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You Know, On Second Thought. . .

A longtime reader has sent along an interesting question for biopharma people who have switched jobs at some point. That’s a pretty common process in this business; turnover is high by the standards of many other industries, especially at the job levels we’re describing. But there are some tricky parts to moving around. It often happens that when someone announces that they’re going to leave, their original company makes a counter-offer to try to get them to stay. Here’s the question, though: what happens if they turn around and accept that counter-offer? That does happen.

And when it does, I always wonder what life is like for the person involved. Here they are, getting paid more, very nice – but they also have announced their intention to leave the company and then indicated their willingness to be bought out of it. That seems to me to be two consecutive mistakes. People certainly can want to leave their biopharma jobs for new ones at other companies, of course (I’ve done it myself). Everyone realizes that, just as everyone realizes that not everyone is coming to work every day purely because they’re just altruistic team players who, gosh darn it, just want to help everyone else succeed. Fine. But walking around with your eye conspicuously on the exit is another thing entirely, and how (after an episode like this) can a person not be seen in this light?

So my own belief is that this is a career-limiting move, in the long run, especially if you see yourself moving up into the managerial ranks. Who’s going to choose the person who’s already threatened to walk, and changed their mind because they got paid more? The only time I can see it (possibly) working is when the better counteroffer had to do more with a change of position or responsibilities rather than pay or ranking: then you could at least imagine that the person is staying because they finally got the job they’d been wanting to have all along. But still.

Things get even worse when the person involved accepts the counteroffer after they’ve already told their new company that they’re coming. And yeah, this happens, too, especially in places like Boston/Cambridge and the Bay area where there are a lot of startups. One of the reasons that there are so many startups in these places is the number of experienced people available to help get them off the ground, and these people, in many cases, are going to be leaving their current positions to take on the new ones. A lot of poaching and persuasion goes on, and sometimes people are persuaded back. But if you do this (stick with Company A after all) after telling Company B that you’re going to work with them, you have likely just made two consecutive mistakes. Your original company may not ever quite trust you again, and the VCs you were talking to about leaving probably won’t trust you again, either. Lotsa luck to you if your original company re-orgs after a year and you call back wondering about another chance.

No, my advice is that moving companies can be a good idea, but if you’re going to move, move. Similarly, if the new company’s offer doesn’t quite cut it, tell ’em (quietly) and stay (quietly). If doubts and indecision plague you, then go get plagued where no one else can hear you – if people want to see Hamlet, they’ll go watch someone who’s already learned the lines. My own correspondent’s view on people who do this “I’m not coming after all” move is that they belong somewhere between the 8th circle (fraud) and the 9th circle (treachery). It’s worth noting just how far down Dante put both of them

50 comments on “You Know, On Second Thought. . .”

  1. Chemaxiomatic says:

    I am rather low on the rungs of the corporate ladder, but a colleague of mine just did something similar to what you describe; being so low, we get payed very little, despite our education, and he basically approached our bosses boss, and said “look, I just had a kid and I’m getting married, and while I like this job, the pay just doesn’t cut it. Unless you can offer me more, I’m going to have to look elsewhere.”

    And he was actually considering a move to insurance, simply because it would pay more. He was able to negotiate a pay increase, simply because the higher ups didn’t want to rock the boat too much, and liked the way things work currently.

    1. Joe says:

      I’m young and still in school, but to me, this seems like the way to go about it. If I was in this position, I would probably talk to my manager/whoever can give me more money about having an offer from somewhere else but talk about how much I would rather stay, given that I’m being paid what other places will pay me instead of framing it as a buy-out to keep me from leaving. Going in to discussions with everyone knowing that your mindset is “I’m out unless you give me more money” seems like it would only hurt negotiations. Even if that is your mindset, if you make it seem like you want to stay, I would think they’d be more inclined to give you what you’re asking for. My thoughts, at least.

