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Background

I've been holding my current position as a Software Engineer for almost 6 years now, during which I've participated in many projects.

Most of the projects were rather small scaled, but there are 2 major projects that were started from scratch, which were mostly designed and implemented by myself. I think I can say that I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders (as a Software engineer, mostly) as these products were sold (and are currently being sold) to our customers.

So I got a call last week from a very successfull high-tech company saying they have a job offer for me. After 3 interviews I got a phone call from HR saying they're going to hire me, detailing with salary and extras.

I still need to take a psychophysiological detection of deception examination, but it shouldn't be a problem to pass that exam, and I'll be probably signing a contract next week.

The dilemma

My current employer knows nothing about this. I need to give a 30 days notice before I leave but I am afraid that it won't be enough for them to actually find someone in time, since there's much to learn.

I do care a lot for the company I currently work for, it's like a 2nd home to me.

Should I talk to my boss and notify him of these events, saying I'll be probably leaving in a month or so, or, should I wait until I actually sign a contract with the new company, before saying anything?

  • So this question really works down to "when do I give notice to my boss?" and fits as a duplicate of Job offer contingent on background check: when to give notice? very well. – animuson Aug 13 '12 at 18:19
  • Well, it's not, I think it's more of a moral question, a "the right thing to do" one – Shai Aug 14 '12 at 5:32
  • A psychophysiological detection of deception examination? Doesn't sound like work culture I would like to be in, though the actual technical staff is thankfully often quite removed from the HR antics. – Erik Aug 20 '12 at 15:13
  • "I do care a lot for the company I currently work for" and you still work for them after 6 years. This is a blessing, so be very careful in planning your transition. – user14154 Mar 4 '16 at 0:10
  • Thanks for the comment @Rolf, but this question is almost 3 years old :) – Shai Mar 4 '16 at 7:27
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Yes - wait until the checks are done in a conditional job offer. They would not go through with these checks prior to your employment if there was not a chance (however slim) that people won't pass it.

Do, however, be up front with the hiring company about your desire to leave 30 days notice at your current job, and that you won't be giving notice until the checks are finished. That's a pretty long lead time in today's context, and your new hiring manager deserves the heads up.

In the meantime, while you are waiting, you may want to consider spending more time documenting, cleaning up, and mentally preparing the transition to-do list privately. Having your list of responsibilities ready when you break the news at your current job will help you current employer immensely. Also, if you can do it without seeming really weird - take those few extra minutes here and there to go above and beyond in giving other people insights about how you do your job or how the things you make work.

Lastly - I know it can feel like you are leaving your current employer in the lurch, but in any healthy, thriving company, the loss of one guy - however awesome - should not destroy the company. Several times, I've transitioned off of major projects where I had major responsibilities, and while everyone said "I don't know what we'll do without you" - the real answer was that they did just fine. There's a period of panicked transition, but the truth is, if there are other smart and dedicated people, they will be able to pick up where you leave off.

Addition - courtesy of @JacobG - It would not be unreasonable in the situation to offer 'off-hours' consulting availability and willingness to answer emails and what-not to help ease the transition after the OP leaves.

I'd agree -- to a point. If you say "hey, call me any time, I'm glad to answer a quick question" - that's great. I've both made the offer and taken people up on it when they've left my teams, and it's saved my projects a few times when I had to ask the question that only the ex-colleague could answer. But watch out that you're clear on your boundaries and limits if you end up doing true consulting. If you find you do more than the quick 20 minute life-saving answer, make sure you are a true consultant - that you have a contract, you get paid, and you know the limits of your time commitment and the duration of your contract. Also be sure your new employer is good with it.

  • 3
    Your answer has everything mine was going to have except one item -- It would not be unreasonable in the situation to offer 'off-hours' consulting availability and willingness to answer emails and what-not to help ease the transition after the OP leaves. – Jacob G Aug 13 '12 at 14:19
7

Always wait until you've signed a contract, and have a scanned copy, a photocopied copy, and preferably the original document securely in your possession. But to be honest, it sounds like you're not quite ready to leave your current position. Is the other place that much of an improvement?

  • Yes.. it is :-) – Shai Aug 13 '12 at 13:27
  • +1, if only for the alternative answer to the "Quit! Quit Now!" answers so often (and I'd argue often carelessly) tossed up on some of these boards. – Wonko the Sane Aug 13 '12 at 17:02
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The key phrase in these types of questions is "I am afraid that it won't be enough for them to actually find someone in time, since there's much to learn."

Unless you have a contract that limits your movement, you have no obligation to stay. You have worked there for 6 years.

If a project collapses because you leave, then the project was on shaky ground.

After all the paperwork and required investigations are done, determine the actual start date with the new company. Then tell your old company.

Don't worry about offering to help once you are gone. If they really need to ask a question in the first few months, they will find you. Keep in mind that HR will need to have a valid address on file to send you required tax forms early next year.

2

I think 30 days is plenty of transition time unless you are in a senior executive role. In the event that your old company requests a longer transition and you are interested, your new company is likely to flexible.

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