When to tell everyone that I am engaged --> quitting job --> moving?
March 4, 2014 5:33 PM   Subscribe

Mr. Anonymous and I are going to tie the knot. Hooray! Ring has been purchased, plans are being quietly made, and basically I'm all sorts of excited and over the moon. But there are some timing questions. Flurries inside.

Mr. Anonymous and I are long-distance and, obviously, upon nuptials we would like to live together. For numerous very good reasons, I will be leaving my job and my town. We are moving together to his current city, and he will keep his current job.

Fact of the matter is: the minute I tell anyone in this town that I am engaged, it will be clear that I am planning to leave my job and move away. I have no fear of being fired or let go because they know that I am planning to leave. I have already spoken to the Chair of the Board (my boss), so he knows that my time here is limited. I asked how he would like me to handle telling my staff, and he said "whatever you want is fine." I was hoping for a bit more direction than that.

The actual date of the wedding is going to depend on when I get a new job. We're okay with that. Obviously, if I can't find a job by the end of fall we're just going to get hitched, I will move down there, and I will continue the job search as an unemployed Mrs. Anonymous.

I can't figure out when I should tell my staff. I stress that this is a small town and if I tell them, everyone in town will know in 30 minutes flat. I can see advantages and disadvantages both ways.

Option #1: Tell staff upon engagement.

Pro: I can wear my pretty ring.
Pro: I don't have to keep secrets. I am a terrible secret keeper.
Pro: It just seems wrong to keep something joyous like that a secret, like it's something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.
Con: Everyone will immediately know that I am leaving this job and moving away.
Con: It may be awkward to have everyone know that I am job searching.
Con: I would have to deal with endless questions about...everything. Engagement, future plans, future plans for my workplace, etc.
Con: Transition process would be in limbo, and everyone will be just waiting until I get a job or give up and move.

Option #2: Tell staff upon finding a new job.

Pro: I can give a definite timeline for when I am leaving.
Pro: Transition process at work can begin immediately upon telling, no limbo.
Pro: I can avoid all but six weeks of endless questions about...everything.
Pro: There will be no weirdness around "boss is job-hunting"
Con: I would have to keep secrets. I am a bad secret keeper - not so much because I can't keep a secret, but because I hate keeping them.
Con: I would have to keep pretty ring off finger. Boo!

Option #3: ????

Like I said, I can see advantages and disadvantages both ways. I'm looking for input - is there anything that I am not thinking of? Have you had to deal with something like this? What did you do - and, looking back, what do you wish you would have done?

Some final notes:

- all wedding/house shopping will be done in Mr. Anonymous' city, so there's no chance of a staff member seeing me trying on a wedding dress in town or anything like that.

- Right now the only people in town who know are the Chair of the Board and one friend. Both are trustworthy to keep their mouths shut. Indeed, I don't think the Chair of the Board cares either way!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"We're engaged! We haven't set a date yet!"
posted by Rock Steady at 5:43 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you should tell them when you set a date.

And I think you should set a date sooner rather than later, unless it's going to be a very long engagement with no clear exit-strategy toward actual marriage.

I don't understand why any of this is pegged to your job hunt, or why you're worried that people under you will know that you're eventually leaving the job.
posted by Sara C. at 5:45 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Start job-hunting now. Tell everyone once you have a firm idea of when your tenure at Job #1 will end. The endless uncertainty will spawn all the questions for you and everyone else. Even if you're not 100% sure...just give them an idea when you're going to be leaving. If you extend, great. But give people an idea to decrease the number of questions you get.
posted by arnicae at 5:46 PM on March 4, 2014

Also- on the questions - I married Mr. Arnicae and promptly moved across the country from him. We've been doing it for years, so it may not be as question-provoking as you think (whether or not you're quitting/moving).
posted by arnicae at 5:47 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

You know in general that telling work folks this info so far in advance is both unprofessional (it's you personal life, keep it at home!!) and also perilous/frought with dramaz.

This seems to be all about you wanting to wear your ring.

Looking back, at work, 99% of the time I WISH WISH WISH I HAD KEPT MY PRIVATE LIFE TO MYSELF.