    2. Phil says:

      If he told his bosses about wanting to look before he had an actual offer in hand, he lucked out that it didn’t backfire. It’s a much better idea to have an plan B ready, even if you genuinely want to stay. But don’t tell your current employer you have an offer, just say, “If you can’t give me the pay I want/deserve, I’m going to find another employer who will.” They may say, “Best of luck, don’t let the door hit you,” in which case that backup offer is going to be clutch.

      To Joe’s point about just wanting more pay, you’re right, you can’t just say “pay me more.” You have to frame it objectively. “I’m sure it’s an oversight, but I’ve looked into salaries of similar positions to mine and learned I’m under the median.” Or, “My title is X but I perform the duties at level Y, I should be paid commensurately.”

      1. Ben T. says:

        “Yes, you and 50% of everyone else.”

        1. Phil says:

          Fair point. But if you have had positive evaluations etc. you can make the case that you are underpaid, and if you can’t make that case you probably should just leave.

    3. A good company, and good leadership, is committed to the professional and personal development of its people. –If you really mean that as a leader, than you must be committed to recognizing when your organization does not have available a position in which a person can develop and flourish. Examples: a person wants to go into the Peace Corp; a person wants to relocate to the other coast (and you don’t have an operation there) to live with their spouse and kids; a person is a great VP of Finance, but you already have a crackerjack CFO who is blocking the former’s career advancement; you are a maturing or mature company and you have a dynamic, young star who really wants to be involved at the ground floor in a great start-up. –In all these types of instances, I strongly encourage employees to come to me. If I can reformulate their job to make it more fulfilling, I will do so. But, if we just can’t provide them with the opportunity to grow, I am committed to helping them find the right situation and encourage them to take advantage of my network and knowledge of the field to find the right home. Of course, this is different than perhaps the paradigm case you cite in your article of an employee trying to extort more income…but, in the kind of cases I have set forth, great companies and great leaders should truly mean their words of being committed to helping their employees to flourish professionally and personally, even when that means helping them to find a great position outside the company.

      1. hn says:

        Steven, thanks for being one of the good guys.

  2. Isidore says:

    Having either done or having close friends who have done, at one time or another, all of the above, I think that you are correct in general, but there are important exceptions. One such might be if the new job is drastically different from your current one. Having an honest discussion with your manager and soliciting his/her feedback as a (presumably) more experienced player in the field goes a long way in blunting any suspicions, if you end up staying, or hard feelings, if you end up leaving. This assumes, of course, that you don’t hate your current job or your manager and, for the right considerations, you would be happy to stay put, otherwise the whole exercise is pointless. I have been in one such situation in which my manager was not able to dissuade me from leaving, but he appreciated sufficiently my being forthright about this that when, several years later, my new job was eliminated along with a major portion of the company, he was willing to hire me back.

  3. Bagnar says:

    Additional, but maybe naive, question.

    Derek said “turnover is high by the standards of many other industries”, I can’t agree more. But why would you hire someone who get a new job every two years ? I’ve seen a few applicants with 5 or more companies on their resume, even if they were only 35-38 years old.

    Sometimes, does it worth to stay longer in a company, despite the job itself is less interesting or less valuated (financially speaking) compared to the beginning in the very same company ?

    Thank you for any answer 😉

    1. Isidore says:

      Depends on the skills of the individual and the company’s needs. Many companies, especially startups, don’t really expect people to stick around for more than 2-3 years, heck many don’t expect the company to be around much longer than that, either having run out of money or sold, so hiring someone with this sort of history is not much of an issue, especially if the individual has a good scientific and personal reputation, which is easy to ascertain in the tight biotech community of Eastern Massachusetts, where everyone knows (and at some point has worked with, or so it seems) everyone else. People move around for various reasons, especially with startups. I was told by a friend, who has moved around a lot, that he described himself at an interview, quite accurately, as a “journeyman scientist”, to his interlocutor’s amusement (he was hired, by the way, even though he has averaged 2-3 years per job over a couple of decades). For the more established companies, of course, this would be more of an issue.

