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I started a new position 6 months ago with a manager who is very reasonable and easy to work with. Unfortunately, that's about all that has worked out. I think my boss and I are on the same page that I am not a good fit for the company, the department, and the team.

Recently, I started looking elsewhere and I have been getting a high response rate (30% of applications get a callback), so I plan to leave soon once I find something better. My current role was open for over a year before I was hired, and there is a huge backlog of work (the previous employee who had my job left after 6 months too), so I have been thinking about negotiating with my boss a mutual parting with an extended notice period of 1-2 months rather than the required 2 weeks. I want to do this in order to preserve the reference despite leaving after just 6 months. I am less concerned about the long-term impact because my previous stays have been multiple years per position.

I'm thinking I would negotiate in early November to leave in mid-December - about 5 or 6 weeks notice. How should I approach this subject of a mutual parting with an extended notice period with my boss?

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It could be pretty simple, depending on your level of solvency.

If you can afford an extended period of unemployment, just talk with the man. Both of you agree that you're not a particularly good fit. Both of you know that there's a lot of work that needs to get done. Explain that you're planning to leave, but offer to stay on for a more extended than normal period. If things are as you suggest they are, he'll agree, and you can move on. Worst-case scenario, he denies the extended notice period, and you're out of work that much earlier... in which case you have a bit of a vacation in which to recover before you move on to your next spot.

If you can't afford that, though, then you need to protect yourself. Don't give notice until you have another job lined up, and then give 2 weeks, as standard. No one will fault you for it. Also, work on building up enough cash reserves that you can afford it next time. It sounds like you're in a career that's high-churn enough that you should probably be looking to have 6 months in the bank at all times. It's an investment that pays dividends in emotional security, as well as protecting you from sudden surprises.

  • I have 12 months' expenses in savings plus side income, so that's not a problem. The problem for me is preserving my reference. It's very abnormal in my field to leave after 6 months, and my current employer would tell future employers that I left after such a short time. – Frosty Nov 4 at 17:43
  • @Frosty - Would leaving after five months or seven months make a big diference to your references? – Dave Gremlin Nov 4 at 17:48
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    No, but giving them more notice would partially make up for the short stay. – Frosty Nov 4 at 17:49
  • @Frosty in that case, there's basically no downside to telling them as early as possible, and giving them as long as you're willing to of an (optional) notice period. No company is going to be upset that you gave them more flexibility to work with. – Ben Barden Nov 4 at 20:41
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You said your boss agrees that you are a bad fit for the company. So he already knows you are looking for a new job but neither he nor you know when exactly you will leave. What you are trying to do is offer something extra for the company, namely staying longer than the minimal notice period if in return they offer something extra for you, namely being especially nice in the reference letters and explain why you only stayed for such a short time. That seems like a fair deal to me and I think you shold tell it to your manager like that.

He already knows you plan to leave but this is on your initiative. So firing you if he doesn't like the deal doesn't seem likely because it would entail severance pay. Just talk to him in private and see what he says. I don't think you have much to loose even if he doesn't like the idea.

  • No, she doesn't know I'm looking for a new job or that I'm planning to leave. The issues are only with the culture fit, not performance related, so there has been no explicit conversation about it. That said, I think your answer is still correct. – Frosty Nov 5 at 19:12
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How should I approach this subject of a mutual parting with an extended notice period with my boss?

Just like any other exit discussion. While you emphasise on mutual parting, I do not see what is special about this. Most partings are mutual parting where employee and employer agree on certain date. Firing, layoffs and quitting abruptly to make a point are some exceptions but other than that usually it is all mutual.

You just want to extend your notice period to 2-months and hoping it will be seen as good act and will reflect positively in your future references. So just mention exactly that to your boss:

Hey Boss, as we agree I am not right fit for this role and hence I have decided to move on. However, I understand that 2-week notice may not cover all the pending work. Hence, I am happy to extend my notice period to 2 months and ensure you have enough time to find a replacement without hurting your timelines.

Then let the boss take a call. For what you know, he doesn't want you to stay for longer even if you are ready. Insisting on staying on for 2-months in that case may hurt you more than it can help you. So just offer from your end and let your manager take the decision of whether to take it or not. You should just be prepared to handle your personal and career situation in either of the outcomes.

Either ways, it will be mutual parting.

  • Most departures are not mutual. Usually, the company wants the employee to stay. – Frosty Nov 5 at 19:11

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