I feel like I've outgrown my current job and want to make a diagonal move into a different sector of my industry. I'm actively looking for jobs and interviewing.

I'm currently a single-point failure on a major project (through no fault of my own) and I both like and respect the project manager. At what point should I disclose to them that I am actively interviewing and likely to leave the company in a short timeframe? This person has no ability to influence my stay/go decision by making a counter-offer, but I don't want to burn any bridges.

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    Do NOT tell them today. Only tell them when you have a signed offer for a new job as in @DanPinchelman's answer. – xxbbcc Nov 2 '16 at 22:15
  • What exactly is your notice period? You will get different answers depending on whether it's at-will employment with 2 weeks customary notice or a contract where you have 6 months notice period. – nvoigt Nov 3 '16 at 6:04
  • I think this is very country and contract dependent. – Erik Nov 3 '16 at 9:43

You inform your coworkers and management only when you have a signed written offer from your new company (complete with start date) and not one minute sooner.

To do otherwise is to risk losing your current job without having another one.

Giving your project manager a heads-up is what the (typically two week in the US) notice period is for.

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    Yep, not the OP's fault or responsibility that he is a single point of failure. – Kilisi Nov 2 '16 at 18:54
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    However, it might be good as you are looking to start making sure that everything is organized so that someone else could pick it up easily. You should be doing that anyway as you never know when you might have to go out on sick leave for a month or in some other way be unavailable. – HLGEM Nov 2 '16 at 19:14

Instead of saying that you are planning to leave, what if you talk to your manager indicating that you want to mentor somebody in the project you are referring to so that you are not a single point of failure? Assuming you get a job in the next 'n' months, this person already has the necessary idea and in the last 2 weeks it could make your job and the next responsible person's job easier! You can also suggest to mentor more than one person to be on the safer side.

Personally, I don't think this qualifies as misleading your Project Manager, since its not like you are saying that you will take care of this project forever!


At my previous job, I had an excellent relationship with my supervisor, and I let her know I was looking even before I interviewed for my current job. It gave the team a very comfortable time frame to transition my duties, one of the leads thanked me specifically for such advance notice, and I left the company on great terms.

I know that not all teams have that culture, but in general, give as much advance notice as you reasonably can, even if you don't necessarily have a signed offer in hand. Note that you don't need to tell your teammates at the same time as management.

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    And at another place, someone who thought they had an excellent relationship with their supervisor gave them a very comfortable time frame to transition their duties and found themselves getting fired and marched off the premises. – gnasher729 Nov 3 '16 at 8:43
  • @gnasher729 Which is why I said, "I know that not all teams have that culture, but in general, give as much advance notice as you reasonably can." What is reasonable for me might not be reasonable for someone else. – Pedro Nov 3 '16 at 15:43

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