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I've recently received a job offer (yesterday and verbally accepted and planning on sending the signed offer to them today). However, they are asking me to start as early as the 19th (today is the 12th). I work in a small team at my current employer and 1 week won't be ample time to train my replacement and for knowledge transfer. My current office is asking me to stay until at least the 23rd. What would be the best way to reply to the new company that I'd prefer to honor the 2 weeks my current company is requesting of me?

  • This needs context - what country (and state if US) are you in? – Philip Kendall Dec 12 '16 at 23:01
  • Sorry, to clarify I am working in Los Angeles. The new company I would be working for is a young startup – sam Dec 12 '16 at 23:03
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    A young startup pressuring you to start immediately usually means you're going to have a bad time when you get there; after the wine and dine is over. They already have a deadline for something. Possibly the something you vaguely talked about at the interview. – Shawn Dec 15 '16 at 17:26
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What would be the best way to reply to the new company that I'd prefer to honor the 2 weeks my current company is requesting of me?

Something like this:

"I understand that you'd like me to start as soon as possible and I would too. However I feel that I'm professionally bound to honor the two week notice period that my current company is requesting and leave them in as good shape as possible. I'm sure you'll agree that this is only fair."

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    I was in the same situation and said pretty-much the same thing several years ago. I would perhaps take out the "I'm sure you'll agree that this is only fair" part and say something to the effect of "I try hard to honor my commitments and it's important to me that I leave my current employer in a good state when I leave." If they're smart, they'll get that you're a professional and will want the same courtesy. – GuiDoody Dec 13 '16 at 18:28
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This is a professional \ ethical concern. No realistic employer should expect you to leave your current employer prior to two weeks notice.

Use this:

Unfortunately I must work my two weeks notice. My current employer has always been good to me and I wish to return the favor. Also, I will need them as a positive reference in the future ( most likely ). If I leave earlier, I may loose the ability to call on them in the future as a positive reference.

Or this:

I feel morally obligated to work my two weeks notice. My current employer has always been good to me. When folks leave your company, I am sure you expect the same courtesy.

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    don't point out the (valid) reference aspect; they may think you're already searching for a new job. – kc m Dec 15 '16 at 17:19
  • @kcm Good point, added another option to my answer. – Mister Positive Dec 15 '16 at 17:21
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I had a similar situation where the new company wanted me to start in a week.

I talked to my manager and let her know about it. She offered to try and match but I was getting too much more for them to match (and even if they did it wouldn't be as stable).

I mentioned that they wanted me to start quickly and I offered to work part time nights and weekends for a few weeks to help them transition my job responsibilities to other employees.

I wasn't sure what she would say because my old manager had recently left and I only talked to her a couple of times (and her office was 3000 miles away). She agreed that that would work best for them.

I started with the new company about a week later and I ended up working about 10 hours a week for a couple of months for the old company.

FWIW - the old company is (still somehow) in the upper half (< 250) of the Fortune 500 (i.e. not a fly-by-night op).

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"I'd love to start early with you but my current employer really needs two weeks' notice from me and as a responsible professional, I just can't leave them in the lurch. Especially since they've always been great to me - I hope you understand. See you on the 23rd.

I am not doing anything but knowledge transfer and training my replacement for my current employer until the 22nd. In the meantime, if I can get anything done for you after hours, let me know.

Again, see you on the 23rd and sorry for the inconvenience I am causing you."

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Is this two weeks a contractural obligation or simply a request.

If it's a obligation - tell the new company that you have to stay (technically if you left before the end of the notice period you could be taken to court). If the other company want you to burn bridges, I would seriously question working for a company like that.

If it's a request, then why would you entertain staying somewhere longer even though you have accepted a job elsewhere? The whole point of notice periods in contracts is to give the company time to get a replacement or handle handover.

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