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Leaving a job at a company I love - how to give notice?

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Sid23

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So I need some advice…

As I mentioned before, my wife and I have decided to leave SF and move back to the Midwest.

I’ve worked in a small firm with only 5 people in it for the past 5 years. These guys have given me some great opportunities and I have options after spending my time here. I like my bosses very much as people and we have a “family” atmosphere here. They even gave me a $1k check for my wedding in May. Even though our company is suffering. They are really good guys.

I was not sure how to give my resignation notice, and decided after reflection, not to give months and months of notice. I decided to wait until I had something lined up in the new city and then give 2 weeks notice. And I work in real estate development, which is a completely dead market, so you can imagine my fear. The owner of our firm is putting up tens of thousands of dollars of his own money in to keep the firm going – so I’m sure he wouldn’t have been crazy to keep me on board as a “lame duck” employee who had already told them of his plans to leave. I know the only reason they are keeping me on board is as an investment for the future, which, if they realize there is no future, will stop.

It breaks my heart to only give 2 weeks notice, because I know it will cause some temporary headache for the guys, but in today’s economy, I couldn’t risk telling them in advance of my plans – especially if I didn’t get another job for months and months and months.

I know they will be sad and upset and will wonder “How can you only give us 2 weeks if you are moving across the country?” It will dawn on them we’ve been planning this for awhile. They don’t like change and are happy with our current team, so I know this is going to be a really difficult situation for me.

Now it appears I will get an offer in the next day or two. I’m freaking out about only giving 2 weeks notice because we have a ton of stuff going on, and, the first week after I will “leave” the guy who will probably handle most of my duties is having surgery and will be out for the next 3 weeks.

My potential new employer, while not crazy about waiting 3 weeks for me (2 weeks notice and 1 week to move) seems to be open to that amount, but NO LONGER.

Any advice? I’m doing the right thing and being fair by giving a full 2 weeks notice, right? They can’t ask for more…or can they?

EDIT: And I obviously need these guys as a future reference and they are very, very well respected in our industry so I want to make sure we stay on good terms.
 

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slim_jim

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I’m doing the right thing and being fair by giving a full 2 weeks notice, right? They can’t ask for more…or can they?

EDIT: And I obviously need these guys as a future reference and they are very, very well respected in our industry so I want to make sure we stay on good terms.
The hard thing to do is the right thing to do.

Based on your comment, you know you should or you wouldn't be asking.

I understand you feelings.....

Please let us know what you end up deciding.

James
 

MJ DeMarco

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Can you give 3 weeks notice? will the new boss be cool with that? 2 weeks is standard ... 3 weeks is beyond standard and implies that you value their commitment to you.

If not, they will survive on 2 weeks so I wouldn't put too much mental energy into it.
 

andviv

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First, congrats on your decision.

If I were in your situation I would probably mention to them that you are being presented with an opportunity you can't let go, for personal reasons. Both you and your wife have decided to move to the Midwest to be closer to your family members.

Express how thankful you are with them and mention that it has been a privilege working with them and, most importantly, be part of a great team. It is hard to make this decision but you must do it now.

Tell them about your offer and the new employer and that you are given a short deadline to complete the move.

They should understand.

Do it quickly, as soon as you get the confirmation of the offer. Do not delay it a second. Meanwhile (meaning: right now) start putting together a transition plan and what documentation needs to be ready by the time you leave. Have as much as you can ready by the time you talk to them.
 

Bobo

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I think you have to be candid. This was not a certainty until the offer came in so you have not known about it.

You can simply say that you guys have talked about moving back to the midwest because ________ (family? Hate California?) and an opportunity has arisen that would allow you to do that. I think it is important to say that it is gut wrenching for you to leave and that you respect and admire these guys a great deal.

The advice I give my 13 year old when she has to tell someone something she does not want to is this:
Speak from your heart
Be respectful and kind
Tell the truth

I've taught her that if she does that and the other person is upset then they are responsible for THEIR feelings and she has been responsible in expressing hers.

If your firm continues to struggle and there comes a time when the firm's needs are in conflict with keeping you they will feel like hell when they let you go but they will let you go and they won't give you 6 months. Your first responsibility is to your family, then your self, then them.

