my boss is upset that I told my coworkers I was resigning before I told him

A reader writes:

I recently decided to change jobs and accepted a great new position. I’m close with two people on my team (I often see them socially outside of work) and I told them when I began my search and when I was offered the new role.

When I gave my notice, my current manager mostly took it well, but had one big question for me: “Have you told anyone else?” I told him I had, and then he demanded to know exactly who I told. He said, “This makes it much more difficult” and seemed pretty upset that he couldn’t control the way the news of my resignation was spread.

Was I wrong to discuss my job search and new offer with my coworkers? I work in an entry-level, high-turnover position. Everyone on my team is young, and again, the two people I told are people I consider friends. It seems to me like my manager is being too controlling here, but I may be way off-base. Should managers always be the first to know when an employee decides to resign?

Yeah, it’s generally considered a professional courtesy to tell your manager first before you tell coworkers. In part, that’s because your manager may want to be prepared to answer questions or concerns from coworkers wondering about how your work will be covered while your position is vacant or how quickly a replacement will be hired. In part it’s because your manager may want to announce it a particular way in order to minimize potential drama (which is sometimes reasonable, although sometimes not). And in part it’s just come to be professional convention that you tell your manager first.

But it’s not a huge sin that you didn’t — especially in an entry-level role, where he shouldn’t be shocked that you might not be familiar with that professional convention.

However, if you’re playing a key role in a project that other people are counting on, or if they just announced you as the solution to some workflow problem, or if this will throw a wrench into staffing changes happening in your department, it’s not crazy that your boss might be annoyed that you didn’t give him the opportunity to have some input into the messaging. And there might be things going on behind the scenes that you don’t know about that could also make him want to be the first person told.

It’s also possible that he’s just being controlling. Sometimes managers feel like they’re more entitled to message control than they really are. And really, regardless of professional convention, it’s not unreasonable to feel that your plans are yours to share with whoever you want and on whatever timeline you want.

In any case, I can’t tell from your letter how upset he is. If it was just a passing “agh, I wish you’d told me first” and then he went back to normal, I wouldn’t worry too much about this. If it seems like a bigger deal than that, you could always go back to him now and say something like, “I’ve thought about what you said about how you wished I’d told you first when I decided to resign. I didn’t realize that was the professional convention, and I appreciate knowing that for the future.” You’re entry-level, and that should make him remember that people aren’t born knowing how this stuff is supposed to work.

{ 201 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. Stop That Goat

    I think some of your grey area is because you consider some of your coworkers friends. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell a friend (outside of work) that I had received a job offer the moment it happened. I’d think twice about a coworker until you’ve told the boss though. I know it’s not your situation, but I wouldn’t want to take the chance that my manager found out from any other source but me.

    Reply
    1. New Bee

      I agree–since OP told them when she started searching, it makes sense that they’d follow up on how said search was progressing.

      I also work in a high-turnover place (mid-level, but most folks are under 30), and peers tend to know folks are leaving before managers do because people talk. I play my cards close to the vest, but I hear casual “it’s time for me to go” conversations relatively frequently.

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      1. MegaMoose, Esq

        I work at a high-turnover job as well, and the inevitable question when someone shows up to work in a suit is “court or interview?” (We’re all attorneys). Our managers are largely off-site, so it’s entirely possible they wouldn’t be the first to hear. Of course, it wouldn’t really matter, either – we are the most interchangeable of cogs, here.

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        1. Manders

          Yeah, I work for a law firm (but not as a lawyer), and there have definitely been times when I knew someone was job hunting or considering quitting before their boss did. Sometimes they seemed pretty clearly frustrated with the job and it was obvious they had one foot out the door; once, I overheard one paralegal giving another a professional reference. My boss also never announces employee resignations, you just have to hear about it through the grapevine, so it’s not surprising to me that people would tell their coworkers the news as soon as they saw them.

          Maybe I work in a weird environment and it’s screwing with my perception of what’s normal?

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          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            I’m not sure it’s “weird” by law firm standards; i.e., it happens enough that it’s not abnormal. At least at the law places I’ve worked, it’s normal for staff to know someone is job hunting before management (mostly because management is paying no attention, which seems common in law practice regardless of whether it’s a nonprofit or firm), but resignations are announced regularly, and usually with cordial well-wishes and a clear notice period.

