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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Going Beyond the 2 Week Notice? 252

Posted by Cliff
from the strung-along-by-old-job dept.
rovingeyes asks: "Immediately after graduating about two and a half years ago, I joined a local website design and hosting company that was looking for software developers. But soon disaster struck. The chief developer/systems administrator left the company soon after I joined and after a month of his leaving another developer quit, which meant that I was the only developer left in the company. Now for almost 2 years I have been taking care of pretty much everything from systems administration to end-user technical support to development. And after a long time I realized that the growth potential in this company is pretty limited. So I decided to look for other jobs and immediately got multiple offers. Now my boss wants 6 weeks notice plus on call service for another 3 months at subsidized rates. Is my boss being reasonable?"
"Since I am the only developer in the company, I thought giving a 4 week notice instead of 2 would be reasonable, but this happened. Another requirement he added was the need that I be on-call if any disaster strikes with the server infrastructure. Now this is my first real job ever and I don't know how to respond to it. I normally don't outsource, even though the money is good, because I don't want to compromise my current duties. My boss knows this.

Thus this question to my fellow Slashdot readers: Is my boss being reasonable? I can understand his view point of losing the only developer/systems administrator in the company. But I don't think I am bound by any law that I should provide those kinds of services (since we have no contract in place). Should I negotiate or just ignore them? Is a burnt bridge worth it?"
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Going Beyond the 2 Week Notice?

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  • Are you mad? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cjsnell (5825) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:42PM (#12017569) Journal

    You don't owe your employer anything. Two weeks notice is being reasonable. Four weeks notice is being professional. Anything beyond that is uncalled for unless your employer has been really nice to you over the years.

    Tell this guy to take his "subsidized rates" and shove 'em.
    • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:59PM (#12017744) Homepage
      2 weeks would be acceptable, 4 weeks is about right, especially since this is a startup and you have been crucial. Then again, it doesn't sound as if he's really treated you as a key person.

      As to his expectations, he's trying to cover his fanny for being stupid enough to run this way. He should never have had you as the sole techie., or if he did, he should have been working on golden handcuffs. (Even there, he's gotta have a backup plan. What if you got hit by a tiny comet?)

      I'd ask myself a couple of questions at this point.

      1) How has he treated me overall?
      2) What do I want at this point-- extra work and money, or to get on with life and have some free time?

      Those should help you decide what to do.

      Personally, I would not be likely to do what he asks, even if the boss was my best friend, unless the compensation was very, very good.

      And as other have said. don't sign anything!
      • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Informative)

        by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:41PM (#12018165)
        The above post says about 90% of what you need to know. They had at least 3 people (you, the head dev, and the other guy), lost one, kept going, lost another, kept going, and suddenly you're doing the work of at least 3 people. Oh, boy I bet the boss was happy! He paid you 1x for 3x the work! He took advantage of you for a good long while.

        So it's his fault. He did not plan ahead. No employee is forever, and by keeping only one developer on, he made you indespensable. If he had treated you like you were indespensable, you would have better working conditions and better pay.

        He looked out for himself by working you as hard as he could and not hiring anyone to work with you. Now it's time for you to look out for yourself. He can ask for all he wants. He's just covering his ass and I don't blame him for it. That doesn't mean you have to give it to him. He should be down on his knees thanking God you are willing to give him more than 2 weeks, or that you didn't just walk out on him.
    • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DShard (159067) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:02PM (#12017785)
      I disagree, two weeks notice is a professional curtesy and four weeks means your a doormat. It is, quite frankly, entirely the former employers problem. The lack of foresight and employee concern this boss seems to portray is indicative of what most likely mean a dead company.

      to the poster:
      You never want to work there or for that boss again, so go nuts with it. Tell them to eat you. They did the same thing during your time there and with this request. If you already have other things lined out don't even give the boss two weeks (unless you have accrued vacation, then take that for pay). If they say anything other than "rehirable" to a future employer sue them (hehe, ok that may be going overboard.)

      I have been in a similar situation and as long as you have something lined up, the rest doesn't matter.

      More important than bending over and taking it is not to complain about it at your next job. The last thing new management/coworkers want to hear about is how crappy your last boss was. It makes you look bad and not them.
      • Re:Are you mad? (Score:2, Insightful)

        by itwerx (165526)
        Disregard the parent. The IT industry is as incestuous as any other and burned bridges *will* come back to haunt you.
        As for the notice, I've given as much as six months (for bosses I liked :). I've never, ever quit with less than two weeks though, even working with what turned out to be complete idiots/assholes.
        As for the subsidized on-call, that just depends on how much free time you'll have and if you feel like doing it or not. (Also depends on what exactly "subsidized" means?!?)
        • Re:Are you mad? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by itwerx (165526) <itwerx@gmail.com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:31PM (#12018053) Homepage
          As a follow-up to the on-call, get it all in writing in case it becomes a legal matter! Also make them sign some kind of waiver etc. Finally, since it is on-call, in addition to whatever you decide to charge them you might also consider a retainer. Finally, since they seem to like you so much and it doesn't sound like you really hate them you could think about doing a longer term support contract (charging enough to make it worth your while of course! :).
          • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TheWanderingHermit (513872) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:00PM (#12018334)
            Not only get the on-call stuff in writing (if you decide to do it at all), but also make it clear to them (and make sure this is in writing), that your new job takes priority, so you are not available when you are at the new job, whether it's regular hours, overtime, or even on-call time. Also make it clear if this old boss pages you, and while working on their systems, you get paged by the new company, that the new company takes priority.
        • Re:Are you mad? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DShard (159067)
          Disregard the parent.

          Nice... a page right out of "How to make friends and influence people".

          The IT industry is as incestuous as any other and burned bridges *will* come back to haunt you.

          I've given as much as six months


          As nice as it is to wear foil hats, at some point you just have to admit you have a fetish. A lack of backbone is great in a lackey but is horrid any step further up the corporate ladder.
          • Re:Are you mad? (Score:2, Offtopic)

            by lscoughlin (71054)
            Being a dick, and being a vertebrate, are not equitable.

