Quitting-job-filter: Etiquette if Boss is on Vacation
June 1, 2013 6:19 AM   Subscribe

I am currently employed and have been looking for a better job for several months. As luck would have it, an offer for a job I really like may come next week, and said offer will likely come in 2-4 days before my boss goes off for 7 days, but could well come the day he leaves or even after. Snowflake details below the fold...

Salient details, in as logical an order as I can think of:
1) I'm a fairly senior manager in the smallish family-owned company I work for currently, so while I don't think the news will be emotionally devastating to my boss, I think it will give him a lot to think about in terms of how to replace me. While I'm obviously wanting to move on, I do think well enough of the owner and the company to not want to just make things any more difficult for them than necessary.
2) If the situation weren't complicated by the vacation, I feel 2 week's notice at full-time status, followed by 3-4 more weeks "best efforts/after hours" consultation would be what I'd offer. In fact, I think there's some chance of retaining some consulting income from this employer, either for myself or my spouse (who also works for this company), because of all I know that they've never bothered to learn, so I'm trying to scorch this bridge as little as possible.
3) While it may be irrelevant, in that pretty much ALL jobs work this way in the hiring process, it's been about 3-4 weeks of work trying to get through the HR hoops, talk to the hiring manager, wait while he works behind the scenes to hire me, etc. So it's felt slow on their end, but realistically for a big company they've moved pretty quickly and the hiring manager has indicated that they need whomever they hire to get started as soon as possible. And of course I'd like to start as soon as is practical.
4) Last point before I get to the question I swear: the majority owner/president is going on vacation, but the minority owner/Vice-President is not. So technically I could serve notice to him, but... here's the questions:

1) If you were in the owner's shoes would you feel there was anything unprofessional about a key employee (me) resigning 2-3 days before a vacation? Resigning to your partner while you were on vacation? (Note: owner is a workaholic and will undoubtedly read e-mails, check in by phone, etc.*)

2) If you were in the hiring manager's shoes for the company I'm coming to would you feel that 3 week's lead time was an undue delay or outside the realm of normal for a senior manager to leave a previous job? (I ask it this way because this would allow me to wait until the owner got back and give him the news the following Monday that I was giving him two weeks notice, starting that day).

*which is one reason I'm ready to move on.

Throwaway e-mail addy: noticethatiquit@gmail.com
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Your boss' vacation schedule has nothing to do with your next move in your career. It will be an inconvenience, sure, but business is like that.
posted by xingcat at 6:32 AM on June 1, 2013 [14 favorites]

There are very few jobs that can't accommodate a 1-week delay in the start date, especially if it's been a multi week hiring process and it's somebody senior who presumably brings specialized skills to the work. I would definitely not think a request for an extra week to get things wrapped up and ensure an orderly transition due to the owner's absence for part of that time (that's how I'd word it) would be unusual or weird. If you didn't have good reasons to preserve your relationship with this company I would just say hand in your notice to the VP, but it sounds like that's important to you, and I really doubt it will be a big deal to the hiring company.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 6:36 AM on June 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

You thank your new company for the job offer, accept it, and then explain the situation to your new company, tell them you'll be waiting to give your notice until your boss is back from vacation (because that's the appropriate, professional thing to do), and can start two weeks afterwards. If they push back on this, you should spend some time thinking very hard about the environment you're moving to.

Then you resign to your boss - and only to your boss - once they're back from vacation. It's not that resigning before vacation is unprofessional, it's just that you want your last two weeks to be productive and supportive of a smooth transition, and that typically can't happen if your boss is gone for more than half that time.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:57 AM on June 1, 2013 [4 favorites]

realistically for a big company they've moved pretty quickly and the hiring manager has indicated that they need whomever they hire to get started as soon as possible. And of course I'd like to start as soon as is practical.

They've been trying to fill this position for over a month- if you ask for an extra five days so you can give two week's notice, I don't think it would be a dealbreaker for them.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:03 AM on June 1, 2013

I think it's best to notify your current employer as soon as you know you'll be leaving. Offer the standard two weeks, plus the option of extended "after hours" support if feasible.

Your workaholic boss doesn't need to be physically in the office to begin the knowledge-transfer process. If it's important to him, he can be in communication with you remotely during that week he's away. Or he can delegate to someone in the office.

That's why he makes the big bucks --it's part of his job to deal with this type of situation, no matter what else he has on his plate.

Don't contort your schedule, or ask your new employer to jump through hoops. Just do the basic level of professionalism, and be done with it.
posted by nacho fries at 7:05 AM on June 1, 2013

I would bring it up with the new employer, should the offer arise, about delaying your start date a week because of the logistics at the old place. But I wouldn't push too hard on it.

I would also notify the boss as soon as you know, and then work with both sides to come up with a transition plan that works.
posted by gjc at 7:10 AM on June 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

If I were your current boss, I'd appreciate having my week of vacation without being consumed about how I was going to replace you. Just a thought, especially if maintaining a good relationship is important to you...
posted by summerstorm at 7:29 AM on June 1, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best case, negotiate a start date that allows for appropriate two week notice. If they want you in two weeks time, give two weeks notice right before you boss leaves.

True story. My cousin worked for a family owned business for decades. He was told he was a part of hhe family. He worked crazy hours, lived in an apartment owned by the business and drove a company car.

One day they fired him, evicted him and took the car. No notice, no warning. My cousin has moved on, but to this day he doesn't know what happened.

My point is that at the end of the day it's a job. You owe them two weeks and no more.

Do what you can to mitigate. But do the thing that's right for you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:30 AM on June 1, 2013 [14 favorites]

If your boss needed to lay you off while you were on vacation he would do so in a heartbeat. Of course he would be very sorry to do so, but business is business. Good luck in your new job.
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:41 AM on June 1, 2013 [6 favorites]

3 weeks lead time is not inappropriate for a senior manager.

No, you don't "owe" anything to your current employers, but really, in business, never burn bridges when you don't have to.
posted by erst at 8:35 AM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Agreeing with Ruthless Bunny -- don't be too sentimental about work and what everyone in this employment arrangement is owed. Ultimately, you're a cog in their machine, and they'd throw you out if they needed to. Don't feel bad that the shoe is on the other foot (pardon the cliche).
posted by charlemangy at 10:50 AM on June 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's very common to take a week or two off before starting a new job (in addition to two weeks notice). You don't owe your old job anything, but your new job could not care less if you'll start in three weeks instead of two.
posted by wrok at 12:21 PM on June 1, 2013

IF this were a simple matter of your rights -- yes, of course. You have a right to leave at the time of your choosing, with or without notice. Companies have that right, too. You owe them nothing; they owe you nothing. They know it, you know it. It's called at-will employment. Next case.

BUT why on earth enforce this right if there's a concrete benefit to you -- e.g. potential for consulting work -- in helping out the boss during the transition? You have a right to shoot yourself in the foot, too.

A start date 3 weeks after being hired isn't unreasonable or unusual. Keep the cold-blooded it's-business-deal-with-it mindset in reserve until you really need it.
posted by LonnieK at 2:24 PM on June 1, 2013

Graveyards are filled with essential employees. Take yourself into account as well. You really should give yourself a couple of weeks of vacation in there, as well. Who knows when your new company will be able to do without your services for an extended period. And 5 week lead times on new hires is pretty trivial all things considered. They may want you to feel like they're really going out of their way to get you there in a hurry but they aren't. As you will find out as soon as you are hired, show up and need to spend weeks just getting your IT accounts straight.
posted by ptm at 4:48 PM on June 1, 2013

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