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Details: I'm going to be moving to Latin America to do un-paid volunteer work. I already have my plane ticket purchased for the date I'm moving. I'd like to continue working all the way up until the day before my flight. I'm planning to spend at least 2-3 years away from the US.

I've been in my current job for 7+ years and it's the only job I've had since I graduated college. I feel like I have an excellent relationship with my boss & that he highly values me. The two biggest projects that I manage are both relatively niche areas which are not very common. Other projects are just getting started and I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll be able to have them done before my departure in about 9 weeks.

I would hope to be able to return to this company should I return to the US in the future and be in need of work. For that reason I want to leave on a positive note. I'm also getting worried about letting something slip relating to my departure. I've known for 6+ months now that I will be leaving, but only last month did I buy the plane ticket that locks me into a date.

I would like to give as much notice as is prudent out of respect for my manager & how well he has treated me over the last 7+ years. However, I don't trust our HR department & worry that by giving more notice than necessary I could jeopardize my desired timing for my last day. I feel like my manager would really appreciate having as much notice as possible to facilitate a smooth transition.

There are also major transitions in my personal life that will become known at work through normal conversation that have already happened,or will soon happen, (moving out of my apartment, selling my car, etc) where I'm not a fan of "lying" to my manager & coworkers to keep them in the dark. So far I've had to basically "lie" in answer to normal everyday conversations to not give away my plans. I am not comfortable doing that.

I am happy to continue to help the company remotely after I move if needed to ensure a smooth transition for them.

Questions: What would be a reasonable amount of notice to give? I'm thinking that 2 months is too much, although I'd like to give notice soon just so that I don't have to hide my plans anymore. Would 1 month be more appropriate?

Based on other comments I've read I feel like while I can trust my manager to look out for me, I shouldn't trust HR. HR is my concern. I don't want to cost myself thousands of dollars in income by being pushed out early by HR. I know that HR has pushed employees out immediately when they've been leaving to go work for a competitor. I also know that other employees have given 2+ months notice about retirement. While I'm not retiring, I am leaving the country & am not going to work for a competitor, so I feel my resignation is more similar to a retirement than a normal resignantion to pursue another job.

Bottom line: I feel like if I were in my manager's position I would really want more notice of my plans to leave, but I'm concerned that HR might treat me poorly if I give more than 2 weeks notice.

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I would say that if you know that HR has pushed people out instead of serving their full notice in the past, then I would give two weeks notice or the amount of time you feel you can afford to lose if they release you immediately (if you think you can handle a month without income, then give that amount of time). You first of all have to protect your own income.

It is unlikely that they would hire your replacement and pay two of you to do the same job simultaneously, so giving a long notice may not work out for the team (and certainly doesn't if HR chooses to terminate immediately on notice).

What might be better all around for the team is to make sure that you have done a good job of documenting what you do and having everything ready for a successor to take over on the day you give notice. Then with your resignation, hand over a document with the things your successor will need to know and a plan for knowledge transfer to someone currently on board so that the work will get covered until your replacement is hired.

You say you manage projects, so it is incumbent on you to start to delegate more to your juniors. This can be done as part of your normal Project Management or as a specific effort to provide professional development to them.

It might be a good thing if you can suggest to your boss that the company do more cross-training allowing you to start to train someone surreptitiously to take over for you without having to give notice or tell them that you are leaving.

Some of those things you need to do to get ready to move, don't do until you are in your notice period. That way you don't have to answer questions about why you are selling your car.

  • We're a 2 person department (my boss & myself), so there isn't anyone for me to train other than my boss... – cfd6608f Jun 13 '17 at 15:11
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What would be a reasonable amount of notice to give? I'm thinking that 2 months is too much, although I'd like to give notice soon just so that I don't have to hide my plans anymore. Would 1 month be more appropriate?

You are in the best position to judge how much notice you can safely give and still achieve your objective of working right up until you leave.

You should base your decision on your relationship with your manager. Do you think he would have your back and try as hard as possible to accommodate your wishes? Do you think he has the leverage to do so within your company?

I've worked with folks who had similar plans. And because I had a good relationship with them and felt that they were trying to do right by the company, I was able to help make it happen. And I've worked for bosses who did the same for others.

If you don't feel safe, then you might be forced to give only the minimum notice required and expected in your locale. When you give the notice to your manager, you could even indicate that you wished you could have given more, but didn't feel that it would be "safe" with HR to do so.

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone outside your company can give you good advice as to the actual safe notice period. We simply don't have enough insight into your company's culture, your HR's practices, and your relationship with your boss.

  • Thanks, Joe. I do believe my boss would try hard to accommodate my wishes, but I'm not sure if he'd have any power or leverage to do anything. HR is what worries me. I don't trust our HR staff. I don't necessarily have hard evidence to indicate that I shouldn't, but it's just a gut feeling. It goes back to all the stereotypes that there are about HR. – cfd6608f Jun 6 '17 at 18:24

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