When do I tell my employer I'm leaving?
April 10, 2011 6:53 PM   Subscribe

My wife has been accepted into an out-of-state grad program, so we will be moving at the end of July. When do I tell my employer that I'm leaving?

I love this job. I was working awful, soul-crushing jobs before this one, but four years ago I landed this great job with this small, family-owned company and I have been so happy. I have not had my annual review yet.

Do I tell them now, before my review? Do I tell them at my review? Or do I tell them at the beginning of July?

My concern is not so much, "Oh, I feel guilty leaving them." I fully understand that it's a business and they don't owe me anything, nor I them, etc. etc. My concern is more logistics. How long can I expect them not to find out? What if I have to go down to Virginia for job interviews? I have no idea how the process of finding an out-of-state job works. If I have to ask for time off at short notice, more than once or twice, won't things seem fishy?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you know for 100% sure that you'll be leaving in July, tell them now. This gives them to find a replacement, for you to be available to train your replacement, and to make the transition easy all around. This will also give you the freedom to be honest about why you have to take time off. You're not quitting per se, you're moving out of state with your wife and are leaving your job with them. I think it'd be perfectly acceptable to give notice now or with more time than usual.
posted by msbutah at 7:03 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

I could see holding off if you were concerned they would fire you early, but this sounds like a mutually happy situation. Given that you like them and likely don't want to leave them in the lurch, I agree with telling them now and offering your assistance in replacing yourself.
posted by cecic at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2011

There's no guarantee that they'll keep you on unti July if you tell them now. Two weeks is all that's required.
posted by spaltavian at 7:11 PM on April 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you know for 100% sure that you'll be leaving in July, tell them now.

What? Heck no. Do not. DO NOT. It's April. You do not know what life will bring 4 months from now. Maybe the move won't happen! And come on, they don't need 4 months to hire and replace you (unless they absolutely do and you know they'll actually use every day of it instead of marching you and your box of stuff to the curb). Go to your review and get the reward you deserve so you can use that level of pay when you're interviewing for new gigs. Give 2 weeks, absolutely no more.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 PM on April 10, 2011 [16 favorites]

Early July, two-three weeks before (four weeks if you want to be nice). Like you say, they don't owe you anything, and you don't owe them anything either. If you tell them now, you run the risk of them letting you go sometime in the next three months because they have someone else or they suddenly turn snarky (I know it's unlikely, but I've seen it happen).

Regardless of how happy or how long you've you are there, business is business, and three months is a long time. They'd be stupid to not start looking for someone as soon as you tell them, and if an ideal candidate walks in the door tomorrow, they'd be stupid to not hire them. Why keep you around once that person is trained? To be nice? Most places can't afford to be nice. Even if they can afford to be nice, you can't bank on the fact that they will.

When your current employer decides to do reviews is irrelevant. It's not like they forward review grades to future employers. If you did a good job, yay you!

If you get interviews, try to schedule them on Fridays or Mondays and take long weekends/PTO.
posted by AlisonM at 7:23 PM on April 10, 2011 [3 favorites]

If you're moving at the end of July, tell them at the beginning of July. That way you're giving them more than the minimum two-week notice, but not giving them time to fire you ahead of time. And taking time off on short notice isn't suspicious, especially since you've been there for four years and presumably have vacation time/personal/sick days to use.
posted by wondermouse at 7:33 PM on April 10, 2011

Agree with AlisonM. I did this twice--once when I left for graduate school myself, once when I left to go with my husband on his grad school adventure. The first time I gave 2 months, the second, a month. It was incredibly awkward in both instances. The tenor of work changes after you give notice. Even if things were fine before, people will feel awkward about your moving on. Awkward is really the only way to describe it. Don't give anything more than a month.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:45 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Four weeks before you move seems like the best move--but be aware that as soon as you tell them that you're leaving, they might fire you.
posted by studioaudience at 7:45 PM on April 10, 2011

Well, I think it depends on your relationship with the company/employer.

If the move is a sure thing, ie, grad program is officially accepted, and grad funding is officially granted, and a supervisor (or a rotation program) is officially assigned...

