I've been working for a small young company for a little over a year. I've been increasingly ready to quit however as the work has shifted into an area I do not enjoy and I'm clearer on what I want to do now. I would like to leave on the best terms but here are the complications:

  • This week for the first time the company is giving employee year-end reviews and respective raises
  • My current project is scheduled to end in about 4-6 weeks and although my role isn't crucial I'm willing to see it to the end.
  • The end of the project is also when we get our quarterly bonuses.

I want to leave on good terms but i'm worried that getting my raise, quarterly bonus, and then quitting would look really bad.

I would like to be honest and open with my boss before the review/raise saying that this will be my last project and I would like to see it through but fear I may be asked to leave on the spot instead if I do.

When should I tell my boss that I plan on leaving... before, during, or after the review/raise?

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    Just in regards to the bonus: a bonus is a reward for work you have done, not work you will be doing. There should be no shame in accepting a bonus and quitting soon after. – Ivo Coumans Jan 6 '15 at 7:18
  • Get the new job that gives you what you are looking for, say "thank you" for the raise and the bonus, and move on. Money is nice - sometimes VERY nice, but it should not be everything. Money should be a contributing factor in your career decisions but it should not be the dominant factor let alone the only factor. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jan 6 '15 at 11:06

As akton notes, the general rule is you don't quit until you have a new job.

Now, this isn't hard and fast - sometimes you want to go travelling, or you just want some time off, or maybe the work environment is super toxic - you'll know when that's the case.

But your question is more about the "morality" of getting the money and skedaddling, and the timing of it too.

I'm here to tell you that there is nothing immoral, wrong, or even illegal about getting more money and then leaving. Your CEO is a businessman, and they knows this is true, and it is what they would do. (Using they for "he or she" - i would have preferred "shem" myself)

As for timing:

  1. Getting a raise and then looking for a new job is really the best way to do it - you can now negotiate a higher level of salary at some other place based on your now higher "current" (ie post-raise) salary.

  2. Also, you earnt that bonus, that's why they're giving it to you. Maybe their bonus comes with a "you don't get this if you're not here for another year" tag - but that's what a new company's sign-on bonus is all about! You get that bonus, and then you can negotiate a sign-on bonus to match it! ALSO, you can get in writing that the new company will guarantee you the same amount bonus for the first year you work with them.

I hope you're beginning to see that waiting for the bonus and raise is really the "best" way (from a monetizing standpoint) to time your job hunt.

Finally, in your year-end review, there is nothing wrong with saying you don't like the work you are doing, can you do XYZ work instead. This is always a good idea if the company has XYZ work, because they may well shift you to it. It can also signal that you are unhappy up the chain of command too, which might lead them to re-actively offer you "stuff" to keep happy.

Super-Final-Word: I've never heard of the company that is happy with an employee firing them after the employee says that they do not like the work they are doing. Finding good people is hard, there are whole websites dedicated to that task.

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    Although it sounds ungrammatical and unnatural, they is the politically correct alternative for "he or she". People have already accepted that, by and large, and won't be looking for an alternative word any time soon. :-) – Masked Man Jan 6 '15 at 13:42
  • I will dispute Timing item #1 purely on what you're paid now has no bearing on what you're paid tomorrow. When negotiating your next gig what matters is what you bring to the table and how much it's worth to the potential employer vs what you're willing to accept. If someone asks "what are you being paid now?" it's perfectly acceptable to say "To consider moving I need X$" or "Working this job I would expect to be paid X$" – RualStorge Jan 6 '15 at 18:53
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    The word you're looking for is "they" to replace he/she. – Foosh Jan 6 '15 at 19:02
  • @Foosh: or even "(s)he" – NotMe Jan 7 '15 at 15:45

Should you quit before taking another job?

As stated by the others it's best not to quit until you have an offer in writing with a new employer. (It's far easier to get a job when you have one than to get one when you don't) There are of coarse exceptions. (If you know your company is doing something morally, ethically, or legally questionable sometimes it's in your best interest to just leave before your name sullied)

Should you wait until before or after a raise?

Honestly with proper negotiations this is pretty irrelevant. Depending on local laws their could be a benefit to waiting if you'll be eligible for unemployment, but it's VERY unlikely.

Generally speaking when negotiating you need to keep in mind there is only two things you need to worry about. What your abilities are worth to a potential employer, and what you're willing to accept in regards to pay for those services. Often people will ask what you're paid now to get an idea what you're willing to accept but it's fair to say something like "In order to consider moving I need X$" or "To work this job I need X$" at which point if you're in the same ballpark negotiations continue otherwise odds are negotiations will fail.

Always have a minimum you're willing to accept when going into a negotiation. Often people will try to sort of give you the run around to try and get you as low as they can. Having a hard minimum is good to avoid letting yourself be pressured down to accepting an amount that you later will regret accepting. It's also perfectly fair to make a stand saying "this is as low as I can go" if they aren't willing to accept that, move on.

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  • i agree with you on negotiations. I think it still helps to have the raise too, especially if you're trying to move quickly so don't have the luxury of being overly negotiation-y – bharal Jan 7 '15 at 8:45
  • Well raises are always a plus, but shouldn't affect negotiations. When they ask what you're being paid they're just trying to figure out what they need to pay you. I find it's actually faster in most cases to just say "this is what I'll cost you". (you're just skipping to what they ultimately want to know vs them trying to figure it out through several questions) – RualStorge Jan 7 '15 at 14:27

When should I tell my boss that I plan on leaving... before, during, or after the review/raise?

It sounds like your company is starting to transition from a small company to a medium sized company, with the accompanying new processes and procedures. You do not say what you dislike about your current job but the company culture often changes as the company grows. Things may improve and their may be opportunities to move into new roles.

Assuming this does not interest you, I would start looking for a new role now and, when you have a written job offer, resign from your present company. While every job has things people do not enjoy, working for long periods in a job you hate reduces the quality of your work and generally sucks (if you pardon the colloquialism).

Your sanity and your future job prospects are much more important than any raise or bonus. Raises and bonuses are often dictated by budgets, not by performance. For example, in the last few years, most salaried workers have not received a pay rise in many western countries irrespective of their contribution.

It may take some time to find a new job and you may receive your bonus during that time. Do not resign or talk about resigning to anyone in your current company until you have that written job offer. New job offers sometimes fall through and management in your current job will not appreciate negative comments like potential resignations.

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  • I will add that in finding a new job, you can possibly negotiate a sign on bonus to replace the one you where scheduled to get if you get a job before they are given out. You may or may not get it, but it is worth it to ask. – HLGEM Jan 6 '15 at 14:48