Should I go or not.
March 21, 2010 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Not sure if I should go to a conference or not due to imminent resignation.

On Friday I verbally accepted a new job (yay) but have not yet had the signed contract through and until that I'm not going to quit my current job. Small ethical issue for me is that I'm meant to be going away next week on a work paid conference and assuming all goes to plan I will officially quit when I come back.
Now this is pricking my conciseness that I shouldn't go as there is someone else I know who wants to go and would benefit from it more. Not quite sure what to do on this one. My current boss probably doesn't know that I'm looking to jump ship.

What would you do? Cost of conference is about $1000 all in per person
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Would it be possible for you to expedite the contract-signing process so you can resign prior to the conference?

Could you give your conference space over to your colleague, telling your boss you need to take the day off for personal reasons you'd prefer not to talk about?
posted by Mike1024 at 11:13 AM on March 21, 2010

I would probably just tell the boss that something has come up, and that this other person ought to go to the conference in your stead.

I wouldn't make anything up, but just say that you think it would be better for you and for the company if this other person went. If they push you on it, I guess the ethical thing to do is be honest- you may be getting a job offer and you don't want to waste the company's time and money going to a conference if the offer comes through.

Whether you end up getting the job or not, your current company will see that as a stand-up move on your part. (Whether they like it is a different story- but changing jobs is a reality of working life, and even if you stay, they will know that you did something you didn't have to do for their benefit.)

The only question I would ask myself (you, in this case) is what are the costs of changing the reservations and all that?
posted by gjc at 11:15 AM on March 21, 2010 [3 favorites]

if it's really bothering you, then just make up an excuse as to why you can't go (sick, family emergency, etc) and put the other person's name forward to go in your stead.
posted by lia at 11:15 AM on March 21, 2010

Not sure about corporate etiquette, but, as an academic, I would have no problem going to a work paid conference before leaving a job. Part of it would depend on whether I was just going to go or whether I had some other professional reason to be there (committees, giving a paper, etc.). Will you be out anything from canceling travel plans (flight costs, etc)? That would also figure in my calculations.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:39 AM on March 21, 2010

Speaking as someone who has had a job offer yanked after a verbal agreement, you don't have a new job yet. So burning bridges is not a wise move. Having said that, it's great that you are thinking about your colleague's needs. I would find some way to send him/her without tipping your hand.
posted by media_itoku at 11:39 AM on March 21, 2010 [2 favorites]

If you have not signed the contract yet don't do ANYTHING that might jeopardize your current position. Go to the conference as a representative of your current employer as planned.
posted by labwench at 11:45 AM on March 21, 2010

Go to the conference. In my experience, due to cherry picking and the inherent networking that goes on at conferences and trade shows, quitting one's job upon return is quite common. At one job, we actually used to conduct betting pools as to how many people would resign after a given show that lots of salespeople were attending. It won't look weird.
posted by rhizome at 12:00 PM on March 21, 2010

Yep, I've also had a job offer yanked after merely a verbal agreement. You don't have a new job yet. As far as your life is concerned, you still work where you still work. Act accordingly.
posted by cgg at 12:08 PM on March 21, 2010

Me, I would say "with XYZ meeting that just came up, and ABC project that I want to move forward, I think Sally should go to the conference in my place."
posted by salvia at 12:29 PM on March 21, 2010

Nthing go to the conference. It would be a far different thing if you had a signed contract with the new employer...but you don't. There's a lot that could go wrong here and I've seen it before. Maybe the VP who has to sign off on the deal doesn't do it for some reason. Maybe there's a budget freeze or some other budget snafu that causes the offer to be rescinded. There's a million other things that could go haywire in a short period of time.

Enjoy the conference!
posted by inturnaround at 12:56 PM on March 21, 2010

I would go to the conference. You are acting in good faith and waiting for a written offer that could fall through.

Take good notes, and write up a thoughtful trip report complete with contact info of interesting folks you've met to pass on to your colleagues at your current job.
posted by mozhet at 1:29 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I worked for a company once that had a policy about this. If you went to conferences, training, and the like, you had to stay with the company for (2 or 3?) months. If you didn't, no problem but they deducted the amount from your last paycheck.

I cast my vote with Mike1024: Expedite the contract.
posted by Houstonian at 3:11 PM on March 21, 2010

If you were your boss/supervisor, what would you want one of your employees to do? Do that.
posted by gjc at 4:21 PM on March 21, 2010

Jerk move. The least important consideration is that it's now a waste of money for your soon-to-be-former employer. It means that one of your colleagues will miss out (if you'd been honest enough to suggest to your boss that someone else go), it means that your boss will look like an idiot to whoever s/he had to make a business case to, and it means that the people you used to work with will have a harder time getting this sort of thing approved in the future.
posted by rodgerd at 11:05 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Until you have a signed contract, you have nothing (I've seen this before too). Either get the contract more quickly, or continue to act as if you don't have another job coming.
posted by lowlife at 10:20 AM on March 22, 2010

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