Hi Everyone,

I've recently been promoted and I've been in my new position for around two months. Recently, someone I've known in my industry for quite a long time approached me about a job opportuntiy that sounds like it might be a really good fit, and it would likely be a significant pay increase.

What I'm struggling with is whether it is unprofessional, or even a little morally objectionable, to pursue this opportunity given I recently took this promotion within my company.

Is there any sort of generally accepted time period in which a person is normally expected to stay once they are given a promotion? I certainly don't want to burn any bridges. Can anyone offer any insight?


MsSunshine's picture

Unless there were unusual circumstances (like someone in your company making this job for you or promoting you was to an executive level and a real stretch). The only other thing could be if your current company is really small - more family like. Hey, it never hurts to look. You may not get the job but might regret not looking into it.

The fact is that you have to look out for what is best for you in your career. The company ultimately always does what is best for the company - no matter how bad that is for any individual. If you are going for a job that is great for your career, no one in your current company should hold that against you. (At least not anyone worth caring about their opinion.) I've seen companies re-organize, especially in these times, and jobs change to no fault of the people who were affected.

shutmemo's picture

Once you get a promotion you are expected to stay 2 months as a generally accepted principle. Just kidding.

My father worked for only one company all his life whereas I changed my job 10 times during 12 years. I worked in construction business and most of my earlier assignments were project based but still 12 is a lot of changes. Loyalty is definitely dead for our generation and beyond. If you ask my opinion, I advise you strongly to look into that new opportunity, make an analysis and decide which opportunity is better for you.

I had to resign from my current company, go to the competitor and prove my worth as a manager and come back again recently because my manager was thinking I am too young for a managerial position. Sometimes, you need to do what the situation is calling for. In the final analysis, market forces decide.


HMac's picture

Marcus wrote:
"What I'm struggling with is whether it is unprofessional, or even a little morally objectionable, to pursue this opportunity given I recently took this promotion within my company."

It's not. You should look into it. If for no other reason, you run the risk of looking back and idealizing what you imagine the other opportunity could have been.

Take it a step at a time - you're not yet sure if there's anything there worth "pursuing" - until you find out more.


PS: It's conceivable that in this economy, your current employer could uncover the need to make drastic reductions overnight. And you're not immune.

dmiddlet's picture

Your career goals should ultimately guide your decision. Not just the money. If you remove the money from the decision, outline what your goals are, this should help you decide.

BTW - Do you have a "Mission Statement" for your career yet?

Here are some questions you need to answer: If you base it solely on the money, then what would you do if your company counter offers the same or a bit more? Nice place to be in, but is it what you really want? Which position best fits your Mission Statement? What happens if you take the new opportunity only to face a reduction in a few months? Is the opportunity worth the extra cash between now and then?

GaryC's picture


You are fortunate to know the person approaching you about this opportunity. This could allow you to discreetly gather information before making a commitment. Depending on your career field, pursuit of the opportunity could involve some risk to your current job. This will be something else for you to consider.

Having experienced similar circumstances, I would expect you to feel somewhat flattered by the offer. When I was recently sought out for a position on a leadership team, I was surprised by the offer. I also felt obligated to follow through because a friend had recommended me. What I later found was that the job was not quite the fit for me or my family that my friend hoped it would be. In the end, I was glad I followed the MT suggestion to keep my mouth shut and not jeopardize my current job.

Some things to consider, other than pay and career goals, include retirement plans, benefits, location, hours, and job responsibilites. If everything weighs in favor of the new job, then you owe it to yourself (and family) to pursue it.

Best wishes on this tough decision. If you choose to pursue this, I suggest you revisit the "How to Resign" podcasts; they were quite helpful to me.


marcus78's picture

Thank you everyone for the helpful and thoughtful comments. As I said, my first concern is whether it would be the 'wrong' thing to do to leave right after a promotion. I can see from everyone's response that this would not be the case.

I will certainly weigh my options, remain discrete, and consider the non-money aspects of the potential new job as I move forward.

Thanks so much!


US41's picture

Here's what I think: Give the company every bit of loyalty and consideration that they would give you in a layoff.

In your case:

* Will they consider how recently you were promoted?
* Will they care how long you were in the job?
* How much notice are they likely to give you when they open the discussion?

In my experience, unless there is a catastrophic event, the answers are:

* No
* No
* About six weeks

I think maintaining your professional image is important, but I don't agree that we should feel indebted to our companies when we are not on contracts. Your company did not offer you a contract because they wanted to be able to escape the arrangement suddenly without penalty. I think it is perfectly reasonable to consider your side of the arrangement to be the same.

Grab the brass ring on this one and go interview without guilt.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Boy, I sure do disagree with a lot of the comments above.

Here's my recommendation, answering the question specifically:

No, it is not unprofessional or morally objectionable to CONSIDER leaving a firm two months after a promotion.

