Alternative to resignation? Want to move but not harm career.
May 2, 2014 12:19 PM   Subscribe

I live in a smallish (Canadian) city an hour outside of a large city. I moved for work four years ago, and for a variety of reasons am feeling an increasing urgency to move back to the Big City. I am trying to figure out ways to do this, weighing my options, and am curious if anyone has any suggestions, or can point out repercussions of each option I hadn't considered?

What follows is a list of the options/variables as I see them. Please let me know if I'm missing anything, opinions, or perspectives.

1) Wait to find a job in the Big City and resign with 2 weeks notice.
-This seems like the most logical option, though it requires my patience. It is straightforward and clean in terms of my resignation, but does leave my company stranded due to short-notice of resignation. It also means that I will be able to move to a more convenient location in the Big City as I'll already know where my work will be.

2) Move to the Big City, commute to work in Small City, meanwhile look for a new job.
-This seems like another logical option to me, though it would add 15 hours of commuting to my weekly schedule, and quite a bit of expense (higher rent in Big City + increased transit costs). Plus, if/when I do find a job in the Big City I may be living in a less-ideal location for transit to my new job.

3) Try to negotiate something with my current employer.
a) Let them know I am eager to relocate to Big City, that I am looking for work, and advise they begin succession planning.
-I have no idea how this would play out. It might be better for the company, but it seems possible they may demand a resignation date, or turn around and give me notice so they can hire my replacement. The potential for this to result in my being unemployed seems high.

b) Let them know I am moving to Big City and that I would like to work from home 1 day a week. Say nothing of potential resignation.
-This will lower my travel time/cost burden, and is a compromise to allow me to move to Big City sooner. The negatives are that it will still leave my employer potentially stranded with eventual 2 weeks notice, and may mean I move to an inconvenient neighborhood in Big City.

c) Let them know I would like to relocate and negotiate 2 months notice in exchange for putting "End of contract" on my Record Of Employment; receive EI while looking for a new job,
-I think there's a decent chance they would agree to this, not least because I was never issued a new contract after my last fixed-term-contract ended, and this gives them the most flexibility for succession planning. The drawbacks are that I would be looking for new work w/o a current job, and would have to explain that to potential employers. Also, if my company tells me 'no' I will have damaged that relationship.

I hope there are other options/variables I haven't considered, and would be happy to hear advice from anyone, particularly those in a hiring/management position who can advise from personal experience what works best. I'm in a mid-level role, am the sole staff in my department (so my quick-departure would be a bit of a problem for my company), but I am certainly not important enough to expect a significant quantity of strings be pulled.
posted by offrecord to Work & Money (20 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If the scenario you've presented in 3a is likely, the fact that you're even worried about making things easy for them means that you have more loyalty to them than they have to you.

Which means option 1 is a good bet. Two weeks is standard notice in North American business culture, unless there are significant extenuating circumstances (like you're a doctor in a rural clinic, and people might die if you leave). Do what's best for you and let them deal with finding a replacement.
posted by jingzuo at 12:24 PM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

#1, without question. You are not irreplaceable, and they will be fine. #2 leads to incredibly terrible quality of life, and all of the #3 options can very easily end with them just firing you.

Look for a new job, take it, leave your old job. This is a very, very standard thing that thousands of people do every day. You are not screwing your company over by doing this, it is totally normal, business as usual operations. They will be fine, you will be happy, everything is good.
posted by brainmouse at 12:24 PM on May 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

posted by DarlingBri at 12:29 PM on May 2, 2014

Go with 1. 2 weeks notice is standard. If they can't find someone to fill your position in that amount of time that's their problem, not yours. It is unlikely that they'd even provide you with 2 weeks notice prior to terminating you, so why concern yourself with what they'll do about your job after you're gone?
posted by stubbehtail at 12:31 PM on May 2, 2014

#1 is the option that is best for you. It is also the accepted standard.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:32 PM on May 2, 2014

Actually, let me elaborate. You titled this question, "Alternative to resignation? Want to move but not harm career." Giving the notice you are contractually obligated to give will not harm your career.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:33 PM on May 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

Do you like your job? Depending on the type of job you have, 100% telecommuting might be an option.

If it's not the type of job where that arrangement is common, then yes, #1 is the way to go.
posted by UncleBoomee at 12:36 PM on May 2, 2014

1, obviously. If you feel nice, you can give longer than 2 weeks notice, but honestly, if they can't attract anyone it's because they should pay more or make the job more attractive. Capitalism works both ways! Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 12:39 PM on May 2, 2014

Option 1. I'm in a Big Canadian City and two weeks' notice is all anyone expects. In fact, a hard-to-replace senior person in our area resigned yesterday with two weeks' notice and there was no push back, but only sincere good wishes for his career move.
posted by angiep at 12:40 PM on May 2, 2014

Response by poster: Perhaps I should expand on "not harm career". By this I mean my career generally: to not end up unemployed or unemployable (given that it's harder to find a job when you do not currently have one). I can see #1 is the logical choice, but it means my having to be patient until I get another offer, which could take who knows how long.
posted by offrecord at 12:43 PM on May 2, 2014

You've got to exercise patience, #1 is the best.

