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So, my boss and I have had a rocky relationship from the start. While he recognizes my ability to get what he needs done, he likes to micromanage my progress, which I do not respond well to. It's a small business, and new legislation has created an emerging market for him to corner, and corner it he has. He's counting on me to help him with the production in this, and I have spent the last month streamlining it, getting which was originally a 10 hour build down to 2 hours per unit.

After three months of this sour relationship, I started actively job searching again. Three months into search (six months into my current job) I am scheduled for an interview with a company that would put my college-earned-skills to much better use (I could have done my current job fresh out of highschool with the same results).

I'm not trying to count my chicks or anything, but if this new job does pan out, I have to take it. Aside from the possibility of a boss with whom I may have a better relationship, it's much more in line with my expertise and from the tone of the job listing I may start out at nearly double my current salary, the company also offers insurance and benefits that my current employer doesn't, and probably can't.

This is an office of three people (me, the boss, and a programmer). If I leave, it will basically kill their workflow. I'm not going to be as brash as to say I can't be replaced, but it would take my boss/coworker valuable time to get someone else trained and settled into my position; this could potentially cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. I just would not feel right about doing that.

TL;DR

My boss has a big project in the works, I may be leaving my company, I want to offer my help with this project. I figured I'd offer to come in, week days or after hours, help with the actual assembly/configuration of the product, and possibly train my replacement to perform the task in the streamlined fashion I've developed.

When/How is the most professional way to offer this? Should I bring up the subject of compensation for my time?

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    Past discussions here about similar arrangements have not been encouraging. Training your replacement is something the notice period is for, and arguably is always part of our jobs in case we get hit by a bus or whatever (and to grow the business's skills generally). Once you've left, you've left; if you want to come back as a consultant, make that arrangement VERY explicit. (Personal take: Occasional brief advice, as time permits, is free; anything more than that requires talking about a contract -- and your new employer may not be willing to let you do this in any case.) – keshlam Dec 12 '14 at 22:50
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    +1 to the last side note in @keshlam's comment: check carefully whether your new contract even allows you to take side gigs, requires clearing side gig with your new boss, or maybe limits the number of hours you may work elsewhere. – Stephan Kolassa Dec 13 '14 at 15:49
  • @keshlam Whilst I'd agreed that overlap between the leaver and the new hire is great for training when possible, in my experience often it takes so long to hire someone new that there is no notice period to train the newbie... – yochannah Dec 15 '14 at 11:05
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    @yochannah: Depends on the size of the group. Training someone else already in the group and familiar with the product up to a point where they can figure out the rest of this detail on their own (and then train someone else, if/when available) usually doesn't take that long. Especially if your documentation is decent. – keshlam Dec 15 '14 at 17:05
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    @yochannah:Not having someone available to be trained is the employer's problem and not the employee's. When starting a new position there is usually a ton of new things to learn, dividing your time between your old and new employer will only result in your not making as good of an impression at the new job as you could have if you had dedicated yourself to the new job. 2 weeks notice is all you need and do your best to do knowledge transfer. If it isn't already done, the OP should be documenting all procedures/processes for the next guy even before getting a new job. – Dunk Dec 15 '14 at 18:04
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Don't forget that one of the reasons you are leaving is that your boss and you had a rocky relationship, the second reason you left was his micromanaging you and the third was his underpaying you. And now, you want to be back to that after hours?

Let your boss deal with his own problems. Look at it on the bright side: if his business goes down the tube, he won't be around to give you a bad reference. If he wants help from you, let him ask for it. And let him tell you how much he wants to pay you. Once he is done telling you how much he wants to pay you, tell him how much he has to pay you.

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    +1: your bosses problem is his problem, not yours. Keep looking until you get an offer, give him two weeks notice, and don't look back. – kevin cline Dec 13 '14 at 7:41
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    Yep, "they can't afford to lose me" is never a reason to stick around. (or even offer part time assistance) All employers know turn over is a thing. People move, find new jobs, get married, die, retire, etc. Some of these we can predict (retirement) some of these we cannot (get hit by a bus) the company has to properly plan for the inevitable loss of people, not you. That said if it makes you feel better companies have ground into us for years "Everyone is replicable". The company can replace any employee it sees fit, just the same you can replace them with any employer you see fit. – RualStorge Dec 15 '14 at 18:44
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As a general rule of thumb, you don't owe your employer more than about 30 days after you've given your notice. This time is generally for your employer to find and train your replacement, or for you to create training material for your employer. In the name of not burning bridges, you may consider extending that to 45 days if you don't think your employer can get your replacement in 30 days.

If you want to do work for your current employer part time, make sure you get it in a written contract. And never tell your employer that up front. Otherwise, your employer will abuse you and expect you to stick around.

However, as you get closer to your departure date, you might offer your services, especially if they seem really close to getting back into the swing, but need some more consulting. Something like, "You know, if it would help, I'd be happy to offer my services as a part-time independent contractor after I leave." If he says yes, say "Sounds good. I'll put together some contract terms and we can talk about it next week." Then, when you offer him your terms, you can have a discussion on your value.

If your employer hasn't even started interviewing replacements two weeks after your notice, he won't get around to it, and you're asking for trouble if you stick around.

As far as fair market value of your time, as a contractor you should make between 150% and 200% of your hourly wage (factoring in taxes, health care, etc.). If you get a raise in your new job, base it off that. If your current wage is higher, use that one.

  • You may also want to start bringing your replacement up to speed even before you admit you're leaving. Even if you were staying, that's always a good thing for the company (in case you're sick, or hit by a bus, or whatever), and most managers will actually be pleased you're spreading the knowledge around. – keshlam Dec 13 '14 at 2:12
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    About 30 days? You owe them whatever your notice period is, it varies. Bear in mind working as a permy and a contractor at the same time may be a complete pain tax wise. – Nathan Cooper Dec 15 '14 at 0:04
  • @NathanCooper there are no real differences tax wise to the contractor while permanent and just contractor. Both will result in the appropriate tax headaches. If the contract job is a 1099, then yes lots of tax headaches, but I have done "extra" work for a former employer and they just setup me up as an hourly w4 (US tax codes here), much simpler. The last thing to consider is if this extra income puts you into a tax situation where you lose tax benefits. These can put a considerable dent in your extra income. – Bill Leeper Dec 15 '14 at 18:18
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Be available to answer questions for some period of time. Offer advice on the project if that makes sense. But avoid committing any time beyond these two things, even under contract.

Focus on the job you have (your new one), and try to live a balanced life. Having a good heart and wanting to help your previous employer are admirable. But ultimately not fair to them (hard to count on someone who has left), your new employer (will you be 100% engaged if working your old gig?), and yourself (are you taking time to enjoy life and your relationships with others?).

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