How to do right by my friend, and myself?
November 2, 2011 5:25 PM Subscribe
A friend helped me to get a temp position at her office. If a better and permanent offer for another position comes along before my temp contract is up, what would be the ethical thing to do?
posted by sorrysockpuppet to Work & Money (11 answers total)
After a rather unhappy stint as a lawyer in private practice, I've found myself drawn to various careers in the public service. These careers appeal to me because I'd like to continue applying my legal education and experience, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Over the last few months I've applied to various interesting positions that I believe I am well suited to and qualified for, and I have passed the initial screening for each of these positions, but lord almighty, do these hiring processes ever move slowly! My friends who work in other government departments have told me that it can take from several months up to a year to go from screening applications to contacting applicants for testing. With that in mind, one of these friends very kindly went out of their way to help me get a temp job working with them.
The job is an entry level admin position, is capped at a certain number of days (works out to a few months), and is very unlikely to lead to anything more lucrative for me, but I am very excited to have the extra income, to get back to a regular work schedule, and to work alongside my good friend. However, I'm worried about what to do if something else comes up more quickly than anticipated. I really have no idea when I might get a call or email, and there is no way to find out what the timelines are for these hiring processes. Another friend has just contacted me about a possible opportunity that could start within a month.
My husband feels there should be no dilemma - I should take this temp job, and if I get an offer that is significantly higher paying and permanent, and could lead to a great career, then of course I should jump at it. He thinks my friend should understand what the stakes are. Since it's my friend who has done me a big favor, my feelings about ditching the temp job are less clear cut. I'd hate to put my friend in an awkward position with their superiors if I wind up leaving after working just a couple of weeks. I haven't started yet, so it's still possible to decline the offer and give them the chance to find someone else. But then again, we could really use the extra income and I'd feel pretty dumb if nothing comes up when I could have been working.
In your opinion, what would be the ethical thing to do? Should I discuss the possibilities with my friend now and let them know what my intentions are if something better comes up, or keep my mouth shut until a conflict actually arises?