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I have a notice period of 2 months with my current job (in Germany, if that should matter). I've already signed the contract for a new job starting on the 1st of January, so a bit less than 3 months from now.

Should I already tell my company my intention to quit at the end of december?

I guess this could be a valuable information for them, and I would like to leave in good terms but I'm afraid it could have negative effects on my last months here. Also, I need to have a salary the whole time, so I wouldn't want them to find a way to terminate me before fearing a decrease in my productivity due to my resignation (can they even do it?).

  • Under what sort of contract are you? Is this full term or part time? – DarkCygnus Oct 9 at 17:45
  • fulltime unlimited contract – Carlo Oct 9 at 17:46
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    It's not a popular answer here but...in many European countries it's not a problem to give your notice as soon as possible. It's good for them and you have nothing to lose/gain. I always did it and I never had a reason to regret it – Adriano Repetti Oct 9 at 18:07
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    @gnat The answers there are us-centric. So same question, but the location matters here and therefore I wouldn't close. – Chris Oct 9 at 19:11
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Go ahead and tell the boss now.

Keep in mind, the reason companies like having a long notice period is that it gives them more warning about personnel problems they need to solve - because there are typically a lot of hurdles that have to be overcome (to the point where, no, they're not solving all of them in the notice period and having a replacement in the door the day after you leave.) The reason employees try to avoid very long notice periods is because they're worried about being immediately let go... but that's not really an issue here: you're simply giving an additional 3 weeks of notice.

That's not necessarily say to make your public notice and let everyone else know. You can do that at the standard time if you like. But giving your boss an extra 3 weeks would likely be very appreciated.

  • The only possible downside could be that the company would not want you to work the extra 3 weeks and request that your last day be at the end of the 2 months. – uɐɪ Oct 10 at 10:40
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I've already signed the contract for a new job starting on the 1st of January

I wouldn't want them to find a way to terminate me before fearing a decrease in my productivity due to my resignation (can they even do it?).

I do not know what the legal situation is in Germany. I have direct and indirect experience of this situation in the United States. If you have a signed offer letter to work for another company, particularly a competitor, then your current company may quite reasonably view you as:

  • a strategic or security risk; they reason that you might be using your current position to gain information of advantage to your next employer.
  • a morale risk; having a known "short timer" is often thought to be bad for coworker morale. In particular, you might attempt to take a few coworkers with you. Believe me, it happens all the time.
  • a worker who cannot be expected to have the usual level of productivity, and who cannot be assigned long-term work.
  • a worker who is playing a particularly hardball form of salary negotiation; if they want to keep you, knowing that you are 100% able to walk out the door today enormously weakens their position in any negotiation.

All of this is incentive for your current employer to walk you out the door the moment they find out that you have signed a contract with another company. You must be prepared to leave at any moment. Over the next week or so, quietly take home anything you would not want to leave behind.

Under no circumstances should you give them any information that is not required by your current employment agreement. If you are asked a direct question do not lie but remember, you don't have to answer the question either. I know you want to not burn bridges and be nice, and that's great; your coworkers will appreciate that. The company will not; the company as an entity cares nothing about you as a person, and it is the company that you're dealing with.

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    In Germany they will walk you out of the door when joining a competitor and then you'll have a nice vacation with full salary. That's actually an argument for telling as early as possible... – Chris Oct 9 at 19:08
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    "Over the next week or so, quietly take home anything you would not want to leave behind.". That too seems unnecessary for Germany, or Western Europe in general. – MSalters Oct 10 at 7:18
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    As is usual for this site, this answer is very US specific and reflects the way that US employment rights are skewed against the employee. This is not the case in the EU where employee rights are much stronger and permanent contracts do not allow termination without the payment in lieu of working your notice period. It should be downvoted for trying to apply irrelevant US employment practice to a German situation. – uɐɪ Oct 10 at 10:38
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I'm from Belgium, not sure if this is the same in Germany, but at least you'll get some food for thought and check if you have similar laws in Germany.

When giving your notice, there's a notice period your company has to respect (depending on how long you've been working there, is set by the government). It can be shortened, but the employee has to agree to it, the company can't choose to shorten it on its own. I think it also can lengthen it (but again, both parties need to agree). The way you give your notice is also important : it is only valid in written form, signed by both parties (often your manager), with the end date in your notice.

In your case, if you have a good rapport with your manager and knew they would be grateful to have the extra notice, there would be no harm to inform them unofficially that you'll be starting a new job January 1st, and give them your official notice three weeks later. You'll be protected and have your job until the next starts (since you haven't given your official notice yet) and you're able to give an earlier warning to your boss.

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Avoid drama for as long as possible by giving notice at the 2 month mark, as per your contract. Giving more notice does, in principle, help them start the replacement process earlier, but it might also end with you being let go earlier than you'd like.

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    That's pretty unlikely in Germany as it's not so easy to let someone go in Germany. So letting someone go a couple of weeks earlier who has quit already is not worth the hassle. – Simon Oct 9 at 18:36
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    Definitely not true in Germany. – Chris Oct 9 at 19:06

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