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I've got my first annual review coming up at my current company. It's a startup, and their processes are very informal. It was announced a while ago that the company office is going to be moving to a location that's going to make my commute much more difficult, so mainly for that reason, I'm planning to start looking for another job, which I plan to do in earnest in a couple of months after I complete a major project.

I'm wondering how to approach my annual review in light of this. I am planning on doing the usual work of inventorying past accomplishments and thinking about goals for the future. But I'm unsure about what to ask for. I don't want to telegraph that I'm thinking of looking for fear of that sabotaging my future at this company for however long I end up staying, though the fact that I'll be looking probably wouldn't surprise my boss, given the circumstances. I generally have good rapport with my boss and receive mostly positive feedback from him, and I have made clear improvements based on the constructive feedback I have gotten.

Ideally, I'd like something to help me for the job search, and the thing that comes to mind for that is a title promotion (which tends to happen at other folks' annual reviews). I'm less interested in any significant raise aside from cost of living adjustment. I also have some insight into my department's budget, and I know that we would like to hire for another role that is badly needed, but we don't currently have room for that in the budget since we made a few key hires this year.

If I ask for a title promotion but not a significant raise, is that going to be showing my hand? Or how else should I approach what I'm asking for in this annual review?

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Treat your annual review exactly as you would if you were not planning to leave.

You don't really know what the future will hold. Your commute may be more tolerable than you think once you do it for a while. You may take far longer to find your next job than you suspect. Your company may have other opportunities come your way that makes you change your mind about leaving.

Just get the annual review behind you, and continue on.

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    I'd do this. While you might be planning on looking for a job a "couple of months" down the line; - you'd never know how soon after that you can get one that you like better than your current one. It can easily take a while. So better to treat all other aspects of your current job as normal until you actually have an offer on hand. – Allan S. Hansen Jul 12 '17 at 10:03
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I would not look for the promotion if you are definitely planning to leave soon.

If I am a hiring manager, and I see the promotion in your CV just a couple of weeks/months ago I am going to:

  • Wonder why did you decided to leave just after being promoted.

  • Check how difficult was to get that promotion, and if it makes sense according to your career progression.

In other words, a new title might not benefit your job search as much as you think (unless you can definitely proof that you deserve it).

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    Huh? If the guy deserves a promotion, he should get the promotion. If you're a hiring manager you should do better than "wondering", you should be asking. – gnasher729 Jul 12 '17 at 12:37
  • And, if the hiring manager asks (not everyone does), what is he supposed to answer? That he is leaving because of a long commute, but incidentally that only became a problem after the promotion? A title promotion (as the OP is describing it) is just a new "label", is not going to really add more value that what he already can offer (experience, skills... ). And, if he's unlucky, it might also look as if he was kicked out just after getting the new role... – carrdelling Jul 12 '17 at 12:44
  • @carrdelling I don't think it is likely someone would get fired soon after a promotion, because usually you are promoted after showing for an extended period of time that you have the skills needed in the new position. If he was fired after just a month or two, it would be more on the company than him. Ie. a failure in evaluation. – Juha Untinen Aug 28 '17 at 12:31
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I'd say it would be amiss of you to ask for a promotion knowing full well you're going to leave in a few months. If you're offered one without prompting for it though that's a different matter, and I'd be inclined to accept it no matter what your future plans (if you're happy with the role that is).

Your review might be a good time to explore some other options given your current position though. For example - are there any options to work some of the week from home? Is there anything else that could change that would mean you'd be happy to remain in your current job?

By asking these questions you don't need to show your hand in respect to your thoughts about leaving - but you want to ensure you've covered all bases.

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