If you don't mind the added time and expense, I suppose you can move to big city, and see if you can swing one 'work from home' day. While commuting to current job, if it's THAT important to you.

Under NO circumstances do you tell your job you're out the door. You can start executing a succession plan silently. Document all processes, automate things as much as possible, but in the end, it's not your problem what happens after you leave.

People leave jobs every day. Sometimes it's inconvenient for employers, but it should never be a career killer. It's not indentured servitude.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:57 PM on May 2, 2014

If it's within commuting distance, it's within weekend outing distance. Work harder on saving money, heck, get a second job if you really feel like you must do something now.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:02 PM on May 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Definitely #1. With luck a good job offer in the Big City could include moving expenses. If they don't offer ask for it during negotiations.
posted by Gor-ella at 1:48 PM on May 2, 2014

Your company will let you go with zero notice, its business. 2 weeks is generous, you could be hit by a bus or moose/ice road trucker/something Canadian through no fault of your own and they get zero notice. If they are screwed if you leave that's their own fault.

Tldr, keep them in the dark until you get hired elsewhere then offer 2 weeks notice.
posted by TheAdamist at 2:04 PM on May 2, 2014

I can see #1 is the logical choice, but it means my having to be patient until I get another offer, which could take who knows how long.

Yes. Welcome to adulthood. It often sucks.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:09 PM on May 2, 2014 [3 favorites]

#1 is the way to go, since I'm assuming that Local Job does not have a branch in Big City.
posted by jeather at 2:21 PM on May 2, 2014

1) and DO NOT even think about 2). I do 1.5 hrs each way but even a 1-hour commute is murder for longer than a week.

It sounds like you're at a breaking point, but get a hotel room in the big city on the weekends and do stuff, if you're desperate.

If you want to be extra nice, start preparing an amazing handover log for your successor once you get into 2nd interviews, and offer to help with the transition for x weeks (maybe for a fee? I know some people charge for that sort of thing; I probably wouldn't, if it's just to tie a few loose ends).

If you have a friend who lives in the city, maybe use that address on your resume. Though if they call you in for an impromptu interview, you'd have to fly.
posted by cotton dress sock at 3:13 PM on May 2, 2014

I think your desire to be in the big city again is making you seriously underestimate how much and how quickly you'd come to regret adding 15 hours/week to your current commute. I went from a 15 minute daily round trip commute to a 2 hr one. I'm back to 15 minutes and I can't imagine wasting 2 hours a day that way again.

Don't move till you've secured a job, and don't let on at your current place that you're job hunting. Your plan #1 is the best one for sure. As others have said, you are close enough to the big city to let weekend or day trips tide you over till you find a job there.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:18 PM on May 2, 2014

Nthing the above advice. Don't quit, or talk about quitting, or even hinting you might quit, until you've got a new job 100% lined up.

And don't commute 2 hours each day to & from this big city, unless you have a iron clad need to do so. It'll get very old, very quick. And the increased quality of life you expect from the big city, will be soured by being physically and psychologically drained by commuting.

Working from home usually works, if you have a real enlightened employer, and have work that can be productively done remotely - and even so, if you have a good reason to do so (like a kid at home). Trust me, employers may tolerate you working from home if they have to, but they don't really like it.

AFAIK there's nothing wrong with giving more than 2 weeks notice (like 3 or 4 weeks, if it's negotiable with your new employer). There's also nothing wrong with, for example, being willing to answer emails (on your personal email, on your own time) if they have questions post-departure, provided you're not moving to a direct competitor to your existing business, for a reasonable period of time after you've left.

Still, in two weeks you should be able to fully document your work, and orient things so that there is a smooth transition.

Finally, remember we are all expendable and replaceable. I've have seen dozens of 'irreplaceable' people come and go, and things endure and survive regardless.

The worst thing you could do would be to quit without notice and cut off any further support, even courtesy support, or give notice but make little effort to have a smooth transition. If you aren't doing that, then you're fine.
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 6:03 PM on May 2, 2014

Hi! I did exactly this (moved to a more rural area and 4 years later realized I needed to get back to the big city). and moved back to the big city two years ago.

My recommendation: do #1, but negotiate with your new employer to start 3 or 4 weeks after accepting rather than 2. This will allow you to give your current company 3-4 weeks notice rather than 2 and also give you more time to find a place to live and pack your current place up. It made a huge difference for me.
posted by rednikki at 6:13 PM on May 2, 2014

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