08/11/2010 05:36 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

They Made Me an Offer but They Don't Like My Start Date?

Dear Liz,

I need your advice in a hurry! I got a good job offer at the end of last week. I signed the offer letter over the weekend and dropped it off in person yesterday. I didn't have an appointment to do that, but I figured I'd check in with the manager in person. My hiring manager came out to the front lobby to talk with me. I handed him the signed letter and said "Shall we look at Monday, August 30 as my first day of work?"

He recoiled a bit and said "That's too late! Can't you start on the 23rd?" I said, "If I give notice to my manager tomorrow, the 11th, and work for two weeks, my last day will be Wednesday, August 25th.

I'll have Thursday and Friday to take care of things at home and get squared away for the new job, and maybe be able to get away for the weekend. When I come in here on Monday the 30th, I'll be rarin' to go."

I wasn't asking for a week off between jobs to recharge. My manager said, "Why don't you come in here on that Thursday and Friday, and we'll give you a couple of days off in two or three weeks." Maybe I shouldn't have, but I said reflexively "Would those be paid vacation days?" I figured if the guy is pressuring me, let's see what he can do in exchange. He turned some color not normally seen in faces and said frostily "Should we revisit this on the phone?" He was standing right in front of me. I said "I have a minute now. Shall we go into your office and talk?" and he said "I have another meeting now."

What the heck Liz?!! Determining whether we have a deal (I'm supposed to be his new hire in what he's described as an important management position) is a lower priority than whatever meeting is about to start? I was completely taken aback. When I've hired people, I have allowed them their two weeks notice at the old job plus at least a couple of days to relax. Then my manager's reaction to my question, "Would those be vacation days?" really gave me pause. I'm not sure I want the job at this point.

What do you think?




You are listening to your gut and that is exactly what I recommend. Your new manager will NEVER love you more than he does right now. He will never treat you better than this. If his department is so poorly run that three more days without your presence would be so devastating, what could you possibly learn from him? You haven't even started the job yet, and he's foisting off his stress on you.

Who would be so insensitive as to tell you to go directly from your going-away party (on a Wednesday?) to your first day at work without even one day off? Forget this guy. This is one of those dodged-a-bullet scenarios. It shocking to realize that we've missed some cues from the universe, but then again, when we miss the little cues, the universe tends to start giving us the really big ones!

I give you credit Marion, because I don't think I would have had the presence of mind or the moxie to ask "Will those be paid vacation days?" The manager's reaction to your question spoke volumes. "Look at this impertinent Marion! Who does she think she is?"

(Hey dude, don't look so shocked -- you seem to think I'm the White Knight whose presence in your department is so critical that it trumps my need to take two personal days between jobs. At the same time, I'm not important enough to get you to miss or reschedule your next meeting -- even though I'm standing in front of you right now! Here, let me have that offer letter back. It'll just take me a second to rip it into little pieces and hand it back to you.)

Don't be distraught, Marion. THANK THE UNIVERSE that you saw behind this loser's polished facade before you starting working for the creep.

Onward and upward, right? What other irons do you have in the fire?



p.s. We have an online community where we talk about this stuff all day long.