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Ask HN: Did you ever resign from a company on your first day?
42 points by narmakse 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 39 comments
I have had an offer from a company in Berlin, Germany around two months ago which I accepted and have had to join next month. I have got a better (much better in terms of salary, relocation benefits, tech stack etc) offer from another company in the same city and I want to accept that. Now a part of me is telling me that I should stick to what I accepted before and it would be wrong if I tell them that I am not coming and the other part of me is telling me that I will not be happy there both from the work that I will be doing and the other monetary benefits and so wants me to accept the second offer.

I am confused now that whether I should join them or accept the other offer. Did you ever had a situation like this, did you ever resign from a company on your first day?

I resigned on my second day. On the second day, it came out that the founder wanted to review my code every 30 minutes. What!? Apparently, he was traumatized by some prima-donna self-proclaimed genius who went off by himself for two months and built entirely the wrong thing. I suggested that he at least give me a day or the afternoon or something. Nope. So I became the Sofa King and I was Sofa King outta there!

Another thing about that founder: He wanted me to write everything by scratch, ground up, nothing outside of Apple APIs, out of fear of patents and copyrights. I'm sorry, but that's just technical ignorance. In that case, go ahead and use 3rd party libraries, but do it mediated through a facade or some kind of adapter library, so you can rapidly switch to another one. This gives the best of both worlds -- more rapidly put together a functioning App, but still be immune to people changing licensing terms.

> In that case, go ahead and use 3rd party libraries, but do it mediated through a facade or some kind of adapter library, so you can rapidly switch to another one.

That’s how I was taught to do it. But I’ve yet to see people take the time to do this in real-life Code.

A coworker of mine used the technique to port the company's application from using an old object database to Oracle. People certainly use this in real-life code.

What adapter library?

The one you write.

I don't think that would do much to shield you from patent/copyright claims.

It actually sounds more like he wanted to classify all of your work as Research & Development so he could amortize the cost of your salary or write it off on the company's taxes.

Be honest. Tell HR the truth. Tell them the other company has offered you a much bigger salary. Tell them that salary is very important to you at this stage of your life.

The big question.....have you signed a contract? If not then get the second contract signed before you diss the first. You never know what might happen. Even if it entails traveling there to sign the contract...do it. And while you are there go in person to the first company that offered you. I believe that until you sign the contract you still have room to make changes. The contract is the key. If you have already signed a contract with the first company it could mean trouble. That changes everything.

I once worked for a company that did some intensive training sessions for the first week. When I finally got around to working on their codebase it was entirely written in VB. This was something they chose to leave out in terms of their technical stack. I had better opportunities working with a consulting gig that later got me relocated and that led me to even better opportunities later down the road. It's better to just pursue what you want than get bogged down, just be professional and straightforward about it.

Yes. I accepted a job some years ago at a company that was working a contract for a General Dynamics subsidiary in Georgia (some of you will know exactly which one). They had incredible difficulty giving me a start date and strung me along after signing for about a month.

I was extremely eager to get out of my then-current employer, so the situation became extremely stressful to me. I didn't want to burn a bridge with my then-employer and wanted to give them a full two-week's notice.

Eventually I'd had enough of waiting and gave them my resignation before I worked a single day, even though I was supposedly an employee (went through full handbook, tax stuff, etc). This was on a Friday morning. The full rest of my day was them calling me over and over convincing me that they could start me the following Monday.

I still walked -- not worth that kind of disorganization and hassle. I'm convinced that the whole time I wasn't working they were billing the client for me to be there. ...They paid a lot of money for my background check too... whoops!

Did you already have another offer or did you resign to just continue the job search?

I stayed at my then-current job until I relocated back to New York and changed careers (into development).

As an employee I almost resigned the first week at a startup but convinced myself the bad vibe I was getting was an overreaction. It wasn't. I ended up resigning within six months.

As an occasional hiring manager I would prefer a candidate reject my job offer as early as possible. First, so I can revisit the other candidates and hopefully not have to repeat the entire process. Second, if the new employee quits, it's more expensive to restart the process six months.

I don't know German employment law, but in the US you would have no obligation to the employer unless you've accepted reimbursement already or signed a contract of some sort, and even then you can usually work out not takng the job.

What were examples of those bad vibes?

The company was hyper focused on developing a complex solution which was not practical for the state of technology at the time, yet dropped everything to burn three weeks of development time on a pet project of one of the founders which had absolutely nothing to do with the core product of the company.

Good grief, that sounds terrible.

End of the first week, from the first place I worked out of college. A web design/dev shop in Connecticut that built out sites for schools and hospitals, mostly. This was back in 2008.

I had joined and was learning the ropes of their dev process. There was still some paperwork that needed to be signed. Someone brought me the contract to sign, and I read it through, and it had a non-compete clause that said that I could not work for rival company, or "any other software engineering company" in "connecticut, new england, the eastern United States, or anywhere else in the United States" for "a minimum of 2 years." No joke.

I asked them what that was all about, and they said it was a company policy. I did some research, learned all about non-competes, and told them that the clause was so broad that it would never be upheld, but they said everyone just signs it. I told them no, grabbed my stuff and drove home. Was probably one of the best decisions I made, since the path I went down led me to a company that was acquired by Fb, etc etc

Yes. Took a job with a defense contractor in the UK. On day 1 they told me that it would take 6 months to get security clearance. The bummer was that the men's bathroom was in a secure area and I would have to be escorted every time. On day 1 I quit.

