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How much notice is enough?
Old 02-12-2008, 06:43 PM   #1
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How much notice is enough?

In my workplace (superspecialized, people are hard to replace) the policy and expectation is that six months' notice is given. Sometimes a lesser period is agreed upon if the person leaving agrees to continue providing specified service on a contract basis for a defined period, while they search for a replacement.

The six months' requirement is brutal if people are leaving for another job and may actually make the person uncompetitive (I suspect it is meant to deter people from leaving). Even for retirees, in today's market, people are having second thoughts about committing to writing that letter.

Most of us have term limited contracts. If one makes a decision to leave less than six months prior to the end of the contract, is it more appropriate to write a letter that says "I will not be renewing my contract" or to send a resignation letter that provides six months' notice?
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:10 PM   #2
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That's a brutal notice period.

I would think the circumstances you describe it would be more appropriate that you say you are not renewing your contract. Does your employer have to give you 6 months notice that they will be renewing your contract?

Does this mean you are going for the NZ job?
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:48 PM   #3
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Depending on your seniority and responsibilities, that 6-month lame duck period can be crushing for you, your boss, and your subordinates or team members. It also causes the remaining people to defer succession planning.

I think a good strategy, if you can pull it off, is to give 3 months notice but tell your boss privately that you are willing to stay on in housekeeping and recruiting mode for another 3 months after that if necessary.
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:13 PM   #4
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That's a brutal notice period.

I would think the circumstances you describe it would be more appropriate that you say you are not renewing your contract. Does your employer have to give you 6 months notice that they will be renewing your contract?

Does this mean you are going for the NZ job?
DM, you have a good memory!!! No, I am not going to NZ. It just wasn't the right fit, and no reason to move half way round the world. Frankly, my current job is more interesting. I will only move for a good reason!

Good point about the employer's responsibility. Years ago, contracts were often late in arriving. These days, I expect to get next year's contract in the mail approximately three months prior to the expiration of the old one. Usually there is no salary increase. On several occasions I have sent it back with a cover letter itemizing historical inflation rates since my last raise. That is usually good for a COL adjustment.

Anyhow, I guess what's sauce for the gander, etc, etc......
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:16 PM   #5
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Depending on your seniority and responsibilities, that 6-month lame duck period can be crushing for you, your boss, and your subordinates or team members. It also causes the remaining people to defer succession planning.

I think a good strategy, if you can pull it off, is to give 3 months notice but tell your boss privately that you are willing to stay on in housekeeping and recruiting mode for another 3 months after that if necessary.
Actually, that is what often happens with senior leaders (we have had a number who were superachievers and used their experience as a srpingboard to even more prestigious positions). Often there is a lot of flying and teleconferencing and working two jobs during those three months!
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Old 02-12-2008, 09:41 PM   #6
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This 6 month notice period is very unusual. I don't know what kind of work you do, but wonder about the following:

- What would be be consequences of giving a much shorter notice, such as 1 or 2 months? If you are prepared to retire on a permanent basis, there may not be a negaive impact on you such as the ability to secure a similiar position in another organization.
- Does your work involve critical support to society? If your position is critical to national security or the well being of others, then this should be considered in your decision regarding how much notice to give. If, on the other hand, this is only to benefit your employer in regards to their efficiency or ability to compete in the marketplace, then I would give it less weight.
- Would giving a shorter notice have a negative impact on your pay or benefits? If not, I would not be inclined to give notice so far in advance if the only benefit would accrue to your employer.
- Would giving a shorter notice impact your coworkers in a negative way? I'm sure lots of people would not put much weight on this, but when I left I was concerned about the people I worked with. I gave more notice than required so as not to place an undue burden on those I worked with. In my case, my position was not as "superspecialized" as yours, but still I did not want to create a hardship for people I had worked with for years.
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Old 02-12-2008, 10:00 PM   #7
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This 6 month notice period is very unusual. I don't know what kind of work you do
I'm a critical care physician, with other expertise thrown in.

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What would be be consequences of giving a much shorter notice, such as 1 or 2 months?
There is a policy document that states that six months is the expectation. I would be breaching a condition that I implicitly accepted. Theoretically, I suppose they could make me pay my way out of a contract (if it still had six months to run). The 6 month requirement is there even though my contract is renewed yearly.

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Does your work involve critical support to society?
Yes, I believe so (see above).

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Would giving a shorter notice have a negative impact on your pay or benefits? If not, I would not be inclined to give notice so far in advance if the only benefit would accrue to your employer.
They could refuse to release the balance in my defined contribution pension.....(which is not a major component of FIRE, but is too much to risk losing).

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Would giving a shorter notice impact your coworkers in a negative way?
You bet. When a group is providing 24/7 coverage for intensive care, everyone shares the burden. The group is already stretched.

