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I was offered a position at a firm I interviewed at recently. HR considered me starting at the beginning of December (a little more than two weeks from now), but decided instead that I should start in January.

Their reasons for doing so are quite believable (holidays coming up, and they're moving offices in that time).

I don't see much downside. I'm not in that much of a hurry to leave my old job. And both the nature of the position and the compensation package are both attractive.

Is there anything I need to be aware of with a relatively late start date? The only things I can think of are

  1. Don't give notice at my old firm now; wait until two weeks prior to the start date
  2. Occasionally follow up with HR at the new firm to make sure there are no snags (maybe every two weeks).
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    If the new company's offer is reliable and if it's not a financial hardship, one idea to consider is to give notice early and enjoy a few weeks of (unpaid) leave. It's a nice way to mentally reset and have a clean break between positions. – Lilienthal Nov 15 '15 at 21:45
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Remember that a job / new job is a long-term engagement. If there is a good fit between your interests and what the company has to offer then delaying one month doesn't sound crazy. Moving offices is a process that can hurt the company for a couple of months so one month delay sounds reasonable. I recommend checking in with the company's management prior to giving notice at your current job. This way everyone is aligned.

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Make sure your offer is in writing

Given that your start date is quite a while away first be sure to have it formalized in writing so you have some assurance around it.

... and then potentially consider giving extra notice period

A few years ago I made quite a relevant post titled Should I give additional notice period? I believe the answers there will help you quite a lot.

Your finish date is quite a while away so even if you give early notice try to make sure that you don't resign too early in case your current company doesn't decide to keep you on beyond the typically notice period. Only resign early if you can handle that potential outcome!

Depending on the company that you're at now you might be able to leave quite gracefully if you openly let your manager know the situation and your expected finish date. You're giving them extra time to hire somebody (at a really tough time of year to do so) as well as going to be present for training should they decide to have some overlap between you both.

Obviously there will be situations where this is a bad idea and it's important to first think on how you expect them to react. However, if you can, I think giving the additional notice period would help to keep a strong relationship with your old employer.

  • @Codingo: I don't disagree with the sentiment, and while I get along with the people who manage me, things are dysfunctional enough that it's probably best if I keep the notice period short. While I wish my manager and team lead the best, they've got problems that they're unable/unwilling to fix. I do think they'll have trouble finding someone for my position, but it will be a problem regardless of the holiday or notice period. As such, IMHO it's best for me to look out for my own interest, which means avoiding the risk of being terminated even earlier by giving early notice. – user1071847 Nov 16 '15 at 18:05
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    @Kilisi: Yes. I read many threads here and came away convinced that an offer isn't an offer until it's in writing. – user1071847 Nov 16 '15 at 18:05
  • Please remember that in many companies you cannot take vacation after you give notice, so if you were planning to use up your vacation time in December, I would consider using as much as possible before you give notice. – HLGEM Nov 16 '15 at 18:58
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The only other downside I can think of is that is a non-articulated issue that might cause the job offer to be rescinded. Waiting to give your notice at your current position is a great idea. Also keep an eye on business news to see if there's market factors that might lead to the offer being revoked.

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    I agree with that, though my impression is that due to the at-will nature of these contracts, the extra protection of having started working is there but is at most marginal. Though I do plan on keeping the notice period no longer than two weeks, for the reason you articulated. – user1071847 Nov 16 '15 at 18:08

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