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I work as Software Project Manager, I was working in Big company (let's call it X) managing projects with around 10-15 SW developers working on them. I got contacted by a Head Hunter from another company offering quite a better salary and benefits, and told me the scope of work is similar or even more challenging. My notice period was 6 months which is long, they were willing to wait for me. Now, I moved to the new comppany (let's call it Y), people are very nice and friendly, but in the first 2-3 weeks I was schocked with the lack of work and the small scope. Here they have 2 developers per each Software Project Manager, beside everyone is relaxed and it seems the workload is low !! This low ratio of developers to Project Managers is the Biggest problem for me. Because I can accept that my scope now is small because I am still new here, but with this ratio, I do not see opportunity for my scope to grow. And frankly I do not think they need this many project managers !!

Another small company (Z) had offered me a job with similar high salary around 4 months ago and I declined, so I contacted them and asked if they were still interested, they said Yes and assured me that my work with them will be challenging.
So now I need to write my resignation, I do not want to make enemies in my industry, and I do not want to be blacklisted. My initial idea is to say the truth, but I am concerned that this truth will be an attack against my top managers in company Y who offered me a job without planning it correctly and were not honest or clear with me in the interview.

What do you advise me to say as reason for my resignation after one month?

  • You did not mention what you've tried to do to find out why the actual scenario is different from what was projected earlier – Sourav Ghosh May 16 at 7:54
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    2-3 weeks? That's hardly long enough to get a full and accurate picture of how things are and how they will be in the future. Maybe consider giving it some more time. If things don't change over the course of 3-6 months then you can revisit this and have a talk with your manager. Leaving this company for another company that promises you "challenges" may find you in the same position at the next company. – joeqwerty May 16 at 11:42
  • Do you have a trial period in Y? How long is it? – Jan Dorniak May 16 at 20:33
  • Guys I always ask this question clearly and explicitly in any interview, how many developers will be working in the projects where I am working, and I make it clear that I am asking to understand my scope I asked this question explicitly in the interview, and was answered that it is similar or bigger than my previous job. I think may be they included pple who r working with their suppliers may be, or other departments (HW, Sales..etc). May be it is a misunderstandig and I should have asked more clearly. But this is the situation now. – Ahmed May 17 at 9:37
  • Joeqwerty, about giving it more time. I agree with you. But I have time pressure to assess the situation and make a decision due to other personal reasons. (I will be arranging a move with my family to their city, signing a 2 years appartment rent contract, .. etc) while company Z is in the old city and no need to move. In fact I like the city of company Y better, but I do not want to move my family there, then in 6 month make another move. Especially that company Y city is relatively small with low chance to find other companies in the same city. Do you understand now ? – Ahmed May 17 at 9:43
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As a manager you probably have had training on how to give feedback to the people working for you.

Use those lessons.

Some of the rulses that even I, a lowly underling, have learned and sometimes used:

  1. Be Specific.
  2. Criticize in Private.
  3. Use "I" Statements.
  4. Limit Your Focus.

Just like criticism of an employee should not feel like a personal attack, that very same criticism directed upward shouldn't either.

Prepare yourself. Make a small list that includes some specific examples and communicate it in a way that says "its not you, its me".

good luck.

  • Thank you for the advise. – Ahmed May 16 at 8:23
  • I agree that with my management experience, it is easy for me to give feedback and advise pple, but sometimes when I myself in the problem, I needed other pple opinions who can see the problem from the outside. U know just writing my problem here and reading it again, and reading ur answers, helped me a lot and gave me clarity. Thank you – Ahmed May 16 at 8:26
  • This is good advice about giving negative feedback in general but it can be dangerous to be too specific or critical when giving feedback as you're leaving a job, because the nature of the relationship is changing. You usually have nothing to gain by being specific with an employer you're leaving (you're leaving after all) and there is the risk of burned bridges. Questions on here asking "what should I say to my old employer when I leave?" almost always feature highly voted answers that basically say "don't be specific." – dwizum May 16 at 13:03
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When leaving an employer, it can be tempting to tell them all the reasons why you're leaving - either out of a sense of bitterness or vengeance, or because you're honestly trying to be helpful. However, it's rarely a good idea to give specific, critical feedback when you're leaving an employer.

If you have problems with a current employer, and you've tried to work through them with no result (or the problems are something you haven't bothered solving because they're clearly unsolvable), it's not likely that the employer is going to suddenly change everything just because you're leaving - in fact, they may take the opposite approach ("thank goodness Ahmed left, now we don't have someone telling us our structure is wrong"). Besides, even if they did change something that made you unhappy, it really has no direct impact on you after you've left - because, after all, you've left. So, personally speaking, you basically have nothing to gain from complaining on your way out the door.

