I have been working for this company for 4+ years and I feel that it's time for me to move on, find another job that has better benefits and pay, and to experience more growth. I'm in my late 20s and I should be aggressive at this time to reach certain career goals. I feel that I've been complacent and I should push myself more and try to aim higher.
My company is just a small start-up and I'm the only person who can do my role. I also have other ad hoc tasks for other clients that only I can do. Training another person to do it will take a few weeks or so.
I'm also in a difficult situation because I work overseas so my residency is dependent on my employer. As long as I have a job, I can stay in this country (my current pass will expire around 1 1/2 years from now).
I have a good working relationship with my boss. He's very kind and understanding and willing to help me all the time. But the pay is not much and I feel stuck. So here's the dilemma:
Option 1: I will tell him before I go job hunting.
Based from my long-time working relationship with him, I think this is the most proper and cordial way to go. This would allow him to prepare for the next steps that he needs to take if I leave, without being rattled. This would also leave us in good terms, even after I leave the company.
There's also a risk that he may suddenly cease my employment before I can even find a job. Although I trust that he won't do this, but he has a right to do it. I also don't know how to tell him (and if it's even proper) whether I can still work for him indefinitely until I can find a new job.
Option 2: I won't tell him before I go job hunting.
The good: This is the safest decision as I would have plenty of time to job hunt without the fear that my current employer would cease my employment. I won't feel too much pressure to just grab any job offer.
The bad: If I find a job first and secure a new pass, then tell him afterwards, I feel that I've done him wrong or betrayed him. Plus, I have a long list of things to handover too. If a find a company that I like and they ask me to start soon, then, I'm worried that it's not enough time for him to work out any plans for transition / hand-over.
Can anyone help me with this situation? I'm not sure what's the best method to take.