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I currently work for a large "family" business. In my current position as a business efficiency administrator, I have information about every facet of the business practices, as well as confidential information regarding pay scales and cost of doing business information. I'm currently working as a senior HR managers position as well as an operations manager position for the price of an office administrator. I've been offered an executive position at a new firm, but I am worried that because I have insider information and the new firm would be in direct competition with my current employer that it may be unethical to take that job. The pay and lifestyle would be freeing to me though.. so I guess my question is, is it ethical to build a better mouse trap simply because I understand the pitfalls of their mousetrap firsthand?
 

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Last I checked, this is still America. You can do anything to better yourself.

You seem to be ethical enough that you don't want to pass confidential info between two competing parties, which is noble.

If you're doing more now than your getting paid for, and you can better yourself, because that's all that really matters, then jump ship and do what you need to do.
 

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No, it's not unethical to move over and up in the same competing industry. That's one of the main ways that it's done.....how else??....especially to move up and get recognition and compensated at a level you're worth.
 

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That's exactly what it feels like. Everyone else in charge is immediate family, and I feel like I get saddled with unbalanced responsibility.
 

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You started by saying you worked for a family business and at first I assumed your question was because you are a member of the family. If not, then I can't see why you asked the question. Every employee who makes the move to work for another company brings the methods and secrets to their new employers. Unless you have some sort of written agreement that prohibits you from divulging your ex-employer's secrets then I see absolutely nothing wrong with divulging that information.

Once you leave your ex-employer you should be loyal to your new employer and not to your ex-employer. Otherwise, as your new employer I would have to question your reasoning, value and loyalty. What type of employee holds back information that would benefit the company they work for?

If you worked for my company for a long period of time and withheld valuable information I would question your ethics and a lot more. I can't imagine your working for a company for a long period of time as your boss struggles to make his business better (as every good boss does) and then you tell your boss that you withheld the information that could could have improved his business.

I don't expect that one ex-employee would ever be more loyal to their previous employer than their new employer. When you leave you can do what every ex-employee does. You take with you a list of all his accounts and do your best to take them to your new employer. While I don't like that happening to myself that is the way it is and that is what just about every ex-employee does.
 

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Unless you have some sort of written agreement that prohibits you from divulging your ex-employer's secrets then I see absolutely nothing wrong with divulging that information.
That's exceptionally bad advice. There is no written agreement required, you're still required to protect their confidential information after you leave.
 

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You're allowed to use your expertise in your new position, not your previous employer's confidential information. Using it in your new position can get a lawsuit against you and your new employer.

The correct way, IMO, to give your new employer the most benefit of your business knowledge if it's a gray area is find articles which say what you want to tell them. Don't say this is what the competitor does or should do.
 

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Everytime I left one employer for another I took with me knowledge that I learned from the last and applied it as a skill of my own. Once I learn something that knowledge belongs to me. At a smaller level, what is the difference in learning a carpenter trick from me and using it when you leave and work for a competitor. Same with professional sports. It's a fact of business.
 

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GC/carpenter
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One other thing I might mention. They should have known you may leave someday. Your not their property. Now all this may not apply if your bound by a contract.
 

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I've been offered an executive position at a new firm, but I am worried that because I have insider information and the new firm would be in direct competition with my current employer that it may be unethical to take that job.
Taking the job is ethical.
 

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Take the new position and don't talk to actual salaries, costs, markup, overhead .... of your previous employer. Apply your expertise and experience making the new employer's business better. Your skills and experience are why you will be hired and why you will stay. Not Data and insider information, still need to do the work to achieve a similar result Data wise.
 

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As a cautionary note, an engineer a few miles from here accessed and apparently copied company confidential files using his personal laptop the day before he quit. There was a trail left on the company system. He was arrested and all computers and storage media in his home were seized. His, his wife's, his kids', everything.

Take the job, but don't be stupid.
 

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If I were the OP, I would have said yes before I even posted. A chance to set up business processes based on your own ideas? Heck, yeah, jump on it.:clap:
 

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That's exceptionally bad advice. There is no written agreement required, you're still required to protect their confidential information after you leave.
My post says 'secrets' and not confidential information. 'Secrets' meaning methods of doing business that a business owner would prefer that their competitors not know. Many of these secrets are not really secrets because they are performed publicly in order to run the business.

The word 'confidential information' is another subject for a great discussion because without a confidential agreement that clarifies what is confidential it would be very difficult to clarify most of the things that are confidential. Suppose, the previous employer did business with XYZ Company. Without a Confidential Agreement or Non-Competing Agreement I say the ex-employee has the right to tell his new boss about that account, tell him the numbers regarding the account and take that account from the previous employer. Who knows? Maybe, if the ex-employee doesn't snag the account some other competitor will and there will be two losers.
 

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GC/carpenter
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My post says 'secrets' and not confidential information. 'Secrets' meaning methods of doing business that a business owner would prefer that their competitors not know. Many of these secrets are not really secrets because they are performed publicly in order to run the business.

The word 'confidential information' is another subject for a great discussion because without a confidential agreement that clarifies what is confidential it would be very difficult to clarify most of the things that are confidential. Suppose, the previous employer did business with XYZ Company. Without a Confidential Agreement or Non-Competing Agreement I say the ex-employee has the right to tell his new boss about that account, tell him the numbers regarding the account and take that account from the previous employer. Who knows? Maybe, if the ex-employee doesn't snag the account some other competitor will and there will be two losers.
We all take our learning experiences with us from job to job. I'll bet if you dug deep enough you would find the boss you're concerned about learned something from his Prior experiences. Same as my apprentice, leaving me to work for my competitor. What he learned belongs to him.
 
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