            It's a shame more people don't realize that.

            It's a shame that people who don't realize that try to advise others to be a dick in the and call it "having backbone".

            It is mildly amusing though.
            • Re:Are you mad? (Score:3, Insightful)

              I don't see how refusing an onerous demand made by someone who lacked the foresight to plan for this eventuality makes you a "dick." It sounds to me like it's been a one-sided relationship for quite a while; the abuse has to end somewhere. It would be exceedingly nice of the OP to do more than four weeks. Being "on call" at "subsidized rates" is just the boss trying to take advantage of him.
        • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by iocat (572367) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @11:15PM (#12019990) Homepage Journal
          My old company had this awesome deal... Although it was California and "at will employment" (meaning either party could terminate the work agreement at any time, for any reason, with no notice required), they had a policy of two-weeks per year notice. If you'd been there three years, they'd expect six-weeks notice, and if they canned you or laid you off, policy was to pay you six-weeks severence.

          They lived up to their end, even during rough times, so most employees lived up to theirs, even though none of it was enforceable.

          Ultimately, a lot of it depends on what the new place wants. If they want you in four weeks, that's where your loyalty lies now, not to your old boss.

      • Re:Are you mad? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Nos. (179609) <`ac.srrekeht' `ta' `werdna'> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @09:45PM (#12019284) Homepage

        Everytime I've changed jobs when offered the new position, they ask when I can start. My answer is usually the same. I would prefer to give my current employer at least two weeks notice. If I was in the middle of a bigger project, I might ask for a longer time before my start date if my employer deserved it. I worked for a small webhosting company for a year. I built a brand new control panel to fit their... unique environment. I helped build an automated billing system (billing had been done manually until that point). After 1 year, during my "review" they had no complaints about me. I asked for a raise. They said they didn't see me getting a raise for the forseeable future as I was the highest paid employee at the time (just over 50K/year) which was less than I had made previous to taking this job. Luckily I was on a leave of absence from my previous position. I informed them I would be returning in two weeks and game my notice to the web hosting company.

        The brought in a new guy to take over the work I was doing and I trained him as much as I could in the time available. They asked if they could call me at work if they had problems. I said no. My employer was not paying me to handle your problems. They asked if they could call/email me after regular hours. I said sure, but that by contacting me they were agreeing to a $250/hour consulting rate, minimum 3 hours with no guarantee on resolution of the issue.

        Never did hear from them. Did I burn a bridge? Probably. Do I regret it? No. I will not be taken advantage of. If a company refuses to recognize my contribution in any meaningful way, and then asks for my help afterwards with little or no compensation, I'm not going to bend over for them.

    • Tell this guy to take his "subsidized rates" and shove 'em.

      This is the part that has me scratching my head. This boss is either an incredible idiot, or there's some factor we don't know about. He's just not in any position to make that kind of demand unless there's some kind of employment contract in play.

      If there is such a contract, the guy needs a labor lawyer, stat. But if the boss's logic is "I need this, therefore you owe it to me," the obvious answer is, "Fuck you. It's two weeks notice and I'm ou

    • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by egarland (120202) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:15PM (#12018470)
      Two weeks notice is being reasonable. Four weeks notice is being professional.

      Actually, four weeks may be unprofessional depending on the needs of your new employer. The first few weeks and months at a new job are critical to making a good impression. Not being there is lousy way to make a good impression. It will likely cost you oportunity in your new job so make sure your old employer makes it worth your while.

      Now my boss wants 6 weeks notice plus on call service for another 3 months at subsidized rates.

      6 weeks is totally unreasonable. The good news is, you are holding all the cards here. They want something from you, you want nothing from them. Absolutely support them however much they want, but the proper payment for work like this is triple your full time rate. It keeps you motivated to help and them motivated to get someone else and not treat you like a doormat. If you need the money, they may be able to bargain you down a bit but remember, every amount of time you help them is time you are making a bad impression at your new job. Make sure its well worth it for both of you or just don't do it at all.
      • Re:Are you mad? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by einTier (33752) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @10:32PM (#12019685)
        From other friends I've had in the same position and from my experience, two weeks notice is plenty unless there's some kind of extenuating circumstance -- but typically your new job won't want to wait two weeks, much less four. They have needs to fill as well (that's why they're hiring), and can't wait forever.

        Any time spent after that is typically billed at double pay and is subject to your availibility. If they need you to talk the new programmer through some stuff, they can certainly get you, but it will cost them. If they have an emergency that only you can fix, they'd better hope it's when you can attend to it. I've even had friends negotiate quadruple time (from the original rate) for anything after 1am and holidays.

        This will make them think twice about calling you for something frivolous, and it gives you a good incentive to go back and help them. It will also keep them from doing this stupid shit again. If you're going to run with an indispensible employee, then you'd better have some contingency plans for when they leave -- and you'd better treat them like they are indespensible, happy employees don't go looking for work.

        Bottom line, and others have said it, this guy fucked up. Now he wants you to cover his fuckup and do it on the cheap. You're under no obligation to do so. If he was a decent employer I'd certainly give him enough notice to find a new employee and get some knowledge transfer and I'd leave him with plenty of documentation on how to run things in your absence. What I wouldn't do is give him so much time that it puts my new job in jeopardy or give him extra time at anything below ordinary contractor rates. You're under no obligation to do anything other than say, "here's my two weeks notice."

    • Re:Are you mad? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @09:01PM (#12018808) Homepage
      Tell this guy to take his "subsidized rates" and shove 'em.

      Tell this guy to take his "subsidized rates" and raise'em. You're the only developer, so you're the only one who knows how their system works. That makes you extremely valuable, at least in the short term.

      Dirt-cheap on call computer support (like me) is generally 50 dollars an hour. Good techies who know their stuff should be about 100. People who have extra special knowledge, like being the only person on the planet who knows how that server works, can easily get 200 or more.

