Human Resources/Informing My Employer of an Impending Move
QUESTION: Hello Mr. Eichinger,
Thank you for considering my question.
I'd like to know how best to present the news to my employer that I'm moving out of state to accommodate my husband's career needs, and when to present this news. Ideally, I'd like to keep my job.
Here's some background about my employer: They are a large, old, multi-national company with offices and employees worldwide. Employees work on-site, or they telecommute. The company mixes traditional and progressive business practices pretty well, from what I observe.
About me: I've worked for my employer for two years. I've worked very hard and been told I've done well. I'm confident that my superiors are happy with my work. I've been given and have assumed increasing responsibility during my time there (but no substantial pay raises, because their policy is not to give them).
M plan is to put my residence on the market in June, and to move out of state after it sells. I would tell my employer this news upon listing my place, letting them know that I'd like to keep working for them, holding the same responsibilities, working in an office near where I relocate, or telecommuting from home. I'd present this information to my boss first, then go to the people who depend on me, and try to sell them on this plan (about 5 different people).
For my employer's viewpoint: I've thought about how this would affect the people who depend on me, and there's a lot I'd be willing to do to mitigate the inconvenience to everyone involved. I don't want to leave anyone in the lurch, and I'm flexible and open to discussion and ideas to make the transition as smooth as possible. I don't believe it would cost my employer anything to allow me to do this, I wouldn't need re-training, and it's entirely possible for me to work remotely and do my job. I work remotely now. The two changes I can see are that I wouldn't be in the same office as colleagues, and I'd miss one or two in-person meetings each month (which I could attend via tele-conference). I've considered the risks: I am fully prepared to lose my job. It would probably be least disruptive for everyone involved if they let me keep my job, because training and ramping up a new employee takes time and money, but I have no illusions. Everyone's replaceable.
My viewpoint: I need and want to make this move. It's important for my family. I've given a lot of myself to the company, and I can continue to give, but to be honest, I'm not getting much back other than a paycheck. I can't really see how I could move up, I'm not adding new skills to my resume, and there are no raises in sight. But I need the job. And I think my idea is reasonable.
Do you have any suggestions about how I should handle the delivery of the news, or the timing? Is it ridiculous for me to hope to keep my job?
Any input would be valuable to me. I have no one to go to with this question, and I want to handle the situation with honor and integrity.
Thank you very much,
ANSWER: Hello Elizabeth,
Thanks for your question. I have to say it is one of the most thoughtful questions I have ever received. I believe I would be happy to have you work for me. More to the pointÖ
I look at this situation in two ways.
If you have done all you say you have done for this company, and you have not received much in return, part of me says to look for an equivalent position with a similar company (multi-nationals are usually good picks) in the new location. It does not sound like you owe your current employer much. Should you choose this path, the chronology would be to secure a position with a new company, then give notice to your current employer.
The alternative is your plan. See if you can maintain your current or equivalent position with your current company. And it sounds like you can make a good, solid argument for yourself as to why that would be in the companyís favorÖ that is no retraining costs, current position knowledge and skill, know the systems and processes, have established, productive working relationships with peers, you are respected within the company, have a good reputation as a telecommuter, etc. Continuing with this option, usually the ideal time to give notice is as early as possible which would give you time to ďsellĒ the working arrangement and the company time to consider it and make the adjustments necessary to make the work arrangement productive. As I say that I do wonder if that would be effective with this company as it sounds like they are not big on employee recognition and therefore we might assume they would not be so quick to consider your proposed work arrangement. I canít help you with thatÖ you need to assess, based on your experience, if the company would be open to that arrangement. The worst case scenario is you give the company early notice and suggest your proposed arrangement and the company releases you early.
So possibly it all comes down to this. You need to assess whether the company will give your proposed work arrangement some consideration and a fair chance to work.
Alternative 1: If your assessment is that the company will listen. And there is a good chance the company would work it out with you so that you continue on your position then I would give them as early as notice as possible and proceed from there, giving both you and the company the time to make adjustments.
