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I am serving a notice period after resigning from my present job. I submitted a resignation letter to HR, who accepted it. I like my current place, but the reason for changing jobs is purely economic. My new employer has more than doubled my salary (my current salary + 110%).

I am trying to leave on good terms. I have given a notice of 90 days, so that we can conclude the most imminent steps of our projects. I am helping to hire a replacement.

However, it is becoming clearer that finding someone with my skills any time soon could take much longer than 90 days, most likely one year. In this timeframe, some projects may not survive. While they all appreciate my availability, frustration for the upcoming difficulties is expected.

To sum it up, I am feeling guilty of leaving my team in a worse situation than I was expecting. My 90-day notice is not long enough to have a proper and smooth transition.

On top of that, my wife is not so enthusiastic about relocating, which doesn’t help at all.

This is why I am considering to try and retract my resignation. Prolonging the notice period will not be an option, as my next employer cannot probably wait that long. Retracting would save my company from the pain they are going through, and I am sure enough my prospective employer has other candidates in case I decline their offer.

If I stay where I am now, I will forego a much higher salary in the short term, but I am sure I will be able to get some similar salary in 6/7 years or so.

The question is: is it a good idea at all? How would I retract my resignation?

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  • 13
    Sounds like your current employer needs to up the salary offer by 110% to attract your replacement. Sep 16 at 12:21
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    This is entirely your employers problem, not yours. 3 months is already a very generous notice period. If that's not enough, that's just very poor planning on their part. Rescinding a resignation is generally fine, however it's PROBLEMATIC to rescind the acceptance of an offer. You made a promise to the new company and you would have to break that promise.
    – Hilmar
    Sep 16 at 12:43
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    If the success or failure of the company hinges on a single underpaid employee (yes, you are. You looked elsewhere and found someone willing to give you over double. You are underpaid.) then it isn't much of a company to begin with. Get out while you can. Their staffing is not your problem. Congrats on the raise!
    – Seth R
    Sep 16 at 15:05
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    “I will be able to get some similar salary in 6/7 years or so.” - Why are you willing to forgo 110% of your current salary for 6-7 years, for an employer, who clearly does NOT believe you are as critical as you appear to be? If you don’t want to relocate, that’s something else, but to stay out of loyalty your likely making move that your employer won’t appreciate
    – Donald
    Sep 16 at 17:08
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    "… but I am sure I will be able to get some similar salary in 6/7 years or so …." I have never ever heard someone look the other way on a 110% salary increase. You think it will take 6 or 7 years before you receive the same offer and yet you're prepared to take that risk. This doesn't make any sense unless this involves translocating to Siberia....then maybe.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 16 at 20:49

10 Answers 10

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The question is: is it a good idea at all?

It's a terrible idea. Giving up an increase to more than double your salary is likely something you can never make up. You indicated that your sole reason for leaving was the money. Now, you will get the money. I don't think it makes sense to give it up.

In addition, you have signaled to your employer that you may leave at any time. Your relationship won't be the same. They chose not to try to keep you by offering more money - take that as a hint.

Although you feel it will be difficult to replace you, nobody is irreplaceable. New hires, contractors, they can both be found.

And how would I proceed to retract my resignation?

If you actually choose to go this route, just talk to your boss. Tell them you changed your mind. They will tell you the next steps.

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    As you suggest the employer won’t appreciate the author staying, it likely won’t result in anything, if the employer wanted the employee to stay they would have offered something to the author to stay. The inactions of the employer says volumes
    – Donald
    Sep 16 at 17:11
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    If a company cannot run without you, you should be paid at least as much as the CEO.
    – L.Dutch
    Sep 18 at 4:47
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    The company will run without me, I am just talking about my team. Actually, my boss asked me how higher my salary will be. When I answered he said something like: ‘’oh, then there’s no chance we can offer you anything like that’’. Hence it’s not completely true that he didn’t want to make a counteroffer, but he was immediately discouraged when he heard the new salary. I should have been more direct that I was still open to hear his offer. Sep 20 at 11:19
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    As to the fact that I broke my boss’ trust and relationship. There’s another detail I haven’t discussed: my current job is renewed year by year and only after 3 years I would become permanent (assuming they want to keep me). Each year, there’s no guarantee that my contract is renewed, other than my boss saying that he’s happy with me. So it’s not completely accurate to say that could leave at any time. Rather, I was job-hunting because in any case, resignation or not, my second yearly contract was near its end. And there was another 1-year contract coming. Sep 20 at 12:00
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is it a good idea at all?

Probably not. Even if you retract your resignation now, your employer knows that you are not very happy with your current role and are likely to leave in the future. That's pretty much a death knell for any future prospects with your employer, or at the very least will set them back until you've shown you're not likely to leave.

Also remember that you would quite likely be high on the list of people to be cut if the company did need to make any redundancies.

However, it is important to note that

it is becoming clearer that finding someone with my skills anytime soon could take much longer than 90 days, most likely one year.

is not your problem. Your employer accepted your resignation with 90 days notice - if they wanted something else to happen, they should have negotiated at the time. They chose not to, so they now have to live with the consequences.

And how would I proceed to retract my resignation?

All you can do is to start a conversation with your manager. Worst case scenario is they say "thanks for the offer, but I think it's best we all just move on at this point".