Further, complaining as you leave can give your ex-managers the impression that you're stubborn, or negatively focused, or hard to please. Even if you never work for those exact people again, it's never helpful to have people out in the world who think you're a difficult employee.

Because of these reasons, when you're leaving an employer, the best approach is usually to be generic and brief when explaining why you're leaving. Instead of,

There isn't enough work to keep me happy, I wish I had a larger team, I want to have a larger management scope, I don't think I can grow here, and you have too many PMs!

You can just say,

I'm leaving to pursue other opportunities

Or,

I had an offer elsewhere that I am going to pursue

Ultimately, staff turnover is part of life - no one is going to be destroyed by the fact that you're leaving. However, if you make a lot of drama on your way out the door, you can be sure they will remember it well.

Finally, you need to look at this as a learning opportunity. You're considering jumping to a different job after only working there for a very brief period. That's not always a good sign; employers don't want to hire people that look like a risk for job hopping. So: Make sure you're learning what aspects of this job you didn't like, and taking actions to make sure you don't end up in the same circumstance again. It sounds like you're doing that with "Z" although you haven't described the steps you've taken in detail.

For me, the best approach is to think carefully about the root causes of my unhappiness, and then come up with a list of questions to ask a potential new employer. Interviews are a two-way street: besides the company evaluating you, you need to make sure you're evaluating the company. Now is the time to be specific. Don't just ask if the work is challenging: find out what work aspects you, personally consider to make things challenging, and ask about those: Maybe it's working on many projects at once, or working in specific languages, or with specific products. "Challenging" is subjective, when possible you need to make your questions more objective in nature.

  • Thank you, I appreciate your feedback. – Ahmed May 17 at 8:36
  • I wanted to say the truth in a sugar coated way or the least offensive manner in order to avoid being perceived as unstable who is doing Job hopping. I agree with what you are saying, this is why I am asking. – Ahmed May 17 at 9:24
  • "I wanted to say the truth in a sugar coated way or the least offensive manner" the least offensive thing to say to the employer you're leaving is the most generic thing. You don't have to lie: but you also don't have to give details. – dwizum May 17 at 12:45
  • Great answer! Keep it generic, and look before you leap! – Austin Hastings May 18 at 0:23
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You did not mention what you've tried to do to find out why the actual scenario is different from what was projected earlier - however, if you've gone to the extent of already exploring the other opportunities, I'd take it as you have no other ways out of the scenario.

Given your situation, this is exactly the reason why there exists the probation period. During this period, both the employee and the employer evaluate each other and take a decision whether to move forward or not.

If you're tried finding a solution and did not find one that can really help you, you can simply state the fact as the reason behind the choice to move out - lack of scope for growth and improvement. Remember, do not sound like you're blaming anyone - word it more like the arrangement did not work out and it's not going to work out in future.

Eventually the organization also will not want to have an employee who is not happy with the work (and benefits) - it helps no one.

  • I had to contact the other company before I talk in company Y, becasue I need to know my options before getting in a negotiation. I will not stay unemployed due to my financial obligations. Now, When I talk to them about my dissatisfaction, what do you think they can do? with the ratio I said (2 developers per each PM, it was 10-15 in my old company) , I do not think they will change this for me !! or that they would give me bigger role than all their experienced Project Managers here. This is why I estimate that I am in deadlock with them. but I will tlak of course before I leave. – Ahmed May 16 at 8:11
  • @Ahmed What I'm saying is - you have already started exploring opportunities - that means you have made up your mind to leave the current organization. Given that you are in a managerial role - it may be important for you know (and answer in future interviews) what did you try to make the situation better and how it did not work. Other than that, you'll end up sounding like just complaining. – Sourav Ghosh May 16 at 8:13
  • sorry u did not see my whole comment because I edited it: here what I wanted to say also: What do you think I can do ? or When I talk to them about my dissatisfaction, what do you think they can do? with the ratio I said (2 developers per each PM, it was 10-15 in my old company) , I do not think they will change this for me !! or that they would give me bigger role than all their experienced Project Managers here. This is why I reached an estimation that I am in deadlock with them. I will talk of course and let's see. Thank you for your advise – Ahmed May 16 at 8:18
  • @Ahmed What they will do is up to them. Your task is to ensure that you communicate the problems you're facing and to highlight the differences between the expected and actual scenario. They waited for you for 6 months (too long in software industry, I'd say), so what makes you think they will not try to address your concern? Do you know their growth / expansion plan? How far down the future roadmap did you explore? – Sourav Ghosh May 16 at 8:21
  • My own estimation is such high growth scenario is unlikely. I tried to gather such info, I talked with pple in different departments I think their future growth here is not big enough to change the scope of what project manager role would be. Also, my experience and knowledge of the market and big companies strategies in my domain, I know that such rapid growth will not be in high cost countries like here, but in low cost outsourcing locations. This is the trend. – Ahmed May 16 at 8:43

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