      Your employer can't not let you go. They can't demand that you stay six weeks. The fact that they're so admant about keeping you for as long as possible should show you how much power you have in this situation.

      I'd say that if they've been great to you, of course be nice when leaving and maybe even do some light on-call stuff over the phone for free. But if they were being nice to you they wouldn't have tripled your workload... they would have hired people to replace the developers they lost.

      Of course, you could go another route. What are the chances that they would agree to letting you drop down to 20 hours per week at the same salary? It happened to a very close friend of mine, who suddenly had both the money and the time to enjoy her life. It could happen to you too.

    • Re:Are you mad? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbrutus (71639)
      I don't know, an independent rate of $500 an hour with a 20% discount seems fair...

      Explain to him that being the only developer, underpaid, at a startup was an abuse of the investors' money and that you're willing to keep quiet about that if he's willing to cut the crap. Indentured servitude went out with the 14th amendment and you already have your next job.

      I've been threatened by a boss before when I left. The threat caused me to stop work right then and there and leave to start the next job I had alrea
  • by bconway (63464) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:43PM (#12017588) Homepage
    You never mentioned being under contract, so I'll assume you aren't. That being said, this is business, you owe your old company nothing, and it owes you nothing. They could fire you at any point for any (non-illegal) reason, and you can quit at any time. Two weeks is a _courtesy_ you are giving the company, when you are required to give none. Settle for anything more and you're being duped.
    • by nocomment (239368) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:53PM (#12017685) Homepage Journal
      He actually did mention that he is _not_ under contract. I think it's unreasonable for a boss to say that 6 weeks is a "requirement". I think the asker is screwed anyway, and the bridge is burned. Get out of there and don't look back. I have a lot of bosses who would give me a bad reference simply because I moved on. If you found a new job, ask the new job when they need you and tell your boss the requirements of the new job. Most employers understand the 2 week courtesy and will let you start after a couple weeks to tie things up at your new job. Slightly offtopic: I had a boss once who refused to talk to me or even look at me after I put in my two weeks. That was really uncomfortable. If it's a situation like that just bail.
      • by DustMagnet (453493) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:17PM (#12017907) Journal
        I have a lot of bosses who would give me a bad reference simply because I moved on.

        I know you're on my foe list, but this isn't personal, I promise.

        I find your statement very strange. I've never seen a single bad reference (I hear most people fear giving a bad references for legal reasons). If you've had multiple previous bosses trash you, maybe there is something wrong with you?

        Like I said, I'm not trying to make this a personal attack, but I've just never heard of someone with multiple bad references.

        It makes me think of something I read in an AARP magazine (inlaw's, I hate AARP). It was an article about, "How do I know if I'm a bad driver." One thing on the list was, "Do people honk at you more than they used to."

        Please don't take this as an insult. I've read a number of your recent posts and can't see how you made it on my foe list other than the one that started with a lower case letter. Sorry, I'm a nut.

    • "Non-illegal?" Is that the same as "legal?"
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:44PM (#12017592) Homepage Journal
    ..that he just feels like. besides, what's he going to do if you don't do everything like he says? fire you?-)

    read your contract. check with your union(or some commie) friend what's legal and what's not. and if you really want to be a bitch.. tell him that you'll gladly consult him with problems for a 'nominal'(very high) fee afterwards.

  • by CarlinWithers (861335) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:47PM (#12017621)
    But it would be much better if you kept on his good side for the reference and ability to keep this as positive work experience on your resume.

    Use the fact that you are only legally required to give him 2 weeks notice and nothing else as leverage. Then offer him to do what you think is reasonable. Maybe that's only giving him 1 month notice if a new job doesn't give you freedom to be on call for him. Maybe that means being on call only at times you set. Or maybe you can just offer to train the next guy for a little while.

    Offer what you think you should be required to do after reminding your boss that you are not obliged to do anything. This might lower your bosses unreasonable expectations.

  • Simple answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tdemark (512406) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:47PM (#12017627) Homepage
    Now my boss wants 6 weeks notice plus on call service for another 3 months at subsidized rates. Is my boss being reasonable?

    No, he's not. Think about it, if they wanted to get rid of you would they give you 6 weeks notice?

    Give him two weeks.

    Anything beyond that should be charged per hour at the following rate:

    (Your yearly salary * 2) / 2080

    That's probably about 25-40% more than you cost them right now.

    Any hours outside of 9 - 5 are at double-time. Minimum 4 hour charge.

    - Tony
    • Good answer, but a bit generous.

      I'd go for 5*current salary for the 5th week, 6*current for the 6th week, etc. Make it all clear up front.

      You said that 2 tech folks left after you joined, and that you're pretty much working alone. That means they've been getting some amount of tech work done for 1/3rd what it was costing them before those other 2 left.
    • The parent is right. Set the rates for any post-FT work up front and for what *you* want. The parent's numbers are spot on (although I'd go with a 1-2 hour min).

      If you offered 4 weeks and they demanded 6, re-offer 4 firmly. If they hem or haw at all, drop it to 3 weeks, then 2, etc. Yes, a good reference will help you secure a better position, but at what cost? If you burn this bridge, the worst that they will be able to do is confirm start/end dates of employment and salary - it is *illegal* to badmouth
      • Re:Simple answer (Score:4, Informative)

        by xenocide2 (231786) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:34PM (#12018090) Homepage
        It is NOT illegal to badmouth you to prospective employers, in so much as their statements are generally true. However, it is recommended that you not say anything bad because it exposes the company to liabilities, should the court feels you've exaggerated or lied. Often individual owners or simply sour bosses will ignore this advice, and it's up to you to figure that out.

        So while it's not okay for former employers to spread lies about you so you never work in the town again, don't expect the law to cover up the fast that you've never been on time to work once, or that you were stealing more product than selling it.

  • Is my boss being reasonable?

