Giving notice prior to an official offer
December 9, 2017 12:28 AM   Subscribe

I have a verbal offer from the new boss to start working for a different unit within the same (large academic) organization. New boss has started the process with HR, but I haven't heard from HR yet. HR will need to do a background check and negotiate salary/start date. New boss wants me to give notice ASAP to current boss in order to ensure a smooth transition and to be mindful of current boss's needs.

I know the advice is always to wait to give notice until you have a written offer in-hand. Is there any difference when dealing with an internal transition? I'm certain current boss will not kick me to the curb or have any major issues with my leaving, aside from disappointment. But, if the economy tanks in the next three weeks and the offer is rescinded, I don't really want current boss knowing that I want out. Advice?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (14 answers total)
Uhh, no. I would respectfully demur to new boss until salary and start date are set in writing. What will you even tell your boss without a start date? What if you don't like their salary offer? Not worth the risk IMO.
posted by permiechickie at 2:38 AM on December 9, 2017 [24 favorites]

Just say you've had a bad experience in the past where an offer didn't turn out, and so you have a firm policy that you cannot give notice until there is a signed contract in place. This is not an uncommon thing.
posted by smoke at 3:03 AM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

Absolutely do not give notice until you've got a firm commitment from them. They're trying to leverage their negotiating power to make you do something against your interests, and it's absolutely not worth the risk. If they're going to walk away from you over a couple of weeks' delay that they created you do not want to work for then, because they will continue to exploit their power over you to extract other concessions in future. If they're not willing to wait, they're not worth working with.
posted by howfar at 3:07 AM on December 9, 2017 [10 favorites]

Do not do this. They can use this to their advantage when negotiating terms if they know you have already handed in notice. At best you will have a few weeks gap before your new job starts and at worst you could be left with no job at all. Dont let them make their delays your problem. I would also be wary of any employer pushy and unprofessional enough to suggest this.
posted by RandomInconsistencies at 3:52 AM on December 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Nope nope nope. HR is holding up the process, so New Boss needs to work with HR, not pressure you.
posted by Caravantea at 4:16 AM on December 9, 2017 [14 favorites]

If this is like my large academic institution, HR is understaffed and not in the habit of rushing these things anyway. New boss needs to lean on HR, not on you. I had this exact issue when changing jobs, where the offer letter just did not come through. I too waited to give notice until I had the offer. New boss needs to lean on HR - academia is complicated, but they can rush this process if they have to.
posted by Frowner at 5:14 AM on December 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

New boss wants me to give notice ASAP to current boss in order to ensure a smooth transition and to be mindful of current boss's needs.

So New Boss doesn't want to cause a political/organizational problem by taking you. That's not your problem and it's not your job to make New Boss's life easier (at least on this topic, since New Boss is not your boss just yet),

If NB really wants that smooth transition, they will expedite the written offer with final salary locked in place.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:20 AM on December 9, 2017 [7 favorites]

Another academic joining the chorus: Do not do this.
posted by medusa at 8:58 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don’t work in the academic field, but when I switched jobs within my healthcare organization I had to let my current boss know.

Does your organization have any policies about internal recruitment? I would let the official policy be your guide.

Our organizational policy included a stipulation that the current supervisor must be contacted before an offer could be made.

If you decide to let your current boss know you can phrase it as an exciting opportunity that fell in your lap. You can also state how grateful you’ve been for the current job, and how excited you are to be continuing on at your organization.

I’m a little surprised at all the advice not to tell your current boss, so maybe academia is different.
posted by MadMadam at 9:46 AM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

No, don't risk this. You seem sure your boss won't fire you over looking for new jobs, but I would say 1) you can never be sure of that 2) now there is an added wrinkle where your current boss could try to kill your new position by raising a stink to your new boss. Say absolutely nothing until the offer letter received and signed off.

Tell new boss you don't want current boss knowing until it's signed off. Say you will take care on your end to assist the transition, but only once it's a sure thing because you've had offers fall through or change before and it creates problems.
posted by AppleTurnover at 10:13 AM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

How closely do new boss and current boss work together? We just had a really bad situation happen where an employee wanted to transfer to our team and set that all up with my manager without either of them telling the employee's current manager, despite my manager and that manager working really closely together. It ended up with really, really bad feelings on all sides, and with upper management upset with my manager for not being considerate of the other manager. Every bit of advice I subsequently read about the subject said that with internal transfers, the general etiquette is to let one's current supervisor know that one is applying for the transfer first so they don't get blindsided by not only their employee but also their colleague. It's just totally different than for applying for outside jobs -- because with an internal transfer, you're asking your potential boss to keep secrets from a colleague about a work issue that's going to majorly affect them, and that's often really shady.

For my part, I lost a lot of respect for both my manager and for the this to-be-transferred employee for not being upfront with everyone during the process. Also, the transfer did fall apart at the last minute (after she did eventually tell her manager, because it had been approved by HR at that point) because of budget issues, so now this employee is still working with a manager that she didn't have the courtesy to tell she was looking for other positions in the department. Everyone's being adults and the whole thing is mostly fine, but she could have avoided a lot of bad feelings had she just been an adult in the first place and let her manager know she was applying at the beginning. If she does ever transfer to our department I'll be her supervisor, and I know that I will not really trust her on these sorts of situations, because of the poor way she handled this.
posted by lazuli at 11:05 AM on December 9, 2017 [2 favorites]

I do hiring. I am not the guy doing your hiring. I'm the guy WRITING the written offers and I don't ask, tell, or encourage people I'm hiring to turn in notice or burn bridges in any way until I have been able to get the offer signed and countersigned.

I get the thing lazuli says above about courtesy notifications in a tightly-knit organization. But balanced against that - there is a background check and you're still working out salary and start date? This seems like a thing that is still pretty up in the air, and it won't be the organization that suffers if they leave you up in the air, so I'd say where the courtesy comes in is that adequate notice has to be observed AFTER an offer is made, and perhaps something can be worked out about extended availability for them to ask you questions for a bit longer.
posted by randomkeystrike at 12:26 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

One thing - IME, moving from unit to unit in academia is not like moving from area to area in a large corporation. Academic units have far more autonomy from each other - if you move from sales to compliance, you'll have a far closer relationship with your old unit than if you move from the law school to the med school. The unwritten rules for notifying managers are different in academia because it's somewhere between changing departments in a company and totally changing companies, so there's not as likely to be a strong expectation (even if New Boss would like to do so) that Old Boss get a heads up as early as possible.
posted by Frowner at 1:05 PM on December 9, 2017 [1 favorite]

As a boss, without your end date I really can't do anything anyways with the information you are leaving. So wait for the actual offer (with start date) before looping in your current boss.
posted by saucysault at 2:05 PM on December 9, 2017 [4 favorites]

« Older Everything you wanted to know about adult ADHD....   |   How to handle a very difficult conversation with... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.