I don't enjoy the work with my current employer and I'm planning to leave within the next couple months. I'd like to start doing some freelance work and travel.

The people at my current workplace are all great. I've been here for about 1.5 years.

I have an upcoming performance review where I'm expected to review my future goals and growth within the company. At this point, all of my goals have nothing to do with the company.

Should I share my plans to leave in the coming months?

Or should I talk about generic goals that I would have if I plan to stay? Then I can give a "2 week" notice later.

  • 10
    Personal anecdote to confirm both the (current) answers. In college, I complained to my boss that I wasn't doing enough that was applicable to my major. Within a month I was training my replacement. Had he not been totally incompetent (with documentation and 3rd party validation), I would have been out within 2 months. DO NOT announce your departure until you are 100% prepared to leave.
    – FreeMan
    Nov 20, 2018 at 21:00
  • If you are not interested in helping the company succeed, why are you still there? Inertia? Nov 20, 2018 at 23:12
  • 2
    @Harper: hint: if the OP is like 99% of the world population, the answer starts with a M.
    – Taladris
    Nov 21, 2018 at 7:20

4 Answers 4


Go to your performance review and address it as if you were staying with your company. You never know what can happen in a few months.

NEVER under any circumstances should you reveal plans to leave unless you have an offer in hand, and a start date for the new place, nor should you ever allow an intent to work elsewhere affect your performance. Giving an employer that foreknowledge could lead to you being replaced before you are ready to leave.

Until you leave, you are still an employee of your current employer, work, and do your review as if you plan to be there until retirement.

  • 12
    "...unless you have an offer in hand" - OP says he wants to freelance, which seems to indicate he intends to be self-employed and has no intentions of going to work for some other company. Maybe you could modify the language to be a little more general. Nov 20, 2018 at 19:24
  • 15
    In that case, it would be until you have the first signed contract for that freelance gig. Nov 20, 2018 at 20:24
  • 17
    @silvascientist - A freelancer without a contract lined up is otherwise known as "unemployed"
    – Richard
    Nov 20, 2018 at 21:53
  • 1
    @Richard Yes, the point still stands, which is why I merely suggested to make the language "a little more general". Nov 20, 2018 at 21:56
  • 1
    @silvascientist I think the point is made Nov 20, 2018 at 22:12

Until you have a written offer that you have accepted from another company, you need to be in the mindset that you will remain at your current company for the foreseeable future.

Act as if you will remain with the company, you gain nothing by sharing your plans to leave.


I am going through the exact same thing and I can share my views to you regarding this situation.

I am also planning on becoming a freelancer and not have a boss ordering me around. Actually it just depends on your relationship with your superior and the company in this situation, no one can give you a general idea, if you think that you have an understanding boss who is more of a friend then go ahead and reveal your plans. Lying to them would leave your reputation in the company on kind of a bad note.


I was asked to turn my comment on the accepted answer into separate answer. I see it required only 10 minutes to go below the zero.

At the end of the day, the truth is always the best business.

Maybe you can consider sharing the situation as it is. Between the lines you said you are already financially prepared:

I'm planning to leave within the next couple months. I'd like to start doing some freelance work and travel.

Because starting freelancing and traveling do not go very well (as a long-term plan) along with tight finance.

So if there is • not a very good reason to play tactical games with others and • you are determined to leave and • you consider relations in the company to be good (without misusing etc...) and • you have sufficient money for some period without regular income, then it might be better to share your thoughts openly where needed (= when they directly ask you about that). Simply to keep your personal integrity.

You do not need to tell ensured "for sure I will leave" because such a statement is not true anyway! (It is still only your wish which did not became reality, yet.) Sometimes things go different from how we plan them. Much closer to reality is to say that you consider (or dream of – if more appropriate) freelancing and traveling in mid-term horizon if all goes good and you will not be forced to go your current way by unforeseen circumstances. And the original topic is still valid: so when concentrating on goals inside current job, you want to work on these and these... (no need to discuss the future plans, if not inevitable.)

Admitting your thoughts will allow you to be more free from various inner restraints which prevent us from giving ourselves as we are (but instead they force us to constant checking if we are still hiding some things sufficiently enough). From daily smalltalks in the kitchenette (by far not mentioning any plans) to deeper talks which sometimes occur. Therefore, I would view the categorical statement

"NEVER under any circumstances you should reveal plans..."

from the accepted answer as valid only in some reasonable context, but oversimplified to be recommended as general enough. If I want to leave because a time has come and I am prepared (in all the most important areas), it does not matter too much if I already have secured another job or not. I can live few months from financial reserve and in some cases even take some rest before reaching for other opportunities. In the IT industry, this is common, many programmers around me gladly do not do anything for few months before finding and starting a new job. (And in am not in the relatively rich North America or Western Europe, but in the Central Europe.) As my friend, a CEO, says: the truth is always the best business. (Because it is closest to the reality. Lies or tacticizing may work, but on the long run, they cannot beat the former.) If you won't learn this now, you will find yourself learning this during your freelancing period.

Throughout our career we are expected to learn how to be truthful, otherwise we maybe achieve something, but we lose ourselves – what cannot be compensated by any achievements.

  • 2
    The reason your answer was downvoted is because your advice is bad. It's not dishonest not to tell the company he has plans to quit; it's not as if he's telling his boss outright lies, he's just not revealing information that could be used against him. In your idealized world it might be better to be straightforward with his plans, but that is not the world we live in. Being truthful does not have to imply blurting out things that the company doesn't need to know. Nov 20, 2018 at 23:30
  • @silvascientist – I said about telling the truth where the answer is requested, not anywhere, out-of-the-blue. In other words, avoid telling something else, which is not true. We need to gradually learn how to do this, otherwise we will gradually fail in all areas of our lives.
    – miroxlav
    Nov 20, 2018 at 23:34
  • For one thing, assuming that OP is financially well-off just because they are planning on freelancing is not valid. They could simply be waiting until they have a contract in hand (or several) before they give their two-week notice, in which case it would be foolish to announce their plans prematurely. Another thing is that it is always better to switch careers when you already have a job. Regardless of financial stability, it always becomes harder to find work when you're unemployed than when you are working.. Nov 20, 2018 at 23:34
  • @silvascientist – this is not true in the IT industry. There is a high demand in most of expertises so you can be back in any job relatively quickly. And specifically on programmers - changing of job is often bound to 6-months leave just to recover and simply do nothing before taking another job. 20-30 years until retirement await us anyway, there is nothing to lose by longer leave (using unemployment status for this is common). And the OP said they are planning to freelancing and traveling. There is a chance they already have a reserve for this although I may be wrong.
    – miroxlav
    Nov 20, 2018 at 23:45
  • 1
    But he doesn't need to tell his boss about those plans, and his boss doesn't have to know. He can talk about goals for the company without sacrificing honesty, and at the same time avoid shooting himself in the foot by volunteering unnecessary information which could be used against him. Just because you work in an industry where it's easy to get jobs, doesn't mean that OP does. The prevailing wisdom across this site is that it's much easier to get a job when you have one, and that being that this site is populated by many people working in computer science and programming. Nov 21, 2018 at 0:16

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