    2. Skeptic says:

      The idea of being loyal to a company is completely outdated. It’s entirely possible for someone to have worked at several jobs for a couple of years only to be laid off/re-organized, especially if they worked for startups. I don’t agree with the idea that somebody who moves from place to place every couple of years should be branded as disloyal, companies have been even less loyal during this stretch. Can you name me a single biotech/pharma that you can comfortably work at for 10 years without the threat of being laid off at some point? I’m happy if I can get 5 years these days. The company is looking out for their own best interests and they’ll cut you out at the first moment it saves their bottom line. You need to be similarly ruthless in looking out for your best interests, and if that means job hopping every 2 years then do it.

    3. farmsci says:

      Currently at a big pharma, and it seems common to change roles internally quite frequently, and encouraged to do temporary rotations to other groups (for a year or two). I heard it helps with promotion down the line because you learn more of the organization and gain exposure to more higher ups, versus just building good reputation with one manager/group head.

  4. Medchem2Reg says:

    Reading this post reminded of a strange situation in my previous job, one of my colleague did something really dumb. She applied to another company and told everybody about it (including the director), before the end of the recruitment process (actually before the face to face interview).
    When I told her that I cannot see the wisdom in her course of action, she told me she was convinced that she thought she would get the new job easily and also wanted to make a point to the director to not take her for granted and think about way to retain her…

    A month later that company told her that they would not take her application forward. Since (last year) the relation between her and her director went downhill. She took the director lack of action in making her condition more satisfactory as an insult While the director is not making any effort regarding her grievance as he is expecting her to leave at the first opportunity.

  5. biotechtoreador says:

    It is unfortunate that often to get a decent raise you have to change jobs.

    I think the hand wringing over threatening to leave is more prevalent among scientists (whom I generally regard as lacking in backbone—it’s why we put up with making $40/year for 2+ years after already having finished 9+ years of school). This type of jockeying for salary in the finance industry is done commonly and without rancor. I recall one boss telling me “you want a raise, go out and get a bid”.

    1. CMCguy says:

      Bttr once again what you view as general lack of backbone amongst scientists I would suggest represents typical different motivations than others that drive most (see Chrispy’s comments) and not what might be regarded as customary greed mentality associated with finance types. While granting can be partly justifiable stereotypes for many introverted non-aggressive tendencies how does that equate to lack of backbone since in almost all cases the systems are rigged to discount the value of scientific contributors. Even those post-doc wages are controlled by academics/government consensus as to not fully compensate people for achieving a PhD level since if they did it would greatly impact funding utilization. Additionally most scientists are analytical astute enough to know if they did try to jockey too much they would be labelled as troublemakers (via a double standards from business leaders) and pushed out, either immediately or as part of first downsizing wave. You are correct that it is sad that to obtain a decant raise one has to change positions, which as others have commented upon do not always come with greener pastures.

  6. Tony says:

    Strange you post this. I don’t work in pharma, but I have a situation where one of my reports left the company two years ago to get better pay and is now asking to come back because the overall work environment was so much better. Perfect timing on her part, as we just got approval to add a position. Knowing her ‘grass is greener’ attitude, however, really kind makes me wonder, though.

    1. Sheila says:

      I’m not in pharma; I’m in the software industry. In my industry, women often need to move to a new company to get a raise and/or a promotion due to how our culture works. I don’t know if this holds true for pharam, but keep it in mind.

      If you enjoyed working with each other, then I think you shouldn’t hesitate to work with her again. You might also investigate whether you can improve career advancement in your company. Do some research, see if there are pay and promotion gaps, then make moves to improve things.

  7. tnr says:

    I see no problem in occasionally interviewing for either a higher position or more pay at another company. I also see no issue with using a competitive offer for a raise or promotion. If your current company refuses to match, then you leave. If your current company matches, great. I guarantee you that pharma management does this all the time. Come on – the days of company loyalty are long gone so all R&D workers need to consider themselves as free agents. The key thing is to remain in demand in your field.

