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Ask HN: How to look for a new job when you in a major project
5 points by DownlowOn on Feb 8, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments
I really want to move on from my current job (both for salary reasons and wanting to move to a different geographical locale). However, I'm in the midst of a major website redesign, which is due to be deployed this summer. So, two questions: 1. Is it ethical to leave my company in the meantime, as the main developer on this project? 2. Is there a way to look for a new job so that my current job doesn't know about this?



There'll always be something going on to keep you where you are.

Pursue what's in your own best interest. Some companies try to hang-on after you've given notice by trying to keep some level of commitment ... either part-time, or remote. I'd recommend against this as-well. Find your new place of employment, give notice, and have a clean-break at the end of your notice-period.


> Some companies try to hang-on after you've given notice by trying to keep some level of commitment ... either part-time, or remote.

I actually had the opposite experience both times I left FTE to consult. It was really great to have a first client that I didn't have to sell and who was ready to start using my services immediately.

However, if you are moving from one w2 job to another, I would follow uptown's advice and refuse to work for your prior employer. I don't think there's anything wrong with saying "sure, go ahead and ping me if you have the occasional question" because that is showing that you care for the employees still remaining, but don't take money for that. Not taking money means you can easily set boundaries and focus on your new work environment (where the first 90 days can make or break your experience).


I've seen many "main developers" terminated due to layoffs, restructuring, etc. Don't let the your importance to a project prevent you from restructuring your own life.


> 1. Is it ethical to leave my company in the meantime...

Assuming you don't have a specific contractual obligation to deliver a project, yes. A good professional practice is to give proper notice (up to 1 month). And a detailed, written transition plan handing-off your work off to colleagues. Plus, an offer to consult/assist after your departure.

> 2. Is there a way to look for a new job so that my current job doesn't know about this?

Handle any interview phone calls/emails off-premises, only on your personal device, and best done outside of normal business hours. Your lunch hour is fine.

Plan PTO in advance for in-person interviews/meetings. Try scheduling on Thursdays/Fridays and call it an extended weekend getaway mini-break.


This is sound advice.

Also, I would recommend that you take your time and be picky about your next job. It may well take you into the summer and completion of your current project.

When I left my last job, I knew I was ready for probably a year beforehand. On the job, I wrapped up big projects, ensured my colleagues could work on everything that I had built, and mostly stuck to smaller projects and bugfix/maintenance sort of work. (It helped that I had a lot of antonomy in choosing my work.)

On the side, I spent time rebuilding my personal website/portfolio and creating/contributing to a few open source projects in areas I wanted to pursue. I applied to a few specific companies, but my next job actually came from an in-house recruiter who was impressed with my portfolio. I've been very happy so far.


Assuming that you're in the US, you're probably an at-will employee. This means that the company can fire you at any time, without any notice. Remember this, and treat the company the same way. If the company actually needs you, they can easily create a contract requiring you to stay and complete the project - for which you'd get something in return. They chose not to, so it's their problem, they should have planned for this.

You can often do phone interviews by pretending to have a doctor's appointment in the morning and doing them from home. If you can't get all the way to a job offer remotely, you'll probably end up taking days off for on-site interviews, since you'd need to travel to the other geographic locale.


1. Yes.

2. Yes. Keep it quiet and on personal time/email.




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