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I have been at my corporate job for almost 6 years and I have enjoyed it and learned so much, but for the last year I have felt ready for a change. So about a year ago, my partner and I started planning a trip around the world. We’re going to quit our jobs, sell all of our belongings and live out of a backpack for year.

After a year of waiting, the time is almost here. We will receive our annual bonus at the end of the month (about two weeks from now) and once we have that, we will be resigning from our jobs and giving our employer 3-weeks notice- I forgot to mention, we both work for the same company, and even in the same building.

Everything was going as planned until I was suddenly offered a promotion. I think I would truly enjoy the new role, however, I have made up my mind that it will not stop me from taking this trip I’ve spent a year planning. At this point I’m in damage control mode and I just don’t want to waste anyone’s time putting this promotion into place. I would be open to giving my notice earlier than planned, however, because my partner works for the same company, I would also be indirectly outing him, and he is not ready to share the news with his boss.

It’s also worth noting that the process is already moving faster than I expected and any hopes of stalling are fading. (my boss said she’s ‘really pushing this through’ and the ‘HR Director and CFO are really excited’ for my promotion). I fear the promotion will be enacted a week or less before I planned to give notice.

My questions are: - should I keep my mouth shut and let the promotion happen, only to quit shortly after? Maybe even a week later? -should I talk to my HR department and tell them what’s going on and suggest they stall on making the promotion official while keeping the information confidential from my boss and my partners boss? -should I just tell my boss that I’m quitting so I can’t take the promotion but ask her to keep this info confidential until my partner gives notice in 1-2 weeks?

Help!

closed as primarily opinion-based by Jim G., OldPadawan, Rory Alsop, gnat, JazzmanJim Jan 23 at 19:03

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 10
    Do you have to quit the job to make the trip? Why not discuss taking a sabbatical and see what they say – Victor S Jan 20 at 5:27
  • I’m not sure I want to come back to the job. It’s been great to me over the years, it was the first company I joined out of college, but I’ve been thinking about getting into a different industry for awhile now. – Elaine Jan 20 at 6:24
  • How is you relationship to you boss? – Sascha Jan 20 at 10:21
  • 3
    I'm assuming your bonus is an important part of paying for your trip. If so, do not give any indication you might be leaving until after you receive the bonus. Anything else might jeopardize your bonus. ESPECIALLY do not talk to HR about your plans as that will go straight back to your boss. – Eric Jan 20 at 15:33
  • -How is you relationship to you boss?-My relationship with my boss is good, she has gone to bat for me several times and I respect her opinion. However she is also personally invested in my promotion because in my new role I would be taking on some of her responsibilities, as she has been overworked for a couple years now. So she is eager to make this happen. – Elaine Jan 20 at 17:34
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You don't need to accept the promotion and you don't need to tell anyone that you're planning to quit until you're ready. You can simply tell your boss something along the lines of

Thank you for offering me this promotion. Regretfully, though, I have to turn it down. I have some things going on in my personal life right now that prevent me from accepting. Otherwise, I would really enjoy the new role.

Of course, in a few weeks when you resign, you're free to tell your boss that the personal issue was this trip and thank him or her again for the offer.

Having said that, though

  • As @Victor S points out, if there is a reasonable chance that you'd want to come back to the job after the trip, it's worth asking about a leave of absence rather than resigning. That doesn't force you to come back after the trip but it does leave the door open.
  • If the change in title would be really valuable to you when you go looking for your next job, it might be worth accepting just to be able to show the new title on your resume at the risk of annoying your current organization. I generally wouldn't recommend that but if this is a step you've been working toward for years and you'd expect to start at that step when you get back from the trip, it might be worth the cost.
5

First you need to be clear about your goals here:

  1. Both you of will be leaving. Tickets are bought, backpacks are ready to be stuffed. Nothing can change this.
  2. So the only thing left to do is part amicably with your current employer.

The best way to do this depends often on culture and mindset of the employer.

While early notice is typically frowned upon in this forum, personally I think it works quite well in most cases. I have always resigned early and I have fortunately received early notice more often than not. In all cases the employer was very appreciative of the extra time and there were no negative consequences whatsoever. More time to plan the good bye party too :-)

Think about it: once you made the decision to leave, it's best to structure your departure and hand off in an organized and stress-free way. Doing this in 4 weeks is a lot easier than in two, especially if there are holidays or a critical deadline right in the middle of the two weeks period. There are exceptions but they tend to be rare (in my experience).

Your best shot to retain a good relationship is to be fully transparent. This will be best for you and your employer (win-win). If your employer is too narrow minded to too sensitive to see that, nothing you can do will preserve the relationship anyway, so you really have nothing to do lose here.

