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When to Tell Your Boss


I checked the calendar today and it appears Pat and I have just 26 days until we hit the road for a killer trip.

margaritas with Patrick

Pat and Brooke in holiday mode

One might think that now would be the time when you drop the bomb to your boss that you’ll be quitting to travel, right?

Actually, you could wait another 12 days before exploding the news if you wanted to go the minimum.

Well, let me introduce you to my boyfriend, Patrick.

Patrick has a little bit of a problem with leaving out details, or, ya know, just saying things to people he really shouldn’t, especially if it is weighing on his mind. For example, if we’re late because we did a stupid thing, he just can’t say, “Sorry we’re late.” Instead, he kind of goes off in speak-at-you mode (he’s a talker!) and inevitably drops the bomb about the stupid thing as well. Oh, Patrick, gotta love him!

So, when it came to this trip becoming a reality and object of our attention at the beginning of 2012, Pat just couldn’t help himself.

Yep, at a meeting with his boss about 2 months ago, Pat dropped the bomb that he would be leaving!

In our case, it worked out fine, and Pat is still at his current role, but it could have backfired, right? His boss could have easily put the ad up that they were seeking a replacement right then and there, found someone a few weeks later, and then put poor Patty out of a job last month.

What do you think, people? When is the best time to tell your boss you’re leaving for travel?


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14 Responses to When to Tell Your Boss

  1. Rebecca March 13, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    It really depends on the country and if you are/want to come back to the same job.
    Since I was quitting (and didn’t want to come back) and though I was working in the US, my boss who was British always HATED that Americans only gave 2 weeks notice, I was kind and gave 3 weeks. Also, since I didn’t have another job to run off to (usually the reason for the 2 weeks), I could have given 6 months, but I felt 3 weeks was perfect. I know my boss really appreciated the extra week.

    Is Pat returning to his role when you guys come back? If so, LUCKY!!! Oh, Australia and your crazy work ethic and vacation time.

  2. Tony March 13, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Depends how long you’ve been in the job and how you feel about the people and team you’re working with. You may not want to burn bridges if you know what I mean.

    If you don’t care about the place (maybe you’ve been there less than a year?), I’d say just give the minimum notice. If you’ve been there a couple of years and you want to keep your professional network strong, it probably pays to let your boss know a little earlier.

    Either way, it’s good to frame your decision and give them an idea of your long term plan, even if it’s made up. It shows you’re thinking forwards and making an informed decision.

  3. Kristin March 13, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I agree with Tony — not burning bridges is good. I’d probably go with the Pat way with my employer actually and tell them really early about what I was planning…but I know that they wouldn’t kick me out immediately and that they are pretty flexible. I’d like to think that if I framed it that I was going traveling for an extended period of time that there might be a chance of getting the job back in the long run too!

  4. Heather March 14, 2012 at 2:03 am #

    In higher ed, sometimes folks give an entire semester’s notice so their employer can search on the typical spring semester timeline. I think that generally happened, however, if someone was going to grad school or moving due to a spouse changing jobs. People encouraged me to give as little as two weeks, but I felt I wanted to give them more notice, especially as I wanted to maintain positive relationships with colleagues in the office and around the university. I planned on giving a month’s notice, but at the six week mark, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. It worked out well for me, and I had time to meet with colleagues and help them feel comfortable with the documentation I was leaving for my replacement and any content areas they wanted to learn more about from me. I’ve been fortunate to work in places where I didn’t fear being let go immediately — though that did happen in Oz (I was offering 2-4 weeks notice and they let me go straight away).

  5. James March 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    I told my boss I would be leaving in late September, 2011, so that I could travel, and they did not find a replacement for me until mid December, my last day being just after Christmas (I had to train my replacement). I was scratching my head and laughing as each week passed, wondering about the myth of the 2 week notice. While I was within my rights to leave after 2 weeks, having been there for 9 years, and being in no hurry (waiting to buy the plane ticket until I knew the exact date of my last day), I told them to take as long as they wanted, and they definitely took me up on that!

    ps – sorry to hear about the close call with the photo contest, I should have voted for you each week, it would have put you over the hump (I was too lazy to vote, and decided my vote would not mean much – argghhh)

  6. Tony - March 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    In Europe probably employers are less open-minded, in average.
    Anyway, if you have been good at your job, then there’s no problem to speak your mind and tell your boss that you are leaving.

