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If You Are A Boss....

Huntsman

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If you have direct reports, I will especially appreciate your feelings in this.

Say you are a manager, with several direct reports, one of whom has worked for you since college -- young, eager, ambitious, but also competent, professional and respected by nearly everyone he's interacted with in the organization -- from his peers to your manager, the divisional VP and even the CEO. A few times a year he uses a very specialized skillset to perform an essential function the company really can't do without, all other times he's involved with various initiatives and brings a broader application of that skillset to bear on most of the more unusual and complex problems. You and this report have a great rapport, mutual respect, and a level of friendship that occasionally extends beyond the office (i.e. you have invited him out for drinks once or twice). He works to make you look good, you work to make sure he has opportunities to grow and that he knows his contributions are valued (tangibly and intangibly).

Unbeknownst to you this report has recently considered leaving his position to go back to school fulltime for three years in a significant change of career direction -- one that will build upon his experience to some degree, but one that will likely be far more lucrative (40-100% increase in pay) immediately upon graduation (excepting only the lost wages and an unknown amount of loan debt). Such a move would be for the Fall semester. This report is 65% sure of leaving at this point, and has numerous applications pending. He'll be 100% sure when the applications and aid packages come back in, perhaps 10-12 wks out yet -- he's sure of being accepted somewhere as he is in a highly competitive position, he's just not sure if the offers will be good enough to cover his risk in abandoning his current direction.

Question: Would you, the manager, prefer to know immediately that you might be losing an important staff member even though the matter is not settled, or would you prefer to be unaware until you could be given clear direction by your report as to his intention, rather than with some uncertainty? How would you feel if you knew of the possibility early, but your report didn't actually leave?

~ H
 

dfagdfsh

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are you afraid of being fired if you say that you might be leaving?
 

Huntsman

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Originally Posted by Teger
are you afraid of being fired if you say that you might be leaving?
No really, no. A number of people will be disappointed though.
 

dfagdfsh

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then be honest and up front. explain the situation. I always think that being direct and open about things like this is the best. it might be a little iffy since you've already applied (and honestly you should've said something about this before you sent your applications in a few months ago), but you shouldn't wait until you get accepted to say 'peace out, bro'.

this way leaves a transition period.
 

dfagdfsh

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also I find it weird that you wrote your post in 3rd person and spent like 300 words explaining how great you are at your job
 

dopey

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I would expect a wise report would let me know as soon as his departure was a certainty but not create uncertainty for both of us by telling me he might be leaving when it wasn't definite that he was. There would be no point in giving m early warning unless I would use that time to start finding a replacement, which I would have to follow through on even if the report then wanted to stay on.
 

unjung

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Weird post. Don't tell them until you're sure. You're disposable.
 

j

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Wait until you've made the decision. If you tell them now and decide against leaving, you'll already be considered half out the door and long-term unreliable. If, instead, you can say (when sure) "I have an opportunity that I can't pass up and I'll be leaving in two months, so let's transition me out" or whatever, you leave with a better legacy and a chance of coming back. In the chance you tell them now and do leave, you haven't improved much over telling them in a while when you are sure.

JMO.
 

West24

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i had no idea you were talking about yourself.....
uhoh.gif
i wonder if everyone thinks of you as highly as you do yourself...
 

DocHolliday

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Originally Posted by unjung
Weird post. Don't tell them until you're sure. You're disposable.

+1. These days, there are plenty of people who thought they were essential standing in the unemployment line. But it's always true. The day after they hand you the gold watch, business goes on.
 

Viktri

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Originally Posted by dopey
I would expect a wise report would let me know as soon as his departure was a certainty but not create uncertainty for both of us by telling me he might be leaving when it wasn't definite that he was. There would be no point in giving m early warning unless I would use that time to start finding a replacement, which I would have to follow through on even if the report then wanted to stay on.

1+
 

redcaimen

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If I read you correctly you will still be providing them with 3 months notice if you eventually decide to jump ship. That is a reasonable heads up. Make sure you give them enough time to consider offering you a substantial pay increase in order to keep you.
 

Huntsman

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Originally Posted by Teger
then be honest and up front. explain the situation. I always think that being direct and open about things like this is the best. it might be a little iffy since you've already applied (and honestly you should've said something about this before you sent your applications in a few months ago), but you shouldn't wait until you get accepted to say 'peace out, bro'. this way leaves a transition period.
Well, applications went out about ten minutes before my post. I had to pull this together in a very great hurry.
Originally Posted by Teger
also I find it weird that you wrote your post in 3rd person and spent like 300 words explaining how great you are at your job
Originally Posted by West24
i had no idea you were talking about yourself.....
uhoh.gif
i wonder if everyone thinks of you as highly as you do yourself...

Originally Posted by unjung
Weird post. Don't tell them until you're sure. You're disposable.
Man you guys are harsh. Self-aggrandizement is not my metier -- this is not a 'should I buy the Bugatti or the Pagani' type thread -- I just wanted to indicate that I can't be easily or quickly replaced (the community of people who do what I do is pretty small, no more than a few hundred in the U.S.), and that the results of my work are used day-to-day by pretty much every one in the business unit. The point of which is just to ensure that this info was there if it would skew some responses toward erring on the side of earlier disclosure. Sometimes it just doesn't seem to me that a 'business' aspect is held rigidly away from the 'personal' aspect. My boss has been great to me and I want to be able to cause him the least grief possible. As for third person, well, it just seemed a good way of explaining the situation from as double-blind a perspective as possible. No significance other than that.
Originally Posted by dopey
I would expect a wise report would let me know as soon as his departure was a certainty but not create uncertainty for both of us by telling me he might be leaving when it wasn't definite that he was. There would be no point in giving m early warning unless I would use that time to start finding a replacement, which I would have to follow through on even if the report then wanted to stay on.
Originally Posted by j
Wait until you've made the decision. If you tell them now and decide against leaving, you'll already be considered half out the door and long-term unreliable. If, instead, you can say (when sure) "I have an opportunity that I can't pass up and I'll be leaving in two months, so let's transition me out" or whatever, you leave with a better legacy and a chance of coming back. In the chance you tell them now and do leave, you haven't improved much over telling them in a while when you are sure. JMO.
Originally Posted by redcaimen
If I read you correctly you will still be providing them with 3 months notice if you eventually decide to jump ship. That is a reasonable heads up. Make sure you give them enough time to consider offering you a substantial pay increase in order to keep you.
Thanks guys, these are great. ~ H
 

gdl203

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Originally Posted by dopey
I would expect a wise report would let me know as soon as his departure was a certainty but not create uncertainty for both of us by telling me he might be leaving when it wasn't definite that he was. There would be no point in giving m early warning unless I would use that time to start finding a replacement, which I would have to follow through on even if the report then wanted to stay on.

a big +1. Don't mention anything until you have made a decision. Only caveat is if you think that your decision may change if you talk to your boss (e.g. salary increase a good enough incentive to stay). In that case, talk to your boss with all cards in hand and see how much he would like to retain you.
 

bigbris1

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Tell your boss exactly what you wrote here except begin with, "I have this friend..."
 

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