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Timing of retirement discussion with boss
Old 06-22-2022, 09:01 AM   #1
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Timing of retirement discussion with boss

I've read many posts that talk about timing of your retirement announcement (not too early, 2 weeks is enough, some say give up to a month, etc.). I have a bit of a unique situation and want some input.

I've been planning on a mid-September departure for a while now (mainly based on a significant stock vest around that time). Vacation in the middle of August, come back, make the announcement, about 3 weeks later and I'm gone. All good. BTW - there is nothing magic about mid-September: I could stay a couple weeks more if I needed to. BTW -I work for a very large company.

Problem is, it's now looking like I'll have a series of meetings around the world the first two weeks in September (Singapore, Doha, London, Paris, and maybe a side trip to Thailand). It's meeting with all the people I've been talking to for the past 2-3 years while under lockdown, who I'd really like to see one last time. Plus, I'd really love to see those places on the company dime. My boss will be on this trip (well, not the side trip to Thailand).

It seems unethical to me to go on the trips, then announce that I'm leaving. Also doesn't seem right that I announce it a few days before the trip (as I currently have planned), as I'll likely have to purchase flights in the late June/early July timeframe, and it's probably about $10K all in. Plus, I will have speaking roles at these meetings.

So, while I really want to go on this trip, I don't want to be dishonest or unethical. Also, to further complicate things, we are making all kinds of plans for our next fiscal year, and I'm front and center in all of those. Do I mention it to my boss soon that I am contemplating retirement in the coming months? Or should I just be selfish, take the trip and then announce? Maybe there is another option (OMY is not one of those options!)
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Old 06-22-2022, 09:08 AM   #2
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Though I doubt you'll be convinced ***, you should provide 2 weeks notice, or at most 4 weeks. If the company plans convince you to delay your retirement date, that's fine, but still 2 weeks notice. There will always be future plans and loose ends, if you let that guide you, you'll never retire. It's up to the company to integrate your successor, with your help of course but on your timetable.

*** We all like to think our retirement is a special case and that we're more essential than we actually are. Employees from CEO's to entry level and everything in between are replaced, some on very short or no notice at all, every day. I have yet to hear of any company that even missed a best because any one employee left, no matter who it is...

I gave my SVP boss 3 months notice as a courtesy, but asked him to keep it private for at least 2 months. He did just the opposite, and let everyone know within a few days, and it made my last 3 months very uncomfortable (lame duck, jealous co-workers, etc.) - all unnecessary. Even though some people will not make you uncomfortable, rest assured some will not. I was happy with my MegaCorp and my boss and I got along very well and he never undercut me before - but his choice made the transition better for the company, but worse for me - and pleased the rest of the C suite. In the end, you're gone, so it's better to please those who remain over you...
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Old 06-22-2022, 09:12 AM   #3
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What do you want more, the trips and involvement in the speaking engagements or retirement?

If all those trips are in two weeks, it doesn't sound like a whole lot of sightseeing can be done.
Why not let your boss know you plan to retire, but would be happy to still participate in the meetings prior, and maybe offer to move your date out a month or two at most to accommodate?
If he/she won't go for that, then retire, enjoy your time and travel more slowly on your own, exactly how and where you wish to go.
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Old 06-22-2022, 09:12 AM   #4
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You're right that is a unique situation. As much as I'd like to do the same (go on a farewell tour on their dime) if I did, I think I'd wait till the start of next year to announce. Put a quarter, and a holiday, between the trips and the announcement. Come back first week of Jan and announce would be my vote.

Too soon before and the your role and the trips will be yanked for you, even if the tickets are purchased. You'll be off the agenda, and off the trip, even if you are staying through September. Which would make a miserable last quarter to work.

I wouldn't worry about the fiscal planning, that's the kind of thing that's always there.

I mean sure, you could do plan A, go do the trips, announce two weeks after you get back...and as much as I'm in the "little notice possible" and "they don't owe you anything" camp, yeah...it's kinda cheesy that way.
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Old 06-22-2022, 09:48 AM   #5
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Have your retirement discussion with your boss when you are ready to be walked out the door the day you let them know (and as valuable as you think you are, it has happened to plenty of folks ). I do not know the detailed content of your trip. For example, if they are to provide some type of valuable skills transfer/help to the folks there, and they requested you make the trip, then it would not matter. If you told your boss that you needed to go on these trips, then tell them "BTW, I'm retiring right after", IMHO that would be unethical, particularly as you imply the visits are as much sightseeing as work related.

I told my management in August 2017 that I would be retiring in 2018. While I was prepared mentally and financially to leave right then if they made me, they were fine with that notice. I still took many business trips where I brought DW along to combine work with vacation, but that was not a problem as my role was supporting and training others on the skills I had, and they wanted me to do this as long as possible. I was traveling up until 2 days before I did retire .
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:07 AM   #6
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First and foremost, I would not have any discussion about retiring until the stock vesting occurs. As said above, you could get walked out the door the day you announce and lose out on the stock.

I would probably do as Aerides suggests, and put in another quarter. Or maybe announce end of November for an end of year departure.

If the stock vesting was not in play, I would probably tell my boss soon to see if he wants to replace you on the trip. Or, maybe, have you take your replacement with you for a meet and greet. But I would only do this if I was prepared to be walked out the door that day.
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:16 AM   #7
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Companies are like people, they have personalities aka "corporate culture." IMO your deliberations should consider both your employer's corporate culture and the personality of your boss.

