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I am currently employed by a large company in a German speaking country in Europe. From May until the end of November I worked for a work agency and was allocated to that company. Since 1st of December I am employed direct to that company. I was given their standard contract so I have 30 days probation.

Truth to tell I hate my job and since I was bound to my contract until the end of November I started interviewing for job the last two weeks. I now got an offer I am going to accept. My new company wants me to start at the beginning of January

So now is my question when should I tell my bosses I quit? Since I worked there for 8 months I have some knowledge to pass on.

I basically see three options:

  1. Send my resignation on the 30 of December to receive full payment for December. Offer to be available for Questions and the handover (as a freelancer next to my new job)

  2. Tell my boss right away and hand over my stuff properly. That will get me most certainly terminated before the holidays (starting on December 24th) and so I want receive not the full payment for December.

  3. Tell my boss right away. But tell him I will only handover my stuff properly if I am employed through December or I will quit on the spot. Does this qualify as blackmailing?

Are there any better options and are there any reasons I should choose on over the others?

My contract specifies that in the first month both parties are allowed to quit without giving any reasons and without any notice period.

  • Careful about the no notice thing. In addition to the contract, this is also regulated by law. For example, in Germany the notice during the probation period is two weeks and can only be reduced when there is a Tarifvertrag. – Erik Dec 12 '14 at 10:47
  • I am quite sure all 3 options are legally covered. I checked my contract, the Kollektivvertrag (Tarifvertrag / Collective agreement in Austria) and the local working laws – TheJoeIaut Dec 12 '14 at 10:57
  • see also: How to make a smooth exit transition? – gnat Dec 12 '14 at 12:22
  • Commenting on Friday, Dec. 12th: Check if the notice period is "two weeks" or "ten working days". If the notice period is two weeks during your probation, and it is two weeks both for you and the employer, then giving notice on Tuesday 16th for the end of the year should be fine. Hard for them not to pay you for Christmas on Thursday/Friday. – gnasher729 Dec 12 '14 at 17:21
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  1. Stay away from blackmailing no matter how justified you feel. I don't mind being the bad guy if there is a justification for doing what I do. In this case, the blackmailing is gratuitous. And you certainly don't want to start on a course of action not knowing how they will react and therefore not knowing how it is going to end. It's Self-Preservation 101: don't take chances you don't have to. Don't make enemies than you absolutely have to. And never make more enemies than you can kill.

  2. Your new employer wants you to start in the middle of Jan, and we are now in mid Dec. I suggest that you give your notice to your current employer ASAP and I suggest that you give it well before the holidays so that it doesn't look like a holiday gift from you. Give that notice as soon as you've nailed down the exact start date with your new employer - I assume that you were diligent in that you made sure to have the offer from your new employer in writing. Dumping a current employer for a new one is like committing a premeditated murder: don't do it unless you're damn sure you'll get away with it.

  • Very well said. "Dumping a current employer for a new one is like committing a premeditated murder: don't do it unless you're damn sure you'll get away with it" – Signal15 Dec 12 '14 at 14:50
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    What do you mean by "Get away with it"? Switching jobs is a normal part of a person's life and if you are unhappy at your current job you shouldn't avoid leaving just because you don't think you can "Get away with it" – Kevin Wells May 9 '16 at 23:35
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  1. If you hate the company, why are you wanting to stay there any longer than you need to?

  2. It is christmas, why wouldn't you want to take time off over this time?

  3. Based on what you've said, Vietnhi's answer is right - exceedingly colourful analogies and metaphors included.

Unless there is a serious money component (ie you need the money to pay rent or will otherwise be materially disadvantaged by leaving early) I don't think it is appropriate to stay on until the end of the probation period.

I might say differently, but you have been working here for 7 months, there will be handover needed. If you partake in the actions you indicate, the company would be justified in seeing this as you going out of your way to twist the knife.

Give them the two weeks notice period (again, make sure you have signed the contract for the new job) and be nice. You will really be making your boss look bad, and be seen as screwing the company over. This might not come back to bite you, but why take the risk?

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    It's Christmas, so he will have Thursday to Sunday off anyway. But he doesn't want to be unemployed these days; that's four days pay that the employer will hate to pay. – gnasher729 Dec 12 '14 at 17:22
  • @gnasher729 That depends on the employer, places I have worked in the past didn't mind paying me for any left over vacation time when I left, so it really depends on the situation – Kevin Wells May 9 '16 at 23:37
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I'm not a lawyer.

Look at your contract. Most contracts will stipulate a notice period; you have to give this much warning (here it is commonly 1 month) to your employer, and leaving earlier than this date would be breach of contract unless you have a grievance.

You should also find that the employer has to give you a certain amount of notice too, so it is unlikely that you would be immediately fired and have no income; that's why notice periods exist. Having said that, it may be different in the probation period.

So read your contract and seek advice on statutory employment rights (i.e. rights given to you by law).

Unless your unhappiness with the job has turned into poor work, there should be nothing to stop you giving the required notice to your boss, saying that you have found a better option but you wish them all the best.

Employment isn't like a romantic relationship, where even mentioning leaving is somehow a betrayal; you are expected to act in your own interest in general but be respectful toward your employer and act within the bounds of your contract.

-- Edit in light of probation detail --

If the probation part of the contract gives you freedom to quit at any time and them freedom to fire you at any time, then the clearest choice is to resign at the end of December. If they had employed you on better terms, or made the work more attractive, you would not be in this position.

The alternative is to resign at the beginning of January and offer to work a few more days for a handover. If your new employer is keen to have you start as soon as possible, they should be happy for you to specify a start date around the 8th but with an option to start on the 2nd if your current employer doesn't take your offer. This is more complex, but may avoid burning the bridges. Your colleagues will grudgingly accept that you didn't have an alternative in the circumstances.

If you are a significant asset to the company, be prepared for your boss to make you a counter offer to stop you leaving at all - recruitment is a long, painful and expensive process for employers of technical people. Work out under what circumstances you would accept; if you were offered more money and a better role, what would that look like?

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    My contract specifies that in the first month both parties are allowed to quit without giving any reasons and without any notice period – TheJoeIaut Dec 12 '14 at 10:39
  • @TheJoeIaut Didn't you say you've been there for 8 months? How is the first month relevant? – Kevin Wells May 9 '16 at 23:36

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