Do whatever is best in your circumstances.

and.... Congratulations!!!
posted by jbenben at 5:50 PM on March 4, 2014 [8 favorites]

If you plan to leave at the end of fall no matter what, tell them that's your timeline. Then if you happen to get a job earlier, it's, "Surprise, actually I'll be leaving sooner than planned!"
posted by lollusc at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2014 [5 favorites]

It sounds like it's at the very least an open secret with the bossman that you'll be leaving anyway. I guess it's up to you under those circumstances. Usually the policy would be "no pretty ring in public until you have a new job" and you know it, but since it doesn't sound like you'll get preemptively canned for leaving otherwise...say you're here until you find a new job or the fall comes, I guess. Sounds like you have one of the few jobs where you can be that open.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:01 PM on March 4, 2014

I don't understand why any of this is pegged to your job hunt

Anonymous didn't state this outright, but putting together parts of the post, it sounds like Anonymous' fiance does not live in the same town where she currently lives & works. Not unreasonably, she feels that announcing an engagement will cause people to conclude that she'll soon be leaving to be with her partner.
posted by Tomorrowful at 6:08 PM on March 4, 2014

You're making too big of a deal of this. Announce your engagement if it's culturally-correct in your workplace to do so, and if/when people ask what your plans are re: moving/leaving your job, simply say the timeline hasn't been decided yet.

People are only interested to the extent of wondering how it will impact them personally. Reassure your team that the transition will be as smooth as possible, and that you will continue to work at your usual level of professionalism and full attention.

This is understandably a big huge event to you, but I think you may be over-estimating the level of interest others will be investing in this. Just be cool, be honest, answer a few questions, and people will soon lose interest and move on to the next gossip-worthy topic in the office.
posted by nacho fries at 6:18 PM on March 4, 2014 [9 favorites]

You seem so set on the fact that the world will know you're leaving if you announce you're engaged? How would people actually know that if you don't tell them? Unless there is some circumstance that makes it obvious, like... you live in Alaska and he is allergic to cold? Even if you've been telling everybody under the sun that if you got engaged you'd likely move away, I can't seem to think of one reason why everybody would know for certain that you were definitely leaving.

It seems to me that it could go like so:

Anonymous: "I'm getting married! Squee! Look at my ring!"
Nosy parkers: "Oh wow! Congratulations! Does that mean you're moving away? Or will Mr. Anonymous move here?"
Anonymous: "Oh, we're working the details out. We don't have a final plan just yet!" (This has the added benefit of actually being true).
Nosy parkers: "I see. Well what are you thinking?"
Anonymous: "We're looking at a lot of different options!"
Nosy parkers: "Will you move?"
Anonymous: "I'm afraid I don't know yet!"

Repeat ad nauseum. Just keep stonewalling and steering them back to celebrating the good news. Since your boss already knows, I can't see why this approach wouldn't give you the best of both worlds.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:49 PM on March 4, 2014 [8 favorites]

I find that in about 99% of the cases, the truth is the best answer.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:15 PM on March 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

It seems to me the cons from Option 1 are also cons for Option 2... just delayed somewhat. I vote for telling people now and using pazazygeek's script to defer questions you'd rather no answer.

posted by Admira at 7:27 PM on March 4, 2014

Data point: I know some people who were engaged for like 18 months before they set a date that was another 10+ months out. Helpful phrases include "we are just starting to think about the details," "it turns out weddings take a LONG time to plan," "we don't want to rush anything," "we haven't even begun to think about the logistics," "we just know we want to get married eventually."
posted by salvia at 1:46 AM on March 5, 2014

Engagement: go ahead and start wearing your ring; use the various "no wedding date set yet" scripts for nosy people.
Job: don't tell anyone anything until you hand in your two weeks' notice --- dont't tell friends, family or especially your coworkers.
posted by easily confused at 2:09 AM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Ooh, I had this problem too. I was, however, a junior employee, and kinda rubbish at my job, so I acutally didn't tell anyone I was getting married until I handed in my notice.

All the planning had taken place, I had sent out invites (I didn't expect my coworkers to be there because the wedding was in Vegas and we were in New Orleans), and then I went to my boss, said "I have to leave in a month. Because I'm getting married and moving to England."

And then I told my coworkers. And they blinked a bit, but everyone sort of saw this coming because they knew I had this guy who lived in another country.

So if you don't want people to be convinced you're leaving immediately, don't tell them until you're absolutely ready to go. But also don't be surprised when they sort of figured it out anyway.
posted by Katemonkey at 3:32 AM on March 5, 2014

The ring and your plans are not their business unless you want it to be. Your boss was the one you had to worry about, if anyone.
posted by ftm at 5:05 AM on March 5, 2014

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