What to tell the boss when resigning?

So what should I do:

Go with “it’s an opportunity I can’t pass up”

Or give a more frank appraisal of why friends I discuss this with tell me to “run - run very far” away from this job?

The former - don’t burn any bridges!

I’m a firm believer in not burning bridges. Even if you would never work for someone again, there is always the possibility that they will be friends with someone for whom you would like to work in the future who will ask them about you when they see that company on your resume or application.*

If you are being chased/harrassed/driven with whips away from the company, you might consider mentioning (as neutrally as possible) some of the negative phenomena to the HR person during an exit interview, but there is no point in telling the boss to stuff it.

  • I have seen this happen and even been a part of the process. Applicant shows up at company B. Interviewer B see Company Y on the resume/application and knows that Employee M used to work at the same place and so puts in a request for information. I have provided the rave review for a couple of people who deserved it and the “I am not at liberty to discuss previous co-workers” speech, (which, of course, is the kiss of death) for a couple of scum. Unless your boss is set to retire and move to Tahiti next month, discretion is the better part of valor.

I agree big time!

I was working part time on a grad degree, when I decided I should finish full time. I made all the necessary arrangements with work for a one year leave of abcense. My advisor assured me that he would find the funding for me. After I got permission for the leave of absence (dang hard to do), my advisor told me that he would not have the money for me, is that ok? Needless to say, I was kinda peeved. I found another university with the same program and started the application process there. (Rather late in the year). Since my advisor was a graduate of the program and worked under the guy who was now dean of admissions at the new school, I thought, great!, a letter of reccomendation will really count for me! My old advisor refused to write me a letter… When I reassured him that this was simply a funding issue, he just said, “I feel weird writing you a letter when I’m trying to keep you here.” In my book, that’s just out and out rude. I was tempted to say something (and had enough to say a lot), but somehow kept my cool. Good thing; it turns out his wife is a prof over at the new school (which I did get into, btw).

In short, you never know what will come around again; only burn those bridges when things are so bad the word “indictment” is in the press release.

“I’m quitting, peace out!”

Just kidding. Your first option is the best.

The last time I left a job (which I liked, BTW, and got along well with the boss), I went to him and let him know that I’d gotten an offer*. I then asked if he’d match it. When informed that the answer was no, I asked if he’d like my resignation in writing, or if a verbal resignation would be OK. I was then sumarily walked out after writing out a very flattering letter stating that I wasn’t leaving because of problems, but a possibility of career expansion. I did get paid for the two week transition, though.

In other words, be as honest as possible, and it might surprise you, and to echo the others, don’t burn a bridge you might need to cross in the future.

*Company A (former employer) had just lost a contract to company B (current employer). I do a specialised job in a generic environment, and company B needed the skill set while A didn’t anymore. It sounds odd, but there are call centre jobs out there that require a troubleshooting mindset that doesn’t care how may transactions per hour one completes, as long as you can get the job done in close to impossible circumstances.

Wow! Footnote almost as long as the post. Merde.

I’d have to add my voice to the “don’t burn bridges” crowd. You never know when that connection will come in handy. What would you gain by burning the bridge? A little bit of satisfication, I suppose, but at the cost of destroying a potentially useful connection.

Do you know your boss? Like your boss? Can speak with your boss as more or less a colleague while walking down the hall? Feel like your boss is at least marginally interested in your opinion?

If you answer “yes” to those, or most of those, you can explain the aspects of your current workplace that have caused it to not be the place for you. Even then, best if you word it in such a way that you’re not saying it’s an environment unfit for anyone to work in, but just that it is no longer the place for you.

(I’ve been in that situation. Explained to my most recent ex-boss that his decision to centralize IT decisions nationwide meant that the programming environment I do databases in was going to be marginalized, and I did not want to learn / switch to a different database environment, but that I understood the advantages to the company of centralizing IT at this time, etc etc)

If the answers are “no” answers, why would you? Why bother? Why would you give a shit if your boss, whom you don’t like, who doesn’t listen to you, who doesn’t appear to value your opinions, hears you mouth off about what you think is wrong with the domain that your boss is responsible for? It’s not like you think your boss will care. And as others point out, it could sure backfire on you.