    No. When you were hired you probably had the two-week clause which was applicable to you quitting or them firing. If your boss wanted to can you, he wouldn't give you 6 weeks notice and offer to send you reduced amounts of money for 3 months after.

    Be firm and polite, don't burn that bridge.
  • by esme (17526)

    Your boss is being completely unreasonable. I don't know where you are, and what your local laws are, but most states in the US are at will -- unless there is an explicit notice period in your job contract, you can walk away with zero notice.

    My first real job out of university ended much like yours. I was the only one left in the company who could maintain their servers, and do several other things. (I also got a 20% pay cut with worthless private stock, which is taxed like income, for the other 20%).

  • Explain all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danbond_98 (761308) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:50PM (#12017650)
    I think the best thing to do is sit down with him and explain why it is that you think 4 weeks is more than generous, and why he should expect to pay a premium not a subsidised rate if he requires services post that. While i can appreciate not wishing to burn a bridge, i think at some point you've got to say that the effort required to go past polite and accomidate his wishes is too great. There is no point in upsetting him, but he needs to understand that you are the one with all of the aces in this situation.
    • The flip side to this is that your new employer might not take kindly to pushing back the start date too much. I'm only marginally willing to let a new hire wait 4 weeks before starting; if they want that long, there is a good chance they might be fishing.

      When people come off as fishing, you worry that they won't stay at your job long, are just looking for a raise, or might be difficult to work with.

      It isn't fair, since on the other side of the fence I would want 2 months notice before someone quits (th
  • Kids these days... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hoggoth (414195) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:52PM (#12017676) Journal
    Are you serious?

    All of this stress going through your head will dissapear about 15 minutes after your final day on this job ends. You know why? Because you DON'T WORK THERE ANYMORE and don't have to do anything they ask anymore.

    He can't even make you stay longer than 2 weeks, unless you signed something to the contrary when you joined.

    If you are interested in keeping him as a consulting client after you leave (although your message sounds like you'd rather NOT), then negotiate with him. Tell him you want to give two weeks notice, but will meet him in the middle and give him 4 in consideration of the fact that you will be doing consulting for him.

    Remember, after you walk out that door, your energy, commitment, enthusiasm, and mind will be on your NEW JOB, not this old one.

    I had a terrible job once (paid well though) that had me on beeper duty all times of day and night and weekends. I could have been an obstetrician if I had wanted that. On my final day there after my two weeks was up, my boss became irate with me because I wouldn't stay late my last Friday night there. I explained I was sorry that he had to stay late, but I didn't work there anymore. I wasn't being paid to be there. And then I left at 5pm for the first time in 2 years.

  • Although it is possible where you live there are different laws, most places make it so that you can't even contract out of a 2 or 3 week notice period -- otherwise it becomes too easy to create nearly indentured slavery type positions. Basically the only thing you risk is as you said: burning bridges.

    If you don't need his reference, and the new position you wish to take it is that much better , I suggest you give your notice and go...

    I usually at least do my best to spend those last few weeks documentin
  • He's nuts (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Skalizar (676291)
    Unless you signed something to the contrary (and even then its probably not enforceable (IANAL)), you can quit with no notice at all. Anything beyond that is negotiable, for the right price. It's hard to tell from the brief description, but it sounds like he was willing to let you keep working yourself to death and pocketing the savings by not hiring and training someone else. Very short sighted on his part now that you're leaving him high and dry. I'd tell him that if he needs you after you're gone, co
  • Sucker (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DustMagnet (453493)
    Your boss is very reasonable. I mean he knows he's had you suckered for two years and figures he may as well get what he can out of you. This guy is not your friend. You might think he is, but it's clear he's been paying well below market rate for years. Why do you think he lost those other people? Now he's trying to guilt you into giving him something for nothing.

    You're in charge now. If you want to work with him, fine, but do it from the position of power you have. You don't need him. He needs y

  • This is the sort of thing that gets agreed on when you take the job. What notice period is specified in your contract? Anything longer than that is not reasonable. If there isn't one specified in your contract, usually 4 weeks seems to be common/reasonable.
  • Two weeks notice is for Joe Schmoe Employee. If you're a true professional and you're not leaving under negative circumstances you do more. When I left my employer of 15+ years* (I had been with them since I was 19 and in college) I gave them notice about 20 minutes after I accepted my new position. That was a bit over four weeks notice and I busted my hump to get all my project work up to date. When I left I was ahead of every one of my counterparts within the company from a "caught up" standpoint. I
  • Unless you have a contract that stipulates that you do and even then probably not. Often companies offer generous severance to people that they terminate to get them to complete certain assignments (assisting with completion of a merger for instance). That's a different situation. I've never heard of someone being compelled to stay, at reduced rates no less, when they are quitting.

    The company cheaped out. They paid you less than your market rate and they didn't hire sufficient backup. Then they insulted y

  • by legLess (127550) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:59PM (#12017746) Journal
    Now my boss wants 6 weeks notice plus on call service for another 3 months at subsidized rates. Is my boss being reasonable?"
    As my dad used to say, "People in hell want ice water." Your boss has been taking advantage of you for two years, and he's trying to keep doing it.
    Another requirement he added was the need that I be on-call if any disaster strikes with the server infrastructure.
    "Requirement??" Unless you signed a contract allowing him to place arbitrary restrictions on your freedom (and, frankly, even then) he's in no place to require anything. "Ask politely while blowing money at you with a fire hose," maybe, but certainly not "require."
    Should I negotiate or just ignore them? Is a burnt bridge worth it?"
    If you do negotiate, remembe that when you leave it's his ass on the line, not yours. How much is his ass worth to him?

    Personally I'd stick with two weeks and let him sink. Your offer of four weeks was very generous; you're not required to give him 5 minutes. His evil attempts to muscle you into doing something that is not in your best interests, or the interests of your new employer, should be repaid with a firm and polite, "I believe two weeks is customary. Best of luck finding someone new."
  • They can't make you do jack. You can leave tomorrow with now warning, just don't come back.