  7. Katie March 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

    I had intended to give 2-3 months’ notice – I worked in higher ed and many former co-workers who lef to do other things (i.e., not to go to another university in a similar role) gave several months’ notice so the school could hire a replacement, train them and even have them overlap before leaving.

    However, in conversations with my boss shortly before I thought I would give notice, he alluded to the fact that he could tell I was unhappy/frustrated with my role and I concluded if I gave notice then, he would likely tell me to just go in 2 weeks. So I ended up waiting and just have 2.5 weeks’ notice.

  8. Cornelius Aesop March 15, 2012 at 4:32 am #

    My boss already has a general idea that I am leaving, I haven’t confirmed that we have already purchased the ticket but then again I have a good working relationship with my boss. My wife and I don’t leave till Dec. so this a very very advance head’s up. I plan on confirming everything after I come back from vacation in June.

  9. Tash March 15, 2012 at 7:49 pm #

    I guess it also depends on what kind of job/industry you work in – I work in a Social Work type role, and in planning with my manager for months, we have been able to hire my replacement and I am currently training her up, and now (since giving the required notice period of 28 days) I am preparing my cases for handover…feeling a bit better that someone will be able to take on my work once I am gone. Is helping me to be able to take the big leap!!

  10. lize-mare March 17, 2012 at 11:48 pm #

    I informaly told my boss i wanted to go travelling about 3 months ago…i said i was going for a while and not how long but if he would considered taking me back if i was to go for a long time….i feel so much better having done it.. we have discussed dates and he has given me some great travel tips and hints! i thought about it first but yeah i realised i wouldnt have been able to keep my mouth shut to just give 2 weeks (as required in australia) Im leaving in about a 6 weeks im thinking its almost time to hand in the official notice! i think if they know you have an intention of coming back they are more open to you leaving… well in my case… its been handy… im not sure that i will be coming back but it doesnt burn any bridges i may need to desperately come back one day and i would like something to fall back on….. my goal is to travel for 8-12 months s

  11. Tony (LandingStanding) March 18, 2012 at 12:27 am #

    I am all for giving as early a notice as possible, but DEFINITELY tell your significant other… not telling would not have gone over well with my lovely wife!

  12. Jessalyn March 29, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    I think it depends mostly on your relationship with your boss and the company overall. If it’s an hourly wage job where you’re not irreplaceable and/or you and your boss are relatively indifferent to each other, I think the minimum is fine.

    That said, when I left my job to come to Australia for grad school, I gave my employer slightly more than a year’s notice! Granted, it was an exceptional situation: I was basically a one-woman department and would need to train my replacement myself. Plus, my housing situation turned into a minor disaster and I needed to ask if I could tele-work for the last half-year I was an employee (because if I couldn’t, I had to find a short-term lease in a city that hates them). Fortunately for me, I had a very good relationship with my employer and was a valued employee, so it worked out well for everyone – I was able to tele-work and kept working up until a month before I left, I hired and had several months to train a replacement, and we all parted on good terms.

    There’s just no one “right” way to go about it, I guess!

  13. Stig Jensen April 11, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    I told my boss 3 months in advance, because there is a 3 month resignation period. At this point I still have 2 months left (counting the days).

    By the way I like your site, working on making my own wordpress site…but it is ajungle of plugins and editing tools, and I don’t have a clue about programming 🙁


  1. Best travel articles — LandingStanding - March 17, 2012

    […] is the best time to tell your boss you are quitting? Brooke was not super happy that Patrick told his boss two months in advance, but you know my opinion. The earlier the better. […]

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