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Is it ever a good idea to tell which company you will be moving on to? to your boss? your colleagues? Many of them will know soon via social networking (I.E. linkedin), but those aren't the ones that I would be concerned about. I realize that it's also a bad idea if there is any sort of non-compete agreement (even if it does not apply) or open hostility between the companies, but many times changing jobs within in a particular industry means going to a rival company. If so, to whom do you share this information - your boss? your entire team? HR (if they ask during an exit interview)?

edit: on a related note, when is it OK to ask a colleague where they will be moving to, or is it assumed that they will tell you if they want you to know?

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@Ramhound: Could you expand on "vindictive actions"? In other words, what action could a fellow employee, or even a boss, take that would cause harm in this situation? As an employer, I can't imagine taking a phone call from a prior employer of a new hire that would change my mind. I would question anything the prior employer said that was truly bad because if there was a problem they would have fired the employee. – NotMe Aug 15 '14 at 20:25
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@Ramhound if you respond to Chris's question, please do so in an answer to this question. I encourage you to do so; it sounds like you have important information to add. Comments are not for discussion and these will likely be removed soon. Thanks. – Monica Cellio Aug 15 '14 at 22:08
    
Note that aside from anything else, anyone you're using as a reference will find out if the reference is taken up. So it's never going to be a secret unless you take open references, and any strategy that requires nobody finding out (e.g. that you're in breach of a non-compete clause from your old employer) had better be done with the co-operation of the new employer. And if you're not worried about people who see it on linkedin, who are you worried about, that won't just hear it from the people who are on linkedin? ;-) – Steve Jessop Aug 16 '14 at 11:00
    
@SteveJessop - well I suppose it's more of a matter of timing as far as who hears it via the LinkedIn grapevine - my personal contacts would find out the day I start working there (assuming I updated it then), and it may take some time for them to check LinkedIn, and then even more time for it to trickle down to others who aren't direct connections - I hesitate to edit the question, but perhaps I should add a "when" or timing element to it as well. – user2813274 Aug 16 '14 at 14:43
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I don't see the problem. If somebody wants to know bad enough, they'll just follow you or read your Linkedin profile. – JeffO Aug 16 '14 at 17:15
up vote 38 down vote accepted

Is it ever a good idea to tell which company you will be moving on to?

I always tell my friends and colleagues where I am going.

Even if I have a non-compete agreement, I tell people where to find me and how to get in touch with me via my personal email and phone number.

If they later contact me asking for a job or referral, I remind them that I signed a non-compete prohibiting me from hiring them. But if I think they would be a good employee at my new company, I either pass their name along to someone else who could do the hiring, or I give my friend the name of that other person.

Unless there was some reason why I didn't want others to know my new employer (and I haven't ever had such a reason), I know of no reason why it's not always a good idea to continue your professional network.

when is it OK to ask a colleague where they will be moving to

I am of the opinion that it's always okay to ask.

I usually say "If you don't mind sharing, where are you going?" If they choose not to tell me for some reason, I'm not offended.

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If they choose not to tell me for some reason, I'm not offended. This is worth special note. I know I personally have withheld where I was going (until I had worked there long enough to establish myself) and then only passed it on to those I wanted to know. (When you have a vindictive boss, this is just something you do to protect yourself) – RualStorge Aug 15 '14 at 15:31
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I would think "passing their name along" would be against the non-compete at the worst, and un-ethical at the least. – CGCampbell Aug 15 '14 at 16:23
    
@CGCampbell I dont understand Why would this is unethical. – Brandin Aug 16 '14 at 10:59
    
@CGCampbell - Many might assert that non-compete agreements are unethical in and of themselves, and thus have no ethical qualms with ignoring one. – aroth Aug 16 '14 at 15:23
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Some major US companies are currently being sued for several hundred million dollars for agreeing not to hire each others' employees. So passing on the name of anyone looking for a job seems very ethical indeed. – gnasher729 Sep 9 '14 at 23:26

The patterns I've seen over 20+ years in the software industry in the US (generalization beyond this is left as an exercise for the reader) are:

  • The official announcement that you're leaving almost never says where you're going -- just "so-and-so has decided to pursue another opportunity; his last day will be $date". (In my experience these announcements are usually made by somebody in management or HR, not by the departing employee directly, though I've seen the latter rarely. If so it follows the same pattern.)

  • It's pretty normal to tell the people who you're close to where you're going, one-on-one.

  • It's also pretty normal to send out a "goodbye" message on your last day and include contact information (email address, URL), inviting people to stay in touch. Use a personal email address, not you@new-job.com (which would come across badly to some).

My previous employer also had an "alumni" page on the wiki, which was usually updated by somebody else after somebody left to say where that person had gone. It was rare for a departing employee to update that page himself. I suspect that such company-public lists aren't common, but if you have one, you can use it.

As for asking, the "if you don't mind sharing, where are you headed?" approach suggested in this answer is what I've seen most often.

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This is a subjective issue, really. The answer would be determined by the personalities of the people you work with and the relationship with the company you're moving to.

I've worked with people who've got to work for "The Enemy" over the years and it's never been a problem.

No one in your current company need to know where you're going and there's no reason why you couldn't walk out the door and disappear into the sunset.

I think you should just tell whomever you want and not worry about it.

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I have the same belief that none needs to know, however it seems like a very common thing to ask, which makes me wonder about it. – user2813274 Aug 15 '14 at 15:02
    
For that matter nobody needs to know whether you're married (except that HR will keep a record of next of kin). Nevertheless it's the kind of thing that human beings talk about. So there's a big overlap between the questions "under what circumstances is it OK to tell your colleagues you're married", and "under what circumstances is it OK not to tell your colleagues you're married?". I think the same goes in this case (it's your choice), but with no assumption (as there is for marriage) that almost everyone will choose to share. – Steve Jessop Aug 16 '14 at 10:58

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