    However, sounds like you have a great opportunity to make some money. Figure out how much you're willing to suffer and then make them an offer.

    You'll be "on call" and will do other work for them in your off time at $75/hr. If they don't like it, shrug, smile, and say "Best of luck to ya. Oh, and it's 80/hr tomorrow. 75 was a one time only offer." Now get up and leave.

    Bet they stop you on the way out or call
  • by theantix (466036) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @06:59PM (#12017751) Journal
    After all, it's his job to make things go smoothly after your depart -- why not try to cajole or guilt you into staying as long as possible? What isn't reasonable though is for you to fall for that -- give him the two weeks you are required to, and after that it's none of his business what you do.
  • It sounds like the company will probably tank if you leave on short notice. Unless you've documented everything extremely well.

    Unless there's something you haven't mentioned, your boss has no legal recourse, so you're basicly free to do whatever. But do you really want to fuck him? Thats up to you I guess.

    If I were you, I would stay long enough to hire and train a replacement. I would offer to consult AT MY CONVENIENCE at the going rate for the area. I wouldn't make any promises, however.

  • Once you decide on your new employer they are going to be putting pressure on you to start sooneer rather than later, plus you are probably going to want to make a good first impression, put in some extra hours learning your new job, etc.

    The last thing you want is some old job hanging over you while this is going on. Give your old boss 1 week notice, take a week off and start your new position refreshed.

  • Now my boss wants 6 weeks notice plus on call service for another 3 months at subsidized rates. Is my boss being reasonable?

    It's perfectly reasonable to want something. It's also perfectly reasonable for you to say no.

    But I don't think I am bound by any law that I should provide those kinds of services (since we have no contract in place).

    In most states you don't even owe any notice by law, but two weeks is kind of the unwritten rule in any case.

    Should I negotiate or just ignore them? Is a burnt b

  • Hire a goddamned lawyer, unless you want to end up contractually obligated to work for minimum wage w/ no overtime...
  • by macdaddy357 (582412) <macdaddy357@hotmail.com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:04PM (#12017803)
    Unless you signed a contract obliging you to give in to your bosses outrageous demands, don't do it. People in hell want ice water, that doesn't mean they are entitled to it. Give him two weeks, and if he gives you further grief, walk.
  • Its no wonder the rest of the people left ship. By failing to replace lost talent and placing more burden on you, they've shot themselves in the foot. Certainly, there is an expected amount of bad feelings that will be present at the end of any relationship like this. You've tried being reasonable about the transition, and he wants more.

    Briefly, size up the situation. Your employment is as will. You've got a new gig lined up, and no obligation to fulfill the duties when you quit. Other things to consider i
  • Get out (Score:4, Insightful)

    by crmartin (98227) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:08PM (#12017842)
    What he's asking for is indentured servitude, and the reason he thinks he can get away with it is he thinks he can guilt you into it.

    Give him two weeks notice. Period. Don't worry about burning bridges, as you don't want to work for this clown anyway.
  • Don't do it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by miyako (632510) <miyako&gmail,com> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:09PM (#12017851) Homepage Journal
    6 weeks notice seems really unreasonable to me, 4 weeks is even a bit long, but if you feel comfortable with it, then there is really no problem. I would suggest giving 2 weeks notice, and offer to come in on a certain day or the next 2 weeks to help interview your replacement.
    As for having them be able to call you in to fix anything that might go wrong, don't do it.
    Just as an example of what can go wrong, a friend of mine got a job at an upstart company about a year and a half ago, and basically built their entire IT infrastructure. When the company started doing really well, the owner started making some really bad decisions, and my friend decided to get out before the entire company collapsed. Anyway, the owner asked her to do something similar, and she agreed.
    Not too long after that, they called her and wanted to know if she could make some minor changes to their file server (IIRC it was just changing some permissions). Anyway, she went in over the next couple of weeks for minor things, and never was paid for her time, she'd basically just assumed that checks were in the mail. A few months later and she'd found another job, and had cut her losses from the old company, and hadn't heard from them again, when the owner called demanding that she come make changes to their website. She basically said that she wasn't going to because it had been about 3 months since she'd quit, and had no obligation to come in, and their current IT person could do it. Well after some pestering she agreed to come in and do it, saying that she wanted paid that day. She went in and made some changes to their site, and once again the guy tried to get out of paying her. After this she decided to just take the guy to court to get the money that he owed her, and he turned around and tried to counter-sue her, saying that she'd intentionally messed stuff up in order to get called back in and charge them more money.
    Although she did end up winning, and the guy had to pay all the court costs, it ended up being a big pain.
    From the way you say your boss wants you to come in and be willing to do work "on the cheap" and want's you to give such a long notice, it may be possible he too is expecting to basically not higher someone else and outsource all the work to you for free.
  • by xoboots (683791) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:12PM (#12017870) Journal
    Your boss is being unreasonable. 4 weeks is plenty generous on your part. Explain to him that he had 2 1/2 years to remedy the situation and that 2 more weeks isn't going to make a difference. Explain to him that if he wants support, it will have to be on your terms and at your rates and on the condition that it does not interefere with new contracts/jobs. Be professional about it, but partly that means presenting yourself as your own entity and not his personal minion. He needn't take you up on your proposal, but that is his choice.

    He has never "owned you" and I am assuming that over the time you were employed there that you acted responsibility and did what was asked (ie. you earned your paychecks). He has no right to demand more from you, particularly once you are no longer an employee.

    It is difficult when you are the go-to-guy in a small outfit where you likely have a very personal relationship with your boss. Your leaving may very well jeopordize his business so he can take it personally, but then again, his business is his responsibility, not yours. Don't be surprised if you are suddenly offered down-the-road equity or other future incentives. You may decide that such offers are in your benefit, but beware and think carefully. They can also be more of the string-you-along type of offers and if you are already in a business relationship where you have the weak hand then it is very difficult to change that.