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  • I agree with you. About not being very happy here and that I will likely leave again: my decision is based on a 110% increase of my current salary, rather than being unhappy. Moreover, it is extremely unlikely to get another similar offer anytime soon, hence it’s not so likely that I would leave. As for being on the list of people to cut, I was hoping to offset that with the fact that I am the most difficult employee of the team to replace. Sep 16 at 10:07
  • Maybe you wouldn't be at the top of the list, but you're certainly higher on the list than you would have been before you resigned. Sep 16 at 10:09
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    Note that 90 days notice is a huge amount of time as such things go. You could, and if your manager is at all clueful you should, spend that time training others to take over your responsibilities. Unless management has a particularly bad job of hiring, there are probably people who can come up to speed well enough to keep things going until the company finds a more direct replacement for your skill set and skill level... or who can grow into those roles after you bring them up to speed; the company doesn't need another you, just a team that can do what you were doing.
    – keshlam
    Sep 16 at 11:33
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    @keshlam - it’s certainly 76 days longer than I would have stayed at a underpaid position
    – Donald
    Sep 16 at 17:13
  • @Donald: Assuming it is underpaid, as opposed to the new job promising more than it can deliver (or simply being that much more likely to collapse if it doesn't meet the next benchmark). Or both. We don't have the data to say more than "interesting..."
    – keshlam
    Sep 17 at 3:18
7

The question is: is it a good idea at all?

Ultimately only you can answer that one - I have to say unless there's really compelling reasons for you (and your family) it probably isn't. Most of what you've listed here are reasons why you leaving sucks for your employer not you - and once you leave an employer their problems are not your problems any more! It can be hard to have that perspective when you're still "inside".

People leave companies all the time and you really have to remember that in the vast majority of cases the company survives and moves on.

And how would I proceed to retract my resignation?

If you do decide to retract your resignation the best approach is to talk to your manager say that your considering it and see what they say. Assuming they're happy to keep you (and it sounds as though they would be) then they'll be able to advise you on the process.

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While I strongly agree with the answers that mention the fact your employer now considers your a "flight risk", one thing that hasn't been mentioned is the impact on your new employer.

They invested time and effort to hire you. Depending on how many openings they had, they may have stopped recruiting efforts. The other potential candidates may have found jobs at this point, so they are probably starting over from the beginning.

If you turn down this offer, you'll be burning a bridge here. Depending on your industry, this could have long term impacts. I can't tell you how many people I've run into at new companies, companies I am interviewing at, and/or potential clients that I've worked with or worked for in the past.

So if you burn this bridge, it might not only impact your relationship at your new employer, it could hurt you in interviewing at other companies in the future.

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    I agree. All in all, the future employer has proved to be more determined in having me in their team. Besides the exceedingly better offer, I was honestly expecting some negotiation from my current boss, a tentative at least. Looks like it didn’t happen, even though they (say they) need me so much. Sep 16 at 11:49
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There are several well written, reasoned answers here, but I'm going to give you the cold, hard, unvarnished truth:

You have no moral obligation to your employer other then to perform the work they pay you to perform. Whatever your leaving means for them is entirely their responsibility and their problem. Will your leaving affect your coworkers? Sure. Do you have a moral obligation to them? Absolutely not. Do you think they'll even remember your name a year from now? They most certainly won't.

Stop letting false emotions and imagined obligations color your career choices. There is no place for emotional contrivances in the workplace. Your employment is a business arrangement.

If you want to retract your resignation for personal reasons, fine, but don't do it because you think you have some moral obligation to your employer or colleagues.

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You have an offer for more than twice your current salary. Your wife would need to have some incredibly extra special extraordinary reason to not fully support you, even if it involves moving. Mine would beat me up if I stayed with the old company :-)

If your old company runs into problems, they will run into problems at a time when you are not an employee anymore, so that is solely their problem, and not yours at all. If you stay, I can guarantee you 100% that nobody will thank you for it.

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To sum it up, I am feeling guilty of leaving my team in a worse situation than I was expecting. My 90-day notice is not long enough to have a proper and smooth transition.

One of my senior managers had a similar opinion about his own job and functions. He wanted to get a replacement even before he left and he expressed the same to the higher management. The management didn't heed his advice. Not a bit. He served his notice period and just left the company.

The position is now split into two different roles and the project is functioning smoothly.

Don't worry much about the project. Your management has accepted your resignation and they'll devise their own plans for your replacement. Enjoy your new salary increment and your new role.

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The decision is ultimately yours to make. There are impacts on your current employer, your new employer, you, and your family. Retracting an offer may or may not be possible. Going back now may not keep you employed for long.

I am going to focus on one aspect of your question:

However, it is becoming clearer that finding someone with my skills any time soon could take much longer than 90 days, most likely one year.

Unless you gave them a lot more notice period than is normal, most people leaving don't even meet their replacement unless there is an internal replacement.

The reason is that if the new hire also has to serve a notice period, there is almost no way for them to go through the hiring process, complete the background check, and then serve their notice period before the old employee departs.

Every project/team/company needs to have a plan to address the loss of an employee. If it takes them a year to find a new person, that is their issue, not yours.

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To give an actual answer:

There is no "official" way to retract the resignation. You talk to you boss and tell them, you want to retract the resignation. Because you are underpaid by more than 100%, they will probably accept. They are not required, though. So it is entirely possible that your boss tells you, you cannot retract your resignation and your employment will end at the agreed date.

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However, it is becoming clearer that finding someone with my skills any time soon could take much longer than 90 days, most likely one year.

How many years have you been working there? That is the one piece of essential information is missing from your question.

In the 6 or 12-18 months before your arrival, the business was functioning well, it will continue to do so after you leave.

If your period of employment is longer than 2 years then finding a suitable replacement will certainly take time. So, before retracting a resignation letter, negotiate with the company a substantial pay rise. If your service and expertise is invaluable, as it appears from the description, a 30% pay rise is reasonable and shouldn't be a problem (by all means ask for more). If they refuse, you have your answer: you are not indispensable, so move on and don't look back.

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