  8. Lora says:

    In order to get a raise that is more than cost of living, either you have to get promoted (and be prepared for a lot of lateral moves to get there – about half the jobs I’ve worked required a lateral move because my particular group was top-heavy), or you have to leave. If you want to stay someplace for non-financial reasons, you have to be able to move laterally.

    All the reasons you want to leave, such as a dimwitted senior manager, lack of capital equipment budget, rude colleagues, etc are not going to change based on a counter offer. Those things will still all suck. You will not enjoy your work or your life more by virtue of being able to afford an extra three bottles of tequila every month and an extra week of vacation every year. I say this as someone who left an enjoyable, interesting, creative job for a 40% raise in a terrible, boring job full of jerks and still regrets it.

  9. Jaded chemist says:

    The grass is always greener on the other side, but everyone company behaves the way the one you just left. It’s the work and pay that gets people to move.

    1. Mark Thorson says:

      No, you’re wrong. There are places where the goals are clear, your colleagues are friendly and competent, and you learn a lot on the job. And then there are toxic work environments where your colleagues are very stressed out, your boss is an idiot, and management has only an approximate notion of what they want — which changes often. Your mental health is worth something, so you better extract an awfully high premium for working in a toxic environment. Better yet, find a nice place and work there even if it means less money. I never appreciated one of my better employers — where even though we had some people of lesser competence, we always functioned as a team — until I worked in a toxic environment commanded by a paranoid amphetamine abuser. (It wasn’t until after I quit that I realized what those little white pills were, and why he sometimes nodded off during long meetings.)

    2. Yip says:

      No, Jaded Chemist, every company does not behave the same. Just like there are good people and bad people, companies have a wide variety of behaviors, values, and cultures. If you are unhappy with the company you currently work for, don’t hesitate to explore other options.

      1. Mark Thorson says:

        Perhaps there are some people who have never had a toxic work environment. Read these and have a good laugh. Better it’s them than you.

  10. overruntlc says:

    Nice post Derek. I particularly liked,” if people want to see Hamlet, they’ll go watch someone who’s already learned the lines.”

  11. Daen de Leon says:

    I had an interesting experience last year. I’d ended up in California for personal reasons and accidentally got a job as a software engineer at a non-invasive prenatal genetic testing company (yes, it happens). My mum and stepdad, though, retired to Spain, and had a series of medical incidents that led to me planning to return to Europe — I did the interviews, and got a job lined up with a bioinformatics software company in Denmark. I was genuinely sad about leaving the genetic testing company, but family first, right? So I was a bit surprised when my boss (memorably using the line “we do live in the future”) said, after consultation with the CTO, that he was fine with me moving to Europe and working remotely. So I did that, and it’s worked out really well. It was definitely easier as a software engineer — all I really need is a laptop, internet, and power, and I can pretty much do my job anywhere.

    If anything, that episode has strengthened my loyalty to the company. I have considerable freedom, I get to see my folks regularly, and for longer, and I don’t have to work in an office any more. I’ve switched roles in the company, and now I’m helping mainly European labs get up to speed with our cloud-based bioinformatics and algorithms pipeline. I can’t actually imagine doing a job that pays as well and has as much flexibility as I do now.

    I wouldn’t have used that as a strategy, though — I genuinely wanted to return to Europe, not to game the situation into a better package. I agree with you that it’s pretty repugnant behaviour if undertaken deliberately. But for me, it accidentally worked out rather well.

    1. Isidore says:

      Nice turn of events, although obviously not applicable to most scientists. But I disagree with the “repugnant” label for someone who feels underpaid but likes his/her current job and work environment enough to consider staying if the company is willing to cough up some more money. It’s called negotiation and there’s nothing repugnant about it.

  12. Hiring manager says:

    When people dither undecided on a job, it is a strong signal to me that they are not keen on the company or the job. My instinct is to drop them as soon as ethically possible.