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        2. BananaPants

          We don’t have high turnover, but with a business casual dress code, if an individual contributor shows up at work in a suit the question is, “Funeral or interview?”

          I have two or three coworkers who are longtime friends outside of the office as well (10+ years). If I got a job elsewhere they’d probably know about it before I submitted my resignation. Not only would I not tell my boss that little detail, I’m confident that they wouldn’t tell anyone else.

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          1. Karen D

            Yep, this is me. One of my two best friends is a co-worker. The last time I got a recruiting call, he was the second person I told; he and I talked about whether I should consider looking at that offer, and he and his wife (another former co-worker) gave me a lot of counsel through the interview and offer-consideration process. But that was in his role as “practically family,” and we are known to be so close that everyone assumes that if one of us knows something, the other one knows it as well.

            A casual work friend/acquaintance would be totally different.

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          2. De Minimis

            I still remember all the various James Bond subterfuge I used to have to go under when interviewing while currently employed. Putting on jacket and tie in public library restrooms, parking in different places [the prospective employer was located only a couple of blocks away from my current one, so odds of someone spotting me were good] and general skulking around.

            Had the same situation where there would have been no reason to ever wear a tie or jacket other than interviewing..

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          3. HisGirlFriday

            True story, at OldJob, I showed up one day in a black pin-striped suit, black sweater, black tights (it was January in Central PA), and black heels. One of our sales reps said to me, jokingly, ‘Who died?’

            Me: My best friend’s father.

            Her jaw hit the floor and she couldn’t apologize fast enough.

            And funnily enough, when I WAS interviewing for my NowJob, no one batted an eye when I came in dressed up.

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          4. Amber T

            I bought a nice dress on sale that’s far dressier than what I usually wear to work. Wore it once, was asked by several people “are you going on an interview?” and decided not to wear it again (to work). No one tells anyone anything here, so whether or not someone is leaving is all gossip. Decided not to give the gossipers anything else to gossip about!

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            1. tigerlily

              I work in a VERY casual environment, so whenever I’m actually dressed nicely people jokingly ask me that, too. My response is always that I just really need to do laundry. I wasn’t doing it as any sort of strategy, but now that I’m thinking of looking it’s nice to know if I’m dressed a little fancy everyone here will just be thinking it’s laundry day like usual.

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          5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            This is so fascinating to me, but maybe because everyone I know who’s uncharacteristically dressy changes clothes before and after off-site interviews. I always thought it was semi-normal (like changing into gym clothes for a lunchtime yoga class), but I’m now realizing that perhaps it’s super weird and not at all normal.

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            1. MegaMoose, Esq

              Eh, I think it just depends on the workplace. Everyone at my job knows that many of us are actively looking for work, so it’s not necessarily worth it to sneak around if it’s just a matter of hiding a suit jacket in the car or closet or something. If I’ve got an interview mid-day I’ll usually wear my suit to work and bring a change for afterwards, but that’s more about probably feeling sweaty and gross than anything else.

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            2. HisGirlFriday

              I generally do that, or wear to the interview something I can dress down later — i.e., remove a suit jacket so I’m just wearing a skirt and then add a sweater over a shell.

              In the case of the funeral, the service was 1.5 hours south-west of where I was living, and then work was 1.5 hours straight north from there, so I didn’t have time to change after the funeral. And to me, the ensemble screamed, ‘FUNERAL! BEREAVED!’ It was not at all dressy enough for an interview.

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          6. Christmas Carol

            I always make it a point to “dress up” (and down) at random at least once every couple of weeks, starting from my first month on the job. Then again, I have been accused of having an evil mind, but by keeping my pattern of dress random, no one bats an eye when I go to the dentist wearing my “interview suit.”

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            1. Jessica

              Brilliant! When things were pretty bad at Job, I thought about (but didn’t spend the energy to actually execute the plan) wearing a suit to work and taking a long lunch, just to terrify the leadership into thinking I might be interviewing. We’re a casual office and I wear jeans every day, so it would’ve been quite noticeable.

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        3. Alli525

          Yup – when I was interviewing for my current job, I literally changed clothes in a bathroom so my then-coworkers wouldn’t guess. I think once they asked why I was wearing makeup and I told them that my doctor (you know, for the absence excuse) was really hot and I was trying to get my swerve on.

