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In the beginning when I applied for the job - I've given an information that the only reason I'm coming to their company (which is a Software House) was because I got rejected from a dream job at the time of applying. And I've also mention that I will still be looking for that kind of job - but maybe in different company.

I've 4 years of experience working in a web startups / so-called software house companies (which are basically startups for startups). After these 4 years I've started looking for a job in a company which owns a product and generally in a company in which I could learn how to work with a product that is actually used by anyone and paid for.

Company structure at my current workplace

  • we have one junior for backend development
  • we have another junior for frontend development (we had two but the other one left for same reasons which I do want to now)
  • and then there is myself which position is "Tech Leader" which basically means that I'm maintaining quality of software done by people mentioned previously, coding more critical stuff myself and doing all DevOps/SysOps. There is basically no other person which could replace what I'm doing / from which I could learn from or who could help me when there is no answers on StackOverflow.

Now due to that structure - the two other people are fully dependent on me and my decisions and they generally enjoy working with me - and so do I with them.

But as mentioned in first paragraph - that was not my initial plan - and I was still looking for that kind of job I've been meaning to. Sadly I didn't mention that more than at the beginning.


Now I've got an offer which is really exciting for me - and I'd really like to go there, and just recently I've approached my boss to mention it and I've been strongly suggesting it's all only because of my own progress that I want to make in my career.

Response was something amongst the line:

  • Our company will grow a lot, we're aiming to do stuff which other companies are doing not so good!

  • In my opinion you don't need that experience - and in the future you could as well get it here

  • If you're looking for more experience we can send you for a paid conferences / courses which will teach you that

  • There was similar situation just a two weeks ago that [some-other-employee] has also had a really great offer for a big company and he was literally crying because he wanted to stay with us!

  • Our projects maybe are not so big right now, but if the investment for them comes in we could grow it by a lot and our team will also grow!

  • You've got an awesome team, and you won't find that much of freedom in any other place, you could be just a regular worker in other bigger companies, and so you won't learn as much as you think

  • I've been here for 7 years (because company is a spin-off of another company which is older) and I've known enough companies to know I can't grow anywhere else - and so you probably won't too!

And the list goes with similar connotations and this really feels like playing with my emotions and I don't find it comfortable.

How should I approach to that? How to tell them that it's not my fault that they made whole company dependent on me? Because it clearly sounds they just don't want their team to break a part (and this literally will happen because most of the team mates has said that they will leave if I do).

Also, I know that frontend person has also considered changing a job in the near past, but they didn't let him by giving him a raise - in my opinion this was bad decision - how to tell them that?

I don't want to "burn bridges" with them - they know lot of people - but that kind of negotiation is just getting on me too much.

marked as duplicate by Dukeling, gnat, Nimesh Neema, IDrinkandIKnowThings, gazzz0x2z Jul 23 at 9:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
  • @Dukeling thank you very much for these topics - I wouldn't have found them and they contain lots of answers to my questions - a real valuable help! – M.George Jul 20 at 14:39
  • Nobody is irreplaceable. They may need to scramble for a while but they'll manage. – onnoweb Jul 22 at 17:33
17

You don't owe them anything after the end of your employment, and it's not your responsibility to teach them that.

Hand in your resignation, work professionally during your notice period, and then move on to the next opportunity. You're leaving a job, it's perfectly fine to do that, and you'll do it many more times during your career.

7

They are playing the guilt card pure and simple. They are not always to be believed, you only have to read several other posts on here that say “I was promised X... and it never happened” The CEO gives the excuse well the market did not pan out...

So, you need to focus on your aspirations and reasons and make the move best for you. Ignore the guilt card...

  • 1
    Right, I'm trying my best to show it's only my aspiration that plays the role here - but I'm a agitated by the fact that as a really young company they choose to make it dependent on single person - in my opinion that is what makes them desperate now - but obviously I don't want to tell it to them straight up like that because it may sound really rude - is there a way to say it in a more nice manner? – M.George Jul 20 at 10:44
  • @M.George Why are you trying to be nicely mannered to someone that's desperate? Why do you assume they are desperate? Will your manners make them less desperate? Will it help them replace you faster after you leave? What do you expect to happen if you stay? Will you be happy you gave in to their perceived desperation? Did you put a gun to the CEO's head and told him to make you the sole owner of knowledge? Why assume they have no backup plan for you leaving? You have an offer for something you percieve as better, but you let unconfirmed doubts keep you from acting on it. Why? – BoboDarph Jul 22 at 9:21
  • @BoboDarph is your comment for me or the OP? – Solar Mike Jul 22 at 9:23
  • @SolarMike, my comment is for the OP. – BoboDarph Jul 22 at 9:24
  • @BoboDarph then you should have put your comment after the original question instead of after my answer. – Solar Mike Jul 22 at 9:25
2

It's interesting that among all those answers from the manager, there was nothing like "If you stay here, we'll give you a promotion or at least a raise of ".

That tells you right away how much they do (or don't) value you. If you're not worth a measly 10% (or whatever other amount that's not insignificant) raise to them, then why do you worry so much about how will you leaving affect them?

Trying to get you to stay without giving you anything tangible in return is just... trying to fool you into doing more work for no additional gain. Such attitude by itself is reason enough to leave.

1

Let's break this down a bit, to the points your manager made:

Our company will grow a lot, we're aiming to do stuff which other companies are doing not so good!

Almost all companies aim to grow. Your manager has no idea what other companies are aiming to be doing in a year, or how well they'll be doing them, so this is unsubstantiated.

