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I was invited into conversations about the future of an organization I believe in and then offered a great job. It happens to be one I’ve been working hard to attain but wasn’t currently seeking. The new job is an excellent fit for many reasons. I’m going to really enjoy my new boss (probably more than my current one), our mission is even more meaningful to me and it’s a fantastic salary with maximum vacation time.

I love my current job, the mission, and my boss. The salary is near poverty but this is balanced with enormous flexibility in our schedules and lots of PTO. Part of my job is executing a high profile, community event that occurs in 7 weeks - 6 once I give my them my resignation. All of the event’s to-do boxes have been checked but my strong, organized leadership will be missed and my much-appreciated boss is going to be devastated.

My current office culture is unhealthy with some staff regularly engaging in unnecessary and unprofessional office drama that I work to avoid. I’m ready to put this aspect of the job behind me immediately. Moving into my new job will allow me to pay for my children’s education, my spouse can retire early and the executive certification I recently earned (of which I spent a lot of time, money and travel to achieve) will be realized - and worth all of my effort and hard work.

I do believe some people in my current organization will support a two week exit. I’ll leave detailed instructions on exactly how to finalize everything and execute the event itself. Others in the organization; some staff, supporters, volunteers might be angry and or disappointed.

I have long been a known leader in the community and of course I don’t want to let people down. I want to take the most ethical path.

I have also personally sacrificed my own financial gain for well over a decade in an effort to build up our community. But I want to be financially compensated for my work, years of experience, education, training and talent - today. My family deserves that from me too.

Do I give notice and stay until after the event? I’ve thought about staying and asking them to pay me at the same high rate as my future job for the final month of my employment. (They definitely have an abundance of funds but it’s clearly outside of their current pay structure. I believe the pay rate would put me over my current boss’ pay.)

Would staying 6 more weeks ensure I preserve my reputation in the community?

Is making my new employer wait a month and a half unethical?

Or do I leave with two weeks notice and a clear conscience that I did good work, left them well organized and positioned for success - realizing my new employer needs me too.

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  • 1
    Ask the new company when they will prefer you start. See how your legal notice period matches up with that and then - if there is some time to help your existing company with that event - agree on how much you can stay "extra" to help them. I would not postpone starting the new job too much because: 1) It looks to me that your current company has taken advantage of your willingness to do something meaningful and payed you a small salary for that. 2) you don't really owe them anything is you think about it closely. 3) there will always be drama when you leave, in 2, 6 or whatever weeks.
    – Bogdan
    May 28 at 16:02
  • In what way would your reputation suffer if you leave sooner? Is it the fact that you would be leaving them right before the event is set to occur?
    – zmike
    May 28 at 16:26
  • It’s an easy to execute event and everything is in place and all of the important tasks have been completed. All of the volunteers are secured and know their roles. The event will simply need to be carried out without me. If I give two weeks notice, we’re still a full month away from the event. I believe we can ask a competent volunteer leader to be in charge of the event.
    – Dwight
    May 28 at 19:24
  • Thank you for these comments it’s helped me process my next steps.
    – Dwight
    May 28 at 19:25
  • Leave the current company this afternoon. (Regarding their insane "two! weeks! requirement!" ........ what do you think would happen if they wanted to get rid of you? Take one guess.) The two week requirement is utterly laughable, leave today and get on with your life at the new company. What are they going to do, sue you? Leave today.
    – Fattie
    May 28 at 20:57
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In some ways the absolutely best time to leave is just a few weeks (4, sure) before the event. All the heavy lifting has been done. Contracts are signed, presenters and speakers are arranged, deliveries are scheduled, all of that. You give your notice confident that X (or X and Y) can completely run it without you. If anyone at work, in the community, or wherever expresses surprise that you could leave right before the event you just say this exact thing. "Actually, it's all set up and ready to go, the work is done, you can't be still planning and booking things the day before it happens. I waited till it was ready and then I left. X is going to handle it beautifully."

You mention to your new employer that only the most amazing possible job (theirs) could have pulled you away from your current employer, and that if possible, could you work a little flexibly for the first month in case someone has a bit of a crisis and feels they need your advice?

Then you tell X and Y that if something completely unexpected happens, they can reach you by phone or email or whatever and you'll help them within the limits of your new employment. (In the event, this might be "come on, you've got this, you know what to do you don't need to call me" or it might be "wow, you better call Z about that they can help you, that's what I would do if I was still there".)

