I'm talking with a company that might want to hire me (not definite yet). I like them a lot and I think I'd like to work there. Here's the catch: if they decide to hire me, they will want a firm commitment from me, but they won't want me to start until next year at the earliest.

How do I navigate this situation given that I am currently employed? What's the right order to talk further with the new company, talk to my current employer, accept an offer, etc.?

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    If the new company doesn't want you to start until next year (a month and a half from now), what is the problem, exactly? How long does your current company require for a notice period? – Brandin Nov 16 '18 at 7:00
  • What is your location? – Mawg Nov 17 '18 at 12:06
  • A month and a half from now isn't "far into the future" - it's not uncommon for that, or later, to be the earliest date someone can start. – Dukeling Nov 18 '18 at 22:46
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I fail to see a problem here.

Interview as you would for any other job. If you are offered and accept, then give notice.

You might want to think about how much notice. You are under no obligation to give more than your standard notice period. However, if you wish to help your current company and possibly keep doors open for the future, or not burn any bridge with references, then you can give more notice and spend more time winding down your participation, documenting the current state of your work and possibly training a successor.

The downside is that your employer might terminate you, with standard notice period, but that’s a risk that you can judge, not we, and six weeks – minus standard notice period – is not too long. Personally, if I were your boss and you resigned early, I would thank you and ask you to put things in order for your successor.

  • Dangerous advice in the US. It's almost all at-will employment, so there is no notice period necessary. It's usually advisable on the employee's part, but you should never submit advance notice of resignation in the US unless you can deal with being fired on the spot. – David Thornley Nov 16 '18 at 16:46

Follow the same approach as you would with any other change in employers.

  • Pursue a new employer that meets your needs. Sounds like you already have this figured out.
  • Negotiate an acceptable offer. Sounds like this is already under way for you.
  • Get the offer IN WRITING and sign it. It's not really an offer if it's verbal. Make sure the details of your employment (start date, compensation, PTO, etc) are contained in the letter. DO NOT mention anything to your new employer until you've received and accepted a written offer. This is critically important. It sounds like you're interested in this employer and you're stating that they're interested in you, but it also sounds like it's all just casual conversation at this point. It would be a shame to quit your current job before things were finalized.
  • Notify your old employer. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, you generally shouldn't tell them any more than you have to, and it's generally typical to wait until the minimum accepted notice period - In other words, if you have to give three weeks notice, you'd tell them three weeks before your last day, not six weeks before. Give them your notice period and state your last date of employment.

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