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    2. Beth

      Yeah, I think it makes a big difference that these people have become friends who hang out socially – I wonder if the boss is aware that they have a relationship outside of work at this point.

      I have two coworkers who have become very close friends and I would absolutely tell them before I told my boss if I was planning to resign. One of them recently decided to move to another city (necessitating a job change) and he told me months before he told our boss. The other was considering taking another job offer at one point and we talked about it at length as he weighed his options (he eventually decided to stay at our company) without ever telling our boss. There is a tipping point, when you become friends with someone through work, where you think of them as a friend first and coworker second, and to me it’s a friendship courtesy to tell those types of people first, so they don’t hear it from an email or other source first.

      Reply
    3. Casuan

      I agree with Stop That Goat.
      Normally one wouldn’t hesitate to tell good friends & the wrench here is that your friends are also colleagues. The thing is, things like this tend to get out anyway because once another is told you can’t control what they do with the information. Of course this is true for everyone, not just colleagues who are friends.

      OP, as Alison said, you were wrong although it isn’t a big deal. Now you know that one’s boss should be told first, barring extraordinary circumstances.

      Other pieces of the big picture that most of us learn from experience & you will, too…
      Another colleague could overhear these friends, whether it’s a private convo or one was on the phone. Hushed tones, knowing glances or body language that convey “the three of us have a secret” could foment gossip, which could affect everyone’s work, the friend’s could post on social media & someone who reads it might know someone at your company…
      There are many other scenarios. The gist is that for any major news that affects your work, your management should hear the news from you & not the grapevine.
      [full disclosure: Early in my career I broke this norm & because of it I lost some respect from my manager; thankfully I could build it back up!]

      Congratulations on your new job!

      Reply
  2. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

    “Everyone on my team is young, and again, the two people I told are people I consider friends.”

    Here’s the thing that I think young people don’t get: just because they’re your friends doesn’t mean one shouldn’t compartmentalize some information and roll it out in a tactical kind of way. In particular, even though work friends are friends, you don’t choose those friends to go into your job search and acceptance of a new position. Choose other friends to talk about that. Just because they’re friends doesn’t mean they need to hear stuff, even important stuff, first. Discretion is important.

    It’s true of any potentially sensitive, need to know information. I had the really unpleasant experience of learning of my late uncle’s passing from a Facebook post my cousin – not his daughter, the child of another sibling – decided to put up the moment she heard. And it fell to me to have the respected-older-but-peer-cousin chat with her about how the family needed to have that rolled out first, before her 360 Facebook friends.

    Also, just to head this off at the pass: it’s not just the the younger millennial set I suspect the OP is part of, but my own cohort of young Gen X/old Millennials did it too – it’s a young person thing.

    Reply
    1. A. Non

      It’s definitely a young person thing. I often don’t hear about things because I’m not on facebook — my cousin had twin boys a month early and I only found out when a friend of a friend mentioned seeing a picture of them in the NICU on facebook. I think the not-knowing about how to handle sensitive or need to know information is part of a broader conversation about how social media influences or invades our lives at this point.

      Reply
      1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

        Yeah, but. I remember people oversharing like it was their job back in college, and that was back in MySpace times. All friends seemed like close friends at that stage, and all friends felt more or less like the same type of friends, whether they were work friends or hobby friends or Biology 1000 friends. I feel like college, entry-level workplaces, the armed forces, and other situations young people are tossed together with peers they don’t know and start having intense experiences with tend to foster insta-besty friendships and a general lack of boundaries.

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      2. mreasy

        This is not “just a young people thing.” I am not really young people and it happens with those much older than me just as often as with younger folks

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    2. all aboard the anon train

      It’s not just a “young person” thing. Plenty of older people from other generations are also guilty of this. I can think of several examples from my own life where older people shared information that wasn’t theirs to share.

      This type of behavior has been going on for decades and centuries between people of all ages. Social media just makes it seem like it’s more of a millennial or young person trait, but it’s really, really not.

      Reply
      1. SouthernLadybug

        Yep. I have an older relative (so baby Boomer) who has to be the first one to tell everyone everything, and to make himself the center of the news – how it affect him, how he feels etc. It overrides people being able to share their own news in the way they want to. We’ve all learned to specially say “NO FACEBOOK” before telling him things that we want to share (babies, etc). He will respect that, it just needs to be specially said, We’ve learned the awkward way.

