Loyalty to current employer


From an ethical standpoint, I think it’s better to be honest with your employer before they make the investment in your training.

If I were the employer and you quit on me after I made the investment, you can be sure I’d let other businesses know what you did to me.




Great points, and a sobering reminder that our responsibilities as Christians are not defined by what is best for us individually.

I still think it would depend on the nature of the relationship the employee has had with the employer, and in particular the type of relationship the employer has sought to have. That is, an employer who has sought to have a strictly business relationship with employees, sabotaging their efforts to advance in their careers and then laying them off after years of service without trying to help them find new work, then it would be reasonable for the employee to abide by the terms the employer set forth and not unnecessarily disclose information when it might be disadvantageous to do so. (That still wouldn’t make it OK to lie, but there is a difference between lying and withholding information.)

On the other hand, if the employer has tried to foster a better relationship than that, the employee should honor that by being honest. There the employee might have a talk with his or her boss, saying, “I really appreciate that you are investing in me as an employee, but I’m honestly not sure this is the path for me.” Yes, it’s a risk, but it is certainly a more Christian way of doing things, and it could offer other advantages as well. The employer might be able to find someone who is better suited for the opportunities they had in mind for you, but might also be open to helping you more forward on the path you want to be on, recommending you to people or introducing you to people they might know who could provide opportunities for you. There may even be opportunities within the company you are already at that would be a good fit but that the employer just hadn’t thought of for you because he or she didn’t understand your goals. Here honesty could work in your favor, in addition to just being a good thing to do.

I am reminded reminded of the words of Wilson Miznor, “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”


A lot of it depends on where he works.

If he works in a skilled, white-collar job that requires very specific skills or degrees, then yeah, that’s no problem to signal. It’s considered polite-- “Hey, I’m six months pregnant. I’ll stay home with the baby after he’s born, but if you’ll let me bring him to the office, I’ll stay long enough to get y’all through summer reading.” Or, “Hey, I’m getting married in November, and we’re moving 200 miles away, because that’s where his job offer was. I’ll stay until [date], but my last day will probably be in mid-September, to give me time to get relocated and find a job in the new city.” Because people with the skills and education to match yours just don’t grow on trees, so a few months’ notice is polite.

If he works in an unskilled job that hires any warm body, then, yeah. You keep your business to yourself. You give your two weeks’ notice, and you’re not surprised if they say, “No problem. Don’t bother coming in next week.”

But if he’s undergoing training that costs thousands of dollars, that gives me the impression he’s not just a grunt working the Tyson chicken line, or someone who’s working the drive-thru, or someone who’s waiting tables.

Leaving my City job for another city 100 miles away was the only time I left with only the minimum notice. I was a secretary— but my boss knew I was dissatisfied at not being able to use my degree, and when I started taking occasional days off (to go to an interview, or to look for a house to buy), he was able to guess at what was coming even before I said anything. :slight_smile: Because he was smart. :slight_smile:


This is often not permitted from a legal standpoint. Also, the new employer is unlikely to pay attention to it, even if it was permitted.


I undergo training that costs “thousands of dollars” every year. So do a lot of other people at my level. It’s considered a cost of doing business. You still do your 2 weeks notice, or 2 months notice, or whatever is conventional/ required by the company (they often ask for a 2 months notice even though legally it can be shorter). It’s not a big deal.

The more important consideration here is that I don’t think this person is in the USA. He said he has a lot of rights attached to his job, which is often the case for European workers. He should be looking at his rights and responsibilities from the legal perspective of whatever country he is in. I work for a European company and I work with a lot of fellow employees not based in USA. There are different practices in every country.

Bottom line is I don’t think this is really a moral issue. It’s more an issue of common sense in terms of what is legally required, the likely consequences to whatever he says, what can be worked out with the employer, and how urgent or definite it is that he move away or join a different employer.

We get into trouble when we begin viewing economic issues as moral ones. Employment is essentially a strategy game, particularly where there is no question of either illegality, fraud, or exploitation of workers. You are better off not applying a moral lens to things that are not really moral issues. The only way I can see this being a moral issue is if the guy is going to be harming a good friend, relative, or mentor, or causing the company to collapse (thus putting a bunch of people out of work) by his action. It doesn’t sound like any of this applies.

Given that I am not seeing a moral dimension here, and have given sufficient real world advice, I will now mute the thread.


Yeah, I forgot about that.

Wasn’t always the case in my working years.



I did not say it was immoral to keep one’s own counsel. I just don’t think it is foolish to actually treat other people as you would like to be treated. I guess I both know people who work for businesses and also people who own and operate businesses.

Having said that, please tell me that no one really thinks that everything an employee can think to do is OK just because employers have learned to foresee it could happen! Everyone wants to be treated with integrity by others.

I guess I have worked in an area that is a small enough world that people know others in the field and whether or not they look out only for themselves. A lot more of even the business world is smaller than people think.


I have this rule: Any plan that depends on a phrase like “they’ll never know” in order to work is probably a bad plan.


All of this is absolutely true. It varies by company, but generally it’s employment suicide to indicate (even subtly) that you are looking for another job. If you’re not in a union and are an employee-at-will, you can be terminated at any time and for any reason that’s not protected legally. This happens at my husband’s employer all the time. The people dumb enough to say something end up walking out the door soon after with their stuff and no notice.

OP, if you are not in the USA circumstances are probably different, however I do not believe that you have any moral obligation to tell anyone anything. It’s not wise to say anything before you even find a job anyway- you don’t want to be seen as the person with one foot out the door when you don’t have anything as a backup.


Agreed (and mostly with Tis_Bearself). The biggest issue I see with the viewpoints expressed in this thread is that, at this time, the OP has no concrete plans for a job change. If the OP had an offer in hand (that OP also accepted), I think I’d agree with the camp that says to tell the employer. But, there is no such other job. The OP can always change his/her mind over the next few months - in that case, it would be good to have the training.


“Plans to look” may amount to nothing. What if you begin to look in a few months and do not find a suitable position for a year or longer? Or what if you postpone your job search for other reasons such as unexpected issues of your health, unexpected family obligations, or a decline in the job-market? Plans to look may amount to nothing, and so there is nothing to disclose to your employer.


@RandomAlias: Indeed! Although I am pretty optimistic that it will work out for various reasons, I have no offer or concrete plan at the moment, nothing. I could well shoot myself in the foot if I say something and after all, there is a family which depends on me. I guess I will just take the training.


Topics like this fascinate me, because the answers reveal a real cultural shift.

In my grandparents’s generation, loyalty to the company was a real virtue and it was rewarded. Long term employees benefited from being loyal by getting raises and pensions. Once upon a time a man could negotiate for a higher salary based on his personal situation, like having another baby (assuming he was also good at his job). The employer benefitted by having employees who were smart and experienced.

My parent’s generation started out with this mindset, but then were blindsided by mass layoffs and severance packages. This hit them in their late forties and fifties, when finding a similar job at the salary they were accustomed to was nigh impossible. Loyalty and years to the company and even skill meant nothing.
I was contracting a a major corporation, and very new to the workforce when this happened. One of the men at the company committed suicide, he was so devastated at being let go even though he was good at his job.
Made a huge impression on me.
The company still rocks along without him to this day.

So anyway, I’m an at-will employee. I give a day’s work for a day’s pay, and I expect nothing from my employer. OTOH, I can leave any time I want and not look back.

But I live in the US.


It seems the dilemma took care of itself.
God willing, my wife will give birth to another child exactly when the training is scheduled ;D
Now, this is a good enough excuse…


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