And then you enjoy your new position, watch the event from a distance, and be proud of the team for taking it and running with it. They'll have a full year to plan the next one without you.

5

This exact same question gets asked every few weeks on this site, and every time it gets asked I give exactly the same answer, and here it is:

The company does not deserve your respect. This is not because of your particular company, or any company, but just companies in general: No company deserves the respect of the employees. The reason is because, companies are always self-serving. If you do something wrong, your company will fire you. No ifs, ands, or buts, no "but he's worked here for so long we shouldn't fire him over this thing", nothing, you're fired, period. Even if you did nothing wrong, if the company doesn't want you anymore you're gone, or if the company is losing money and has to have layoffs, you're gone. There are many many reasons why the company could fire you, and they don't even have to have a reason for it, nevermind a good reason. And so, you should treat your company likewise. You've found a better opportunity, you take it, and sayonara to your old company. It's not personal, it's just business.

Here's the thing: You said your company is paying you just above poverty, and you are unable to save for your children's futures or allow your spouse to retire early. Your company, presumably, knows this, as they know your region and they know cost of living and so on. If they want to retain people, they have to pay them a competitive wage to make them want to stay. If they don't do that, then they expect people are going to leave, that's how it works; nobody is going to stay at a company that frankly has a garbage salary, for very long. You shouldn't feel bad about punishing them for their mistake of not paying you enough money to not want to leave, the same way as the company won't feel bad about punishing you for making some mistake that you might make, by firing you.

As for when you should leave: The correct answer is "as soon as possible". Consider this: Every week you stay at this company, every day, hour, minute, second, is a week you are not making more money at the other company and a week you are enduring a situation that you don't like with the company politics and whatnot. But, this is employment, and employment is always primarily about the money so let's stick to the money. It sounds like your new job is significantly more lucrative than your current one. Would you pay half your salary at your new job to not "hurt feelings" at this company? Is that worth it to you? Why does it matter? That money is money that is not going to your children's education or to your spouse's retirement (or yours, for that matter), and you're donating it to your current company, for nothing (remember as above: Your company does not care about you nearly as much as you think they do), by continuing to work there instead of the new company. You are essentially giving your children's education fund to your company instead of to your children. Is that worth it to you?

As for worrying about the current project: There are laws for this. Your contract says how much of a notice period you have to give to your company before you can stop working. That clause in your contract is there, because the company knows that if you stop working abruptly, it could hurt the company's continuity if they can't replace you. So they put that in there so that you can't stop working abruptly. The company has already protected themselves so that, if you leave, you won't hurt the company's current and ongoing projects. And if you leave as per the terms of your contract, and despite that it ends up impacting the company negatively, well then that's the company's problem: they should have given you a longer notice period in your contract if they were worried about that. Too bad for them, but it's not your problem. If they wanted to avoid that problem, they should have put a longer notice period in your contract, or they should have paid you more so that you wouldn't want to leave. But they didn't, so too bad for them, now they deal with it.

People, in general, are far too worried about "ethics". There's an old line from an old American movie called Spaceballs. The line goes: "Evil wins, because good is dumb". And while it's obviously a simplification (Spaceballs is a comedy movie), it's also true: Those who worry too much about "good" things like what is "ethical", will always put themselves at a disadvantage against those who are not so concerned. Companies are never concerned (regarding hiring/firing decisions at least) with what is "ethical"; they are concerned with what is "legal", and so long as it is "legal", then it is be definition "ethical", to the company. And so, when you deal with the company (this goes for any company, anywhere in the world, without exception), you play by the same rules: If it's legal, it's ethical, and those are the rules.