    Consider what would happen if the company suddenly went bust -- likely you would get shown the door, any outstanding owed wages and accumulated vacation pay and that's it.

    I know its tough because it involves a personal relationship but there comes a time when you have to think of yourself first. Your boss is obviously doing that on his part, you must do it on yours.

    Good luck!
  • by drix (4602) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:19PM (#12017930) Homepage
    I am surprised at the number of people offering up the predictable "Dude, fuckim'" response. Maybe it's because I'm an economist and not a computer scientist, but I see considerable opportunity for you to gain from this situation without really burning any bridges. The fact that your boss is so demanding suggests your skills and business-specific knowledge are of considerable value to the company--well in excess of what you are being paid, since if not he would simply hire someone else at the going rate. You are in a very strong position to dictate terms. Counteroffer his "subsidized rates" nonsense with a quote for 3-4 times what you make on an hourly, pro-rata basis. Clearly, they already know you've got them by the balls, and my hunch is it would still make good economic sense to pony up. If he balks, you are released from further obligation.

    In my estimation, this approach will lead to less recrimination than if you simply left them hanging. Their response clearly illustrates that you are undercompensated, and coming in with a high demand is really no more than a request that you be valued fairly. They know this, and will blame themselves, not you, if things fall through.
    • Heh. This is, of course, a variation on the "dude, fuckim" response :)

      I agree with your assessment, though; instead of just saying "up yours, fool!" and walking, firmly grab hold of the "hourly rate" dial and crank it ever-upwards until just before the boss' purse strings snap closed.
  • Unless you are getting a TON of money for it no way. If he wants to keep you there then he should shower you with perks and cash. I would say you are getter off leaving. Two weeks is what I consider the minimum. Four weeks is you being very nice.
  • by failedlogic (627314) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:23PM (#12017960)
    You mentionned getting other job offers. Get this "demand" of your boss in writing (the 6 weeks + on call stuff). I assume that this was never part of any contract you signed with the company.

    The reason: when you go for the other job, they'll most likely ask for references. There is nothing worse than getting a bad reference, especially from your last employer. If he decides to say you left with little or no notice, you can show the new company that you gave two weeks which was plently, and his "real" demands were completely unreasonable.

    • mod parent I up. In a similar situation, I opted to burn bridges, because I would not have trusted my boss' references anyway. In my case, his reputation preceeded him and it was a "plus" in some interviews that I had tolerated him as long as I did. Would still do it again, but it would have been even better if I'd had documentation of his unreasonableness.
  • The previous poster mentioning haggling is correct. He says 'jump' and you say 'not that high, and it will cost this much.' At my company (another long-term IT guy, 14 years @ same place) we always ask folks for more time, but we understand that sometimes we will get it, and sometimes we wont't (we even use some extra perks , if it will help), but we don't do anything nasty if they say no. We also try and limit the consulting fees with the understanding that the employee is in the catbird seat.

    Some folk
  • How much notice would they give you if they laid you off? That's a good maximum for notice.

    Unfortuantely, your boss is being egregiously stupid in insisting on later obligations, and you'd get get out of there and avoid all future work for him. Minimize contact. Unreasonable people seldom improve.

  • That is rediculous. Two weeks is the professional standard. If you have another opportunity you want to take then give your two weeks notice and take it. If they want to hire you back for part time support then they damn well better do it on your terms. It isn't your fault they put to much of a burden on you and are up a creek without a paddle if you leave.
  • I can understand you wanting to ensure a professional transition and part amicably. But it takes two to Tango. Your boss doesn't seem very reasonable (subsidized callback rates?) and he's torching the bridge. Sometimes you can negotiate. Sometimes not. You'd know him better than any of us.

  • You're all he's got. And you could tell him that he's not in the best position to make such a demand. Without you, he'd be up the creek without a paddle. Maybe he needs to miss your presence for a while. That should make him appreciate you. Everything you've been doing has been taken for granted when you consider your situation.
    To go that long without finding someone to help you is fool-hearty. Honestly, I don't see how your boss couldn't have seen this coming, unless he truly believed that you would stay.
  • by Shag (3737) * on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @07:57PM (#12018307) Homepage
    1. He can do whatever he's been doing, which obviously is going to cost him his only developer, which might very well mean the company goes under.

    2. He can let you go, but make an arrangement with you (and this does not mean him demanding things - as #1 above illustrates, he is in no position to negotiate) for you to provide some sort of continuing support on a consulting/contract basis.

    3. He can do a total about face and actually do what he should have done in the first place - maintain appropriate staffing levels instead of "saving heaps of money" by making one person do everything. I don't know whether he can afford this or not.

    If I were in your boss's shoes, and could afford it, I'd probably be looking at doing #3 and asking you to manage it (at, of course, a higher salary), since I (as him) obviously couldn't find my ass in a dark closet, business-wise, and you obviously can.
  • Firstly, what does your employment contract say?

    In truth, you should stick to whatever your contract says, unless you have good reason not to.

    The consensus here seems to say two weeks is normal, but every job I've ever seen has had a four week termination period in the contract. Perhaps the norms are different here, but in any case, I would say that four weeks is reasonable, especially given that you have a key role.

    Much more than four weeks is much less reasonable, because it can affect your chances of
  • Whatever you do, sign a contract for your last X weeks and get a documented pay rate for any work you do after that, and make sure that it notes that taking the work is at your discretion.

    You've already implied that your boss is unreasonable/inconsiderate. Would you put it past them to fire you as soon as they find your replacement? (with 4-weeks notice, not terribly unlikely). Would you put it past them to pay you at a lower rate for on-call work, assuming you accept it? Have it documented, have them sig
  • Legally.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chewedtoothpick (564184) <chewedtoothpick@ ... m ['hot' in gap]> on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:05PM (#12018377)
    He cannot require more than 2 weeks notice if you are in California... It is illegal. That is of course unless otherwise stated in some employment contract (written of course.) I have had to deal with this many times, and every time someone has tried to pull that on me, I gave them ONLY the two week notice instead of any of the extra notice / help I had originally offered...
  • First - what everybody else has said.

