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So last week I got offered a job by a company that I’ve went to multiple interviews for and I am excited to join them. I signed the job offer but told the employer verbally that the expected start date I will write on the offer is just estimated initially based on what I have read on the company’s policy (I can join them one month later) and once I hand in my resignation I will know more. (i.e. if my boss needs me for handover or something).

This Thursday I told my direct manager that I will not renew my contract and he told me that he needs me for two months (so that is one month more than I have calculated initially) so I can help in finding a replacement, train them, handover all my current projects to them. And he told me that the period might be one month only depending on how fast we find a replacement and when can they join.

Right now I am kind of embarrassed to talk to my future employer and tell them that I might join them later. I feel like it was my mistake was that I signed the job offer and gave them an expected start date before talking to my manager. What is the right approach to handle this? Should I negotiate with my current manager on the notice period? Should I just be honest to my future employer about the hand over? But what if it takes less than two months and I am able to join early?

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    Why can your soon to be ex manager decide how long you stay? What is your notice period? – nvoigt Nov 3 '18 at 12:17
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    I can't really help but this will probably help others: where are you located and when does your contract end? Will it officially end 2 months from now? – idkfa Nov 3 '18 at 12:19
  • I am in the middle east and my contract will officially end after two months but the notice period is negotiable (this is what HR told me) I could start work at the other company tomorrow if my manager let me go, but it is common courtesy to give one month notice. – user94209 Nov 3 '18 at 13:47
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    Agreeing on a start date before giving your notice (as specified in your contract) is fine / correct - When is the right time to give my notice to leave my current company? – Dukeling Nov 3 '18 at 14:08
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Your contract is King here. What your manager desires[1] has nothing to do with what your contract says.

So the next step is to review your contract in the smallest detail and determine if there is any section that requires you to stay longer. You made need to involve a legal specialist from your locale to help you do this.

Once you are certain of your facts you have two possibilities:

  1. If there is no requirement for you to stay, then you politely tell your current manager that you will be leaving after one month.

  2. If there is a requirement for you to stay past one month, then you have to politely inform your new company that due to a contract mis-understanding you are not able to join at the date you indicated.

All in all just be honest and polite with both parties, know your contract in the smallest detail and stick to you what you want to do.


[1] Your manager can't seem to decide if it is 1 month or 2 that you have to stay. But what if it is 3 months? In my opinion your manager is trying to guilt trip you into staying longer than you want, because the earlier you leave then the more likely he will be blamed for not having a replacement for you. All in all it's his problem and not yours as to when you leave.

And even if he wants you to stay but you still leave when you want, what is he going to do? Not pay you? Going down that sort of path opens up your current company to legal action on your part - and that would probably be worse for your manager than you simply leaving (even if it is only a threat and not an actual action)


On a related note, when you make the job change you could also offer to help your old company outside of normal work hours as a favor to them (for a fee - think contracting rates and then shamelessly multiply that number by 2). Doing so will make lessen the impression that you are burning bridges when you leave.

  • Thank you for your answer. What I will do is look over my contract, once I know the notice period stated in the contract I will either talk to my manager about it or talk to my future employer and apologize for the misunderstanding and let them know that my notice period is for two months , whether I will actually go to work of two months or not. – user94209 Nov 3 '18 at 13:53
  • That's what notice period is for. If your company wanted to be able to keep you for two months after giving notice, they could have put two months required notice into your contract. – gnasher729 Nov 3 '18 at 16:05
  • I looked over my contract and it says two months notice period. I called my future employer today and told him that I have a legal obligation to stay for two months and I will change the expected start date on the job offer and send it back to him, the HR guy told me that I don’t have to change the expected start date and should try to negotiate with my manager on if we can finish the handover early, I told him that might be the case but I will still have a valid contract with my current employer he said that is no issue and I should get back to him about when can I actually start. – user94209 Nov 4 '18 at 9:47
  • I feel lost between the two, my future employer made it obvious that he has no issue with my legal notice period and its all about me negotiating with my manager. And I am worried if I talked to my manager again he will be vague about when he can actually let me go. – user94209 Nov 4 '18 at 9:50
  • @SaharAlGhamdi Well now you have a set time when you can leave and that is the reality that you have to deal with. But now you can start a conversation with your manager about when you will leave. Emphasize that you would prefer to leave sooner, also offer the option of helping out out of hours if you can. Do yo have any annual leave/vacation time that you can apply? Any friends that could replace you in your current job? Get creative and think of everything that would help you get out the door sooner. – Peter M Nov 4 '18 at 13:33
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In my opinion the best thing would be tell your new employer directly the situation you are in. Be honest and straight forward. That will give a good impression about you to your new employer and also will solve the problem for you.

  • Too small change to edit, but it should be "employer", not "employee". The "employee" is the person who's employed at a company (OP), the "employer" is the person or company employing them. – Llewellyn Nov 3 '18 at 19:54
  • @Llewellyn Fixed. – gnasher729 Nov 4 '18 at 0:16

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