That says a lot about the company. How moronic not putting another toilet in a less secure place.

Yeah, they'd have to be some new rookie company to make a mistake like that. In fact, it was EDS :0)

Signed the employment contract with the first company? Then notice period during the trial period applies. Didn’t sign? Ghost them, send an email, whatever. Don’t feel obliged in any way if the employment contract hasn’t been signed by both parties. I see no problem with resigning on the first day (if they want cheap, they’ll pay twice) although I’ve never done it myself. Personal advice? IT companies in Berlin are awful cheapskates, make everyone a favor and increase the average.

There are laws in some countries where the contractual notice period is not applicable if you haven't served enough time with the company. As always consult a lawyer before doing anything in this situation.

> Did you ever resign from a company on your first day?

More or less.

I once received an offer from a great company doing avionics. In a bizarre turn of events I then received an offer out of the blue with a company I'd applied to about 18 months previously and had forgotten about.

The result was I rang the first company and told them I wouldn't be starting the following Monday after all. I felt bad, but the truth is I'm pretty sure they were able to fill that slot quickly enough.

I would follow your heart - that first company really doesn't want to have an employee that doesn't really want to be there...

I have been in the exact same situation 6 years ago. I found a good job that I accepted but my girlfriend found a job abroad the week after. I decided to let go of the offer I had already signed to relocate with her.

It sucks big time to call someone and let them down (especially since I called on Christmas :s). But it's much more desirable than joining anyways with after thoughts. Worse thing you can live with is regrets. They'll find someone else in a couple weeks.

Do what you want to do and don't consider the effect on the company. Your priority should be to make the best decision for yourself and your own interests.

Definitely let them know immediately. You not being happy in your job (because of a better offer), or you quitting within first 3 months, is much worse than saying even a day in advance that you had other offer and this is how things are. Really tell them your position, there is nothing wrong with this.

That an employee quits the first day or does not show up sucks big time. It is better to say that another process that you thought had failed resurrected and had much better salary and relocation benefits. Tell them it was a difficult decision (it was, you even asked it in HN) but that you felt you had to decline it because you felt than joining the company with strong feelings of regret could seriously jeopardize your performance. Tell them that since you found the job offer interesting (indeed you accepted it) if you ever become available again, you would let them know in case there is a matching opportunity.

> Tell them that since you found the job offer interesting (indeed you accepted it) if you ever become available again, you would let them know in case there is a matching opportunity.

The equivalent of the phrase from the rejection email: "shall any matching opportunities arise in the future we will totally contact you again" :)

Take the better offer (politely and professionally). It's just business not a play date.

if your going to do it tell them as soon as possible. It will probably burn bridges, but don't get stuck at job your not going to like.

Exactly, they need to hire someone for that position now. I dont know employment law in germany, but I doubt they want a miserable employee, and they'll want to start searching immediately.

In the US, in tech, it is relatively common for people to sign an offer and then change their mind and choose to not join. It happened a few times in different companies where I worked. It wasn't really a big deal, it is considered part of the game.

Note that the opposite can happen too and it is much more frequent. It can happen especially to students. They get an offer starting in 6 months after they graduate and by then the company has problems, like layoffs or hiring freeze, so they cancel the offer.

If company A is paying you much less than company B, that means they are paying you below your market value. So it is up to them to either match the other offer or lose you.

  Note that the opposite can happen too...It can 
  happen especially to students. They get an offer
  starting in 6 months after they graduate and by 
  then the company has problems, like layoffs or 
  hiring freeze, so they cancel the offer.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine was hired by a well-known tech company (based in NYC) but was soon laid off just 2 months later, together with several other newly hired employees, due to the financial difficulties the company had at the time (at least that's the reason he explained to me). It should not be that he was not fit for the job position, or something related to his capability (the job was an entry-level one...I knew him well and he was a fresh PhD graduate at the time).

I just feel that it is quite often that the value of morality is overlooked for profit (or at least financial) reason, especially for big organizations. The larger an organization is, the more rational and more abstract, and less human, it becomes -- especially for employees working at the bottom of the hierarchy.

Morality usually is valued most for individual human beings (perhaps that's also the reason why the OP is having the feeling of cognitive dissonance that is described in his question)...The rules of morality are quite different at a level of statistical aggregation of individuals...

This attitude doesn't really apply to Germany, where OP is from.

Yes, it happened once a long time ago. The job interview was held at a beautiful office but when I arrived at my workplace (my fault that I did not ask where exactly my seat would be) I saw a different building a squalid conditions, dirty and without heating. I resigned at the end of my first day

Take the better offer, tell the losing company ASAP.

I'm confused, "first day"? Wont you start in only a month?

Pretend everything is ok and announce you are quitting just on the first day, that would be unprofessional.

Confirm and sign with the other company and inform that you will refuse the offer of the first one as soon as you have this confirmation. That's professional.

Sign with the other company then resign from the first. This is not uncommon. How ever do it now before starting and taking any relocation assistance from the first company.

You don’t owe anything to anyone, but be fair with them and just tell them you got a better offer and you won’t be starting at all, don’t wait for the first day to start and resign...

Wrong in what sense? You owe them the courtesy of explaining your decision, but that's about it. It's your life, it's just business for them.

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