    Second - If your boss fights you, threatens you, or tries to intimidate you, you have the option to just leave.

    The thing a lot of bosses will try with younger employees is pulling the parent card. "You'll be in big trouble if you don't do what I say." Like what kind of trouble? Can he make the other company fire you? Make you somehow come back in to work for him? I think not. Since you've already got a new job lined up, there's not a damned thing under the su

  • by kponto (821962) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:06PM (#12018387) Homepage

    Your boss sounds like an ass. Like many people have said, you're not "required" to do jack, and two weeks is a courtesy. As far as being "on-call" when you don't work there, that's called being an Outside Consultant, which usually requires a sizable retainer to cover your enormous hourly rates. Though in this scenario, I'd probably do everything in my power to avoid contact with this company in the future; some accounts just aren't worth the headache.

    However, I would definitely stick with the four weeks, since that's what you offered to begin with. Plus, as a added benefit, if you make it known at your new job that you're giving your old job four weeks instead of two, it'll display you in a very good light to your new employers.

  • You ought to tell your boss that he needs to hire one or more developers ASAP so you can get them properly acquainted with the codebase. Apart from that, 4 weeks notice is more than generous, and you should demand a high rate for any kind of further support; after all, it could potentially damage your ability to work for your new employer.
    • I should also mention that, if he were that concerned about uptime, he should've hired an assistant for you a long time ago. What would've happened to his business if you'd gotten ill or were otherwise indisposed? You're going to need to be firm with him because I think he's taking advantage of you.
  • I have never seen anybody who was worth a damn a week after giving notice. As the psychological separation takes place, it gets harder and harder (even for folks with the best of intentions) to get much done.

    What your boss should be having you do is document the crap out of everything, and then sweet talking you into accepting calls from whoever replaces you.

    Even then, memory fades. You get into your new job and the details of the old job get harder to recall.

    You owe your new boss your full intellectua


  • At least here in Texas, we're an "at will" state, which means that generally employment is "at will" by both parties. You can quit or they can fire you, with no good reason, at any time. Two weeks notice on the employee's part is considered good manners and taste, much like severance or a few weeks pay in some form are usually good manners if you let someone go suddenly and they didn't do something bad to deserve it.

    But it's all a matter of manners, not requirements. If they've screwed you over in gener
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:37PM (#12018639)
    Your current employer is trying to walk all over you.
    Do not allow them to.

    Here's what is reasonable for a professional:
    1) Two weeks notice

    That's it. NOTHING more.

    If you want to do more for them, then treat it like a brand new business arrangement, everything is on the table and you should not hesitate to take as much of it as you can.

    That means, that under no circumstances, would a professional EVER give away their time for LESS than they were being compensated for before. To do so is to open yourself up to all kinds of continuing employment abuse. Do not, in any way, allow any sort of feelings of guilt or the like manipulate you into discounting your worth. Apparently they NEED you and in business that translates into paying MORE, not less.

    Go to the RealRates forum [realrates.com] for sage advice from experienced contractors on how to handle this former employer's needs without letting him take advantage of you.

    PS, that your former boss would demand these things of you suggests that you've been mistreated all along and probably didn't realize it (I bet you were vastly underpaid and probably more than a little overworked). A stand-up guy would try to negotiate fairly, but he is clearly NOT doing that, instead is trying to manipulate you. That means the gloves are off and HE took them off, do not feel bad about playing hardball yourself, he started it after all.
  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:42PM (#12018674) Homepage
    Your employer should have been preparing for this possibility a long time ago. He should have known how thoroughly your departure could screw up his business, and made sure that somebody else knew how to do everything you've been doing.

    Your obligations here are minimal. Legally, you could be a complete twerp about it, walk off, and not return his calls. It sounds like you're being quite fair, and are fulfilling any ethical responsibilities you may have.

    The flip side is, this is the guy's company. Your departure may lead to a string of disasters that could kill it off entirely. The big question is, is there enough bad blood between you and the company that you wouldn't mind letting your boss suffer for his mistakes? If so, I don't see any reason to let your relationship continue beyond the four weeks you outlined earlier. Maybe less, if your boss's counter-offer was galling enough.

    But if you like and respect your former employer, do them a favor and be willing to negotiate some price at which you'll come back in and save their butts from certain doom. "Subsidized" is unreasonable. You have a right to not be taken advantage of, and a responsibility to make it clear that you won't be around forever. I would start with double your current hourly rate after your four weeks is up, and increment every week.

    By the end of the fifth week, charge three times your old rate, and four times by the end of the sixth week. As your replacement (replacements, if your boss has learned anything from this experience) adapts to his new environment, their need for you will dwindle even as your rates increase. At some point, it's just not worth it for them to call you anymore.

    For your remaining time, start documenting procedures, settings, and for godssake comment that rats nest of code! Good luck in your new job.
    • The flip side is, this is the guy's company. Your departure may lead to a string of disasters that could kill it off entirely. The big question is, is there enough bad blood between you and the company that you wouldn't mind letting your boss suffer for his mistakes? If so, I don't see any reason to let your relationship continue beyond the four weeks you outlined earlier. Maybe less, if your boss's counter-offer was galling enough.

      I'm sick of seeing companies (especially small ones) bring on green I.T. g
  • by Txiasaeia (581598) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @08:43PM (#12018687)
    Does your boss read slashdot? Was this an underhanded way of getting the message across ;)

    Anyway. I'd suggest taking the average compensation of all the posts mentioned thus far, dropping it by a bit, and then emailing your boss the URL for this story. He'll see that you're being more than reasonable (and that he's an ass), and you'll likely get what you want. *OR*, he'll fire you on the spot ;)

  • I've been in the IT business full time for 11 years. I've worked for some really rotten startups and for some nice ones, too. It sounds like they've taken you for granted all this time and never really prepared for the fact that you would leave at some point.

