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I'm looking to leave to start my own business. I'm managing a team of 9 developers and our president is not very tech fluent to say the least. Also, our president is about to let go of an underperforming member of the team, assuming I'll be there in the future. However, I will likely leave in the next month or two and I don't want her to get fired if there's no other replacement first (and without him knowing the real situation). She's currently on vacation and when she's back in two weeks, she will be let go of. Should I inform the president of the company that I'm likely leaving? Yes, the person about to get let go was underperforming but she does have a lot of information and knowledge that I have.

I would love to do right for both myself and the company, but I definitely don't want to hurt myself to help the company.

Edit: I know that similar questions have been asked before, but the difference here is someone is about to get fired while I wind down from here and I don't think she gets fired if the president knows I'm leaving.

  • I full agree, especially on a business level. However, I feel that the company (to some unknown extent) will be harmed more by my leaving and the letting go of the project manager, vs keeping her). There's a variable that my manager does not know of, and even though I pushed or tried to delay the firing he wants to do it in a couple of weeks (this is also a financial decision). – A quiet hum Dec 28 '18 at 19:12
  • You're right, it will be tough to offer insight here but I was hoping to tap into people's experiences. Personally, I can't afford to be off too long before I get my business up and running (which requires at least a month or two). Any savings I have are going into getting the business up and running. – A quiet hum Dec 28 '18 at 19:23
  • Very good point. But what you're saying (not that you're wrong or there's anything wrong with it) that there's no value or need to concern myself with the well-being of my current company? – A quiet hum Dec 28 '18 at 20:00
  • I am required to give 5 weeks notice anyway. I am meeting with seed investors in the next 2 or 3 weeks and we'll see how it goes then. – A quiet hum Dec 30 '18 at 17:07
  • It's the only factor really. My only concern is that someone is about to get fired that the CEO would like to keep if I wasn't going to leave. – A quiet hum Jan 1 at 18:48
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Start your business now in your off hours.
That way it will take you less time to get up and running (you'll blow through less of your savings).

but I definitely don't want to hurt myself to help the company.

If that is true, the answer is easy. Since you don't mention that you're related to him, nor that you were good friends socially before you started working there, keep your plans to yourself.

The company will be no worse off "in [a] month or two" if you leave, than it would be "in [a] month or two" if you are hit by a bus.
The President should have planned for the 'hit by a bus' situation, and it sounds like he hasn't because you're the only good tech person he has.

Since it sounds like you're just a good person who doesn't want to leave him in a lurch you can...

  1. Start documenting stuff and talk to him more about the decisions you are making and why.
    Hopefully he will be receptive and can learn some things that make life easier on him once you leave.

  2. When you leave you can maybe also offer to help him with his next hire.
    By this I mean you could maybe meet with a person before he hires them to make sure they are tech enough - I do not mean that you should consider going through resumes and finding him someone.

Finally if it would really sink him if you leave (and he's smart enough to know it) he may offer you a piece of the company to stay. Not a huge chance of this happening... but something to think about in advance. Decide how much it would take to change your plans (to sell/postpone your dream of going it yourself). I'd advise your answer be based on gross revenue, not on profits.

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Do nothing different.

Note: If you are an owner, shareholder, stakeholder, have a signed contract or in some way have a relationship with the company separate from your employment then I would strongly suggest consulting a business/employment lawyer.

As an employee, you have no more obligation to the company than contractually agreed upon. You don't owe the company favors. You also cannot control what the president will do.

The employee may still be terminated regardless of your actions.

More importantly, you expose yourself to potential legal risks. You are seeking to leave a company to start your own and at the same time considering meddling in your current companies internal affairs.

Regardless of how the events transpire, the appearance and perception of what happened can have far reaching consequences.

The best thing in this situation is to follow any contractual or legal obligations. Provide a notice you are leaving only if you wish to maintain a positive relationship with the company or avoid a burning a bridge.

This doesn't even consider how your under-performing colleague plays into this. There is no guarantee they don't find out you spoke about them. In some situations, this may lead to legal action.

Overall, the risks to your goals are too great. This is a good deed that has very little reward but can punish hard.

  • Fair enough :). As an aside, I do have options but nothing concrete. – A quiet hum Dec 28 '18 at 21:42
  • @Aquiethum Some of your comments helped the question. It certainly feels like some pertinent information is missing from the question. It would be helpful if you are able to provide some information about your options without divulging anything sensitive. – David S Dec 28 '18 at 21:55

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