Your post makes it clear that you are good people - I have a feeling they probably know that.

Good luck with the move and the new life with the new wife and quit fretting.
 

Russ H

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Most of the really great people I know have given their bosses more than a month, and offered to train a suitable replacement.

I'd do 3 weeks, if possible. Hard to make that shift-- don't want to lose the current job w/no job lined up, but don't want to "run out" on the current job, out of respect to them.

Tell your prospective boss you owe it to your existing company-- that they've done so much for you, you want to acknowledge that.

Most companies would appreciate this kind of respect.

Pack in the evenings as soon as you get the offer, and transition over a long weekend, not a week (Friday to get things into a moving van, Saturday to fly, Sunday to move into a rental). Scout the rental out the previous weekend (fly out and back). Sort the rest of it out once you get there.

If the new company is NOT paying for your moving expenses (flights there and back, moving van, etc), then tell them you either need expenses covered, or they need to give you more time to drive a Uhaul cross country.

-Russ H.
 

WildFlower

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I would just like to add.. be sure to continue working hard even to the last minute. When I quit the grocery store and gave my 2 week notice.. they expected me to slack because that's what so many others do... but, I didn't and when I walked out of there.. the place was fully stocked with cakes, ice cream cakes and displays.. as if I wasn't leaving. They respected me for it and I felt good.
 

Brootal

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Rather than give my advice I will tell the short story of what I did and why.

When I left my last employer I gave 4 weeks. I was in a similar situation, had been there for 5 years and had a very close relationship with the boss who owned the place.

My logic in 4 weeks was to give him two weeks to find a suitable replacement, then two weeks for me to help train the person to at least get them going. I had a fair amount of confidence he would be able to find someone in 2 weeks because of his huge network of connections within the industry.

Whatever you choose to do I wish you the best with how it pans out.
 
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Sid23

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I sincerely appreciate everyone taking the time to reply.

I've been told to expect an offer first thing tomorrow, so once I have that, I'm going to go talk to my bosses. I did find out today that one of them is leaving town for a week on Saturday, so I really need to say something. But I need to see the first offer, just to make sure it is "close enough" that I can get what I need through negotiating in terms of comp and start date.

I agree that 3 weeks would be the best. I will do everything in my power to give them that. Hopefully it will work out.

Since our company is struggling and hurting on overhead, I doubt I'm going to be replaced right away (or maybe not for 6-12 months or longer) so no matter what, the other guys are going to have to pick up the slack.

Unfortunately, I found out today that the one guy who would cover most of my work is going to be out of the office for 2 weeks for surgery. And you guessed it, the 2 weeks immediately after my 3rd week would end. Ugh. Maybe once I tell them, he'll reschedule his surgery.

Also, my company is selecting its health care plan for the next year tomorrow / Friday. I REALLY want to tell them before they select a plan, especially since they'll be saving a ton of money by no longer having to ensure me.

I know I need to do what's best for my family first. It is just tough because I always want to do what's best for everyone involved in the situation. Old job, new job and my family.

Here's hoping for a "win-win-win."

Thank you again to everyone. I will update this thread when I hear more.
 
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Sid23

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Here's a new wrinkle to the situation...(just when I was able to stop fretting)...

The prospective new company finished calling my references this morning and said they'd try and get to me by the end of today or first thing tomorrow.

I just found out my boss has pushed up his trip and is leaving first thing tomorrow morning. He will be gone for 9 days.

My guess is that I will get the offer tomorrow, after he's already gone.

I have 2 bosses, but was really hoping to tell them both face-to-face at the same time. Is it okay to tell the one boss only if the other has already left? I don't think I can say to the new company, "Sorry, one of my bosses is out of town for the next 9 days, so I can't start my 3 week notice until he returns."

In this economy, I'm still gun-shy about saying anything to my old company until I've agreed to something and I have it in writing from the new company.

