I will be moving away in about 5-6 months time because my significant other has an opportunity in another location. I have done quite well at my current firm. I came in as an intern then was brought in full time and was promoted in less than 1 year's time to a senior.

I like a lot of the people here and if things were different I probably would not leave for another year or two (I work in the tech industry and lots of people seem to jump around every 2-3 years it seems). I want to do the right thing; offload my responsibilities and cross-train team members appropriately while documenting as much of my knowledge about things as possible.

I am having trouble coming up with a good way to bring up the discussion with my managers. Should I just come out and say 'Hey I am leaving in a few months'?

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    I think the answers to this question are the answers to this question (very different circumstances causing the same situation, though). – enderland Apr 17 '13 at 20:45
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    @enderland i dunno, your question was about preparing to leave, this question is about how to first breach the topic with the manager, a different challenge in itself that requires the right word use and tact – user5305 Apr 17 '13 at 21:20
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    Have you ruled out telecommuting? (Perhaps it is impractical in your position or company.) – Monica Cellio Apr 17 '13 at 21:26
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    @Enderland that was a helpful post for my reference, but RhysW is correct in that that was not the question I was trying to pose here. – tyh Apr 17 '13 at 21:26

Your Bosses are Human Too

It is unlikely that any reasonable person will fault you for moving away for family reasons. This is a nice clean split, with a clear reason, with advance notice, and that should be good for all parties. Don't assume you are doing something wrong -- you aren't. Life gets in the way sometimes, and there isn't much you (or your bosses) can do about it.

How to Bring it Up

If you get along well with one of your managers, and you trust him/her (e.g. he/she is a decent human being), just schedule a meeting and explain the situation like you did in this post.

Hey boss, my significant other just got a great job opportunity in a different city. I don't want to leave this company yet, but I also owe it to my significant other to let them take advantage of this opportunity. That job starts in 5-6 months, and we will be moving, so my last day would be around X. What can I do to make this transition easier for the company?

Handling the transition is your boss' responsibility -- not yours. And giving him/her more time to do it will make it easier for them. So just be honest. Remember -- you're not doing anything wrong. I'd even take it a step further, and add in something like:

Since I just found out, I haven't really figured out what I will be doing for work once I get there. I would really appreciate it if you would be a reference for me. If you have any contacts in that city, I would really appreciate any support you can give.

If you don't trust your manager as a human being and/or are worried that they may shove you in a corner to pay for your sins for the next 5-6 months before you leave, then don't share that info until the minimum notice time. But realize it will leave a bad taste in everyone's mouth. You want to keep these people as references, so hopefully you can trust them to act like non-spiteful folk.

  • As a compromise, you may wish to sit on the info for a while, but still give plenty of notice - e.g. maybe give notice 2 months prior to leaving. – Carson63000 Apr 18 '13 at 4:35
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    2 months is not "plenty" of notice for many positions. You need to canvas for candidates, review resumes, screen with phone interviews, have face-to-face interviews, negotiate contract terms, and then get them up to speed. Can this happen in 2 months? On the other hand, if you let them know early you can get references, openly have them look for a job for you, and leave on a much nicer note. What benefit does 2 months give you over the standard 1 month notice? – jmac Apr 18 '13 at 4:48
  • What benefit does 2 months give over the standard 1 month? It gives you an extra month. It gives you twice as long. If you think that's useless, why even ask for 1 month? Might as well let people quit and walk straight out if a month is so worthless. – Carson63000 Apr 18 '13 at 9:01
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    @Carson63000 the difference is between rushing to find a replacement in that time to train up, and taking slightly longer to find someone who is actually going to be good at the job to train up – user5305 Apr 18 '13 at 9:07

Are you absolutely sure you will be leaving? And are you sure about the timing?

If you are, then yes - find a good, private time to have a discussion with your manager, and say "It's difficult for me to bring this up because I enjoy working here so much, but I'll be leaving in a few months, and here is why..."

If you express it thoughtfully the way you have in your post here, most managers I know will appreciate your consideration greatly. Skip the part about "for another year or two" and emphasize that you want to do the right thing and be helpful to them in any way you can.

I know I've been in similar situations where folks on my team have given me similarly long notice. I thanked them for their professionalism, and it made for a very pleasant transition.

If you aren't completely sure, then wait until you are sure. You can't unsay this sort of thing.

Also, read this first: Is it discrimination when my boss treats me differently after finding out that I'm looking for a new job?

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    also realize they might fire you on the spot. Giving them months of notice might result in months of free time. Besides waiting to be sure, wait until you can afford it, – mhoran_psprep Apr 17 '13 at 21:23
  • I know someone who gave notice that they would be leaving in several months to attend grad school. This was basically at review time, and upper management (in consultation with the manager) had decided to put them on a PIP. But, since they were going to be leaving around the time the PIP concluded, management said, "well, rather than do all of that coaching in the hope that they'll improve, let's just let them go now. We're not going to get great work out of them in the long term, so why make the investment?" Legal? Fair? I don't know. But an attempt to be "nice" backfired. – Bob Gilmore Jul 10 '19 at 23:08

If it's a good company and a good line manager, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain by being open and transparent. Not all companies/bosses are like that, but your story about how quickly you were promoted makes me think this one probably is. Trust your own judgement on that, though.

Just to illustrate the good things that can happen, I was in the same situation once - I told my boss that I was going to move away in a year, then confirmed the move date 3 months ahead of time. At that point I was offered a remote working arrangement to stay with the same company, which I did for years. (Also in the tech industry.)

But even if this didn't happen to you, or you didn't want to work remotely, being open and honest is a simple and powerful way to build goodwill, with potential benefits much further down the line (even decades). And frankly, being honest is so much simpler than having to carefully hide part of the truth, even if you do it with the best intentions.

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