When should I quit my job?
June 19, 2016 6:35 PM   Subscribe

I just accepted a new job that starts in mid-August, and I'm struggling with when to tell my current job that I'm leaving.

I teach preschool, and my current job ends in mid-August, on a Friday, with the new job starting the following Monday. This past Wednesday, I was supposed to tell my current school which classroom I'd like to work in this fall. I have been putting off telling them, because I wasn't planning to return, and got an offer that afternoon, which I accepted the next day. The question is, when do I tell my boss that I'm not returning, and does a conversation constitute giving notice?

Complications: I'd rather not be factored in to next year's staffing, because I don't want families at my current job to be told that I'm returning, only to learn later that I'm leaving. I have two weeks vacation coming up at the beginning of July. I don't *think* my boss would pull anything shady with me, but we've had enough leadership transition, that the admin isn't always on top of proper HR procedures.

As I see it, I could tell my director this week, but wait to give formal notice until the beginning of August, or I could wait until sometime after my vacation, and give either four weeks notice in the middle of July or two weeks at the beginning of August. Alternatively, I could give two weeks notice in the middle of July, and get time in between jobs, but that leaves my current school short staffed for the last two weeks of the summer.

What else am I missing? In the end, I want to protect myself, first and foremost, but I'd rather not burn any bridges at my current school.
posted by SobaFett to Work & Money (8 answers total)
What does short-staffed mean over summer break? Is there any reason not to give notice now, then take those two weeks of vacation as planned and let them segue into the rest of the summer's worth of vacation? Don't underestimate the value of a couple weeks of international travel, especially if you go somewhere affordable!
posted by tapir-whorf at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2016

Our school goes year-round; we're closed for a week in August to prep for the new year. Short staffed means that someone would have to cover my hours to keep the class in ratio if I'm not there. They might be able to slide a new hire in if they have someone in the pipeline, or they might count on the remaining teachers working extra. As for travel, that sounds lovely, but I'm more likely to spend that time biking along the river and drinking beer.

I'll try not to thread-sit after this.
posted by SobaFett at 6:43 PM on June 19, 2016

Biking and drinking beer sound good, especially over the summer. I'd tell 'em ASAP, and let the workload be their problem.
posted by scruss at 7:10 PM on June 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

You should quit as soon as you'd be vested in that vacation time. Enjoy some biking and beer time. We spend too much of our lives working, and breaks are wonderful. The school will cover for you, and the parents will understand, even though they think you're wonderful.
posted by Kalmya at 7:20 PM on June 19, 2016 [7 favorites]

When you tell your boss you're leaving on X date, she'll ask you to write it in an email or letter. That correspondence will count as your notice. Your conversation with your boss is an unnecessary courtesy but helpful in keeping bridges in tact. Keep in mind, your vacation time off request might not get approved if your boss knows you're leaving soon. You might have to take the payout for unused vacation time instead.

I vote that if you can afford a lapse in benefits, etc., take time off between jobs.
posted by thewestinggame at 8:54 PM on June 19, 2016

What kind of shady stuff are you concerned about? Retroactively in-approving your vacation or refusing to pay you accrued vacation time, something like that?

On the face of it, it seems like your and your school's interests are actually pretty well aligned here. The only difference is that they will want you to stay until the end of the session, while you want to leave two weeks before the end of the session. They would have to be self-sabotagingly vengeful to ask you to leave earlier (not impossible, but it doesn't sound like you're expecting anything like that), and they can't actually make you stay until the end of the session (although they can lay on the guilt pretty thick).

I would tell sooner rather than later (like, end of this week or right after your vacation), and say you have plans already for the time in between jobs.
posted by mskyle at 4:36 AM on June 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

I would tell them you will not be returning in August as soon as possible,. This gives them time to find a replacement and should allow you to leave on good terms. If they try to take away the vacation time in July tell them you have plans that are not refundable. Good luck on the new position.
posted by tman99 at 7:14 AM on June 20, 2016

Thanks for the support y'all! I told my boss yesterday, to make sure she didn't count me into next year's staffing. I met with her today, and agreed to make next Friday my last day, since my vacation starts right after that. Now I've got six weeks between jobs!
posted by SobaFett at 2:49 PM on June 24, 2016

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