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  1. #1
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    Default Job Quitting Advice

    With about 6 months to go, I'm starting to think about the various aspects of leaving, one of which is quitting my job. I work in a small department of a large company in a leadership role (Director level, I'm not that important). I've been at the company for 9+ years, in this department for a little over 1 and have been making a fair amount of changes in my time here. I feel good about where I'll be leaving the department and where my projects will be when I leave.

    That said, I can't just give them two weeks notice and ideally would actually find and train my successor before leaving. Originally I was thinking I would tell my leadership team in mid-January so there are two months to plan, transition, look for a new person, etc.... Then last week I was talking to a former boss about my plan and he said I shouldn't tell them until after bonus which is in February (decided early Feb, delivered mid-Feb). While that makes sense, it gives them less time to transition and whatnot, plus it seems a little greedy. I don't necessarily need the bonus money, but I am quitting my job so more money in the bank would be a good thing, and we phrase it as bonus money is based on the work you have done over the last year, raises are based on what the expectation is for the coming year.

    What is the proper etiquette with something like this? Wait until after bonus to tell them I'm leaving and give less time for the transition, or tell them earlier so there is more transition time but risks not getting a bonus?

  2. #2
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    What's a good job reference worth to you?
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  3. #3
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    Well since I will need a job at some point in the future (hopefully a different industry all together but we'll see) I don't want to burn any bridges. But if I told them mid-Feb (right after bonus) I could push my start date to early April and still give them 6 weeks notice.

    I actually think my management team will be very supportive and understanding of my decision.

  4. #4
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    before you give notice make sure you have copies of all your performance appraisals just in case someone tries to give a bad reference in the future.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by jred321 View Post
    I actually think my management team will be very supportive and understanding of my decision.
    If above is true, then bring them up to speed now. Perhaps, portraying plan as a sabbatical or inquiring about a Leave of Absence may provide options your employer might offer which you haven't considered.

    Good Luck

  6. #6

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    I realize this is not actually pertain to you...

    We had an employee turn in a three week notice.
    Turned out he was copying files and documents the entire time.
    Was caught a few days before his last and his portable hard drive was confiscated and was he was escorted out the door.

    Since then we implemented a policy that if you turn in your resignation you were to leave that day, at that moment.

    I asked my boss for a leave of absence to cycle across the US a few years ago and his answer was, "sure but if we don't need you when you are finished you have to find another job".

    Does sound like you are in a great position with a good head on your shoulders. You know your employer better than anyone here.
    I am sure you will make the correct decision for you and your employer.

  7. #7

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    This can be a difficult issue, especially at the Director management level.

    A few thoughts here;

    Develop your letter of resignation. This goes into your personnel file and can become part of your next job hunt referral. Keep it positive and grateful for the considerations extended you during your employ. Avoid mentioning you are leaving to hike the Trail (or specifics of another job you have accepted), keep the reason for leaving vague with phrasing like "I am pursuing a different direction" or "looking at other opportunities", etc.

    You are smart to think about the timing of the notice. You should look into company policy guidelines for this. Some companies only want 2 weeks notice, however, senior management (director level would be in this category) and project managers may be required to provide extended notice. Conversely, some companies will waive the two week notice and dismiss you the day you resign, complete with security guard to verify you aren't taking office property out with your personal things. If there are no guidelines, you will need to have a heart to heart with your manager to see how the timing can be worked out.

    Only you have any idea of what to expect as a reaction, especially if this is coming as a full on surprise to your manager. There may be confrontational things that happen, but you need to maintain your professional composure. This is likely the person you will need to ask for a letter of recommendation. If they want a few more weeks notice than you want to give, negotiate a signed letter of recommendation from your manager (not a bad idea to do this regardless). That way you avoid returning later asking for one and you have a leg up once the Trail is behind you and you are again in the job market.

    After you provide notice, don't feel badly when you are treated differently. People will pull inward to the team you manage and await the new boss, which can appear mean or detached, but is really part of business behavior. Being escorted off property is not uncommon, though it may sting a bit, employers can be sensitive to proprietary materials leaving.

    Director level positions are typically integral with the company (usually at the corporate officer level), though you have marginalized this a bit in your description, your firm may not have marginalized it. For this level position at your age, it is indeed indication you have a good career in front of you. To protect that career, you want the best possible recommendation you can get so comport yourself accordingly. If timing is still a crap shoot after the next few weeks, you might want to consider engaging an executive search consultant to help you with the transition out. They will likely be very interested in marketing you when you return.

    If the bonus is not a lot of money, I would take the chance of losing it and visit your manager early in the process. If its substantial (over 10% of your annual income for example) it may be a heavier thought. Keep in mind, ethical behavior can be costly at times, this may be one of those times.

    Hope this helps and good luck!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    before you give notice make sure you have copies of all your performance appraisals just in case someone tries to give a bad reference in the future.
    Meh. Not too concerned. The people I would list as references I am also friends with and technically our HR department doesn't give any of that info. People have had trouble getting security clearances at future jobs because our official policy is that all we say about past employees is that they worked here. A former manager of mine had to go meet the FBI background check person on the plaza because officially our company wouldn't let them talk about a past employee.