    We once made a manager-level offer to someone. We were a pretty cool biotech company and the best paid in town (recruiters confirmed to that our salaries were far above market rate). Still, this person hesitated about the pay, about the 3 month probationary period, and some other things that HR would not tell me. She was coming across wishy-washy to me and my team. We were about to pull the package, but at the last minute, HR talked her into accepting. While she turned out ok, not disastrous, she was certainly not a committed to our team. It was all about the salary and benefits. I was glad she was eventually let go in a down-sizing, and vowed never to hire anyone wishy-washy again.

    More recently, I made an offer to a recent PhD grad. Again, it was a very generous package, yet when the offer was made, this person came back saying he was worth more (despite him not having any industry experience). I felt like pulling the offer right there. Instead, I waited him out, and when the one week expiry came, I told him we had to make an offer to someone else. I found out later that he was holding our offer to a competitor in order to get a higher salary from the competitor. Good riddance that he was never hired.

    1. Sheila says:

      “Coming across as wishy washy” is cultural and you shouldn’t base a hiring decision on something so nebulous as cultural fit.

      In my industry, the initial hire is the best chance of getting the benefits and salary you want. If you don’t negotiate, you aren’t likely to get them any time soon or ever. (e.g. 5000 difference in salary isn’t going to happen any time soon if you typically only give %3 percent raises once a year and don’t also give out high bonuses). This is especially true if you toss other things in to the mix, such as cultures where some groups are socialized not to negotiate aggressively vs. other groups who are. People who attempt to negotiate who are socialized not to will get perceived differently than the group where it is normal to negotiate.

      If your industry and culture are similar, you should not penalize a worker for doing that. It’s not wishy-washy it’s sensible. I think HR giving you these details was wrong. It biased the hiring process and and probably also biased the first impressions.

    2. Sisyphus says:

      Someone who does not negotiate is naive, timid and obsequious. Are those the characteristics that you want in a hire? Consider that he is negotiating for an additional $5000 per year. Remember that is not just for 1 year, that is for potentially 30-40 years. That adds up to a significant amount of money when compounded at 8% (historic return on equities). He was very smart and mature. You missed out on a good candidate.

  13. Wage Slave says:

    You’re right, Hiring Manager – people should be never weigh the myriad of personal and professional options, or think about all the pro’s and con’s of a new job or potential advancement (or as you would call it ‘dithering’). Rather we should be happy every day there are people like you that hire us. The idea of negotiating for better salary and benefits for yourself and family should be outlawed and anyone who tries it fired as soon as “ethically possible”.

    tongue removed from cheek : you are the problem

    1. ed says:

      I could not have come close to such an eloquent slap-down. Many thanks!

  14. Chrispy says:

    I’ve hired a lot of scientists, and they almost never dicker over their salaries. I think most are motivated by things outside of money, like doing something useful and interesting. In addition, the previous salary is typically a known quantity (despite advice not to reveal it), and a scientist with X years of experience commands a certain salary, which is pretty well understood in the industry, too. All of these serve as guidelines.

    Massachusetts just passed a law making it illegal to ask about your salary history, which could make switching jobs there more interesting.

    1. Mark Thorson says:

      Really? You can’t ask about salary history? That’s astounding! We should do a law like that here in California!

    2. Skeptic says:

      “they almost never dicker over their salaries. I think most are motivated by things outside of money”

      Based on the job market the past several years, not dickering over salaries is almost certainly driven by money. Specifically, lack of it due to being in a long postdoc or needing any source of income besides unemployment. If you’re between jobs or in a long postdoc the hiring manager knows you have little leverage, as would I if I were in a position to hire someone. I wouldn’t try to screw someone over that, but if they came back to me asking for a lot more money, I wouldn’t be as inclined to give it to them as I would someone who I was trying to poach from another job. And as we all know, there’s a surplus of un-/underemployed talent to choose from these days, and that’s a hiring manager’s dream from a dollars and cents perspective.

