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Recently, I decided to leave my current employer due to some reasons I'll try to hurry through:

  • Toxic & abusive former manager demoted me without cause, I think this was due to scapegoating a botched timeline that I had warned them about repeatedly.
  • This manager was fired by their boss after I spoke up--seemingly a validation of my hypothesis, but no official reason was given, other than an informal wink at me when it happened.
  • New manager says I'll have to start over with them to get back on track, but no promises. It took me several years of extremely hard work to make it to that position, and I had been responsible for several successful and highly visible projects that this person was certainly aware of.

After several months and zero follow-up when asked, I had decided to seek out opportunities elsewhere, as I'd mentally accepted that I was never going to get back on track no matter what I did. There was some kind of personal or political reason blocking me, or at least that's all I've been able to gather without any feedback, which I've repeatedly requested.

So, not only is that quite demotivating in and of itself—effectively telling someone there's no future for them there—I have had the added time, energy, and frankly anxiety of interviewing at multiple opportunities during the standard work week, all while not wanting to take time away from my committed workload and mentoring others. I could do this for a couple weeks but it's starting to get to me.

I'm now in the final stages for several opportunities, and while I'm doing this I know that I'm going to intentionally delay my exit even further by a month or so, so I can get my final stocks vested.

Abstractly, I know that this is a fantastic problem to have, but I find it incredibly difficult to do even the smallest of tasks. I couldn't care less how this affects my new manager but I don't want to let the team down.

How can I stay motivated? Is this even my problem?

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    Is this software related? Although the advice 99% of the time is "stay in one job until you have secured the next job", IMO there are very rare cases where it's worth cleanly leaving your current job even when you do not have your next job. This is, indeed, the total solution for the pressure/anxiety you discuss.
    – Fattie
    Jun 17 at 11:07
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Staying motivated when you know you are leaving is very hard. I personally left my old company earlier this year and in the last month or so, it was really hard to get my tasks done. What helped me to at least get something done, was look at it from a different angle. I didn't see it as work I was doing for my manager, but work I was doing for the team. I knew that if I didn't do it, one of them had to do it and it would probably be harder for them than it was for me, since I was familiar with the systems.

So, I did the tasks because I didn't want the great people in the team to "suffer" because I couldn't be bothered. It's still not going to be easy, but at least it helped a bit for me.

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After you've exhausted your PTO, strive to finish your work with your current team with excellence, if only to help inspire references & letters of recommendation that will support your resume farther down the road. It can also be motivating to focus on contributing to a positive legacy that will continue after your departure, whether that's in mentoring others or in the work itself.

Consider that your current manager & teammates could be a key references when you are looking to move on from your next employer. Interviewers generally don't contact your current employer, because of the obvious conflict of interest they would have in their feedback. Any prior to that are fair game though, and often seen as more objective in their character assessments.

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This is, indeed, a difficult position to be in. What I've done in a similar position in the past was try to view the work I've got to do with a slightly different perspective:

Ask yourself: what aspects of my current work will sharpen my skills for my new job? Even if the tech stack or line of business is different in the new position, there are still many things that you're doing now that will help you in your new place.

It can be exciting and motivating to analyze the work you're doing anyway, and find things within it that will build you as a valuable employee once you move on.

(If it helps - you can imagine your current employer paying you to make yourself more desirable somewhere else.)

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