Loyalty to current employer


Assume you have plans to look out for a new job in the not too-distant future (a few months), but your current employer is investing in you heavily, planning to send you to a very expensive training (several thousand USD).
Likely, it will not be possible to cancel the training and get the money back for the company, at least not fully,
but you will likely never be able to apply what you have learned as you will leave the company very soon after that training. Of course, if you were to inform your current employer about your plans, they could well choose another person or just save the money.

On the other hand, obviously, it may be wise to not inform your current employer about your plans to leave the company, as you still do not know 100% sure whether it is going to work out with the new job and you are afraid it could be detrimental to your career in case you stay with the current company longer than expected.

What would you do in such a dilemma?


Likely there will be a clause that you must stay with the company a certain amount of time after the training or pay back the cost.

Personally I would delay the job hunt until that time had passed.

If there is none I would wait 6 months to a year.

If there is a way to not do the training without informing your employer of your plans that would be preferable.


You don’t do anything based on what if. Unless you have another job offer already, don’t inform your boss of your plans because they may not come to fruition. Most employers know that it’s a gamble when they train employees that they will be the beneficiary of that training.



My default position is that my employer gets all the loyalty he has paid for; not a bit more.

Having said that,if it is a smaller company, and you have a relationship with the owner that may require some modification.

The employer takes a chance on every employee that an investment in the employee may not pay of as expected. The Employee takes a chance on the employer that the employer may use the employee and then let them go at the first sign of business trouble.

If your plans are fluid, and thereason you are looking at the possibility of a new job is only to advance your career, then take the training. It may advance you within your company so that you need not move on. A job in the hand is worth 2 off in neverland.

Full disclosure; I hate job search.



Before accepting the training, ask what obligations you have to the employer as a condition of accepting it. “This looks very expensive to you. If I finish the training and the next day I’m offered a Cabinet position or even a more attractive job than this one–hard to imagine, I know, but stay with me–am I free to take it?”

You don’t have to say you are looking for another job; that is your business. You ought to establish with the employer that the employer should not give you training that the employer believes would oblige you not to even consider taking a different job without being upfront about what the obligation is and giving you the choice to turn down the added obligation.


Also, you may be required to not work for a company that is in competition with your current employer, for a year after you leave.

Be sure it’s not the case.

If your employer is investing in you, that’s a good sign and I don’t understand why you’d leave such a job.



There is no easy way to avoid the training without being upfront about the reason, as they of course would ask why one does not take the chance, and lying about it is of course not the best solution. I do not think that there will be any kind of written/formal agreement which would require to stay with the company for a certain time span after the training. It is more of a “moral” thing, if you know what I mean, the company is really trusting in the employees in a lot of aspects, which makes it harder.


You cannot tell your current employer you are planning to find other work until you have an offer with another company that you have accepted, and then you can tell your employer you’re leaving in however many weeks/ months you’re permitted to give notice. Once you tell an employer you’re planning to leave, you are professionally dead at that employer, and if for some reason you don’t find another job, your employer will probably be looking to terminate you. Only a fool would reveal they were leaving before they’d accepted another offer.

The only exception would be a situation where the employer is going to terminate you by a certain date anyway and they are allowing you to remain for X number of months for the sole purpose of you finding another job, so they can present your departure as a voluntary one and not risk some negative consequence like a lawsuit or bad publicity.

You would be best off just taking the training and not saying anything. It is to your advantage to do so as you will be better trained for the next employer and that might help you get a better job, or more money.

I don’t know how it is in other countries, but in USA, there is no such thing any more as “loyalty to an employer” unless possibly the employer is your personal friend, relative or mentor and you don’t want to hurt them because you have a personal tie. Employers can terminate you whenever they like and in a very short span of time. Employees need to look out for themselves.


When I worked for a City, they would do tuition reimbursement. If I went back to school, they would refund me half of my tuition after my passing grades were submitted.

They had a problem, however, with people turning promptly around and running off to the private sector with their new degree to get a better, higher-paying job. So by the time I got there, they had a process in place: if you accept money from the City, you have to repay them x% if you leave within two years. In the first 6 months, you had to repay 100%; within 12 months, 75%; within 18 months, 50%; within 24 months, 25%. Or whatever.

I thought it was very fair. I tried getting hired on at the City in my chosen field (libraries), but they were frozen for pretty much the entire 2 years. I volunteered anyways, as my way of giving back, even though I maintained my employment elsewhere in the City, and for visibility, but when they told me to my face, “You’re doing such a great job for free! Why in the world would we pay you?” —yeah, my 2 years was up in December, and I started my new job with other people by Valentine’s Day.

Anyhow. Why are you wanting to leave? Your employer likes you enough to invest in you, so they obviously like your work and expect you to be around for a while. If it’s something like, “I can earn more money elsewhere,” then you need to have a heart-to-heart with your employer. “I really like y’all, but I’m having trouble meeting my bills at my current salary. I’m not sure how long I can keep it up here without looking elsewhere.” And then you give them a chance to give you what it is you’re looking for---- but the flip side is, if they make a concession to accommodate you, you make a concession by being a stable employee for a few more years.


