This past Friday, I was offered a six-month contract position working for employer X. The conversation started out with: “Are you interested in this being part-time or full-time?” meaning they were flexible on the hours that could be worked, and I said that I’m interested in full-time only so long as it has the possibility of leading to a full-time, salaried job. There will be two full-time, salaried jobs opening up in 3-5 months, which she made a point to mention, though she also said of course that she obviously can’t guarantee that I’d get it. So we talked about it, and the hiring manager said she would draft a contract and send it my way early this week, like today or tomorrow. She sounded excited about it. And I should probably also mention that they are voluntarily paying me a little bit more than the rate I asked for (actual amount unclear until I see the contract). So I kind of verbally said yes, but did not say “I accept” or sign anything, as I haven’t seen the contract yet.
THEN: This morning I found out I am have a final interview for a full-time, salaried position with employer Y that I would very much want. The interview is tomorrow, but I suspect they wouldn’t be able to let me know their final decision until next week, or possibly Dec 1. I plan to let them know that I have another offer and hopefully ask them if they might be able to let me know by next week (right? this gives me anxiety about pressuring them, but I kind of have to).
WHAT SHOULD I TELL EMPLOYER X??? I have to tell them about this situation, right?
I am a little afraid of telling them that I need to wait a bit, because then they might think I view them as second-best and subtly damage my chances of getting that eventual full-time job, if I do not get an offer from employer Y. But then again, I feel like it would be shitty not to say anything. And what I’m doing is not reneging at this point yet, right?? I said I’m on board on the phone with employer X on Friday, but again, I haven’t seen a contract or signed anything.
Do you think Employer X will understand if I tell them that I need to consider the possibility of this other job offer simply because it is a full-time salaried position, while this one has no guarantee of an eventual job? Do you think they would understand? What do I doooooooooo I have lots of stress about this.
SUBJECT: RE: HELP
When I read your letter, I started to get really into it: This IS a predicament! Yikes! Oof! What should you do? I was thinking about a lot of manipulation tactics, stalling tactics, strategic lying 101.
But it’s not that complicated actually, no tactics needed at all, not yet. Here’s what you do:
You treat the offer and the interview as two separate things, which they are. Continue with Employer X in the manner that you would if there was no Employer Y. Which there may not be! They could cancel; they could have already decided to hire the boss’s son, but have to interview a woman to satisfy HR; they could be fully intending to hire you and then they lose a client and their budget dries up, oops. Anything could happen. So yes, accept the job from Employer X, get that ball rolling. Be excited, it’s a job that could lead to a better job. Sounds great.
But is it dishonest, to accept one job while you’re holding out for another job? Nope. It’s not personal, it’s business. What a good mantra, especially for women: It’s not personal, it’s business. They don’t care about helping you make the best decision for your life. They are not your friends. They are trying to hire you for a job. Do you want it? Yes you want it. Sign the dotted line. It’s a contract for at-will employment, reserving their right to fire you and your right to quit. It’s not a blood bond. You can break it. No one is going to sue you. (I mean, read the contract before you sign it, butttttttttttt I’m like 99% sure you’re okay unless you’re like, a contract killer? IDK.) (I am not a lawyer, did you know I’m not a lawyer?)
So what happens if you accept this job and then get offered the other job? You will give notice. You will say, “I was just offered a job that I had to take, I’m sorry, but I need to give notice.” You will probably do this over email. It will be uncomfortable. They will be pissed because now they have to find someone else to hire. They might be really pissed! I mean, I probably would be. But also, that’s the way it goes. Sometimes you hire people and then they leave two weeks later. Sometimes you hire people and you fire them two weeks later. Anything could happen. There are more unknowns than knowns, always will be.
Take care of you. Accept the job. Interview for the other job. If you get that job and you want that job, accept that job. This next few weeks is going to be stressful, thinking of what is and what might be. It’ll be stressful waiting to hear about the interview. It’ll be stressful if you get the job, and stressful if you don’t. But it’ll be over soon, and one way or another, you’ll have a job. Transitions are graceless, but then they’re done. You’re going to be okay.