    Quote Originally Posted by OCDave View Post
    If above is true, then bring them up to speed now. Perhaps, portraying plan as a sabbatical or inquiring about a Leave of Absence may provide options your employer might offer which you haven't considered.
    I thought about that but I'm definitely leaning more towards never working here again afterwards. Part of why I'm hiking is to start to figure out what to do with the next 30 years of my life. What I've learned in the last 10 is that the place I work now is not where I want to be for the next 30 years even though I would get paid well and have a secure, stable job. So I feel like if I asked for a sabatical there is the implication that I'm coming back and it would then come across worse if they granted me one and then I said I don't want to come back.

    Quote Originally Posted by swisscross View Post
    I realize this is not actually pertain to you...

    We had an employee turn in a three week notice.
    Turned out he was copying files and documents the entire time.
    Was caught a few days before his last and his portable hard drive was confiscated and was he was escorted out the door.

    Since then we implemented a policy that if you turn in your resignation you were to leave that day, at that moment.
    All traffic to and from any of our USB ports is logged. I'd have to be pretty dumb to try to steal things that way But really there is nothing I need from here. I work in IT and at this point my job is meetings, email and PowerPoint with the occassional spreadsheet thrown in. The only people that we have walked out as soon as they give their notice are people going to competitors who have access to advanced/strategic/sensitive data.

    And thanks everyone for the well wishes!

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the thoughts! Some specific comments below:
    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    You are smart to think about the timing of the notice. You should look into company policy guidelines for this. Some companies only want 2 weeks notice, however, senior management (director level would be in this category) and project managers may be required to provide extended notice. Conversely, some companies will waive the two week notice and dismiss you the day you resign, complete with security guard to verify you aren't taking office property out with your personal things. If there are no guidelines, you will need to have a heart to heart with your manager to see how the timing can be worked out.
    I'll have to do some research on this. I also have a friend who works in HR in another department that I can use to consult, and other friends at the 2VP and up level in other departments that I can run things by. Probably around Thanksgiving or so this year I'll start consulting them to get their take.

    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    Only you have any idea of what to expect as a reaction, especially if this is coming as a full on surprise to your manager. There may be confrontational things that happen, but you need to maintain your professional composure. This is likely the person you will need to ask for a letter of recommendation. If they want a few more weeks notice than you want to give, negotiate a signed letter of recommendation from your manager (not a bad idea to do this regardless). That way you avoid returning later asking for one and you have a leg up once the Trail is behind you and you are again in the job market.
    Thanks for the thought but honestly I'm not worried. It may be a surprise and I'm sure my boss won't be happy but she'll understand and be very supportive. She's just that kind of person, especially when I phrase it as a personal growth opportunity. My current boss hired me on as part of our leadership development program 10 years ago and is big on job satisfaction, development and growth.

    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    After you provide notice, don't feel badly when you are treated differently. People will pull inward to the team you manage and await the new boss, which can appear mean or detached, but is really part of business behavior.
    Looking forward to that. Then I won't get pulled into a bunch of garbage that I don't want to be involved in

    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    If timing is still a crap shoot after the next few weeks, you might want to consider engaging an executive search consultant to help you with the transition out.
    Good idea thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by AT Traveler View Post
    If the bonus is not a lot of money, I would take the chance of losing it and visit your manager early in the process. If its substantial (over 10% of your annual income for example) it may be a heavier thought. Keep in mind, ethical behavior can be costly at times, this may be one of those times.
    Historically it has been >10% of my salary. And given how my mid year went and some of the feedback I have gotten from my manager and her boss, combined with the fact that I was hired in at a lower title position and then took over my original boss's job at the start of this calendar year with no new title or corresponding raise I would expect both a new title next year along with a good raise and bonus. In theory I should stick around for another year, or wait until summer to do a SOBO so I have that title to put on my resume and extra salary bump but I don't think I can stand it that much longer

  10. #10
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    Go with your gut.

    In '11 I couldn't have been more surprised when my GM said thanks for the 3 month notice but all he needed was 2 weeks notice and a promise not to let his wife find out what I was doing because she had always wanted to hike the AT and he couldn't afford for her to quit work.

    My vote would be to play completely above board. I went back to work for the same company and they already know my plans for the Spring.

  11. #11
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    My only advice is that you should think about how the management of the company would treat you in the case of financial difficulty requiring layoffs. Have they been fair, reasonable and thoughtful when having to lay people off in the past who had good track records? Is the character of management consistent with providing notice and severance to people who are being let go? If the track record is good and you are working for high grade people, I'd say be open with them now and allow for a long transition. If the track record is poor, I would only feel obliged to provide four weeks notice for a management position or two weeks for a staff position. Just IMO, no one can really provide advice w/o knowing the people involved.
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    Due what you choose, but not out of any sense of obligation. Companies get rid of good employees all the time, due to mergers, poor sales, etc. You owe your employer nothing, beyond your job performance. Two weeks notice is customary. Anything more is a gift from you.
    "It's fun to have fun, but you have to know how." ---Dr. Seuss

  13. #13

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    If your bonus is based on your performance during the previous year, what difference does it make when deciding when to give your notice? it's apparent you did well in your capacity as a director and appear to be team based, and want to do the right thing here. Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but even though you don't need the money it seems you think they may stiff you in regards to your bonus? I would do whatever your company policy calls for and if you can do more than that, that would be good.