Not well, yes.

Sort of, and yes.

I should mention that I’m not thinking of an “up yours” kind of routine… but I am concerned about some aspects of this workplace that are causing me to leave a position I described as my “dream job” five months ago when I was hired. Many of them have to do with the personalities and conflicts here, including those of my boss.

I think the advice about not burning bridges still applies, though. I’ll try to be gentle :slight_smile: . Mostly I’m concerned for whoever has to walk into this position after me.

Another thing: don’t accept a counteroffer.

Sure, you will get a bit more than you had before. You had to threaten them in order to get it. You have breached loyalty to the company and you will now be on the short list whenever things get tight.

One time, when leaving a situation I didn’t like, the manager (who I didn’t like either) asked me what the reason was. I just put on my biggest fake smile and said:
“I’m movin’ on.”
Somehow, that was more satisfying than any kind of rant I could’ve come up with.

I had this same thing happen and tried to leave with class and kindness. The whole thing backfired and the company ended up trying to screw me. Don’t burn bridges but be careful too, some companies react very badly when you decide to go before they are ready to let you go.

When I quit my last job (my boss’s first day back from maternity leave, but that’s the way the timing worked) I apologized for dumping this on her first day back, but I said “I have been offered and have accepted a position down in Orlando. My last day will be blah-de-blah.” Short, sweet, neutral. There’s no need to be nasty. I hadn’t been happy in my job for about six months, knowing I’d come to the end of the road there, but I still stayed professional.

I have a co-worker who recently told our boss he would be leaving in the next few months. They seemed to get along OK as colleagues but when my co-worker met up with out boss for a drink to discuss things, our boss got very pissy and rude about it. So even if you think you can get along for the conversation, err on the side of keeping it brief and simple and avoid the prolonged discussion.

If they really want feedback on your recommendations about the department (which is hard to gauge, since they may be trying another way to get you to spill) be neutral and constructive if possible, while not blaming anyone.

In my co-worker’s case and mine, we are both moving on because of our boss, but I wouldn’t talk to our boss about it. If anything, I would talk to our HR rep in an exit interview situation as Tom~ suggested. I do have a bigger concern about the future of this department with him at the helm and I would like that on record somewhere. I am staying at the institution so I do care about what happens, yet I need the discussion to not be traced back to me because rumors spread.

In short, keep it simple and neutral and don’t give in to the urge to get into it, even if solicited. Walk away knowing that you kept it professional.

I quit the day after a co-worker was fired, effectively doubling the case load for the remaining staff. My boss and I got along OK and she would have known how crappy the situation was for me (and her and many others!) but I basically said I wanted to move from counseling to admin/acctg work and had accepted that kind of position. Thanks for all I learned here, period. Done.

Currently I am going from acctg to acctg but with the various types of positions in the institution, I can still say I am leaving for the new experience (dept’l vs. grant acctg, etc.) and that’s that. No reflection on the current gig.

That sounds like good advice. If I have to worry so much about how to do it, then I maybe just shouldn’t. Short and sweet will probably avoid a lot of trouble. Shame I had to wait so long to make sure I had another job, in fact.

Shame it’s also such a small organization - there’s only nine of us, so no HR person to go to.

All the more reason to not say anything. If there are personality issues, including with your boss, anything you say really isn’t going to help them change, and the potential to have this come back and bite you in the ass isn’t worth any attempts to be helpful.

Congratulations on the new job, btw.

Thanks! I’m not nearly as excited about it as I was about this one, but this time I think I know what I’m getting into.

I’m going to buck the trend here and suggest you burn the bridge. That way any rampaging Tartar’s on your trail will have to detour several miles downstream to find a place shallow enough to ford. This should give you plenty of head start to make your escape. Good luck on your new endeavor and here’s hoping your past doesn’t catch up with you.

In my industry, it appears to have become standard practice not to say where you are going. I think it decreases the chances that you are escorted out the door immediately.

Though I understand the desire to warn people of problems, I’ve seen two types of managers: those that wouldn’t believe there was a problem if it bit them and those who know about it already. The time to give constructive feedback up is when you are staying. You might get listened to otherwise if you are a superstar critical to the company, but that’s about it.