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I recently resigned from my job to start a new job. However I was asked to delay my last date because we are short of people and I was responsible for number of projects. I agreed to continue for couple of more weeks, since I was still waiting on some papers. Most of the formalities related to my work transfer has been completed by now, including exit interview with HR. I still have a week or so before I leave.

Problem is for my next job I still need to get some paperwork done. I had estimated it would be done by my exit date but there have been unseen delays. So right now I will be unemployed for a month or two in between switching jobs. I do not have any issues with it, but would prefer to continue working, if possible.

Is it okay to ask my current employer to postpone my exit date? I have already trained my replacements, so they might have to find something temporary for me. Not sure if it matters, but this is a company with ~30 employees.

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    Never hurts to ask. All they can say is no. – Jane S Mar 4 '16 at 2:50
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    If said paperwork is required for your new job (security clearance or the like) I wouldn't accept a delayed start date just because it isn't finished yet. Is that what you're facing? – Lilienthal Mar 4 '16 at 9:04
  • @Lilienthal: While I agree with you in principle, some jobs make you wait until all the i's are dotted and t's crossed before they'll take you onboard. – GreenMatt Mar 4 '16 at 16:49
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    @GreenMatt True, but those companies should be up-front about the possibility for delays and ideally offer an extra signing bonus if they are at fault for unexpected delays. But I mainly wanted an update from the OP to get more details in order to answer something more than "Yes it's reasonable to ask." – Lilienthal Mar 4 '16 at 16:58
  • I agree asking would be best thing to do, but my manager is on month long break. Him being around would have made things smoother. I need to approach the next higher up, who I do not have much interaction with. The paperwork is govt process and all parties were aware that there can be delays, just not as much as this time. I do not think the new company will agree to sign up bonuses and such, based on the feedback of my contacts. – user70926 Mar 4 '16 at 23:51
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It doesn't hurt to ask. If you're useful and the budget is there, it's a simple decision.

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Is it okay to ask my current employer to postpone my exit date?

Of course it's okay.

First, they might be very happy to have a bit more of your time, particularly if you have been very helpful and professional during your notice period.

Second, even if they say "No", you have lost nothing.

It's unfortunate that your estimate was off by so much ("a month or two"), but it shouldn't hurt to ask.

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I think you should go other way. Ask your next employer if they can give you early joining date. They might not refuse it.

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