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I've seen the possible duplicate, thank you for pointing that out! It's different only in that I'm focused on preserving personal relationships in a job that was otherwise pretty good to me, but can't offer the growth opportunities I feel I need as an engineer.

I currently work as a developer at a small company (roughly 6 people). In the last 2-3 months, I've been actively interviewing to find another role (mainly for growth reasons) and recently received my first offer that has a short expiration window.

Leaving the company poses some ethical issues for me:

  1. We've recently scheduled a massive release of code to production that I'm supposed to oversee (a release that, until recently, had been continually postponed throughout my last 6 months at this company).

  2. The project that's scheduled for this huge release is difficult to bring people onto – it's a complicated project, and a lot of the "onboarding" that occurred when I started was really just me learning it on my own, meaning that there aren't a lot of resources to get started and a future developer would basically have to either learn it on their own or take up a lot the only other developer's time to be properly onboarded.

  3. Our company is positioned to take on a lot of new projects in the near term, and losing 1 of 2 developers that can work on the project means they may be very bandwidth-constrained for the short to medium term.

There doesn't seem like there will ever really be a good time to leave, even though there could be better, albeit still bad, times to segue out in the future. I do not, however, want to spend another three months at this position to aid my exit, especially since that would mean that I would become embedded in these new projects. It seems that leaving sooner, rather than later, might end up being a better alternative.

The core problem though, is that I'm interested in taking the offer and don't want to let it expire, and I'm wondering what the best way to leave is.

More concretely:

  • How much notice is appropriate given the above 3 conditions?
  • Is there any way that this could not be taken personally, given that it's such a small company? If possible, I'd like to be able to have a positive managerial reference in the future since up until leaving I feel like I did my job well.
  • Once I know that I'm likely to accept the offer, is the right thing to do to communicate that ASAP?
  • (Edited) I still have other companies I want to finish my interview process with, and if possible would like to do this before the aforementioned offer I've received expires. Would it be unheard of to simply be upfront with my current company and take a week off to complete my outstanding interviews (provided that I extend my offboarding period)?
13

How much notice is appropriate given the above 3 conditions?

Give the notice that is either legally required or is the norm for your locale. Where I live that would be 2 weeks.

Remember that this "crunch time" project has already been continually postponed throughout the last 6 months. If necessary, it will get postponed again.

Is there any way that this could not be taken personally, given that it's such a small company? If possible, I'd like to be able to have a positive managerial reference in the future since up until leaving I feel like I did my job well.

Of course. This is business - it's not personal. Anyone who has been in business for more than a little while understands that these sorts of things happen all the time.

Once I know that I'm likely to accept the offer, is the right thing to do to communicate that ASAP?

No. "Likely to accept" is the wrong trigger.

Wait until you have a formal offer with no conditionals and have accepted it. Then give your notice.

I still have other companies I want to finish my interview process with, and if possible would like to do this before the aforementioned offer I've received expires. Would it be unheard of to simply be upfront with my current company and take a week off to complete my outstanding interviews (provided that I extend my offboarding period)?

It wouldn't be unheard of.

But it kind of flies in the face of your apparent goal not to cause unnecessary hardship for the company during "crunch time". Clearly, taking an extra week off now won't make a transition easier for the company.

That said, only you are in a position to guess how this request would be received by your company.

  • I'd just add that saying "I have accepted an offer, but I have asked for the start date 3 months away so that I have time to finish any critical projects and handover any work" will be really appreciated. I did this at my previous company (I gave double the required notice period) and they were really appreciative of it. My new company were happy to wait to on board me and said that they really respected that and were happy knowing I would do the same with them – Bee Nov 4 at 11:08
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While I understand your ethical concerns, it is the management's job to build an organization that can survive an employee quitting.

How much notice is appropriate given the above 3 conditions?

Whatever is mandated by your employment contract, which is literally what your employer defined as appropriate. Of course you may decide to give a longer notice, but not doing so is in no way inappropriate.

Is there any way that this could not be taken personally, given that it's such a small company? If possible, I'd like to be able to have a positive managerial reference in the future since up until leaving I feel like I did my job well.

Having been in similar situations in the past, I would say that it can be taken personally only by a childish and irresponsible management. You have no control over that. I'd say that the best you can do is to organize a meeting with your line manager, explain your situation and then make your resignation official in writing.

Once I know that I'm likely to accept the offer, is the right thing to do to communicate that ASAP?

The right thing to do is to abide to your employment contract. If, say, you have to give 1 month notice and are planning to take a month off before starting your new job, then the right thing to do is to communicate your decision 2 months before joining the new company.

(Edited) I still have other companies I want to finish my interview process with, and if possible would like to do this before the aforementioned offer I've received expires. Would it be unheard of to simply be upfront with my current company and take a week off to complete my outstanding interviews (provided that I extend my offboarding period)?

You can hand in your resignation letter and use the days off you have accrued to interview at other companies. If you don't have any days off left, you would have to negotiate these details with your employer. I don't know anybody who found himself in that situation, but it doesn't sound like a totally unreasonable idea.

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    +1 It's not your problem if the management have created a bus factor of 1. "Massive releases of code" continually postponed, a project that is very hard to onboard to, overstretched devs and at the same time managers planning to take on more suggests they really don't understand the environment they have created. – Julia Hayward Nov 3 at 19:16

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