How to leave one job for another without burning bridges?
January 16, 2014 5:06 PM   Subscribe

I've been at my current job for about 1 1/2 years. I like my job for the most part (not a dream job, but as far as corporate jobs go, pretty good). Recently, a co-work left. I got a call last week and she was wondering if I'd want to go work with her at a different company. It's a small company she's with now, which means I'd be a little higher in hierarchy and she said they're looking to expand.

I said I was interested and she said she'd talk to them and get some more info about the position. I'd of course want better benefits than I currently have and maybe some relocation expenses covered (it's in a city about 4 hours away - which is also exciting, a new city instead of the one I've been in for high school and after -- except for college and a year abroad).

If I get an offer and take it, the main thing that I'm worried about is offending folks at my old work place. They've given me a lot of responsibilities and integrated me pretty heavily in the department I'm in. They trust me pretty well and I'm definitely not at an entry level position. I could possibly see them wanting me to move up after a few more years (nothing guaranteed, but I get hints now and again). It's a good group of folks to work with and a solid company (no takeover activity stuff, not looking to sell, downsize, etc.). But the idea of a higher position and more cash is alluring.

So, am I being short sighted if I do take the other position? And if I do take it (which, granted, it's just a possibility currently but I'd rather have thought this through well before it gets much farther along) what would be the best way to make sure my old bosses don't feel betrayed/hurt? I do value all the training and experience they've given me, but I also feel like sometimes you have to take opportunities.

Anyone with experiences of their own with this definitely welcome (especially if you were on the other side, i.e., manager at a place where someone you liked had given a lot of responsibility moved on).

Also, I'm may be entirely overthinking all of this.
posted by yeahyeahyeah to Work & Money (9 answers total)
I would phrase it as that you're excited to take on new responsibilities, and also that you've been looking to relocate. Feel free to lean more heavily on the relocating aspect if you feel the need.
posted by Sara C. at 5:10 PM on January 16, 2014

You need to do what is best for you. If it would benefit you present company they would lay you off in a heartbeat. They would be very sorry, but business is business.

If you get an offer from this other company exercise due diligence and consider if it would be a better opportunity for you. If you decide yes, tell your current employer that you appreciate the opportunity for career growth that your present position has offered you, but that he new position is more in keeping with you career and personal goals.
posted by Rob Rockets at 5:12 PM on January 16, 2014

I'm may be entirely overthinking all of this.

Sounds like it to me. Employees move on all the time. Don't worry about it. If you get the job and want the opportunity, give your notice and go.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:13 PM on January 16, 2014

This is common. You get compensated for your work and they keep you happy by keeping you rewarded and in return you work hard for them. They needed to offer a competitive package to keep you and if not then you move on. Both the company and you decide what you are worth and negotiate.

It is more than salary, and it sounds like you are thinking of all the benefits which is good!

Good luck, oh and to not burn bridges, you provide 2 weeks notice, work hard in your last too weeks and indicate career opportunity or relocation as why you are leaving.

You burn bridges by, yelling at them, leaving immediately and or slack off once you quit.
posted by Jaelma24 at 6:10 PM on January 16, 2014

Honestly, when I've nurtured someone and they've left the company to do something bigger and better, I've been happy and excited for them. Sure, it can be a pain to train someone new, but I want the people I work with to be fulfilled just as much as I want my own life to be easier.

They will wish you well and, if your experience is anything like mine, they're likely to buy you a celebratory drink on your last day.
posted by janey47 at 6:59 PM on January 16, 2014

I agree that giving proper notice etc is the best way to not burn bridges (you may want your current boss for a reference in the future if nothing else). I would put this forward as wanting to broaden your horizons more than actually wanting to leave, playing up the relocation as much as needed to make sure you aren't seen as leaving them, but going towards new opportunities as part of your professional growth.

Don't stress about 'leaving after all the opportunities they've given you' or anything like that - they've given you nothing that didn't contribute to their bottom line. Your boss would do the same thing in a heartbeat and will likely understand that you need to grasp opportunities when they arise. There's no way of knowing what the future holds, so don't overthink that aspect - the company you work for now could be very different in a year.
posted by dg at 1:28 AM on January 17, 2014

My lead developer gave his notice at the start of the week. I am super excited for him, even though I am going to miss working with him on a personal level and filling his shoes is going to be a scramble.

But that is what my job is: finding people, watching them grow beyond the level of work I can put in front of them and being excited when they move on.

No reasonable employer or manager expects permanence, as nice as it can be when it happens.
posted by cCranium at 4:11 AM on January 17, 2014

You don't work for people or companies, you work for yourself. You work because you enjoy the activity, you work for the money and you work to learn and grow. When deciding to change jobs, think entirely in your own self-interest.

People don't have crystal balls, they think they know how it's going to shake out, but they don't know. In my last job I was told that after two years, there would probably be promotions for everyone and that I could expect to take my manager's place. Two acquisitions, a re-organization and a total mis-use of an AWESOME CRM, and I pulled the plug. I don't think anyone was being disingenuous, I believe that THEY beleived that it would happen the way they envisioned it, but Man Plans and God Laughs.

If you find a position that offers more money, better benefits, an easier commute, an awesome new opportunity, a challenge, learning a new tool or your own office, whatever it is that makes it worth your while to move on, then move on.

Give proper notice, document your proceedures, and stay in touch via Linked In. THAT'S how you move on without burning bridges.

Great managers are happy when their folks get awesome opportunities. Shitty managers are jealous.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:33 AM on January 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Awesome. Thanks for all the advice! This is my first "big boy" job and most of my friends/family are not really in the corporate world -- so their advice was mostly non committal on this topic. Good to know I'm not just living in a bubble where I just assume people won't be offended, but then they are.
posted by yeahyeahyeah at 8:20 AM on January 18, 2014

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