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        1. all aboard the anon train

          I really think it comes down to personality more than age. Some people need to be the first to share news because they like the attention. There are definitely older relatives I tell big news to last because if I told them first, they’d be posting about it all over social media or telling everyone they see on the street.

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        2. Clinical Social Worker

          We had to make a “don’t post on FB for 24 hours rule” regarding funerals. My partner learned about his grandfather’s death from a facebook status update instead of from his own mother. Immediately texted a family meeting and asked everyone to abide by these rules after that.

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        3. Rachael

          yeah. I told my mom about my first pregnancy and then went on FB to put my own news RIGH AFTER my phone call and my mother had already posted on FB and tagged both me and my husband. Everyone found out through my mother. I was really annoyed and learned to tell her specifically to wait.

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      2. De Minimis

        My mother [in her 60s] is probably the worst about using Facebook to share serious news such as deaths and serious illnesses, and oversharing in general.

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        1. MegaMoose, Esq

          My parents aren’t and I kind of wish they were – I’m always forgetting what I have and haven’t told them about!

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        2. Pebbles

          My mom got on Facebook because most of our family members were already there sharing their news and pictures with each other, and every time she would start telling me a story about so-and-so I had to tell her I already knew about it because Facebook.

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    3. Beth

      I disagree. I don’t think your professional life should take precedence over your personal friendships automatically.

      I have two coworkers (I met them through my job) who have become my close friends. I would absolutely tell them before my boss if I was planning to change jobs, and one of them actually did tell me he was planning to resign before he told our boss, so I know they feel the same. My friendship to them is more important to me than my relationship with my boss, and it would feel really weird to find out this news via an company-wide email from my boss instead of from them directly.

      I have other coworkers who I hang out with socially outside of work who I’m not as close to (but still consider friends) and to those people I would compartmentalize, as you say, and not mention my job search or resignation until I told my boss. But there is a tipping point for me for sure.

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      1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

        Even after that tipping point, I maintain that it’s really unprofessional for your friends to hear well in advance of your boss. It puts them in an awkward position, because while you might think of them as friends first and coworkers second….they’re still your coworkers, and they still have to report to your mutual boss. It’s not that your professional life is taking precedence over personal relationships, it’s that they overlap, and that requires a level of discretion.

        I think there’s a middle ground where you could let them know that you’re thinking of changing jobs, and then letting them know roughly at the same time as your boss (like, within a day or two) once you have something concrete to share.

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        1. Anna

          I disagree. I’m definitely going to tell my friends, no matter where I made them, before I tell my boss because I’m telling them as a friend celebration.

          The discretion is on the end of the friends and they clearly didn’t tell anyone, so there shouldn’t be an issue.

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          1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

            What’s the upshot? Why do those particular friends need to know ASAP? They’ll be happy for you whenever they hear the news.

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            1. Not a Real Giraffe

              Sometimes the upshot is just having someone who knows your boss well enough to help you figure out the best way to present the information, or even just wish you luck when you go in to announce your resignation. When I was a new-to-work person, I definitely needed the support of a peer who understood the intricacies of my office to feel ready to have a conversation that felt uncomfortable and difficult.

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              1. Marillenbaum

                That is an important point. At my first job, there were people I told when I found out I had gotten into graduate school before I told our boss, because we had a more respectful relationship (we had supported each other during a claim with the compliance office). It wasn’t a large lead-time–about an hour or two–but it was an important reminder that 1) Getting into this program was a GOOD thing, 2) the office would survive, and 3) I would survive, even if Boss got deeply offended by me leaving. So I think it definitely depends on the amount of lead time on sharing the information, but it isn’t necessarily an unequivocal wrong choice.

                Reply
                1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

                  That’s fair, but I think you both agree with me more than not. I don’t think work friends should not be told at all, or should never ever be told before the boss, but that the information should be compartmentalized until it’s actionable and relevant. Minimizing lead time and the number of people who know is part of that, no?

              2. Oryx

                Agreed. I had work friend several ExJobs ago who knew I was interviewing and happened to be with me when I got the job offer call. She knew my manager and was helpful in helping me figure out how to tell him.

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            2. Cookie

              I left my last job before getting an offer elsewhere and I was really nervous about doing so. I needed to talk this decision over with people who I trust. Discussing it with any old friend wouldn’t be as valuable as discussing it with a friend from the same office who knew my frustrations first hand. That really helped me (and I discussed my job search with them before I made the decision to leave).

