I am scheduled for a second interview for a job with a company that I would like to have. Changing jobs would require changing cities, which would also mean more opportunity for my spouse. If the opportunity is offered (and if the money is right), I have got to take it. The company is also excited about my application. I was worked through the preliminary interview pretty quickly, and the tone of it was more towards selling me on the company than me selling myself. I currently have no offer, but one is likely to come in about a week-and-a-half. If the offer comes, I will put my 2 weeks notice in and begin the preparations for a move.

In the interim, though, I currently work for a small city, for which I do a lot of web and mobile development. I just recently had an app submitted to Apple's app store be accepted, but due to organizational politics, certain people want to pull it back. Additionally, some might want to go ahead and release it if they can get their changes built into the next release of the app (i.e. version 1.1).

My employer is also looking to invest about $5k (that's a lot of money for my organization) in a vendor-built API, on the premise that I build an iPad app that integrates between enterprise systems.

Finally, it is also unlikely that my employer will be able to (or even want to) replace me with a like quantity. If I don't build the integration app or the second version of the submitted app, nobody likely will.

My question: What am I obligated to do here? Do I need to tell my supervisor that I am possibly on the move, and that no second version is likely to be built? My new position would be with a consulting company, so if they wanted a new version, they could have it--they would just have to pay more to get it. So it's not like I am telling them it can never happen.

EDIT: another dimension of this, is that my supervisor wants to have a conversation with my director about the timing of the second release. I don't want to lie here (i.e. I'll have it in December), but I also don't want to tell the truth (i.e. I am likely to have a job offer in a week, and I will leave this place so fast it will make your head spin).

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    The fact you think you cannot be replaced is misguided, everyone can be replaced, even Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were replaced when they left their respected companies. If they have lots of money they can and will find somebody to replace you.
    – Donald
    Aug 6, 2012 at 11:22
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    @Ramhound steve jobs' role was filled but I'm not sure it counts as a replacement.
    – Gusdor
    Jun 12, 2014 at 11:32
  • @Gusdor - I promise you Tim Cook counts as a replacement. Steve Jobs knew what his fate was. He worked with the board to select a replacement. I quote from Wikipedia: "Jobs became chairman of the board thereafter, naming Tim Cook his successor as CEO, and continued to work for Apple until the day before his death six weeks later."
    – Donald
    Jun 12, 2014 at 11:36
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    @TheMathemagician I agree 100% from the manager perspective if I lose you and it causes me to blow a project or deadline that's MY problem, MY mistake. (or my bosses') I can say first hand from working city government during the recession if I don't have the money to pay you, you WILL be laid off. It's just the reality of the world. I'm going to do what's best for my company as a whole, sometimes this is regrettably at the expense of individuals. Just the same I expect the individuals to do what's best for their families, even if it's at my expense. Nothing personal, it's business. Aug 5, 2014 at 19:51
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    "I'll have it in December" -- don't say that, say "it will take X months of effort, so December at the earliest". It's not a lie even if you strongly suspect you're leaving and won't be replaced, so the effort will never go into it. Aug 26, 2014 at 11:50

3 Answers 3


Until you actually have the job offer from the new company in writing you are best to keep quiet about any potential move. You are under no obligation to tell your current employer anything about your job hunting. In fact doing so might well hurt your future employment with your current company were the job offer not to materialise.

Think about it from the other side - how much notice would your employer give you if they were thinking of making your job redundant?

Once you have that offer in writing, then tell your current employer that you are leaving, giving as much notice as you either have to legally (should there be such a law where you are) be it 2 weeks, a month or whatever, or what notice you can given the date the new employer would like you to start.

If you think that leaving with this notice is not sufficient for your current employer to make arrangements to cope without you then you could try to negotiate with your new employer for a delayed start - but don't make it too long otherwise they might have second thoughts about you and retract the offer.

