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Is it Wrong to Ditch a New Job for a Better Offer?

Show the company that hired you the respect that they deserve.

 Q: A friend of mine just went through a long job search, applying to dozens of companies and getting turned down every time. He finally got a good offer and quickly accepted it. After he had been there a month -- getting trained and enjoying the work and his new colleagues -- he heard from another firm where he had interviewed during his search and was offered what he called his dream job. He quit the first job and jumped to the second. Do you think this was ethical?

No, I don’t. Call me old-fashioned, but I think he owed his first employer longer service in return for the good faith shown in hiring him and the cost of training him. How much longer? Hard to say, but more than one month. He should have told the second firm that he was honored by the offer but felt an obligation to stay where he was. He could have kept in touch with the company and hoped that another position would open up later.

Q: Recently I learned that a school-board member in my region applied and interviewed for a librarian/business teacher position at a school under her board’s jurisdiction. Only after she was hired did she resign from the board. Everyone involved says she was shown no favoritism in the process, but I think the appearance of impropriety is terrible. How about you?

I agree. I am astounded that the school board’s ethics rules permit a member to apply for a paid school position while sitting on the board. If a board member wants to compete for a school job on the same basis as all other applicants, she should be required to resign first and take her chances. Otherwise, it’s impossible to refute a charge of favoritism. The policy should be changed.

Have a money-and-ethics question you'd like answered in this column? Write to Editor in Chief Knight Kiplinger at