HELP! :thankyousign:
 

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LagunaLauren

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Sid23-You're a good guy! Definitely don't put off the new company to wait until both owners are face to face to start the 2 or 3 week notice. Give your notice WHEN YOUR OFFER/CONTRACT IS SIGNED. You're being really great doing everything you can with your current co, but don't jeopardize the new opportunity or your family or your finances. I think you'll find that the old company will be understanding when you do give the notice and you'll further prove your character by helping them as much as possible while you're there. I struggled with the same question of a longer notice, but gave the standard 2 weeks when I retired from the ad agency. Their response? They gave me 2 extra months of paid salary after I left to "consult" remotely from home! I still have a great, mutually respectful relationship with key members there. It'll be fine. Focus on how you want it to work out and let go of the stress and fear of how it could play out.
 

Inphinity

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Have only skim-read the thread so apologies if I am repeating what's been said.

In a similar situation, I approached it by giving far more notice than my contract required - in fact, giving THEM the choice. I notified them about 2 months in advance what was going to happen, and discussed that I had done so in order to give them time to find a replacement and, if they want to and find someone before the two months is up, I can stay on to help get the new perosn up to speed.

Now, I realise by now you probably don't have 2 months or whatever, maybe you only have a few weeks from the sounds of it, but perhaps you can look at being open to them contacting you if required for information / clarifications after you leave. I don't know what you do, or what your job involves, most of the positions I've held have involved a fair degree of project-specific knowledge that, while documented, isn't necessarily easy to just pick up, so being around to answer questions after leaving has really helped.
 

andviv

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any updates? what happened yesterday?
 
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Sid23

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Closure achieved!

I finalized my negotiations with my new company over the weekend.

I put in my...2 week notice this morning. One of my bosses was out of town, but I told the other one. I just explained the whole situation to him and told him how sad I was to leave, etc etc etc. He was very gracious and understanding, although a bit shocked. He didn't ask for more notice and understood that I needed to move across the country and needed some time to do that.

I was going to give 3 weeks, but the new company offered me a big signing bonus if I would fly to the East Coast to look at some properties for them before my initial start date. Doing that, plus trying to move my whole life to a new city 2,500 miles away in 3-4 days just didn't seem good to me. For once, I decided to look out for myself first and do what I needed, and that was 2 weeks.

Thank you to everyone for all of your suggestions, guidance and support!

I look forward to my new adventure.

Best regards,
Sid23
 

Jill

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Congrats, "Sid"!

I've been in both your shoes and your bosses' shoes. Neither one is fun! But as an HR consultant (for the past 11 years) I can tell you that you are better off keeping it close to the vest as long as possible. Companies are looking for ways to legally cut staff without incurring costs/liability for doing so. I don't know your personal situation, obviously. But in general, if you'd given a company a 3 week in this market, they'd likely just say, "You know, why don't you just make it two so you can get packed."

Anyway, exciting times! Enjoy the journey.
 

LagunaLauren

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Congratulations Sid! I was confident that everything would work out for you. You seem like a stand-up guy. I'm sure your current and future bosses recognize that and appreciate it.

Best of luck to you and your family on your new adventure!
 

Russ H

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That Jill Gal said:
I don't know your personal situation, obviously. But in general, if you'd given a company a 3 week in this market, they'd likely just say, "You know, why don't you just make it two so you can get packed."
Those were my thoughts exactly. One of the best things I've learned as a boss/employee/dad is to give someone the chance to say "no" or choose the lesser of two bad choices-- it empowers them, makes them think, and shows you value their opinion and see them as a participant, not someone to be "told".

Glad to hear it all worked out, Sid. Good on you for taking big steps in your journey.

“May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields.

And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”


-Russ H.
 

Cat Man Du

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Those were my thoughts exactly. One of the best things I've learned as a boss/employee/dad is to give someone the chance to say "no" or choose the lesser of two bad choices-- it empowers them, makes them think, and shows you value their opinion and see them as a participant, not someone to be "told".

Glad to hear it all worked out, Sid. Good on you for taking big steps in your journey.

“May the road rise up to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face
and the rain fall softly on your fields.

And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.â€

-Russ H.
Amen !
 

mainstreet

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Oct 2, 2009
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As an employer, I rarely get two weeks notice. Even when I do, I usually work the employee out as soon as they can start their new job. An employee with one foot out the door doesnt work for either the employer or the employee.
 

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