Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Reader's question: Can I accept a new job if I just started this one?

Q. I just started a job about a month ago. The people are nice and there is good job security, but I don't particularly enjoy the day-to-day work and I don't feel like I fit here that well.

I've been asked to interview for another job that's not quite up to par with my experience, and as thus, it pays a bit less, but it's back in publishing doing what I love, and the commute is better. There was also talk about another position that interests me opening in a few months, so there's a chance I might be able to talk them into hiring me now to fill both positions and paying me a bit more but saving on a salary in a couple of months.

Am I totally screwing up my reputation/career/resume by leaving a company so quickly after joining with them?

How do I explain why I would leave this job after a month without scaring the new employer off? Do I tell them that it's a temp position or something?

How do I deal with taxing my references again? They just received phone calls from my current company less than two months ago. I'd hate to wear them out!

A. Seems like you are in a bit of an awkward situation, but the thing to keep first and foremost in mind is to do what's right for you and your career, and to be honest.

A month may be too little time to truly determine whether your current job is a good fit, but there's no harm in talking to another company to figure out if it's where you'd rather be. If you feel you can negotiate and convince them to hire you to fill both positions, and if it is your dream job, then go for it.

Don't worry about screwing up your career: just be honest and sincere about why you're leaving, and be considerate. If you are offered and decide to take the new job, explain to your current employer that it's an opportunity you just cant give up. Acknowledge that you're putting them in a tough spot of having to look for someone again, and say that you'll try to make the transition as smooth as possible. Do not mention that you're not happy where you are. Every conversation – with your current employer and all future employers – needs to be about how good the new job is. In your interview, stick to the story that you're really excited about the opportunity – it will only flatter the hopefully new boss.

When it comes to references, same thing: be honest. Explain the situation, acknowledge that you're asking a lot of them, and say that you understand if they'd rather opt out of vouching for you this time around.

As for your resumé, there's no rule that you have to list every job you've ever had, so you can just leave off your current gig (a month of not working won't ring any bells for people looking at your resumé in the future).

*Question is edited for length and identifying details.

- Corinna vanGerwen
About Me
Corinna vanGerwen


Corinna vanGerwen is a freelance editor and writer. She has worked as senior editor at Style at Home, senior design editor at Cottage Life and is the former Canadian Director of Ed2010. She has also held the position of operations manager at a boutique PR agency, where she handled strategic planning and daily operations.

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