You have to attend meetings etc. that discuss things you hope you are not going to be around for as if you were still going to be working there. Anything else is unprofessional. If you think that the job offer is going to come through in a few days or a week then suggest that the meeting be put back - though you'd have to have a convincing reason for this - then any potential awkwardness is sidestepped.

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    I know, I've told myself that if they had to cut my job, they would do it in a heartbeat (and they would, too).
    – jdb1a1
    Jul 30, 2012 at 16:19
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    Good advice. It's tough to do - and frankly, if you like your job and the people you work with, doing this will make you feel pretty bad. But it's the only way to behave when you have a not-yet-finalized offer. Jul 31, 2012 at 2:01
  • @ChrisF, most states have no legal notice period. 2 weeks in the US is usually professional courtesy. I am not sure, perhaps a few states do have a legal notice period, but I've never encountered or heard of any state which does. In most states employees and employers can terminate employment for nearly any reason. There are a few reasons that employment cannot be terminated by the employer, see the EEOC. There could be a contract in place with a required notice, but this is rare for anything other than C-level employees in the US.
    – daaxix
    Aug 5, 2014 at 15:42
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    @SteveJessop raises an excellent point - I'm sure you're excellent, but nobody is irreplaceable and there are plenty of iOS developers available. The professional thing to do is continue your current work as though you'll be at the company for 5 years, but also do little extra bits to help the transition: technical documents outlining how the code works, manuals etc. If you make lots of documentation now, your replacement will be in a great position to take over.
    – Jon Story
    Dec 8, 2014 at 10:18
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    @jdb1a1: in that case I am not sure what you worry about. If you were in a company which go to extraordinary extends to protect the employees (yes, such companies exist) than you may want to be fair. If they fire you when they need you leave them when you need - simple as that.
    – WoJ
    Mar 17, 2017 at 7:17

Unless there is a contract involved with your current employer, then you don't owe them anything. The fact that they might never build the next version can't be your concern. Though I admit the idea that they may purchase a API in the next few days while you are in limbo would cause me to have some regret.

Don't tell them anything until you have accepted the offer. Because you will need to move, you have no idea when your last productive day in their office will be. Only tell them after you have finalized the schedule with the new company.

A meeting discussing schedule can be bizarre, when only you know that you will not be there for the bulk of the project. Any company that starts a projects knows that there are risks. If you tell them it will take 90 days, and you quit 30 days into the project, they will be unlikely to meet the schedule, especially if they need to hire a new employee. People leaving is a risk that is in every project. If you are the only person with that skill set, that is a big risk they live with every day.

Many times when you move to the new company you are unable to go back and help them. I have been able to help old projects when I transferred to another part of the same company, but never when switching companies.

I mentioned contracts because sometimes you will owe them a certain amount of time if they helped pay for your degree, or sent you to a special training class, or helped pay your moving expenses when you joined them. They either want a specific number of years, or for you to pay them back if your don't stay the entire duration.


Your obligation to your employer is to give them notice, as specified in your employment contract, when you want to leave. That's your obligation.

Now if you arrange things in a way to minimise damage to your current employer, as long as this doesn't put your own interests at risk, that's a sign of good character and recommendable. Minimising damage to your own employer while putting your own interests at risk, that is stupid and very likely to backfire and cost you dearly.

Let's say you tell them "maybe you shouldn't buy this API because I might not be here to implement the application". Quite possible that they give you notice, demonstrating that you were less needed than you thought, and if your new job falls through, you have nothing.

  • Gnasher raises a valid point - your obligation is to keep to your notice. It is up to the company to recognize your worth to them and set the notice period accordingly (which, of course, you will counterbalance with a higher salary)
    – Jon Story
    Dec 8, 2014 at 10:20
  • This! What is your obligated termination notice period. Two weeks? Then tell them, in writing, two weeks before your desired last day. They will respond how they will. If they need more of your time than that, let them approach you with a request.
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 4, 2015 at 15:16

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