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Ask Dave

Just be honest

Jeff accepted a job one month ago. Now, he's being offered another position at a different company for twice the salary. He wants to do the right thing, and Dave walks him through this uncomfortable situation.

QUESTION: Jeff took a new job about four weeks ago. Just the other day, he was recruited by another company for a position paying twice what he makes now. Jeff didn’t sign a contract stipulating how long he would work for his current company, but he values integrity and wants to handle things well and do the right thing. Dave gives him some advice for handling this uncomfortable situation.

ANSWER: I try to put other people’s shoes on. Let’s pretend you own the company, and you just hired a young guy. Then, somebody offered him double and he walked into your office and said that. I can tell you what would happen here. I’d tell him to take it, because I would. And I’m not going to double his income that quickly.

Now, if you’ve got an unreasonable person working there, they may not say that. They may try to put some kind of guilt trip on you or something like that. But truthfully, if an organization cares about its team members, and one of those has the ability to double their income and they’re not breaking a promise in the process, then it’s a reasonable thing for you to take the job.

I would probably want to walk into a leader or supervisor’s office and just say that. Just let them know that you feel awful about the situation, and tell them you know they’re good people and they wouldn’t expect you to stay if you had the opportunity to make double what you’re making there. Let them know you had no intention of being misleading to them when you came in and that you’ll do everything you can to make the transition as easy as possible.

But I think you take the job. Just talk about the awkwardness out loud, and remember that their reaction may be more about them than anything else. But I mean, as the boss or owner of the company, how am I ever going to feel right about that if I ask you to stay?

That’s how I would handle it. All I’m doing there is treating other people the way I like to be treated—as an employer or an employee. I would just walk in there and tell the truth. Just make dadgum sure you’ve got the other one tied up before you do that.