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        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          I agree with TNMBOIS. Your friends—even work friends—are not entitled to “early notice” simply because you value your friendships more than your relationship with your soon-to-be-former boss. With the exception of Not a Real Giraffe’s point about having someone who’s familiar with the organization/boss who can help you strategize, telling your work-friends well in advance of your boss is not great practice.

          As TNMBOIS notes, valuing your friendships more is precisely why you shouldn’t give them a head’s up well before your boss. Telling them on the day you’re resigning is one thing—it’s maybe not the the most excellent choice, but I understand wanting to tell people before an announcement goes out (although you can do that in most places while still telling your boss, first—I’ve always seen at least one day’s lag time between resignation and announcement as the organization negotiates the exit terms). But telling your friends days or weeks in advance is essentially enlisting them in your secret by making them have to actively remember to hide the fact that you’re leaving or planning to leave from your boss. That’s not really fair to your friends.

          Reply
          1. Jaguar

            Entitlement is a bizarre way of approaching a person’s decision to tell their friends about something. Friends aren’t entitled to anything you don’t want to tell them.

            It’s understandable that a manager wants to know about a resignation before coworkers do and the OP should be aware of that and consider not telling casual friends from work. But it’s an event in OP’s life that they will presumably want to discuss with friends or family members. The fact that it happens to be work-related is secondary.

            Compartmentalizing things like this may work for you and that’s fine, but this isn’t how most people work. You’re allowed to tell your friends about stuff going on with you.

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            1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

              I’m not saying anything as absolute as you are in your characterization of my comments. I didn’t advise that you’re not allowed to tell your friends about stuff going on with you, nor did I imply that that’s my practice. I’m saying that in most functional workplaces, it’s preferable not to put your work-friends in the awkward position of having to cover up your search/leaving while you wait to tell your boss. And I’ve noted, repeatedly, that I think it’s fine/harmless to tell your friends before your manager if you’re within 24 hours of notifying your boss (i.e., you tell your friends then your boss in short order, or vice-versa). There are of course exceptions that are reasonable and rational to all of those positions; I’m simply saying that in most functional contexts, it’s probably better to try to give your boss a head’s up, first.

              I’m not advising that people act like robots or try not to have friends. I think it’s important to be sensitive about the kind of strain you subject your friends to when you ask them to carry secrets for you, even secrets that might seem low-level or less serious than others.

              And my comment about friends being “entitled” to information isn’t about entitlement, it’s about what you think you owe your friends, including in terms of information you share. Of course you can share that you plan to leave, but the fact that you’re friends doesn’t give them special or priority status for when they’re notified vs. when your manager is notified.

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              1. Jaguar

                I don’t think anyone should make decisions about whether they can tell the people in their lives about things happening in the lives on the basis of how their employer might feel about it. Would you extend that same advice to the basis of pregnancy? Going back to school? Vacations you’re thinking of taking? Certainly be aware that some bosses are insane and feel they have some right to control who you tell about things and then make decisions accordingly, but don’t internalize or validate that insanity.

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      2. all aboard the anon train

        Agreed.

        When it comes down to it, I think you have to know what type of friendships they are. I met one of my best friends at my first job and I told her before my boss when I found a new job. I have other friends at my current company, and previous companies, where I wouldn’t tell them before my boss, but would tell them after and before a department wide email went out. It’s the difference between friends who are just work friends and friends who are friends outside of work as well. The idea of compartmentalizing doesn’t take into account that some people do form outside of work, very close friendships with their colleagues and as long as those people aren’t going to go start a rumor about you leaving, there’s no faux pas in telling them your important news first.

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        1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

          Until, as happened at Toxic Old Job, the management goes on a witch hunt, calling people to the mat and demanding to know who knew NotMad was leaving and when they knew it. Expecting work friends to keep a secret is all well and good until the backlash hits. Not all workplaces would have that problem, but

          And, just in general: I’ve had very close friends leak important information they couldn’t keep a lid on. Most people suck at secrets. It’s not so much an issue of trust as it is a feature of how humans work.

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          1. all aboard the anon train

            Yeah, but that’s an example of an extreme situation. I don’t think it’s fair to assume all workplaces or all work friendships would be like that. I’m not going to withhold telling a close friend just because other people might get pissy about me not telling them first.