Ah, I understand, thank you!
You see, in my country, it is not that easy to let people go if they do not want to.
You have all kinds of rights and can make serious trouble with lawsuits and whatnot and even have a decent chance to win. I am really happy with my current employer and only want to leave because I am planning to move to another part of the country for personal reasons.


He would be foolish to say that. That is a giant RED FLAG that he has one foot out the door. And he would be professionally dead at that company.

You don’t even hint that you might be leaving. If there is a training offer like tuition reimbursement where there is a payback policy, it will be in a policy memo or manual. You can look that up quietly without asking anyone and throwing up red flags.


Would you perhaps be in Germany? If so - are you in a union and can you talk to your rep or to your union peers about how best to handle?

I know things are very different there with respect to hiring and firing. Still, I am sure that managers do take notice of signals that employees might be leaving.

In your situation, one might consider talking to your manager and saying about wanting to move to another part of the country and asking if perhaps there is the opportunity to work from a distance or have a transfer, stressing all along how much you really like the company. But I would ask your union contacts first (if you have any) because I know there are odd laws about distance work there too, not like USA where many times you do not need to be in an office and no legal requirement that you be there.


If I were the OP, I’d take the training and stay with the company for a while.

After all, the training can be placed on your resume and enhance future job searches.



This is not a forum on how to get ahead. It is a forum about morality. Catholic morality is predicated on the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This is not as foolish as you imply. In the business world, it is known as integrity. It is highly valued by any employer worth working for.

Having said that, if the employer has a policy manual that outlines these things clearly, then you are correct: the employee isn’t required to disclose private matters but is only required not to lie either by commission or omission. By omission, I mean failing to disclose things that the employer has a right to know, not maintaining privacy. I want to clearly recognize that you are NOT suggesting whatsoever that the employee would lie!!

Getting back to the Golden Rule, though…if you were the employer, how would you want your employees to treat you? What is a reasonable expectation? That is an important matter. This isn’t a relationship between two parties that have declared war, after all, when the expectation is that the parties in declared enmity are more free to act in self-defense because both parties have made each other well aware of their position with respect to each other.


Ah. So if you’re moving for personal reasons— it’s the sort of thing you bring up in casual conversation, and the grapevine carries it to where it needs to go, so that when you do end up turning in notice, no one is surprised. You leave your course of action open-ended… but you set up the situation so that it doesn’t blindside anyone.

Sort of like— “Yeah, my mom is getting sick. She lives in Brussels. I’m not sure how much longer she’s going to be able to live by herself. I need to figure out if I’m bringing her down here, or if I need to go move to Brussels to be with her.”


“I met this girl on the Internet. She lives in Aberdeen. We’re thinking about getting married, but we can’t agree on whether we’d live in Aberdeen or here! Hahaha!”


“My uncle in Barcelona is having trouble running his business. He’s asking me if I can come help him for a while. I really don’t want to go to Barcelona, but you know how it is with family. Ugh.”

Or whatever the issue at stake is.


Excuse me, but there is nothing immoral about common sense when dealing with an employer, especially in the USA. And there is nothing immoral about taking an offered training and then leaving. If the employer doesn’t want you to do that, they put a reimbursement policy in place, such as the other poster explained. If you leave within X months then you pay back Y dollars.

Employers, at least in US, know that a certain number of employees they train are going to leave. The training they offer is often not even for purposes of keeping the person around long term. There are many reasons why companies offer training.

Like I said, if you are from some other country, maybe things work differently there.

I have to assume from some of these posts that the people posting have not been in the USA job market acting like rational employees. You talk like it’s a sin to make sure that you can have a decent job or career and continue to pay your bills, feed your family and support your church. Moreover, this employee is not irreplaceable and the company will not go bankrupt if he leaves. They would replace him and move on.

Please use some common sense. Have you worked for corporate employers? Did you tell them in advance when you were planning to leave?


I’m with Tis_Bearself on this one. It’s common sense and not immoral to be cautious about discuss future plans to leave a current position.


Again, that would be signaling that he’s going to leave.

Don’t ever rely on “the grapevine” for anything. Why would you do that? You can get yourself in a huge amount of trouble that way.

Either just don’t say anything, or have the conversation with the employer about a possible transfer, stressing that you like the company and don’t want to leave - and preferably only after you have checked discreetly with union, colleagues, policy handbook etc on whether this is actually a possibility.


Hm… probably it is really better not to say anything for the time being.
There could be a way to prevent going to that training without the need to lie.
I could try to provoke a time collision, scheduling other important meetings for the time the training is going to take place. It is not yet formally signed or anything. If the decision nears, I could say that I cannot go. It would require some planning and scheming, but it could work.
Dunno… all those feel a bit awkward.


You said you like the employer.
It is not a sure thing that you will find another job.
It is also not a sure thing that the employer couldn’t find a way for you to move and still stay employed.
Why not take the training?
You might end up staying there for long enough to make it worthwhile.

Besides, if you say there is a time conflict now, they may just try to schedule it again in a few months, so unless you are leaving like super fast, then you will just have this problem again.

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