      As for the Massachusetts law (which doesn’t take effect until 2018), well, we all know that racial/gender/age discrimination is illegal too. Good intentions, but I fear very little will actually change.

      1. Phil says:

        “…if they came back to me asking for a lot more money, I wouldn’t be as inclined to give it to them as I would someone who I was trying to poach from another job.”

        Annnd this is why jumping from one company to another is the best way to increase your salary. The first position you land out of your PhD/post-doc is taken without any bargaining power at all. When you are negotiating for that second position, you have much less pressure to cave, unless your original position is as bad as a postdoc.

        I love how the expectation by an employer is that their employees dedicate themselves to “maximizing shareholder value” (read: lining other people’s pockets as efficiently as possible) but when an employee seeks to maximize his/her own ROI (investment in tuition and years of their lives) they are suddenly seen as greedy.

  15. anonymous says:

    Yikes, This blog post and some of the commentators views are depressing. To think that career moves are being judged by colleagues and managers in this light! How dare one takes agency to better their personal situation? How could such an ambitious person possibly benefit a company?

    P.S. I don’t think all career moves are equal, but the ones being lashed out against seem totally in-bounds to me.

    1. DH says:

      There’s nothing wrong with asking for a raise. There’s nothing wrong with seeking a new position at another company. But if you accept such a position and then change your mind based on a counter-offer, that makes you a liar. It is generally not good to trust liars. I think this is the point Derek was making.

      1. Sheila says:

        But someone in this position may not be a liar but still exhibit the same behavior. Life puts people in a situation where they need a higher salary or a different job title. People have limited choices. Be considerate of this.

        I had a friend who did not want to leave a company but was payed much much lower than market rates (for whatever reason). After a long time, it was bad enough that he finally looked for other offers to help establish his market rate then he took that back to the company. His salary was adjusted and he was happy to stay. They were happy to keep him.

        I normally skim and lurk here, but yesterday was talking with someone whose job title and salary that do not match the reality of the job. Another friend pointed out this post to us. I really don’t know what to recommend.

        I was talking this over with another friend who runs a small business. They are very open with their employees on how much they can afford to pay them and if the employee needs more, they know they need to find another company to work for. I like this model.

        In an ideal world, I think it’s fair to let someone know that things need to change rather than burning out and blindsiding them one day. This doesn’t work so well with jobs, considering the reactions described here. But it’s unfortunate. Maybe the company didn’t know that they only had to make some small changes (flex time? work from home? different projects? it’s not just about money).

        1. DH says:

          “…it was bad enough that he finally looked for other offers to help establish his market rate then he took that back to the company.”

          There is nothing wrong with looking for another offer and then presenting it to your current employer to see if they can do better. What makes you untrustworthy is to *accept* the offer and then welch on it.

          1. anonymous says:

            “It often happens that when someone announces that they’re going to leave, their original company makes a counter-offer to try to get them to stay.”

            Derek’s logic is that accepting said counter-offer makes you a bad person. Why is the company making a counter-offer then? This would be a stupid move… I mean he already accepted another offer, so if he takes the counter-offer then he’s just one of those “walking around with your eye conspicuously on the exit” types. Why would the company want to retain such person?

  16. steve says:

    As someone who has both been hired as a scientist and who has hired and manage scientists let me give my two cents. It really depends on how situation. For your run of the mill scientist, who is just filling a slot, Derek’s comments are correct. However, for key scientists whom the company values, it is not. A company has a lot more to lose by having a key scientist go to the competition than it does increasing his/her pay. That doesn’t mean that they person will be forever suspect, it just means that they know what they’re worth and are smart enough to demand it. This will be recognized by a management that knows what it’s doing in a company that is moving forward. All bets are off, of course, if it’s a clueless management in a company that is on a downward spiral. Bottom line, you need to carefully assess your position, the management structure and the future of the company when making a decision like this.