            And yeah, a lot of people suck at secrets, but again, it’s pretty dismal to think you can’t tell anyone anything personal or private for fear that they’ll spill the secret. Not everyone is like that. Some people do have enough restraint not to gossip or tell a secret.

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            1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

              Even in your ordinary, only slightly dysfunctional workplace, there can be sensitivities about who knows when, or if the boss hears through the grapevine, or what have you.

              In this context, in a high-turnover job full of young people, I think erring on the side of discretion is probably the best idea. I highly doubt these are lifelong friends, and I highly doubt they understand workplace politics enough to refrain from telling other people who they socialize with.

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              1. all aboard the anon train

                I don’t think it’s really fair to assume the OP doesn’t have lifelong friendships with coworkers just because it’s a high-turnover job full of young people. What does that even have to do with anything? I met one of my best friends when we were both 23 in a high-turnover job.

                Nor do I think it’s fair to assume that OP and her friends are incapable of keeping secrets because they’re young and friendly. That’s being awfully condescending towards younger people. As I said elsewhere, there are plenty of older people who would tell their friends they found a new job before their boss (or who are oblivious to workplace politics), so age really has very little to do with it.

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                1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

                  I’ll concede on the age thing, but I think I’ll stick to my guns on the “probably not lifetime friends you can trust with everything” assumption. Yes, you’re an exception, and I acknowledge that and don’t dismiss your perspective, but it seems a bit like a “not everyone can eat sandwiches” argument to me.

                2. all aboard the anon train

                  My point was more that you have no way of knowing how close OP is with her coworkers and it’s really unfair to assume that their friendship isn’t close because of their age and workplace. They might be best friends, they might not, but it’s an unfair judgment on OP for you to decide the strength of their friendship based on this letter alone.

                3. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

                  I think that’s a valid perspective and I’ll chew it over, I just don’t personally agree at this point that that’s an unfair assumption.

              2. Lablizard

                I have 10+ friendships that were forged in the fires of a high turnover, entry level job. When we were job hunting we we each other’s support network and we all knew about each other’s new jobs before the bosses. Friendships made at work can be as close as any other and discretion is more a character trait than anything to do with where you met.

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      3. Cat

        I would tell my work friends before my boss, but I wouldn’t tell my boss that, if you know what I mean. (I.e., I’d lie and expect my friends not to let on that they knew).

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        1. Mallory Janis Ian

          That’s exactly what I did when I left two of my previous OldJobs; I told my coworkers who were allies first, and neither they nor I let on to the boss that anyone knew before he did. I needed their input and support for how to handle the news with the boss, and then when he took it badly, they knew why I was crying in the bathroom.

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        2. AllTheFiles

          YES. I would not tell boss (and I wouldn’t expect boss to ask, that is weird) that my friends knew in advance before leaving them all to sort it out afterwards. Most people typically know how good their friends are at keeping secrets and for how long. I wouldn’t have been able to keep it from my friends as they were helping me get interviews, giving tips, covering for me to step out or do a phone interview on my lunch, etc. Generally my friends were also wanting to leave at some point too so they didn’t particularly care if heaven forbid someone overheard things.

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        3. Competent Commenter

          Agreed. My team has been through a lot together, including with our current supervisor whom we don’t much like. We’ve discussed strategy, would be each others’ references, etc. Several times we’ve had to keep straight faces when our supervisor has rolled out something at a meeting we already know about. I find it crucial, as supervisor was hassling people about the times they arrived and left work (in a way that was really not necessary with this salaried, hard-working group) and having advance notice it was coming my way next gave me time to prep a good push-back response.

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      4. Sketchee

        We each get to weigh it out differently for ourselves. I would tell my boss before coworkers. I know friends will understand that my livelihood is important to me.

        The kind of coworkers I would become friends with tend to have similar professional boundaries.

        I would also say that this is putting my personal relationships first as I consider this a good part of my preferred friendships

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    4. Happy Lurker

      I think I agree a little with Not Mad. I think it is an important lesson to learn to compartmentalize. I learned that lesson the hard way myself when I experienced some work chatter backlash when I was younger. I try to think twice before I discuss certain things.
      OP – I think the more important lesson to take from this is that you just simply tell a “white lie” to your boss. “No one else at work knows yet”. Your friends may know, but you didn’t announce it to the team before telling your boss. Real friends will not announce that they knew a week before boss…now if they are not real friends that would be different.

