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How to talk to my manager about switching companies?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer at Taro Community3 months ago

I joined company A in October (prior to which I did a contract job at company C for 1 month) but I already had an offer from company B which was delayed and joining was pushed to Dec. Now, I need to inform my manager at company A that I have to leave the company. It breaks my heart because all we have been doing so far is kind of training and stuff and no active work however, I do not like the kind of work I would be doing here as it is more like a Salesforce developer/ tester with the development outsourced and they are building a team to bring development inhouse. So even though the company is quite stable and has good benefits I have decided to leave it for a better paying role that I feel will satiate my career aspirations. Here are a few questions I am seeking answers for:

  1. The company has a Winter break starting Dec 22 and my manager goes on leave from 20, when should I break this news to him? (In my last company I informed my employer with a two week notice and I was given the last date to be just a week later. I am a foreign student in USA who has just started working and utilized almost half the number of unemployment days I have for this year to be precise 2 July, 2024)
  2. How should I tell him about this decision without burning the bridges. Honestly, I have this feeling that I am kind of cheating my employer so I am finding it difficult to justify it in front of my manager.

Thanks in advance!

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Discussion

(5 comments)
  • 2
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    3 months ago

    When it comes to telling a manager you're leaving, here's the process to follow:

    • If you like your manager: Give them as early a heads up as possible, and be very respectful/appreciative of what they're done for you. My manager at Robinhood was one of the best I've ever had, so I told her almost 2 months ahead of time that I was leaving to start my own company. When I trust someone, I want to be transparent with them, and I wanted to give her the time to find a backfill for me (and backfilling a tech lead is very hard).
    • If you don't like your manager: Do the bare minimum. Ideally, give 2 weeks notice, but even 1 week is okay. If you don't like them, they probably weren't a good/nice manager to you and didn't add much value to your life. You don't owe them anything. US is employment at will.

    All that being said, it seems like company A hasn't done that much for you (you've spent 2 months just spinning your wheels it seems), so don't worry about this too much and lean more towards that 2nd scenario from above.

    The company has a Winter break starting Dec 22 and my manager goes on leave from 20, when should I break this news to him?

    Leaving your manager on a sour note before he goes on break seems mean, so I would tell him a good amount earlier than 12/20. Honestly, maybe tell him now? I can't find an exact date for your start at Company B, so it's tricky for me to work backwards.

    How should I tell him about this decision without burning the bridges.

    You can't. If you're leaving a job after just 2 months, it's pretty much impossible to not burn that bridge. It takes a lot of resources to hire an engineer, so if they stay for less than a quarter, that's a massive loss. Phrase things as delicately as you can, hope for the best, and leave.

    Here's a great resource to help with that: "How can I gracefully leave my job?"

    Best of luck with your new job!

  • 0
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    Mid-Level Software Engineer [OP]
    Taro Community
    3 months ago

    Just to answer your question about the start date, my next employment starts from Dec 26

  • 1
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    3 months ago

    It's an unfortunate situation, and clearly the company lost money on you: they spent time + money training you, and you haven't had a chance to be productive. Given that you're leaving abruptly, they won't be pleased.

    However, you don't need to be so concerned about the company. If you found a better opportunity (more aligned with your interests, more pay, etc), you should take it. Employment in the US is at-will, and employee churn is expected as "the cost of doing business", especially in larger companies.

    I'd frame as "I found a compelling opportunity that I have to pursue, but I loved getting to know you".

    I'd tell your manager before they go on leave so they don't feel completely blind-sided. The only reason not to is if you think the company may terminate you immediately and it could put your immigration status at risk somehow.

  • 2
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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    3 months ago

    Just to answer your question about the start date, my next employment starts from Dec 26

    You start right after Christmas? 😯

    Anyways, you should tell them this week then. Give them a week to process it before they go on leave. 12/26 isn't that far away, especially with the holidays (December is a month that just flies by work-wise).

  • 4
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    Founder of Expanded Skills • Former Head of Engineering
    3 months ago

    I find that the best managers won't take this personally if you give them a heads-up and do what's in your power to do a solid transition. The best ones I've had all cheered me on in my next step, and oftentimes, your paths will cross again, given it's a small world in tech.

    At the enterprise level, it's very unlikely that any individual will take this personally, but a policy will likely put you on the "do not hire again" list due to the short tenure.

    However, individual relationships are far more important than re-hireability at a particular company. It will be the individuals who will consider presenting you with opportunities down the road when they move to a new company (I've had this happen a couple of times in the past 5 years).

    Tactically speaking, do all the standard stuff to facilitate a good transition:

    • Document your knowledge and share it with the relevant people
    • Offer to run a training to help others internalize it better
    • Make sure everything that you're responsible for has a new owner
    • Work closely with your manager to manage comms to stakeholders who depend on you
    • Make sufficient time for 1-1s with people to chat on a more personal basis (even if it's just 5-10 mins)

    Good luck in your next role and try to unwind a bit during the Holidays!