I know you mentioned there is no one you can chat with about this. However, maybe if you gave it some thought, you might find a manager in your current company you can trust, and not necessarily in your chain of command, to chat with about this. It would be great if the manager was a good leader and had some influence. Just a thoughtÖ
Alternative 2: If you determine that there is little chance the company will buy into your proposal, then I would invest my time between now and June looking for an alternative company at your new location, the objective being to secure another position, prior to giving notice to your current company. Under this scenario, I would give the current company as little notice as possible, but at least a notice that is within accepted policy and/or practice.
You appear to be articulate, thoughtful, and smart. If you have the confidence you can SELL the new work arrangement then you should seriously consider alternative 1. Make sure you have a good plan Ö you may only have one chance to sell it. If you would like help thinking through the plan send me a follow up question and I will try to assist.
Elizabeth that is my opinion. I hope you find it helpful. I wish you the great success going forward!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hi Mark,
Thank you so much for your supportive response. I really appreciate the time and thought you put into it.
After thinking about what youíve said and recommended, Iíve decided that Iím going to use all your advice at once.
First, I have begun looking for a new job. I was trying to avoid conducting a job search because there is so much change happening all at once. But why wouldnít I want to see what might be out there for me? (My skills are so diverse, Iím not sure what type of position I should be looking for now. Iím going to try casting a wide net and see what happens. And Iím re-writing my too-long resume.) If I can find a new position, Iíll give the standard minimum notice, as you suggest, then move on.
Second, I like your idea about talking with a manager in another department a lot, and had thought about doing that before I wrote to you. After you replied, I evaluated everyone I know, and while there are people I trust, they don't have much influence. Iíve interacted with people who have influence, but I donít know them well enough to know whether or not I can trust them. Iíll keep looking out for someone. Thereís still time.
Third, I really donít have any idea how my company is going to react to my news. So thatís why Iím taking all your advice at once (and also saving as much money as I can.) Even though Iím a great employee, I cannot predict my companyís reaction to my news. Since I donít feel valued by them, Iím going to put my needs first for once: Iím going to present my relocation news to my boss as soon as possible after I put my place on the market. It isnít ideal for the company, but it will give my boss at least 30 days, probably more like 60, to react. This probably isnít enough time for them to find a replacement for me if thatís what they want to do, but itís far better for them than me just giving them the standard minimum notice, which would leave them in the lurch. I will say something like ďI have some news,Ē and provide general details and a timeframe. If Iím asked for my ideas about how to handle the situation, Iíll present them. If my boss fires me on the spot, asks for time to develop a plan, or tries to negotiate, Iím ready for all that.
I want to be able to look back and feel I handled the situation fairly and honorably. With your input I think I can do that. Thank you again for taking the time you did on my question.
I do have one more question, if you have time. Do think my plan of saying ďI have some news,Ē and providing general details and a timeframe is a good one? Or do you think I should present my news, and follow with my ideas before Iím asked?
And do you want to re-write my resume for me? Just kidding.
Thank you again
Thanks for the opportunity to follow-up.
I think you should announce it all in one shot. That is, include your timeframe, ideas, and so on. If you are intent on making the move as it is the best thing for your family then that is a "done deal" as they say. So, the only alternative is for your present company to adapt if they are interested. So I would present you ideas at the same time as you inform them of your relocation.
I would be shocked if they released you. In my opinion they have no reasonable grounds. You have been more than thoughtful about this. You will have been fair with you advanced notice and presented the company with your ideas.
Keep looking for that coach and/or mentor. For the record the two are different. If you are not familiar, here is an excellent article from a consulting outfit on the difference.
It is too much info but you can glean from it what you need. Consultants, always very wordy. I can say that as I am one. :>)
Good luck Elizabeth... if you have time let me know how it goes. I hope the advice turns out to be of value.