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I've been working for a company for some time now and there are many changes in the company coming from the owners. I do understand all the changes and why they're making them and I would have done the same. But as an employee, I am not interested in going along for this journey. I have told the boss, based on how they structure the company and what kind of people they want to attract that I'm what they are looking for but they are not what I'm looking for.

The thing is at the moment they are kind of depending on me and I don't want to leave them in a situation where they cannot complete what we've started together. I've tried to be very clear that they need to find somebody to replace me, but it does not look like they're taking me seriously.

How long time should I give them before I decide to go somewhere else? I feel like I gave them a fair chance to replace me while I was still there and they haven't tried.

Many people would love the job; they pay a good salary and offer a great and safe environment for people.

But for me, this is not what I'm looking for and the whole business domain they are in is not something I want to extend my knowledge in.

How long is reasonable to give them to find somebody to replace me? I have contract defining a notice period but want to be fair and not suddenly leave them.

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  • 83
    The appropriate time to give them is your notice period. That's what a notice period is for. May 11 at 7:29
  • 36
    I really admire your loyalty, but the reason they haven't started looking is you haven't handed in your notice. People say all sorts of things, but actions speak louder than words, they won't reACT until you ACT.
    – PeterH
    May 11 at 7:34
  • 6
    You need to give us a country. In most countries the length of notice is regulated. If you are a regular employee it is almost certainly in your contract.
    – RedSonja
    May 11 at 7:58
  • 8
    Do you own shares in the business? Are you married into the owner's family? No. Then go! They'll move on quicker than you imagine, too.
    – PatrickT
    May 11 at 8:17
  • 6
    You didn't start things together. They (i.e. the company) started something while you were their employee.
    – Jasper
    May 11 at 11:46
131

You've told them you might leave. They haven't reacted. Do not wait for them to start hiring your replacement before you look for your next job. Start looking for your next job now. You've decided. Your heart is no longer in this job. You have no obligation to leave immediately or to leave without a new job, but it's time to start looking for that new job, and looking seriously.

Optionally, tell them you're looking. This might get them to be more serious about looking to replace you. Or it might prompt them to beg, wheedle, bribe, and guilt you into changing your mind. The only upside is a sense of integrity if you feel you should alert them to your imminent departure.

Once you have an offer and have accepted it, give your two weeks notice (or whatever is required by your contract or local laws and customs.) Don't let anyone try to change your mind. If anyone is angry to you or suggests you have been unfair, remind them of the many times you told them that you had decided this job was not for you in the long run. Remember that you have done right by them even at some small risk to your own comfort. Then leave as scheduled, and enjoy your new job.

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  • 32
    I never count on references. I don't do things in the hope of getting them either. Either do what's right because it's right, or do what's best for yourself. Don't do what's best for someone else and hope they give you a minimal reward for it. May 10 at 21:07
  • 25
    @Levente reference letters mean almost nothing, and are just another "con" used by companies to make workers behave.
    – Fattie
    May 10 at 22:48
  • 5
    Just to emphasize the gist of this excellent answer: Ho do you (OP) expect your employer to react to your announcement to (perhaps) quit? Certainly you don't want them to replace you before you have found a new job? Assuming your employer is decent, their reasoning might be: "Mr Zach keeps telling us he might leave, but he still hasn't given notice. It would be good to start looking for a replacement, but since we don't want to force him out, we can't really commit to hiring someone else yet."
    – henning
    May 11 at 9:10
  • 1
    Two weeks notice. That's not necessarily the law or the OP's contract obligation in the relevant country. It could be longer or shorter. And the OP should note that generally an employee's obligations are different from an employers with regard to notice - don't assume they are the same. Typically a law will state minimum periods of notice which a contract cannot overrule.
    – StephenG
    May 11 at 12:51
  • 2
    Imo, you don't need to tell them you're looking. You've already informed them that they need to replace you. That's all the warning they need; if they fail to act on it that's on them. Honestly, the fact that you haven't started looking immediately is in itself kind of reckless. Once you find a new position you can let them know once more that you'll be leaving. And that's all there is to it.. May 12 at 4:47
22

I have been in your place in very, very similar situation.

I worked at a company for 5 years and had quite many responsibilities to transfer to the potential new colleague that would replace me.

I gave that company a time of 3 months to find a proper replacement for me and to do a proper knowledge transfer without any rush. Although, I was very loyal to the company and gave them such notice, they weren't too loyal to me, unfortunately.

They gave me two options - either I stay for another two years and we try to find some new and more interesting project to work on or I leave after a month.

After such ultimatum I had only one option in mind and right away, after telling them that I want to part ways, they cut off my health insurance (in Europe). After a month I was gone. In retrospect, I feel very happy that I didn't flinch and stayed there for 2 more years.

Suggestion for you:

You already informed your boss that you're not happy with the direction company goes towards. In Europe usually it is a good practice to inform company 1 month prior to your "departure". I'd say give it a month and it should be fine. Your final month will feel very long, trust me.

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  • 14
    You probably should have told them you'd stay for two more years, and then have left in two months after finding a new job
    – Aaron F
    May 11 at 9:38
  • 8
    That wasn't an option because they wanted me to sign written agreement between me and the company that I will stay for two more years. After talking to some other HR managers from different companies they said that this experience is something crazy that they hadn't heard of yet in my country. Company management was being childish like they just lost their ice-cream and had a tantrum. May 11 at 10:31
  • 5
    Ah I see! Then, yes, better just leave, like you did :-) The agreement they wanted you to sign wouldn't have been legal in Europe, but it would have been additional stress to involve lawyers to fight it :-/
    – Aaron F
    May 11 at 13:32
  • 2
    It certainly depends on "Europe" but in the several countries I know (starting with France) these things are completely regulated. For instance in our case, for generic employees the notice is 3 months, except if there are mutual arrangements. The company can show you the door at the moment you hand over your resignation letter, but you are paid 3 months anyway. It is not "customary" to inform your company a month before handing your resignation letter, except in cases where there is mutual will to help each other (yes, this exists)
    – WoJ
    May 12 at 13:08
  • 1
    Sign contract for two years, work at other company the entire time. May 12 at 19:20
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How long is reasonable to give them to find somebody to replace me?

No time whatsoever. You have already gone far beyond any reasonable expectation. If they don't act on it, that's their problem. Start looking for new jobs tomorrow.

I have contract defining a notice period but want to be fair and not suddenly leave them.

You have been more than fair already. The notice period is the one that you both contractually agreed to (and the expectation is that you will honor it) but nothing more. If you feel charitable you can offer a week or two of extra notice if that fits your plans, but I wouldn't delay the start of a new job because of that.

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  1. Look for a new job.
  2. Once you have an offer, decide if it seems like a better situation than your current one.
  3. If so, give the customary and/or contracted notice.

They’re not going to change the company because you want it changed, you need to accept that. But at any rate, by following this three step plan, you can see if positive progress has been made when it matters - which is when you have another job offer.

Don’t make it more complicated than this. They didn’t when they made their decision.

8

If you died today, they'd have a posting on Monster more quickly than your family could write your obituary!!!

Do not be fooled into some notion that you're some indispensible Luke Skywalker who is somehow the only hope of a veritable Princess-Leia-In-Distress, Incorporated. Find your new job, taking into account any legally required notice period, and LEAVE. Your current employer will just have to adjust. What happens after you leave is not your headache, due to the fact that you're an employee and not a principal of the business. Their risk in the market is not YOUR risk -- that's life.

Best of luck on your next opportunity.

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