Will you get a job referral from the boss whose firm you're quitting?

gentle puppies

I've been working at the same firm for over 6 years, and while they love me and I love it here, our firm simply has way too much overhead to get into the types of projects I'm looking to do.

I want to get a referral from the design principal here who I work with almost daily and appreciates my work best, but I'm kinda irreplaceable to him and I don't know if he can willingly aid my departure.  It's also awkward if my boss knows I am leaving prior to me getting a job secured.  How does one go about doing this?  He's by far my best reference.

I'm leaving a great firm with good pay, so my move is not about money, but if they're already gonna know I'm looking to leave, I might as well find out how much they are willing to offer to make me stay, and then use that sum as the basis of negotiations with a new firm, right?

I should've discussed these things with my old OAA mentor over lunch last week, but quitting seemed like a more distant prospect at the time lol

Apr 4, 19 3:26 am

Honesty and transparency is your best bet.  If the outline of your talents above is accurate, then being a classy person will be the cherry on top.  Explain to them how much you value your time with their office and the conundrum you find yourself in.  Perhaps they would be willing to restructure or restrategize to align themselves with the type of projects you want.  Either way, a simple request for a reference letter should not spoil your working relationship.  If it does, then shame on them.  But before you get to the letter, explain thoroughly why you feel the need to leave.  Good offices will value that input.  Good luck!

Apr 4, 19 10:27 am

Alex: "Quitting your job before securing a new one."

Hopefully you: "What is NOOOO!"

Alex: "Correct."

You again: "Young staff decision making for $800 Alex". 

Apr 4, 19 11:50 am

Stay professional and not personal,  mature folks understand office politics and career development needs.  I have had lots of young architects leave to start their own firms, as long as you aren't poaching clients and back stabbing me I am happy to help out. You should feel the need to finish out the projects you are working on even helping in th transition is a big help and relief to the firm you are leaving and creates and positive transition for you and the firm you are leaving.  I have often referred several potential client to those leaving too,  particularly if they are small in scope and something we don't have the time for or interested in..

Apr 4, 19 12:39 pm
Non Sequitur

Gentle Puppies, note that no-one is irreplaceable.

Apr 4, 19 12:52 pm

Maybe they will retire his employee number and hang his mouse by the sprinkler pipe in the break room.

Non Sequitur

...leave the workstation un-touched and enclosed with glass walls like a museum exhibit. Hold monthly meetings around it like some sort of perfect employee shrine.

gentle puppies

you two have way too much time on your hands lol

gentle puppies

I think I'm gonna rely first on references from my former coworker-turned-mentor and from my previous employer.  Even though the latter was from back when I was a pre-M.Arch small potato, we routinely kept in touch with construction updates and he credits me with the design so I hope he'll just repeat what he says to me to prospective employers haha.

Whether that's enough or only enough for a conditional offer, I still want my current boss to chime in.  I want to give early enough notice so that it doesn't feel like a sudden betrayal and so there's time to transition over responsibilities and build goodwill... is a month too long?  Will I turn into a lame duck/dead man walking long before the farewell party lol

Apr 4, 19 11:59 pm

Be open up front, the better reference will get you the better job.

Apr 5, 19 4:40 am

Unless your boss is disgruntled and mean I would expect him to be happy to give a reference, especially once you explain your reasons for moving on. It is normal for people to move. Staying for 6 years is actually pretty long in the scheme of things, considering that you want to work in a different kind of practice.

Apr 25, 19 10:46 am

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