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Difficulty leaving my current position, need advice.

  1. Aug 11, 2008 #1
    Well, I plan on leaving my current job as an electromechanical engineer on a venture capital project and starting grad school this fall to eventually get my PhD. However, I'm having a lot of trouble leaving on good terms. I'm giving them written notice in person with my last date of employment two weeks in advance as any professional should do.

    Some history:
    So, Friday of last weak I talked with the company VP(its a small business), as my boss was out of town, and told him that I was leaving the company to pursue my graduate degree. After a long game of 50 questions, he said that he was upset with my decision and thought I should talk it over with my boss and that he would say nothing about it to him.

    So today I go and tell my boss, I'm putting in my two weeks notice and told him of my plans. And.....well he wasn't happy. Long story short we had about an hour and half conversation about my goals and the project I have been involved in. He told me that me leaving would be a "major blow" to the project, as Im just about the only one working on it at this time. I offered that I would be willing to put in some time, probably around 10 hours a week, on the project as a couple experts have done that have worked on the project before. He told me that it wasn't good enough and said that I should continue working another year and delay my plans for graduate school. That by doing so it would be in my best interest and would be better in the long run for my career. He also basically stated that he would not accept my letter of resignation until I thought about it for at least a couple days.

    Some details:
    I work for a company that works for another company on a wind related venture capital project. In a nut shell, the project doesn't seem to really be going anywhere and of course funding is extremely difficult to get. While the job looks fantastic on a resume, especially for a ME strait out of school with a BSME, the project is just not what it was when I started and isn't really going anywhere. If I had confidence in the project it would be a different story but I just don't see a future in this. I would love to stay on the project and work part time but that just doesn't seem to be an option so I am forced to leave it in order further my education.

    So, how do I go about leaving with out burning any bridges, or do you think thats even possible? Chances are a few years down the road while looking to do some research I am going to need this as a reference. While keeping in mind that I want to be as professional as possible, what would you suggest as a good solution to this dilemma?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 11, 2008 #2


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    Well, I know nothing about business, but it sounds like they really want you to stay. The question is, will an extra year really make that much difference? If yes, then you should leave anyway, and just be as pleasant as possible. But, if no, then perhaps you can come to some sort of compromise: say, stay on an extra year for a pay increase, or if the company agree to sponsor you through grad school.
  4. Aug 11, 2008 #3


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    Two-weeks notice is not long enough; they want a replacement who may need MORE than two weeks to find. Your familiarity with the project is more thorough than is anyone elses. Likely that is why your principals are upset that you only gave two weeks warning. NOW, if you hope to stay another year in order to help maintain project knowledge and progress, you must watch for dirty offensive politics directed at you. Your principals might be far less valuable as references when you do actually arrange to leave the company. Also consider, how long were you with this company when you first were assigned this project? Was this possibly an experience&training project and you were not informed about this plainly?

    Originally staying on the job at least until major stages of the project were completed should be far better for the company and for you than leaving the company before major achievements were accomplished.

    I'm not really sure what better advice to give.
  5. Aug 11, 2008 #4
    Two weeks is what my contract states as the requirement and is generally accepted as a reasonable amount of notice for any company. Also, the project has no sines of continuing unless more funding is obtained which could be never (and probably will be). So if I stayed until major stages were reached it would be at least 5+ year, which I am not doing. Iv been with the company only about 9 months and received absolutely not training at all. While I am very familiar with it, it shouldn't take a professional in the field to quickly catch up.

    The main reason my principles are so upset with me leaving is because the kind of work I do for such little wage. The work I do is typically done by someone with at least a masters degree in electromechanics which I don't have. On top of that I make less then most entry level engineers in this area. I don't mean to sound pretentious, but chances are very slim that they will find some one with my capabilities for such a low price.
  6. Aug 11, 2008 #5


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    In this case, offer them to stay longer than two weeks in exchange for a substantial pay increase, and possibly in exchange with them sponsoring you through grad school if you'd be okay with coming back to work with them afterwards (for the right price). If they need you that badly, then they'll find a way to pay you for it. And if they refuse to pay you what you feel the job is worth, then it's their fault for not being able to keep you, and as such, you won't really be burning bridges.

    Finally, if all else fails, you could always stay there a few extra weeks, assuming you're more than two weeks away from starting grad school. Otherwise, doing some work part-time is really the best you can offer, which you did.
  7. Aug 11, 2008 #6


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    It sounds as if your bosses are willing to pressure you and coerce you into doing what is in THEIR interests. Tell them to put the stick away and bring out some carrots or you WILL resign as planned. If you need to make a timely move in order to get a spot in grad school, make sure that they know that time-pressure, and make it their problem, not yours. Good luck. I have rarely worked for a company that had the loyalty and sense of fairness toward their employees that they demanded of their employees.
  8. Aug 12, 2008 #7

    Andy Resnick

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    The problem is obvious to me- your employer wants you to stay becasue that's what's best for the company. Unfortunately, the people that should be mentoring you- your boss, obviously, but also the senior management- are not doing their job. They should want you to acheive your full potential, and if you can't do that at your current job, they should be willing (and even happy FOR YOU) to move on to a better opportunity.

    In my experience, anyone worth anything will be happy for you that you see a better opportunity and are willing to take the risk of going for it. The way you describe the situation, they are just taking advantage of you- don't let them. Move on, be professional about it, and don't look back.
  9. Aug 12, 2008 #8
    Thanks for all the advice, its helped. I do realize that my boss is trying to take advantage of me. I have sort of been his saving grace on this project and when ever he has a problem he cant solve or understand, which is often, he comes to me. I have sort of been his crutch so its understandable why he wants to keep me around. So it looks like I'll just have to say no and hope for the best. If the bridge gets burned, so be it I'm getting the hell out of there. I will leave my offer open for the part time thing tho, who knows maybe he will go for it.
  10. Aug 12, 2008 #9


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    The job of the employer is to try to get as much as possible from his employees while giving as little as possible.
    The job of the employee is to hold his ground and try to get as much as possible from the employer.
    This is just standard negotiation. If you leave, the company will lose money, so obviously they want you to stay.
  11. Aug 13, 2008 #10
    Leave. 2 weeks notice then go. You're being professional, they aren't

    If they wanted to get rid of your would they give you a years' notice? Christ no.

    You have to look after yourself because no one else will.
  12. Aug 13, 2008 #11
    It really sounds like they want to keep you, so turn it to your advantage. From what you say they need you badly and have in fact had you fulfilling more than your duties. Tell them you will be leaving and that that fact is not negotiable, then follow tmc's advice. But to allow for future pay days offer to help train your successor, again at a massively increased wage.

    Good luck, don't let them bully you.

  13. Aug 13, 2008 #12


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    Hi Topher925,

    Perhaps you could offer a 30 day resignation notice as a compromise to allow them to find a replacement? That would help prevent burning any bridges by showing you are willing to give a little. If they still hold firm then they do not have your interests in mind...which is really not all that surprising considering management's function is to ensure the successful execution of their business objectives.

    Alternately, maybe they would be open to a part time position with you or even on a consultation basis.

    Just a thought.

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