Any tips around informing your manager(s) about your decision to move on?

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Senior Software Engineer [SDE 3] at Amazon10 months ago

I'm about to be officially promoted to Senior Engineer in a couple of days. At the same time, I've also been been presented with an opportunity to move to a different organization in Amazon that's doing some rather exciting work. This is an opportunity I'm likely to accept.

I deeply value my current manager's support, because he was critical in helping me secure my promotion despite some very tricky circumstances. I'm aware that promotions are just meant to recognize past work, but leaving virtually immediately after a promotion still feels rather unpleasant. Leaving now will also have a bigger impact on my team since we've shrunk quite a bit recently.

What are some tips for structuring and framing the inevitable conversations I will be having with my manager(s)?

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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    10 months ago

    First I recommend my series on Effective Communication if you haven't watched it already. A lot of the advice shared there like the tactics around body language will be relevant for these conversations.

    It seems like you have a good relationship with your manager (which I imagine is effectively a requirement to have them push for your SDE 3 promo). Given this, I think it's best to just be honest, kind, and appreciative:

    • Have an offboarding plan for yourself - You mentioned that your absence will affect the team. If you really want to honor your manager, do your best to not leave them in the cold. Create a list of concrete action items to transfer your roles and system knowledge to other members of the team. A true senior engineer should always be striving to make themselves replaceable anyways. Tactically, this is the best thing you can do to make this interaction better: Actions speak 100x louder than words.
    • Give deep thanks for your manager's contribution - Be thorough and heartfelt. I also talked about this in my series on Effective Communication - Here's the specific video for it.
    • Explain how this other team supports your career goals - Everyone switches teams eventually, and managers at companies like FAANG will be very familiar with that. Let them know that you had a good time on the current team, but to explore more in your career, it's time for you to move on. If you have a good relationship with your manager, they should be supportive of your long-term career goals.
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    Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    10 months ago

    I view any career change on a spectrum

    • How much are you leaving your old role?
    • How much are you going toward your new role?

    Express to your manager that this change is more about the latter -- the new team is able to uniquely offer an opportunity for you.

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