    I'm a bit biased myself as I was a worker bee, not in management...and where I worked there was severe, constant strife between labor and management. But that's beside the point I guess.

  14. #14

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    Being the owner/CEO/CFO..etc. of my own window company, I would hope that my employees be honest. I have always run my company with the adage : " the fastest way to get fired is to steal from me or lie to me."
    That being said... I had a lady working for me a few years ago that wanted to take 2 months off to go on a trip to Europe. We talked it over and she worked upto the week before she left. In that last 3 weeks she trained her replacement. I hired her back about 9 months later when her replacement left me to start a family. Things worked well for me. Yes I had a little higher pay roll for that month during the switch, however, I had a quality person training an other quality person in the proper way to do things. I would lesson to any employee that came to me and presented an honest, fact filled case, for time off. I would look at options that were good for me and the employee.

    ....................this has been just my thoughts on the subject as an employer.
    good luck.
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  15. #15
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    Since you are in IT--a field where comings and goings are a way of life--I don't see why you need to give too much notice, 2-4 weeks should be fine, and your experience should get you a job easily after you finish. That being said, do you really want to leave a solid job (and possibly your dog) after a single overnight shakedown hike?
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coffee View Post
    My only advice is that you should think about how the management of the company would treat you in the case of financial difficulty requiring layoffs. Have they been fair, reasonable and thoughtful when having to lay people off in the past who had good track records? Is the character of management consistent with providing notice and severance to people who are being let go? If the track record is good and you are working for high grade people, I'd say be open with them now and allow for a long transition. If the track record is poor, I would only feel obliged to provide four weeks notice for a management position or two weeks for a staff position. Just IMO, no one can really provide advice w/o knowing the people involved.
    We are generally good with layoffs but they are very few and far between. In general for a big company we are very good to our employees.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trainguy View Post
    If your bonus is based on your performance during the previous year, what difference does it make when deciding when to give your notice? it's apparent you did well in your capacity as a director and appear to be team based, and want to do the right thing here. Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but even though you don't need the money it seems you think they may stiff you in regards to your bonus? I would do whatever your company policy calls for and if you can do more than that, that would be good.
    In theory, the bonus is based off of your previous year's performance. However a bonus is just that, a bonus. They are not a given and are part of what is used to make employees happy. If you're not sticking around, they don't really care how happy you are and could easily redistribute that money to other employees. Would they? Who knows, but they could. While ratings and rankings are set in the Fall, the bonus pool isn't defined until after end of year results are posted and it isn't until after that when they decide who gets what.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshuasdad View Post
    That being said, do you really want to leave a solid job (and possibly your dog) after a single overnight shakedown hike?
    While I may be able to do my job well, I don't particularly like it and am not even sure IT is where I want to be. Especially IT at a company in the industry I currently work in. So yes, I am leaving my job regardless of my hiking plans. Hiking is actually keeping me from doing it sooner. That said, I've been around enough at my current company and know enough people that I should be able to find something there when I get back if need be. My parents will watch my dog (or I had a former coworker volunteer to do it as well) so he will be well taken care of while I'm gone. While backpacking hasn't been my focus before now, I have done lots of outdoor activities over the years (including plenty of day hiking) and spend a lot of time being active outdoors. The people who know me that I have told my intentions to are not exactly surprised that this is something I would do. I plan to do more overnight trips in the fall once my marathon is over which leaves me plenty of time to figure out if I truly don't want to attempt a thru before quitting.

  19. #19

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    Did you sign a statement, say - like the last page of a handbook stating that they could let you go at anytime for no reason at all without notice? A lot of companies do that now.
    "Hiking is as close to God as you can get without going to Church." - BobbyJo Sargent aka milkman Sometimes it's nice to take a long walk in THE FOG.

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    I have been in your shoes sorta. I ended up taking a leave of absence for my thru from the Company I worked for then ended up leaving 9 months after my return. It likely was in line with the role that you are current in.

    Here's how I would play it. Assuming you are hiking regardless of reaction, objection etc which is what I read..... I would request a leave of absence as soon as possible. I worked mine over a year ahed of time and by the time I left half the Company was following my hike on Postholer. I got them caught up in the excitement. The reason I would ask for a LOA is that there is no reason not to. It announces your intent early, without commitment and gives you a potential option that you may want post hike, it keeps your options open. It also will give you some idea on how the Company would handle your announcement of leaving. If they are unreasonable about a LOA then perhaps they also would be unreasonable about the bonus. And while in theory it is based on last years performance you know full well the subjective nature of compensation. Who are you going to reward? Someone who is leaving or someone that is staying? If there is any question about them being unreasonable then I would wait until two weeks prior. My two cents.

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