But it sure will be considered a selfish move to the person or the company who promoted you, depending upon its size and makeup/organization/culture if you do decide to leave.

I cannot say that if the other job is notably better that I would tell you to stay, but that's a completely different decision based on other factors.

Everyone says that companies are out for themselves, and so therefore so should we be. In other words, "they're out to screw us, so we should feel comfortable doing the same."

But gee whiz. "Give them the same consideration they would give you in a layoff"?

Since when did doing what you find reprehensible become okay just because someone else did it? Why don't we all step up to a higher standard, starting with US?

If you use THAT as the standard, THAT IS unprofessional and morally objectionable.

Put your head on your pillow at night EASILY. Don't use as your standard something that you look down upon.


UP2L8's picture

I agree with Mark's comments.

In addition, it is a small world. Word gets around within an industry or town. If you make this move others, in addition to your bosses, may view you as selfishly disloyal. This could tarnish your long term opportunities.

This new opportunity does not sound that certain. You use words like "might be a really good fit" and "would likely be a significant pay increase". These are pretty iffy statements. Consider this old saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." These are very uncertain times. I would not give up a job where they valued me. Career management is not just about jumping around.


AManagerTool's picture

41 is right....

*drags out soapbox*

For years now we have been sold the concept that "it's just business" when we are laid off. Therefore, we shouldn't look down upon corporations when they "act in the interests of the shareholders". The basis of the downsizing is not a moral one. Therefore, our actions in our own interests are not morally objectionable when we apply the same business based justifications. Remember that this is the age of "You, Inc.", and this outlook is being encouraged in the prevailing zeitgeist of the business world. You reap what you sow....and I am seeing a whole lotta sowing lately.

It's not about standards, morals, anger, bitterness or what have you. It's just business. A business is simply a legal entity. It's a made up concept. It can't respond to us setting a higher standard or our tears when it fails to live up to it. It's not human and more often than not behaves in that manner. There are some that have leaders that try to be moral of course, but replace those strong leaders with ones that will not stand up to their shareholders and we are back to cold logic as the deciding factor. Sure, there are people working there with you and you should consider well your impact on THEM, but a corporation...Hey, it's just business.

By all means, protect your reputation and if you are jumping ship for an extra 5% at the end of the year, your probably not too bright and I wouldn't hire you for that reason alone. But leaving for legitimate, real business reasons that make sense for You, problem.

*jumps off soapbox and waits for the rotten fruit to hit me...LOL*

AManagerTool's picture

Boy am I glad I don't use my real name...LOL

jhack's picture

Tool, I disagree that it's just business. More than anything else, Manager Tools has taught me that being a good manager means being a good person. It means genuinely caring about your people, and your peers, and the broader community - the corporate body. Even if some of them don't care about you. Even if "the corporation" doesn't have your interests at heart.

Your experiences and beliefs will inform your actions. One person's enlightened self interest is another's cynical selfishness; the guy acting honorably, could it be he's just a sap? Ultimately, you have to look deeply at what you're doing, and why, and what it means for others.

We can choose a personal code of behavior that differs from the prevailing ethos. We can choose to act in ways that don't maximize our personal utility.

Our actions have effects beyond the immediate. Holding oneself to a different standard will involve trade-offs, and yet it can also set an example: Things can be different.

To thine own self be true...

John Hack

AManagerTool's picture

Did I say that I was not a good and moral person? Did I say that I don't hold myself to higher standards? I do. I treat my people well. I also work with moral people. I find fault with applying moral standards to concepts and not people. A company is not people.

jhack's picture

You said, "It's not about standards, morals..." and I disagree. I'm sure you treat your people well, and never suggested otherwise.

A company is people. It is a collection of people (and some tools like pencils or lathes) who have come together to achieve something none could alone. That's my perspective.

Saying "it's just business" isn't a lower or "higher standard." My point was that we can choose a "different" one. We can be more loyal to the company than the company is to us. It's not wrong, it's just a different choice.


bryan's picture
Licensee Badge

 Two follow up questions:

1.  If you're up front with them that you're unlikely to be able to take the position, would it be reasonable to have an initial conversation to find out more about the opportunity.  Or is that just a slippery slope, and its better not to risk being perceived as "leading them on" or to risk your current employer finding out.

2.  What's the most professional way to say no thank you, but keep the relationship going.

Thanks everyone for the good discussion thread.

bryan's picture
Licensee Badge

Whoop... posted it twice.

jhack's picture

1.  You don't owe them an explanation.  If there is no chance you'll take the job, don't interview.  If there is a chance, then go on the interview.  It could be the opportunity of a lifetime.  Or it could be a dead end.

2.  Talk about how the fit isn't good for where your career is headed.  If you know your goals and understand the role, this will be clearly professional, and if they later have a role that DOES fit your profile, then they'll know to call you.  It's about fit, not the firm or you.   

John Hack