    1. steve says:

      Sorry for the typos from my phone spellchecker. Useless software that’s more trouble than it’s worth really…

  17. I worked for a guy who never countered, because his observation was that anyone who accepts a counter is gone within a year anyways, generally. Instead, make it clear that they’re welcome to return if it doesn’t work out. (assuming that they actually ARE)

    The latter strategy is, in the long run, a much better retention strategy. A high percentage of people will in fact return within a year.

  18. Young Chemist says:

    One book that I can’t recommend enough to my fellow chemists is “Getting To Yes”. Ignore the self-help sounding title, this is an academic text. It does an amazing job at parsing negotiations into criteria that is digestible to us hard science types.

    This book introduced the concept of BATNA, which they attest is the major factor impacting the outcome of a given negotiation; not how persuasive you are… as pop-culture would lead you to believe. BATNA codifies what chemists know anecdotally, which is that you maximize your earning potential by leveraging the job that you have into a higher paying job at a new company (Sorry post-docs!). Just by having the ability to walk away from the negotiation with the new company, you can demand much stronger terms from them. The catch is that if you solicit a counter offer from your current company, you should be prepared to move! …Or better yet, work in the Bay Area or in the Boston area and switch companies without moving!!

    1. Phil says:

      I resisted to urge to use the term BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement) in my previous comments about negotiating from an established position vs right out of grad school. But you hit in on the head, Young Chemist. Put another way, if your only good option is to reach agreement, and they have good options that don’t require agreement, you’re SOL. Know your BATNA and the BATNA of of the person across the table from you.

      I love Getting to Yes, and I use principled negotiation all the time (not just for work).

  19. Duncan Bayne says:

    I never counter-offer when someone is leaving, and never invite or entertain a counter-offer if I’m leaving. Someone who’s already decided to leave has mentally left already.

    Even the obvious potential exception – “I’m leaving because I’m being underpaid” – can’t be corrected by a counter-offer.

    “Oh, so only now I’m threatening to leave do you pay me what I’m worth?” is not a great employer-employee dynamic.

  20. Anon says:

    I’m extremely loyal. I’ll stay with whomever pays me the most. Loyalty without reciprocity is exploitation.

  21. Dieter Weber says:

    The comments reflect my experience in life: There are no rules. One thing that gets you kicked out in one place gets you promoted in the other. In the end, it doesn’t really matter. If you get kicked out, you can move on to greener pastures. If you get promoted, you are already there — or not. Do what you feel is right and see where it takes you. And in any case, being honest, consistent and open about your plans and your motives has more benefits than disadvantages.

  22. Old Hand says:

    well I had exactly this situation, was on an H1-B, had an offer that I accepted with 30% greater pay, my existing company counter offered with 30% extra and letting me redefine my role, after much soul searching – solved by my father a senior exec in big pharma who said “I expect everyone to do whats best for them, if you have accepted but you haven’t started I see no issue with it” went on to work for the first company for another 9 years with no issues. When looking for new roles the company who I accepted then rejected was very keen to interview me, so this seemed to be very successful for me . (the effect of getting a 30% pay rise early in career is compounded so I feel no qualms about it).
    Every serious person hiring high performers who I have talked to about this, sees no issue with it and say it happens all the time so I wonder if some of the respondents are being idealistic

  23. Pharmaslave says:

    Best way to prove to your employer that you’re worth more is to show them others think so as well.
    Then again, why stay at a place that low balled you on your salary, is the other offer really better or is there a hidden issue as to why you didnt take it.

    Oh and to the idiot “hiring manager” the statement in your reply “in a downsizing” speaks volumes about the value of your opinion.

    BTW I’ve done work at places I wasn’t keen about that made all the sycophants look like they didnt even try.

    One thing is for sure about this industry, scientists are very bad at judging talent, pharma managers almost never hire anyone smarter then themselves and most importantly, desperate, broke people with very few employment options (most scientists) are not likely to make the kind of waves necessary to actually acomplish anything.

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