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    I favor this approach, but your answer doesn't account for the payout of the annual bonus. I generally support being transparent, but there is too much risk that the bonus will not be paid out. – Eric Jan 20 at 15:35
  • @Eric My company's policy is very clear. If you're working here when the bonuses are issued, you get yours. If not, you don't. – David Thornley Jan 22 at 16:27
  • @DavidThornley yes, but there are gray areas even with that kind of policy such as paying compensation in lieu of leave. – Eric Jan 22 at 23:06
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Accept it.

There are plenty of posts on the stack that address whether or not you should accept a payrise when leaving. The general concensus is absolutely yes.

It should be the same with promotions. If youre 100% certain you don't want to come back to the company then just accept it and it'll be on your resume when you look for jobs in the future.

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    This is slightly different. I'm not sure I would accept a promotion knowing I was leaving in a week. If I were in the other end of it this would leave a bad taste in my mouth. Especially since you can't claim a trip of this magnitude just popped up. You would be burning a bridge with me. – bruglesco Jan 20 at 14:49
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    If someone took a promotion and then upped and left two week later. I'm telling you now, I would strongly suggest the candidate not use our company as a reference. We would tell the next employer the store exactly as it happened. It would not be a good look. – ShinEmperor Jan 21 at 12:24
  • ShinEmperor: And as the new employer I would be absolutely fine with it. How exactly are you affected by this? – gnasher729 Jan 23 at 7:49
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If you are absolutely sure your husband is ready to give notice in 1-2 weeks, ask your boss whether you can think about accepting the promotion, and that you will come back to him within two weeks.

If you are not sure about that, take the promotion, and quit when he quits.

  • I think this is the best way to ensure the payout of the bonus and cross the critical timing threshold for turning in the resignation. After crossing the threshold and getting the bonus, I would suggest elements of the other answers such as discussing a leave of absence with the boss. – Eric Jan 20 at 15:36
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I've had a colleague that did exactly as you did, took a sabbatical for a year. Unlike you, he did not just quit his job.

Instead, he made an arrangement with the employer where he registered the absence as unpaid vacation and simply came back to work a year later. The arrangement was beneficial for both entities as it allowed the company to staff his position with a contractor for the duration of his absence and the person simply came back and picked up his tasks as if he never left.

I don't know if your jurisdiction allows such extended absences or if your employer might be interested in this arrangement, but, like most answers pointed out, I would take the position (and raise) and let them know I plan to take a 1-year long vacation. Then suggest the unpaid leave solution if it applies. If they agree, you have a nice-paying job to come back to. If they don't nothing changes.

  • This is a great compromise, especially if you intend to work in the same place and do the same job when you come back. +1 – ShinEmperor Jan 21 at 12:25
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should I just tell my boss that I’m quitting so I can’t take the promotion but ask her to keep this info confidential until my partner gives notice in 1-2 weeks?

I suggest to be honest with your boss as soon as the promotion happened, and discuss the posibility of taking a sabbatical leave where you can resume your work after the trip.

If it's not possible to get sabbatical leave and you have to quit, you did your best and it won't "leave a bad taste in the mouth" because it shows you're interested in the company and the position offered.

Best of luck for your trip.

-1

Taking the promotion KNOWING you're leaving, is not going to look good.

An organization puts time into you. It costs money to train people for new position and to let them settle in.

Some studies (such as SHRM) predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $40,000 a year, that's $20,000 to $30,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

This is money and a process that might require getting a replacement for you. Don't take something you don't fully intend to realize. If you do you're burning a bridge. As someone who's in charge of training and hiring, I would be livid if we offered someone a promotion, and then they just up and leave a few week later. We could have on-boarded someone else. I would strongly suggest not taking the promotion and then just being honest with your employer.

In the end you may not care and may literally end up working elsewhere. But if you want to use them as a reference for the next job, think long and hard about how you interact with your employer now.

  • The employee leaves anyway, and the cost is a normal cost of doing business. The cost doesn’t go up magically because the promotion was accepted. Whether she accepts it or not, they will need the same replacement. – gnasher729 Jan 23 at 7:53
  • @gnasher729 This is incorrect. Simple math. It takes 2-3 weeks to onboard new staff. The new staff, leaves 2 weeks in. Now you need to onboard someone new. That's another 2-3 weeks. That's a huge expense for dishonesty. My issue isn't that people leave and go. My issue is the hiding of leaving. That shows bad faith. So knowing you're leaving and knowing the company will have to find and pay for someone else. When they could have done that initially if the person leaving acted in good faith and was simply honest. – ShinEmperor Jan 24 at 13:04
  • @gnasher729 It demonstrates that they really don't care about what condition they leave their employer, their work and their colleagues. In short "Not a team player". – ShinEmperor Jan 24 at 13:05

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