I am a junior faculty member at a European university. Recently, I was requested to submit a research plan for the next few years, as is typically done with junior faculty members at this university, and I will be meeting with my department chair to discuss it.

However, I am planning to resign soon, to pursue a non-academic career. I have had a few job interviews in the last 2 weeks, and have more in the next couple of weeks. While some of the jobs that I interviewed for seem promising, I haven't received an official offer yet.

At this point, I wonder

  1. if I should be upfront with my department chair about my intention to leave,

  2. or if I should keep quiet, submit my research plan and discuss it with my chair, and put in my notice only when I receive an offer

My concern with Option 2 is that there is a 3 month notice period in my contract, and if I were to resign at a later time -- e.g., in the summer, the department might not have enough time to make backup plans for the next school year (e.g., finding someone to teach my classes)

  • If you tell them you plan to leave, do you think they would be unhappy? Will they make your life miserable, or wish you the best of luck?
    – Davidmh
    Apr 19, 2015 at 10:26
  • To be honest, I don't know. But I imagine some people wouldn't be happy, especially those involved in course planning.
    – saccades
    Apr 19, 2015 at 11:09

1 Answer 1


Think about the worst case that can happen if you do/do not tell them. If you do tell them and none of your interviews results in a job offer, you're seen as someone who won't be around for long, in whom it is a waste of time and money to invest, etc. It's going to be detrimental to your continued career if you tell them that you're thinking of leaving unless you are certain that you will. On the other hand, if you don't tell them now and leave later, you're certainly going to annoy people in your current department and you may burn bridges, but by then these will be your former colleagues who will not be able to influence your career any more at that point.

So, if I were in your position, I would wait.

  • I am 100% certain that I will leave -- it's only a matter of time. But thank you very much for your advice!
    – saccades
    Apr 19, 2015 at 19:23

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