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  • Plus 1000 billion points. I wish one could send money to awesome answers.
    – Fattie
    May 28 at 20:51
  • 1
    "There are many many reasons why the company could fire you, and they don't even have to have a reason for it," This isn't true everywhere. Some countries have laws that actually protect the rights of workers.
    – nick012000
    May 30 at 7:09
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    You know less than you think about "all companies". I have carried people while we lost money. I have borrowed money personally to lend to company to cover payroll. I have known that replacing someone would be hard and so gone the extra mile to keep them so I would have them later. You may be right about most companies (or you may not) but you are definitely wrong about all companies and this is far too strongly and confidently worded. Your cynicism isn't helping you and it sure isn't helping the person who asked this question. May 30 at 10:44
  • so much this. The boss could've prevented being personally devastated by paying a living wage.
    – Tiger Guy
    May 31 at 3:58
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    @KateGregory When I began my career, I thought like you, that I was providing value and that the company would take even a minimal effort to keep me through difficult times (difficult from my side or from theirs). I very quickly learned such an approach is naive beyond reason as I was fired multiple times from many companies, for reasons mostly beyond my control. This site is for informing people of how they should act in their own best interest, not for pie-in-the-sky one-in-a-million exceptions like yours. Congrats for not being a douche, but most companies are.
    – Ertai87
    May 31 at 15:56
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There may be a compromise solution here:

  1. Give your two weeks notice and focus on your new job. This is your future and should be your priority.
  2. Engage fully in the transition plan to get your replacement up to speed. If your current employer isn't driving this, you can create one yourself. If they don't WANT you to do this, it's their fault.
  3. Leave, but make yourself available as a consultant. In case they get stuck or need help, they can engage you as necessary, but you will charge them for it by the hour for EVERYTHING you do for them. It's ok to make this expensive. Consultants typically are.

You will have to clear this with your new employer: many companies have rules around this and require approval for moonlighting.

That does a few things:

  1. It forces your current employer to take action and ownership of the event as soon as possible.
  2. You are not NOT leaving them in the lurch: you transfer your knowledge up front and you are available to bail them out if they get stuck.
  3. Charging them prevents them from being lazy or complacent. It creates an incentive for them to solve as many problems on their own as they can. They SHOULD be able to handle this on their own after a good transition.
  4. You get compensated for any extra work and it de-couples that compensation from their pay-structure.
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No! No! Absolutely not! Make your notice period as short as possible. In other words, make your notice period as short as your contract legally requires. And two weeks sounds pretty normal.

If you don't do this, you will regret it. I swear to you.

Working a notice period sucks. No one treats you the same way they normally would. It's incredibly demotivating, it really doesn't matter how much they pay you.

You think they will appreciate you for giving them so much notice, but the opposite will happen. This forum is littered with posts of people who withdrew their resignation, only to immediately regret it after they did.

Instead, if you have a gap between your last day and the first day at your new job, take a vacation, you deserve it. If you have trouble saying "no", make sure you send out your resignation by email first. And if they try to pressure you to change your mind, just say that you'll talk it over with your family. Don't make any promises on the spot. Do not retract your resignation email.

The event will be fine. Even if a few things go wrong, they'll figure it out. Whatever you do, do not tell them they can call you. Do not enable them. Serve your notice and that's it.

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Do I give notice and stay until after the event?

That's a difficult call, and depends solely on the specifics.

When I planned to retire, I waited for more than 6 months before giving my 2 weeks notice so that my team and I could complete an important multi-year project and I could leave my team in the best shape possible.

It's hard to tell how much real difference it made, but it certainly made me feel better about myself. I'm pretty sure it helped the team. I think it helped the company.

I've thought about staying and asking them to pay me at the same high rate as my future job for the final month of my employment.

To me, that makes no sense. Either stay a while or leave for your own reasons - don't try to make it a "pay me a lot more or I'll leave you in the lurch" scenario. That can't help your reputation.

Would staying 6 more weeks ensure I preserve my reputation in the community?

Only you are in a position to know your community and your reputation enough to make that call.

You might be remembered as "the one who stayed an extra 6 weeks for our benefit". Or you might still be remembered as "the quitter" anyway.

Is making my new employer wait a month and a half unethical?

It might not be unethical but it might not even be viable - that depends solely on your new employer's viewpoint. You can't really make them wait, but you could ask them. Maybe you'll find that they want to hire you, but don't really care if you start soon or not.

Or do I leave with two weeks notice and a clear conscience that I did good work, left them well organized and positioned for success - realizing my new employer needs me too.

That's what I usually did when I changed jobs. Without knowing more details that only you could know, that's what I would suggest you do.

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You may be struggling with the language of a resignation email?

Dear team, I'll be resigning as of today, so my final day is Friday June 11. Thanks again, Jack.

They won't remember your name 30 seconds after you are gone.

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