The mechanics of quitting

I currently work for a very small family office. Have an offer to join a bank. The offer letter includes contingencies about background checks, etc, and a start date of September 1st. I need to move 1,000 miles away before that time.

1) Should I put in two weeks notice now and take an unpaid vacation with the remaining time before starting on 9/1?
2) Should I wait to quit until the background check clears, or would that just be being paranoid?
3) If "two weeks notice" becomes "ten days notice" does my employer have grounds for getting upset with me?
4) Aside from all personal records, what should I have compiled, taken or done before dropping the bomb?
5) Any other tips on protecting your interests / preserving relationships / quitting your job well?

Comments (22)

Aug 4, 2015 - 9:03am

1) No, that will probably only make things worse.
2) No, that's just being a dick
3) Yes
4) Not entirely sure on what you have so this is at your discretion
5) Is your boss that unapproachable? If so disregard the next few sentences and just tread lightly. If they are approachable, just tell them you've received a really good offer at XYZ and thank them for everything they've done to help you thusfar. Ensure them that your performance will not dip in the meantime and if they need help finding a replacement you'll be more than happy to help find them one (dont actually promise to find one in case you dont).

Also do you have any coworkers/people you can talk to who know your boss well enough to help you out? This would be useful especially if your boss is a dick

Aug 4, 2015 - 9:26am

Re: number one - I was unclear and edited. I meant "should I put in two weeks' notice now so I have an interval between jobs, at the expense of not getting paid?" Apologies.

They're not dicks... if anything the problem is that they love me and may be hurt when this goes down. I feel like I'm about to breakup with someone.

Best Response
Aug 4, 2015 - 10:32am

Do not put in notice or let them anyone know about the job until you have signed and returned the offer letter from your new firm. Wait for the background test, etc all pass and you are hired.

I don't know whether this is sarcasm, but this is my advice.
Do not put in a 2 week notice before the background check goes through.
What happens if they background check doesn't go through for some reason, you're left with no job offer and then then your boss says too late, shouldn't have tried to leave (have seen this happen before).
You won't lose your current job offer if you don't put in a 2 week notice, however, you very well lose both jobs if you put it in.

Is it a dick move, yes; but it's business not playing Barbies.
They'll understand, the moment you get the background check cleared, you need to approach them.

Disregard this if they are extremely nice and amiable bosses, which otherwise would understand, but most would not and would be mad at you.

"It is better to have a friendship based on business, than a business based on friendship." - Rockefeller. "Live fast, die hard. Leave a good looking body." - Navy SEAL
  • 3
Aug 4, 2015 - 1:43pm

Care to detail these horror stories?

Does anyone know how I should expect to be notified that the background check is clear? They are using HireRight, but I don't know it is just HireRight or if there are additional steps as well.

I worry that if I demand to have the check expedited the new firm will wonder if there is something wrong with me, but I also fear damaging relationships by not giving two full weeks notice.

Aug 4, 2015 - 10:41am

Wait until everything is final and background checks are clear. Worst case scenario you peace out sooner than 2 weeks or even 10 days. At that point you risk burning bridges with a family office 1,000 miles away, so who cares...still try to leave on the best terms possible by being nice even if they are hating you during your last days there. You never know when you may come across these people again in your life so it's best to leave as someone who simply inconvenienced them vs. someone who's a total jerk

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.
  • 3
Aug 4, 2015 - 3:18pm

I have no reason to think I would fail a background check, other than the company screwing up or just not wanting to hire me. Never so much as a speeding ticket; I didn't lie about my grades or past salary, etc. I have no debts. Credit score of 720 (would be higher, but I occasionally get new cards to capitalize on airline miles). I'm more worried about the possibility of some cosmic injustice than I am about what someone might dig up.

Can anyone comment on the time these things take, with finance jobs (esp. if done by HireRight)? If they could do it in a few business days I won't have a problem, but more than a week and I'm either going to have to take it on faith that there will be no problem, delay start, or give short notice. Definitely appreciate hearing about people's experiences.

Aug 4, 2015 - 3:19pm

Give a two weeks notice once the background check clears. Try to be as professional as possible, but do remember that if this family office ever started having to cut expenses, they would not think twice about axing you. You should always leave on the best terms possible, but do not risk your other job just to satisfy this one (e.g. do not ask for a later start date just because your current employer wants a longer notice period).

Most of this is moot, though, since financial firms tend to ask you to leave immediately after you turn in your notice. Good luck.

Aug 4, 2015 - 3:46pm

I probably am overthinking it. Its a failing.

If they show me the door after I resign, am I entitled to pay over that period? Just wondering, won't change my thought process. I know most large corporations would pay but I dont know if they do it out of courtesy or as a matter of law.

Aug 4, 2015 - 3:54pm

Like everyone stated, don't give notice until you have a signed offer in hand. Never do that. And just ask the new firm how long they think it will take for the background check to happen and when you'll have the signed offer because you need to plan a move, get a place to live, and want to give your current job as long a notice period as possible. Remember, they know that you currently work somewhere else and that you're going to need to make a long distance move so it's not sketchy, it's just common sense. Don't think like a college kid desperate to get any job possible: you're an adult and an adult wouldn't quit their job, move half way across the country and enter a 12 month lease in a completely different city if they didn't have a job there and it's always good business to give a job as long as possible to fill your shoes (although like someone stated, a lot of finance jobs want you out the door the minute you tell them). And I almost guarantee you that the HR person on the other end of the phone has left a job before and will completely understand.

Aug 4, 2015 - 4:16pm

When you say "signed offer" what exactly do you mean? I did receive and accept a written offer letter; my concern is the background check listed in "contingencies." I guess my expectation was that I would just get an automated HR email after the check resolves. Should I expect a more formal document instead?

Aug 4, 2015 - 4:18pm

I was in a similar situation at my old job prior to quitting.

I received the offer for the job I have now, however it was not the official offer and still contingent upon background check. I had the choice of either giving two weeks notice without being sure I would receive the offer or giving less than two weeks notice.

I chose the latter and didn't regret it at all. It was worth it to have some peace of mind in case things didn't work out, and the official bridges at the old company were worth burning. Especially considering they weren't really burned and that my supervisors/managers were all willing to provide me recommendations or anything else I would have needed in the future, regardless of the company's policy to not re-hire people who gave less than two weeks of notice.

Aug 4, 2015 - 9:11pm

Until the new place confirms they've received your copy of the signed offer letter and the background check has completely cleared, do and say absolutely nothing with respect to your current employer

The harder question is if you should tell these guys where you're going - not telling minimizes the slim chance of backlash, but telling is noticeably better for maintaining the relationship (if there is one to begin with)

Aug 5, 2015 - 11:47pm

I'll probably tell them. I'm still sitting tight waiting for that check. Spent time today drafting my resignation letter.

I think that the nature of the position (equity research) might protect me from disaster in that a director is going to be upset if there is any delay, since I'm being hired as his associate (slave). The real danger is him getting hit by a bus or dying in a corporate jet plane crash, knock on wood. I feel like I should be allowed to take out life insurance on my boss.

Aug 7, 2015 - 3:16pm

I would wait for a background check to clear. My friend got an offer from a bank but then the background check just got delayed. Nothing was wrong. It just took longer than expected.

Aug 11, 2015 - 6:46pm

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"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
Aug 11, 2015 - 9:59pm

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