If this situation arose, I would make every effort to be reasonable to my current employers. That would be no problem at RE. Any earlier, my concern would be that my efforts might cost me other opportunities unless I could (a) hold down two jobs or (b) persuade them that I was worth waiting for.
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Old 02-13-2008, 06:30 AM   #8
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When I retired I gave almost a year's informal notice to my supervisor, and six months official notice. The position I was in - computer forensic examiner - takes a lot of specialized training. And the employer was generally very fair with employees so there were no ill feelings.
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:01 AM   #9
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I gave 'drum beats' to my buddies on staff about 1 1/2 years out.
I gave 6 months notice to my immediate manager. He tried to talk me out of it and hoped that I would change my mind. I called HR and asked about a checklist and what my options and decision points were.
3 months out, I asked my immediate manager if he was going to tell the rest of the staff and upper management. He did it.
1 month out I asked my immediate manager if everything was going on schedule. He then started on my retirement checklist with HR.
I left when I said I would. I DID get my retirement check and COBRA insurance in a timely manner.
I believe you own your own life. Sometimes you need to take actions as required. Unless you have some contractual requirement, this is still a free country and you get to do what you want.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:52 AM   #10
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Unless you have some contractual requirement, this is still a free country and you get to do what you want.
We live in different countries, but mine is also a free country.

Thank you everyone for the input. On the one hand, I am currently in recruitment mode for entry level positions. Some Generation Y people don't even bother to show up for the interviews they accepted! In contrast, perhaps a little too much accountability is expected of me in the notice area. If the situation arises prior to RE I think I will use the end date of the contract as my guide. Any extra time would be a favour and based on my loyalty to the organization. When ready to FIRE, I will provide plenty of warning.

All this is hypothetical, of course! But one can dream.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:45 PM   #11
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We live in different countries, but mine is also a free country.
LOL this reminds me of when my mom took her oath for US citizenship, having moved from Canada.

After the oath, the judge said "how does it feel to live in a free country?"

My mom almost tore up the certificate. When she protested, the judge said "well, aren't you ruled by the queen?"
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:51 PM   #12
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The usual test I apply is, "How bad could the organization screw me if the situation was reversed?".
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Old 02-13-2008, 08:00 PM   #13
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When she protested, the judge said "well, aren't you ruled by the queen?"
I will admit that, having grown up in one of the many countries occupied by Britain in past centuries, I have no special fondness for that part of Canada's heritage and I would be quite happy to see the British monarchy out of the picture. In reality this is purely ceremonial. QEII takes no active part in Canadian policy making and indeed has not been invited to Quebec's 400th anniversary celebrations. There are still many people in Canada who maintain that common law, etc, are valuable traditions that came from the British. With 40% of Torontonians being born outside of Canada and the top countries of origin for Canadian immigrants being China and India, and a rising Aboriginal population, Canada is one of the most diverse countries on earth. The cultural influence of Britain is shrinking. Most of us think of the Queen as a nice rich old lady who lives far away with lots of clothes, dogs, horses and a very dysfunctional family.
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Old 02-14-2008, 08:21 AM   #14
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What is the penalty for less than 6 months notice?

Is there a provision in the contract about how long in advance the parties have to indicate an intent to renew?

Anyway, before deciding on what kind of notice procedure to follow, I would comb through your contract to make sure I understood all the options.
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Old 02-15-2008, 06:29 AM   #15
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I have a long notice period, 9 months, but that was negotiated with the assignment to Asia. In exchange for me giving 9 months, Megacorp also has to give me 9 months notice or pay in lieu. My original assignment is long over, but it keeps dragging on because there is no one to replace me, and I've come to the point where I would like DD to finish HS where she is rather than move her, so I'm OK for now. But I have been making people aware of her graduation date, and what that could possibly mean.

In most states of the US, as far as I am aware, notice terms that are applicable to the employee are also applicable to the employer. So, Mbh, if you were in a US state and your hospital had you agree to general terms and conditions of employment including 6 mo notice, they would also be liable for that amount of time. However, you and they, could in certain instances, contract out of what would be generally applied. For example, they could make you "agree" to 6 mo notice while you accepted only 1 month's notice yourself (but why would you?).

So, what notice are they required to give you? When do they present the new contract for your signature? Before the 6 months out mark, or the day before expiration. I would say that if they didn't present you with the new contract 6 mo prior to expiration, they you would have no legal grounds against you so long as you gave the same amount of notice as time remaining on your contract. However, being in your situation, with people's lives on the line, I would have a hard time, as I sure you would, leaving without making LOTS of noise a long time out, giving them time to take action.

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Old 02-15-2008, 06:24 PM   #16
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I agree with all of the above. There's what's legal, and there's what's right.
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Old 02-16-2008, 12:58 PM   #17
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I agree with all of the above. There's what's legal, and there's what's right.
I agree. While I don't have a performance contract, I have just given 90 days notice, because there are several critical activities at megacorp I feel obligated to see to conclusion.

The notice requirement is 30 days, but I know that there would be no replacement on board in 30 days and a transition/training plan is important to keep the company moving forward.

Some would say why bother? They've been fair with me and allowed me to expand my skills. I have to exit knowing that I've done so gracefully, and they can use or not use what I leave them as a legacy.

Last day in the office - 5/9. First day paying my own health insurance premiums - 8/1.

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