I work as a software engineer.

My boss is having a lot of plans for me.

He wants to make me a team leader, and he's planning to assign me a list of new tasks, that he sees me as "the person most fit for the job".

However, for many reasons, I am planning to leave my job soon, and I am currently looking for a job.

Should I inform him that I have the intention to leave soon, and that he should start looking for a new resource to replace me, and give the tasks to someone else? I am thinking of doing this to avoid having to spend a long time transferring my activities if I find a new job.


My notice period is 3 months, but it is negotiable, and I am afraid as I have more tasks, I will have less chance with the negotiation, this is about shortening the notice period not lengthening it like in the question of which my question was considered duplicate. It's not the same problem.

  • Where are you located? What is your expected notice period? Voted to close as unclear until this is cleared up as it will have significant impact on the answers.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 14:53
  • @Lilienthal I added my notice period. However, where I am located is irrelevant, I think.
    – Mansuro
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:09
  • @Mansuro What will you do if you get a job offer but must start in 2 months? Suppose you accept the offer, but your current boss says "no, I need you to stay for the whole 3 months." Are you willing to leave anyway, or will you feel compelled to stay the whole 3 months?
    – Brandin
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:15
  • @Brandin If we negotiate and he refuses to reduce the period to 2 months, and my next employer wouldn't be able to wait for another month, which means I would lose the job offer, I would then have to leave
    – Mansuro
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:25
  • 3
    @Mansuro Your location (i.e. country or state if in the US) is relevant because it determines whether you can be fired for announcing that you're job searching (US), whether you can buy out your notice period (India) and whether you're likely to have a contract among other things. As an example, James answered that you shouldn't, which is true for the US but too black-and-white for most of Europe.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 15:28

4 Answers 4


My understanding here is that you are looking for a job, getting interviews, and waiting for a formal offer.

You want to be able to jump ship as fast as possible, and for that you want to remain available and avoid getting into new projects/tasks that would prevent you from asking for a shorter notice period.

  • Your next employer is aware of the 3-month notice. They also know that you can ask to shorten it. They also know that your current employer does not have to accept a shorter notice.
  • They will ask you to shorten your notice, and possibly make it part of the negociation.
  • Your current employer will want you to complete your tasks but they won't want you to stay if you have nothing else to do and/or are not motivated.

When you are given new tasks, make sure to prepare your exit: - Document what you are doing (more than usual) - Work with other people whenever possible - Delegate if you can - Cut tasks in smaller chunks that you will be able to complete rapidly, so you can pass the next chunks to someone else more easily - All this will help you evaluate how much time you need to pass you work to next person/reach a point in your work where it makes sense to stop

From experience, it is a negociation between

  • you and your future employer to get as much slack as possible regarding the starting date. You can mention that you want to take some time of, that you want to finish your project wherever you are now, that your current employer won't let you go right away
  • you and your current employer. Show good will, demonstrate when you will be able to complete your tasks/pass the relay to someone else, and agree on a middle ground. They'll want you to stay as long as possible with motivation, not chain you to your desk. Paying you 3 month for half-assed work vs 6 weeks of proper transition.

Also your manager can be a good person. If you have a good relation with them, you can be direct: "I have this cool opportunity, but they need me to start in 6 weeks. I'd appreciate it if you could agree to shorten the notice period."

But you can't mention anything to your current employer until you either have a firm offer, or have decided when you want to leave no matter what (in which case, ponder what you'll do if you are out of a job at this point. Make sure you have a backup plan. Hand you resignation 3 month before). If you do, you are stuck to either accept whatever offer you finally get (if any at all), or go unemployed for a period of time. Just because interviews went well, don't assume you'll get an offer. Just because they verbally agreed to employ you doesn't mean it is true, nor that it will be next month.

The only case where you'll want to indicate that you are either looking for another job or responding to offers is when you want to give a last chance to your manager to change something (project, team, career orientation...) and have already discussed the discomfort of your current situation. It is a tool to handle with care, as it is the last one. Your manager can (depending on the laws in your country) let you go, or stop giving you project if you tell them that.

So, in short:

  • Get a starting date as far as possible
  • When you have a signed offer, resign
  • Negociate the end date of your current contract
  • Meanwhile, when given new tasks, prepare your exit
  • 1
    "The only case where you'll want to indicate that you are either looking for another job or responding to offers is when you want to give a last chance to your manager to change something..." This is reasonable but I'd just like to add a comment on the risk. In a romantic relationship when you "evoke" the end (in a threat, for example) it plants that idea in the other person's head. Life without you is now imagined as a possibility and your position is less secure. I imagine the same dynamic applies here. Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 8:24


Until you have an offer letter from a new employer in your hand, do not tell your boss/colleagues/company that you are looking for another job

If you have a lot of tasks assigned to you when you hand your notice in, you will still have the same amount of notice period, regardless. Part of the responsibility for handing out all these tasks is with your manager to manage handover/cover/failover - what if you were hit by a bus tomorrow? Making you the single point of failure does not always mean it is up to YOU! to manage cover etc


No. You should say nothing until you have actually found and accepted a new job. If you tell your boss you are leaving, you may find yourself unemployed before you have a new gig lined up.

Also, what if circumstances change and you need to abort your job search? If your boss is already searching (or perhaps even found) your replacement, you may be out of a job. At the very least, you'll look foolish and/or unreliable.

Besides, if your search ends up taking a long time, you'll have the opportunity to get some 'lead' experience on your resume.

  • Continue to do your existing job really well.
  • Look for work.
  • Get a formal written offer of employment from a company.
  • Inform your current employer that you've received a job offer from another company.

At that stage, several things can happen. Your current employer might say something like:

Ah that's a shame. You were mega-great but I'm not going to hold you back in your career. Good luck. I always knew this day would come but now that it has... If you'd excuse me, I'd like to be alone for a moment.

Or he/she might say:

What are they offering you? We'll double it!

Or something else entirely.

However, even if you fail to negotiate anything from your current employer, you still have the new job to go to. It's all good for you.

Now compare this to the alternative i.e. informing your boss now that you're looking for work:

  • Your responsibilities will likely be reduced and you will not be assigned new work.
  • Your confidence may decrease as a result and your work might suffer.
  • This will impact your ability to do well in interviews and get hired by another company.
  • You may even lose your job before you find another one.

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