Re boss, I ran into a number of situations where a supervisor or manager considered a resignation to be a personal insult. With those, you better be ready for that walk out the door unless the corporate culture does not do that kind of thing. Same song, second verse: Your boss is the greatest guy in the world but the corporate culture is one that routinely walks people out. Best case is boss and company are best case and your decision aout the trip will be respected. But in the end, any decision is somewhat of a dice roll.
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:16 AM   #8
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Unpainted, just one question...how long have you been with your company? You did say it is a very large company, so years of service/ longevity/ loyalty probably don't mean too much. If you do have a large stock compensation vesting date, I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize that.

I have been going through similar thoughts about how to handle my retirement with my company. It is a much smaller company, about 1,500 US employees and I've worked for my boss for almost 20 years there (and 33 years all together including with a larger sister company).

I spoke to my boss last week and told him that I plan to retire within a year, without giving any more specific timing. He appreciated the heads up and didn't press me for any more details or discuss any succession plans (although he didn't seem shocked). I'm sure we will talk more once he has a chance to think about it.

I'm sure there are all schools of thought on this subject and many different ways folks here have handled it.
Unpainted, I would recommend to be honest and upfront with your boss assuming you have a good relationship, regarding the trips and get the company's position on you traveling and future plans.
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:24 AM   #9
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I am probably in the "do the right thing" camp on this one.

You are in the best position to determine your boss and company's reaction. Are advice is tainted by our personal experiences which may not be yours.

I would probably have the talk early and accept the risk they pull you from the trip.
Or announce later but with some distance after the trip.
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:31 AM   #10
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I had a similar situation. I waited for my profit sharing to be deposited in my 401 k in January, then gave notice.
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:44 AM   #11
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If the trip is just for meeting the remote team face to face then I wouldn't do it. If there will be actual work getting done that will benefit the company then I might. But I've done enough work related international travel that I'd try to avoid it altogether knowing that work travel is not the same as vacation, especially a whirlwind tour of the asian offices. The knowledge that international travel was likely going to open back up soon was a major part of my decision to retire last year.
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Old 06-22-2022, 10:57 AM   #12
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I'd do what you want to do and not worry for a second how it is perceived by others.
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freedomatlast View Post
I'd do what you want to do and not worry for a second how it is perceived by others.
That’s fine, but until you’ve retired you may not realize the potential downsides of announcing early. Sometimes no good deed goes unpunished, there have been many threads with stories of regret stemming from giving more than 2 weeks notice…
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Old 06-22-2022, 11:42 AM   #14
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I'd do what you want to do and not worry for a second how it is perceived by others.
There is lots of downside to this kind of attitude IMO. As a boss, if I got an "I don't give a damn." attitude I would be very much less likely to help the troop have a smooth transition and to optimize any choices.

For example, when DW retired the HR person helped her pick a date that optimized 401K contributions and corporation's payment of health insurance for the month.

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Old 06-22-2022, 12:11 PM   #15
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Absolutely nothing unethical or dishonest about going on the trip, returning, and giving your notice. While on the trip, you will be doing work for the company. You are going on the trip for the benefit of the company.

Always look at it from the other side. If the company decided that they were going to downsize while you were on this trip, or while on your own vacation time, do you believe they would have any issue morally or ethically about giving you your pink slip the moment you returned on Monday morning? Absolutely not.
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:11 PM   #16
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These are all good thoughts. I've been at this company about 6.5 years, and originally was going to stay about 5. Unless I work almost 5 more years until 65 (NOT going to happen), I'll walk away from about $1M in unvested stock, which I'm okay with.

Only been working for new boss for a few months, so don't know him that well. Unless you are going to a competitor, immediately walking you out the door isn't really a thing here, but even if they did, it won't really be that life changing from a financial standpoint (stock vest + year-end bonus is in the $150K-$180K range, so I'd rather not miss out on that if I can avoid it).

And it's true that a work trip is not vacation, but I have always padded a day or two on each end for myself, so at least I get to make the most of it.

I am leaning towards having the "I'm thinking of retirement, perhaps in the next few months" conversation in the next few weeks, but not giving notice until about 3 weeks out from The Day. And if they ask that I stay on a couple extra weeks, then I can handle that.
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Old 06-22-2022, 12:13 PM   #17
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Absolutely nothing unethical or dishonest about going on the trip, returning, and giving your notice. While on the trip, you will be doing work for the company. You are going on the trip for the benefit of the company.

Always look at it from the other side. If the company decided that they were going to downsize while you were on this trip, or while on your own vacation time, do you believe they would have any issue morally or ethically about giving you your pink slip the moment you returned on Monday morning? Absolutely not.
Ha. Very true. Someone who just retired reminded me of the fact that our relationship with the company is pure business - I provide a skill, they give me some cash. If they don't need me anymore, then they would part ways. Nothing personal.
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Old 06-22-2022, 01:54 PM   #18
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At my level in the Wall Street environment, one was shown the door the day of resignation, but still got paid at least 2 weeks more.
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Old Yesterday, 05:40 AM   #19
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Make sure to double check your personel policy so you don't lose any benifits like unpaid sick or vacation.
As a supervisor, I HAD to give 30 days written notice of resignation to my department head, or they could refuse to pay out my unused vacation... This was AFTER submitting my retirement application to HR... and that HAD to be submitted in a 90-120 day window before my retirement date.
Although I had talked about retiring for several years, in January I sat down with my director and assistant director, and told them I was absoulutly leaving at the end of the year.
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Old Yesterday, 06:48 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unpaintedhuffhines View Post
I am leaning towards having the "I'm thinking of retirement, perhaps in the next few months" conversation in the next few weeks, but not giving notice until about 3 weeks out from The Day. And if they ask that I stay on a couple extra weeks, then I can handle that.
Your boss would have to be an idiot to not see right through the that. Again, your boss will still be there, answering to his boss(es) when you’re gone. It only makes sense he does what makes sense for the company (after you) over your wishes, no matter how well you get along now.
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