Client Pressure – My new client is pressuring me to quit my old job early

Client Pressure
Client Pressure

Question From Kevin about Client Pressure

Kevin is under client pressure to start sooner. Here’s what he says.

I got a great opportunity with a new client, so I gave in my notice at my current company.

It was four weeks notice that I gave to them, as per my contract, but they said that they would accept three weeks.

Now, my new company are saying that they need me a week earlier than that otherwise it will hold the whole system up for a week. They say that they desperately need me right now.

However, my current company say that they are not willing to release me a week early as my replacement won‘t arrive till the Monday after I leave and I won‘t be able to hand over all I know to him.

However, my new client is saying that it is imperative that I arrive a week early.

It‘s a terrible dilemma.

What should I do?

Dr. McLaughlin‘s Reply

What are you so worried about? Where is the dilemma?

Firstly there are two companies that need you desperately. That is a great situation to be in and should give you great hope for your contracting career in the future.

Secondly, it is not your problem. It is the two companies who have the problem and not you.

You told the second company that you were on four weeks notice before they offered you the contract. You managed to get it down to three.

Good Pressure

That‘s good for them.

Now they want to try and get a bit more – and they want to do that by putting pressure on you.

Don‘t worry about them. They‘ll have a back-up plan. They can hire a top-rate contractor or consultant for a week either in the marketplace or through one of the big IT consultancies.

Much as you think that you may be good, there is always someone else who can do what you do – even if they have to pay through the nose for this.

My guess is that they are trying to save a colossal fee for a week‘s work from one of the big Consultancies.

Helping The Client Out

However, I‘m sure you want to try and solve this to help your two clients out – especially the new one.

There are several ways that you can try.

One of those would be that you could say to your old company that your new jobs depends on your leaving a week early. Most people aren‘t heartless enough to lose you you‘re job.


There may be ways around it. What they really want is not you to remain there but for you to pass over what you know.

Why not say that you could do a swift handover to the new guy on the Saturday, if he is available.

Also say that you will be on call at the end of the phone for the first week to answer any queries that the new guy had – and any time in the future for a fee.

You might have them as a long term client – and having two clients will help you get round IR35.

If that is acceptable tell your new client that this is he only way that your old client will let you go a week early.

Client Instincts

However, my instinct is to tell your new client that you cannot get away any earlier. They knew the score when they hired you. What has happened to change the situation in such a short time?

They are trying it on. If they can get away with bullying you in this manner they might feel tempted to try it on again in the future with you.

This is an opportunity for you to make your mark in the sand and show them that you won‘t be pushed around.

What are they going to do anyway – chose the second best guy, the one they rejected for you, just for the sake of a week?

Client Pressure – Other Way Round

So, let‘s look at it the other way around.

They have shown how desperately they want you and how desperately they need you. That gives you the whip hand in the relationship, not them.

In poker terms, they have already shown their hand to you.

So, don‘t go and spoil it by putting them back in command of the relationship.

I think, therefore, this is client pressure you can resist.

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