relationship the same way?
There are some jobs that you will accept with plans to stay at the company for a good long while. There are other jobs that you can tell on the interview are going to be short-term stops. You need a job, and the company needs help, so you’ll take the job.
It may be a full-time, salaried position, but for you it’s more like a consulting gig. There is nothing dishonest or less than ethical about taking a job with the intention of continuing your job search. It doesn’t mean you will leave right away. Maybe nothing better will turn up, or maybe the “meh” job will get better as you stay there.
Some people will say, “You should never have taken the job if you intended to leave us! We thought you were going to stick around. It costs money to train people, and now we’ve wasted that money!” That’s ridiculous. There is a well-established and simple business process an employer can use if you want someone to continue working for them for a certain period of time.
It’s called a contract. Anyone who doesn’t offer you a guarantee of employment for a certain period of time — an employment contract, in other words — can’t complain that you left earlier than they wanted you to.
As for that training investment, everybody in the mix has invested time and energy. The company didn’t guarantee your employment for a defined period. They took that risk. That was their decision.
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