Hi everyone,

I'd like to get your opinion, as I'm really stumped.

I've been thinking for a while on leaving my current job. I've not been too active, but did contact a recruiter. I figured I'd stay until I have a new position.

Then today, I was told my job is changing. This would be taking a responsibility of something I don't want to do (technical maintenance of a system) for 2-3 days a week. These responsibilities are core to the development organization, and the investment in me would be extensive, plus I'm the only one who's in this plan. Rather than scream right there, I thought I would take the weekend to think about it and consult with you.

Leaving aside the fact that I wasn't asked if I wanted those responsibilities, here's what I think my options are:
• Say ok, and then continue to look for another position. It seems to me it's unethical to do that, since I then leave the company to restart the training, maintenance and so on.
• Say no, and face the possibility of resigning immediately. I'm not sure it will come to this, but it's a possibility. If that doesn't happen, I may still need to expose the fact I don't plan for the long term here. In this case, I can sleep better at night, but without a financial blanket.
• Say no, offer a different solution (which frankly, I don't have right now. I don't consider myself a candidate for this role, yet I don't see anyone else in the company as a candidate either). If I can do this, I can continue with my job search, and not impact the company too much.
• Delay the arguments until actual work begins (a few weeks), and in the meantime hope to find a new job. This is more of a hopeful thing, so I don't count on it.

So there it is. What would you do?

Thanks in advance

tcomeau's picture
Training Badge


Then today, I was told my job is changing. This would be taking a responsibility of something I don't want to do (technical maintenance of a system) for 2-3 days a week....

• Say ok, and then continue to look for another position. It seems to me it's unethical to do that, since I then leave the company to restart the training, maintenance and so on.

So, I've been in a similar situation, a couple of years ago. In my case, I could apply for a position that I really didn't want, or go back to being a technical person, possibly with loss of pay, and certainly with the reputation of "not being a team player."

I'm not sure why you think it would be unethical to accept the new role, but still continue to look for other opportunities. As long as you do the best you can in the new position, I don't see an ethical concern. Unless you are signing a term contract that protects both parties, you're not obligated to stay, and the company isn't obligated to keep you.

That aside, I would be inclined to push back a little. Perhaps not "I don't want this job" but more "Gee, I'm not sure this is a good match for my skill, why do you want me to step into this role? What do you recognize in me that I don't see in myself?" It's always possible that your manager either has a plan and just hasn't communicated it, or that your manager hasn't really thought through the implications of this change.

I don't think there is much downside to asking a manager to communicate their thoughts and intentions, if only to better understand what your objectives will be in the new position.


rthibode's picture

Dear gilz,

I don't see an ethical problem with accepting the new role. As tc wrote, as long as you do your best until you leave, you're no different that anyone else they might hire/appoint. Anyone might get sick, need to transfer to a different city, or just find a better job, and so might you.

It seems your main ethical concern is the organization's investment in your training. I think your duty here is to take the training seriously and try to leave things in excellent shape for your replacement. For example, you could make changes to improve the training, prepare documentation, and so on.

I also thought tc's advice on "pushing back" was good. The wording he suggested sounds open and inquisitive to me.

Who knows, you may end up enjoying the new role more than you think. Or, you may become more certain about the need to find a new job. But I *really* don't think you need to risk unemployment in this situation.

Good luck with your decision!

gilz's picture


As rthibode pointed, my ethical concern is leaving the company after the training, in a place where they would have to start all over. If I take on this role, I expect to document everything for the next person less painful introduction.

I'll try the more subtle approach, but I'm trying to find a way out of this (my third option). I'll try to see if the impact of taking on this role on my current responsibilities is clear on all levels. My direct boss understands it, but I'm not sure more levels up it's understood (and the position I'm in today mostly gets its backing from upper management, rather than my direct boss). And I'm still working on a proposal for alternative, which I think would be best.

I'll keep you posted,

DWElwell's picture
Licensee Badge

I agree the with advice already posted. I see the decision whether to leave and the decision accept reassignment as disjoint and separate.

Just becuase you are looking doesn't mean you will leave anytime soon, and in the mean time you shoud be acting in the best interests of your current employer, as long as they are paying your salary.


thaGUma's picture


Not sue on Israeli employment law but in UK a significant change to your work role is effectively a new contract. You would be reasonable to consider this carefully and advise your employer that you need time.

It is entirely wrong to accept training if you are sure you are leaving.
It is doubious to accept if you are considering leaving because of the change which requires the training.

Delay - and watch all the high D's explode.


asteriskrntt1's picture


There is no ethical issue here. Look at it from the other side of the fence. Is it ethical for the company to put you in a position that you don't want? Did they consult with you? I doubt it.

Or how about this perspective? If you started training, loved it, and then another company came and made you an offer, would you be in an ethical position? I don't think so. You would listen to the podcasts on how to resign properly and take the offer.

One of the Manager Tools mantras (and I in no way want to put words in Mark's or Mike's mouth) is that only YOU are responsible for managing your career.

If it is not on your company's radar that you might leave, I see that as a managerial gap on their part. People change jobs. End of story.


rwwh's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Our company has a rule that if you leave within 2 years after a training, you must repay part of the cost of the training. But of course this solves only part of the issue.

I would definitely consider talking about your issue with the "other side of the fence". Try to come to a solution together that is acceptable to you as well as to the company. You do not have to take the decision alone.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

The short answer is that I don't believe you have an ethical problem.

That said, national employment law may play a role (there would be NO issue in the U.S. - any Yank that thinks our laws are too strict would have apoplexy reading about UK law), and I also do NOT understand how it is that you say you were "told" that your job is changing but that you think you owe them an answer (I believe you have implied this, perhaps mistakenly).

Whatever you do, continue your search. These things always take longer than we think, on BOTH sides - the search and the change.


gilz's picture

I want to thank everyone for their answers.

Mark horstman wrote:
[quote]I also do NOT understand how it is that you say you were "told" that your job is changing but that you think you owe them an answer[/quote]

Mark, you're correct. It's a response I gave, not an answer I owed.

And, I do owe everyone the continuation.

I'm glad I took the weekend off to think about this issue, first because of the opportunity to get advice from you guys, and of course to cool down and (try to) think rationally. One of things that did came to mind, is there is some communication problem, which I could not identify until we have a discussion.

Today we had a meeting, with my boss, and our General Manager. She explained the necessity of the job, what is the job exactly, what are the responsibilities and expectations. I detailed the process that got us here, and my less-than-positive disposition to the job. And we closed on this not being a job change, rather "extra responsibilities" which I'll start, and we'll see if it amounts to the expected efforts (My guess - it will). No hard feelings. :?

So I'm back to square one. I'm continuing my job search. My ethics problem is less bugging me now.

And since I'm allowed two thank you's in one note, I want to thank everyone again.