In my opinion you don't need that experience - and in the future you could as well get it here

In his opinion, you should stay with them as you are valuable. Whether you need that experience is not his concern, it's yours and yours alone. Experience is always valuable, so to say you "don't need it" is not what a good manager should ever say.

If you're looking for more experience we can send you for a paid conferences / courses which will teach you that

Conferences give ideas and knowledge, not experience.

There was similar situation just a two weeks ago that [some-other-employee] has also had a really great offer for a big company and he was literally crying because he wanted to stay with us!

This is not something your manager should have divulged (if it's even true). Other employees relationship to the company have little bearing on yours.

Our projects maybe are not so big right now, but if the investment for them comes in we could grow it by a lot and our team will also grow!

If, when, maybe....unless there is something ironclad RIGHT NOW, this is meaningless.

You've got an awesome team, and you won't find that much of freedom in any other place, you could be just a regular worker in other bigger companies, and so you won't learn as much as you think

This is completely untrue and doesn't really warrant a response.

I've been here for 7 years (because company is a spin-off of another company which is older) and I've known enough companies to know I can't grow anywhere else - and so you probably won't too!

Wow! Just wow! Your manager is tarring you with a brush that should be entirely for themselves. The fact is, you can grow almost anywhere if you try and take opportunities to do so. Even if we look at this as an attempt to say that your company is the best possible way to grow, saying you can't do that elsewhere is either an indication that your company is completely out of touch with the rest of the world, or just OK with lying to you outright. Both of those are red flags.

From what you've given us, there's no real reason for you to stay, but lots of flags that should make you want to leave. As some others have already pointed out, you have no legal or moral obligation to stay, so my opinion would be to so as @player-one suggests, give in your resignation, work out the notice period professionally, and move on. Don't suggest that they made a mistake by making you a lynch pin, don't tell any other co-workers that they should consider leaving or made a mistake by staying, just do what's right for you.

1

They are trying to sell you on the benefits of a startup, which are valid - being lead person when there’s growth does mean a chance at a lot more opportunity than you’ll have at a “desk job”. But there are downsides too, and you are wanting something more traditional where you can learn more from others, that’s fair. I had a friend recently leave a just-bought startup because there weren’t really any good devs there to mentor him, and he was only a couple years into his career, and he felt getting those skills was the best play for him long term.

The one missing piece here is that all their sales-pitch about growth isn’t relevant if you’re just working for salary. It only makes sense if you have equity in the startup. If you were tempted to stay, I would negotiate with them on that point. “I hear what you’re saying about the opportunity, but I don’t really stand to gain anything personally from it. Let’s talk about making me an owner.” As lead dev 1% or so is reasonable.

Companies big and small will try to pitch you on the benefits of growth (“We’re looking to become a billion dollar company in the next two years!”) But you have to be positioned for those benefits to actually accrue to you in some way. In a larger org that might be title growth (e.g. manager to director), in a startup it’s one and one thing only, equity.

  • There are two things to consider: - I've been leading most of their projects and technologically they are things that I'm proud of - There was not a single talk about equity ever since I joined them (and they had literally no person in it) I wouldn't want to get equity only because of this "threat" of leave. More so - they only put 1 month long notice period - so it's basically their fault they let their core leave with such short period. – M.George Jul 20 at 15:13
  • If you are worried about “fault” and such you are not thinking clearly about this subject (which is natural, it’s hard when you’re in it). You are always welcome to leave with notice, that’s not under discussion. They are welcome to present the up sides of staying there, that’s their responsibility. They’re not “lying to you,” many of those things are probably true, at least from their point of view. Given the situation, a counter-offer with equity could be compelling because it converts many of their statements from “true but so what” to “true and you would directly benefit from them.” – mxyzplk Jul 20 at 15:24
  • It’s still up to you to decide which set of things is best for you in your career, I am just pointing out that these things they are pointing out could be true for you, if you are an owner, and that’s the traditional way startups make those things an actual up side for employees. – mxyzplk Jul 20 at 15:25
1

I'm going to give you an answer for one specific facet of your question: that they can't replace you. Nope. You're not irreplaceable. It simply doesn't work like that, no matter what you might think. I know this, because I was that replacement once.

I was hired to be the "Corporate Apps" person at a company. 'The' is the right word there - I was being hired as the only person in the group. The previous solo member had left a month prior. They had left no documentation, they had no backup, and they had nobody that knew any of the systems they worked on.

It was rough at first - it seemed like the first few months were simply putting out fires and trying to digest all the systems that person had worked on. But in the end, the prior guy was absolutely replaced.

Now, your situation isn't nearly as bad. You've got two people that at are at least a little familiar with what you do. You've presumably created some documentation. You've got people to pass on knowledge to before you leave. You're definitely not irreplaceable.

Which is great. Take the new job, and work towards helping your current company's transition as smooth as possible. Document whatever you can, especially the WTF aspects of the system that might throw a Senior SysOps person a loop.

0

An old saying where I live says something like 'everybody is useful but nobody is indispensable': they will replace you.

Also, this does not need to be a negotiation, there is no need to explain or expand on any issue, reason, whatever.

Be kind but firm and just hand them your notice, fulfill it to the letter working hard or even harder and that's it.

They may try to guilt you, buy you with a raise or play some mind trick, but if you are set just repeat 'thank you but please understand I'm not negotiating' (adjust the wording to better suit your needs)

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