    You're not required in most states to give any notice at all. If you're in an at-will state, you could say "I quit" and walk out the door now. But that's not professional, nor courteous, and the damage this would do to your professional reputation
  • All the other comments seem to concentrate on the fact that this employee does not owe his employer the six weeks plus on-call, and they are right; but no one seems to be concentrating on what I see as the major point: the boss is desperate for this employee! My advice is to be really nice to the employer and leverage his needs to the employee's advantage:

    "Oh, absolutely, boss, I totally see where you are coming from. Unfortunately my new job starts in two weeks but I can be on call for the next six months
  • Everyone here has given you what I believe is bad advice. Let me tell you a few things I know to be good advice.

    1) Never burn your bridges. You never know who you'll cross paths with again.
    2) What goes around, comes around.
    3) Never confuse your coworkers for your friends.

    What does that mean? If you have the flexibility and they haven't treated you like shit - charge them your salary divided by 2080 (per hour) and stay. You're out the door. They can't say anything bad about you, and if one day, one of t
  • is to you new employer. Have a frank discussion with your new boss about what they think if the right thing. They will likely be able to see this from your old employer's perspective and come up with a compromise that works for them and gives as much as possible to help your old company.

    There may be conflicts of interest here, in which case you owe the interest to your new boss, but assuming not, giving them more control and being willing to just do whatever they think works best makes you look very good a

  • I had been working part time in a small software development company for a couple of years.

    Over that time most of the other employees had gone from working on our main product to be contracted out to other firms. In the end I was the only one left working on our software, and we had a beta of the next version finished.

    It was about January and I wanted to work out what I was doing for the next year. My boss told me that it would be pretty much the same as last year, which meant not enough money to live on
  • Several others have chimed in here with opinions and experience, but I want to add mine to the pile too.

    Several years ago, I was laid off amidst all the fun dot-com crash excitement. I was the office's senior systems administrator. Not five days after I was handed a cardboard box and a pink slip did one of my former coworkers call to ask me for some kind of administration/management advice.

    Now, I was given no notice that my job was ending. I was given a hefty severance that the company welched on (they

  • As others have pointed out, your employer would not give you 6 weeks notice if they wanted to fire you, so why should you do the same for them? 2 weeks is plenty. In this situation, giving 4 weeks notice was very profesional and generous, as they do not want to be without a tech guy. More than that is unnecessary. They knew the risk of only having 1 tech guy, and now it's going to bite them in the ass.

    In general, it's not a good idea to give lots of notice. I knew a guy who gave 6 month's notice, and
  • Simple - He gets 3-4 weeks, and you are willing to "consult" - pick a nice consultant rate - say, $100/hr, and say a 2-3 hr minimum. If he wants 'On call' consulting (aka 24x7 support) it's from the time the phone RINGS to the time you get home

  • by bluGill (862) on Tuesday March 22, 2005 @11:14PM (#12019981)

    Lots of good advice. I won't repeat it.

    What I would do though is give my email to your replacement. (not your boss, though he likely has it anyway, your replacement) Professional courtesy is to answer simple questions after he can't figure it out. Shouldn't happen often, more than 4 times and you should start thinking about billing rates. Once in a while though the next guy gets stuck and it is handy to be able to ask "Joe, do you remember how to simulate a critical over temperature test without damaging the parts?" or some other question that you just can't figure out.

    Your answer should be as complete as you can make it in a few minutes. Brain dump what you remember. Don't work too hard though. Don't spend more than a few minutes unless they are paying you.

    This is something you do, because sometime you will have to ask the guy you replaced. At least when he is alive - I know more than one critical person who died in the middle of a solo project. That is a different story though

  • by rfc1394 (155777) <Paul@paul-robinson.us> on Wednesday March 23, 2005 @06:36AM (#12021942) Homepage Journal
    If you have a contract (which I doubt) they owe you salary up till the end of the contract and you can't quit before it.

    If, as I suspect, your employment is "at will" meaning your employer can fire you without notice and you can quit without notice. You can bet your employer would not be offering to give you 6 weeks extra pay or other benefits if they terminated your employment.

    Unless they gave you some tremendous benefit at a time you needed it, or really did something nice for you when they could have squeezed you over it, never under any circumstances charge less. Since I suspect this has never happened, do not give them anything at a discount. No exceptions. In fact, you should charge more because it costs them less.

    You do not owe them any discount at all and it was unreasonable for them to ask for it. Doesn't mean they can't ask, but if they can't afford you they have no business running a computer system in the first place. They wouldn't be getting an employee to work at a discount, they shouldn't expect it of a consultant.

    If you want to be more than fair, mirror exactly what they offer you. If all you get out of them if you are fired is two weeks severence, then that's all the notice they should get. If they want you to work for them beyond your employment it should be at full pay or above since you're not their employee.

    In fact, since you are not their employee they shouldn't be getting a discount you should be charging them at least double to cover your overhead (you have to pay the full 14% Social Security, not just the 7% employee tax, you have to cover your own health care (the fact you may have it from another employer is irrelevant; it's still a cost they would have to pay if you were their employee and they are not paying yours), you have to carry your own disability insurance (again, it's a cost they're not paying that they would otherwise), and you have to pay your own pension plan contributions in addition to what would be company match). Also they aren't paying you for sitting around when you're not working for them, which means there's no overhead cost added, so even at twice your wages your cost to them as a consultant is less than that of an employee.

    There is absolutely no excuse for a company to be paying a former employee who is now a consultant less than at least twice his employee wages except an attempt by the company to cheat him by paying him as a non-employee less than he is worth as an employee. Which is ridiculous since even at twice the cost it's still less than the fully burdened cost of an employee, which is at least 2 1/2 times actual salary.

    Paul Robinson

I don't have any use for bodyguards, but I do have a specific use for two highly trained certified public accountants. -- Elvis Presley

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