Depending on your having a great relationship with your company/bosses/supervisors and your relative importance in the scheme of things, telling them now could a) help them plan for the transition and more importantly, b) help them help you potentially find a (better than you'd otherwise find) job in the new city through networking.

If you're just some grunt, yeah. You owe nothing but the 2 week/whatever notice. No need to rock the boat. If you're just a grunt, it's rare for an out-of-state employer to pay for you to travel to them for an interview; at best, a phone interview which won't take time away from work - just tell them what hours you're available; before 8, after 6.
posted by porpoise at 8:39 PM on April 10, 2011

There's no guarantee that they'll keep you on unti July if you tell them now. Two weeks is all that's required.

That depends. I've had management jobs that require one month notice. Also, unless he was told otherwise, two weeks notice is not always required, but merely a courtesy.
posted by 6:1 at 8:48 PM on April 10, 2011

Also, yes, they may just say "don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out!". They can let you go once you give notice. Just saying...
posted by 6:1 at 8:51 PM on April 10, 2011

Give them the minimum notice consistent with your obligations. Even if they work it out due to your taking leave to go and do some interviews, so what? You're under no obligation, and you'd be reducing your own options.

Life is what happens while you're making other plans. What if something changes?
posted by pompomtom at 8:56 PM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing about 4 weeks.
posted by randomkeystrike at 5:07 AM on April 11, 2011

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that depending upon your relationship with your employer and your responsibilities in the organization, you may want to let them know sooner rather than later. Various faculty members where I work have left with 2-3 months notice and colleagues have complained that that was not enough notice; at other jobs I have had they knew I was leaving well in advance (to go to school, graduating school, etc.) and the long notice was not a problem; my being upfront helped me maintain a good relationship with those people after I left and left the door open to coming back later if need be. Those were all jobs where I had a good relationship with the boss (usually the owner of the company) and so I not only wanted to do right by them but I would have seemed odd not to tell them I was going to leave for college in the fall or whatever. So it might be good to tell them now.
posted by TedW at 5:40 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

I knew I was going back to grad school full-time and moving out of state by June (years ago) with the move in September. I was going to give notice in June but a senior director got wind of it and pulled me into his office. He said not to give more than two weeks notice, ever. I thought I was being nice and providing enough time to get a replacement I could train. He told me a lot could change between now and then, and I did not need to feel responsible for what would happen to the job once I was gone.

So I did not give official notice until 2 weeks before, even though some people knew I was going.
posted by maxg94 at 6:20 AM on April 11, 2011 [4 favorites]

Give the minimum notice required. I tried to be a nice guy once and give a much longer notice, and instead they sent me home that day. The involuntary vacation was nice, but the lack of a paycheck for the next month and a half was a nasty surprise.
posted by Forktine at 6:28 AM on April 11, 2011

I love this job.

Well damnit, that changes my answer.

How long would it take for them to find a worthy replacement?

Thats how far in advance you tell them.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:49 AM on April 11, 2011 [3 favorites]

No help from me - I think this is a decision you have to make yourself. At various jobs I've given 2-3 weeks notice, a month's notice, multiple months' notice, and once, to my shame, no notice. I really think you have to decide this on a case by case basis.

Definitely tell them after the review, especially if there is money riding on your evaluation.

Also, I have found that there is almost always a change in atmosphere after you give notice. Which can make things weird. It really all comes down to your relationship with the company, your bosses, and your coworkers. 2 weeks is safest for having a job up until the end, but a longer period could be safer for maintaining a relationship with these people up until the end.

It just feels so awkward to not talk to people you see every day about a big change coming up in your life. Do your coworkers know that your wife was applying to grad school and that this was a possibility?
posted by mskyle at 7:16 AM on April 11, 2011

4 weeks.

Long enough to ensure good karma with the company, good references. Short enough that they won't get antsy to replace you.
posted by edgeways at 10:20 AM on April 11, 2011

I always think this question boils down to: how much severence do they give people they fire or lay off?
posted by goneill at 2:04 PM on April 11, 2011

To me it depends on the type of work you do. If it is something where it will be harder to find a qualified candidate, give them more notice. And, be honest with them, that you love your job but, you want to be with your wife and she has the opportunity to go to grad school.
posted by SuzySmith at 7:04 PM on April 11, 2011

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