      Reply
      1. Sketchee

        I agree, why would I out my friends in that position? I wouldn’t be comfortable asking them to hold information in that way when it’s really my concern first.

        Reply
    5. Antilles

      Also, just to head this off at the pass: it’s not just the the younger millennial set I suspect the OP is part of, but my own cohort of young Gen X/old Millennials did it too – it’s a young person thing.
      Right. This has nothing to do with a particular generation, it’s an inexperience thing that *all* generations go through. Work friendships have many distinct differences from friends acquired in other walks of life…but that rarely gets passed along to new members of the workforce. It’s a lesson that people learn over time through experience.

      Reply
      1. Gandalf the Nude

        Really it’s an inexperience thing regardless of age. My mom worked retail for 20 years, where standards of professionalism are different than they are in an office. Now she works warehouse for a distributor with a strong corporate environment, and we’ve often had conversations where she’ll rail against something she perceives as a slight only for me to respond, “No, Mom. That’s really normal.”

        Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        Exactly this. The issue isn’t age qua age—it’s experience and understanding that you can have lifelong, serious friendships with coworkers, and you still might need to compartmentalize. I would argue that in most situations, compartmentalizing is the right/preferred thing to do to protect your friend. And while most folks learn this over time, I’m sure there are older folks who never learn this (as indicated by all of the #notallyoungpeople comments). That said, I do think this tends to be more common with folks who have less workplace experience and with folks who never worked at functional workplaces where they learned that doing this sort of thing is less than ideal.

        Reply
      3. Bigglesworth

        What blows my mind, though, is when people who have experience and are not young still can’t keep confidential information.

        For example, I am going to law school this fall and one of the schools I applied to was one that the Dean of my department attended. I asked him for a reference letter and he graciously agreed. I did ask, however, that he not tell anyone on campus as I would not leave unless I got a full tuition scholarship at my school of choice. He said he understood and agreed to not tell anyone. Needless to say, I was ticked when I found out that not only did he not keep his promise, but was actively telling people on campus. He’s almost 5-6 years from retirement and is in charge of the whole department.

        When someone tells me not to share, guess what? I don’t! I’ve known for months that about 6-7 of my coworkers are job hunting and when my boss asks, I pretend ignorance. Maybe I just have a good poker face, but it’s not that hard. Plus, as a Millennial, I recognize I still have some office norms to learn, but I’ve been working for several years now and some I see the same issues across the generations and levels of experience -from old to young and inexperienced to very experienced.

        Reply
    6. the gold digger

      I had the really unpleasant experience of learning of my late uncle’s passing from a Facebook post my cousin – not his daughter, the child of another sibling – decided to put up the moment she heard.

      I found out my cousin was pregnant (we are also friends, as she went to optometry school in Memphis when I was living there) when her sister posted on FB how excited she was to become an aunt. Honestly. You wait until the pregnant person tells everyone before you publicize it.

      Reply
      1. Red Reader

        My dad found out that my gran, his mother, had been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer when my aunt posted on Facebook about how hard it was going to be for her (that is, for my aunt) to deal with.

        Now my aunt can’t figure out why none of my immediate family wants anything to do with her.

        Reply
      2. Zombii

        I think good news is a little different than bad news (obviously, if the person says they’re not telling everyone yet, don’t tell anyone, whether good or bad). But there’s something a lot less gross to me about “I’m so excited for this great thing that’s happening for someone else!” than “I’m essentially co-opting someone else’s tragedy and want everyone to feel bad about how hard it will be for me to process this.”

        Reply
    7. Casuan

      In my experience, often one’s social filters break down with age. Recently an octogenarian relative rang to tell me “I just hung up with Fergus & he made me promise not to tell anyone! Promise not to tell Fergus I did?”
      My query of “Then why are you telling me?” was responded with a justification I now forget. I made the requested promise.

      What she didn’t know was that Fergus had already told me & I responded as if hearing the news for the first time. I’m quite certain my later admonition that OctoG should heed confidentiality fell on deaf ears…
      This has been an increasing pattern as OctoG has gotten older & my friends experience the same with their older relatives.

      moral: For quite some time I’ve known not to tell anything too personal or confidential to older relatives. This isn’t difficult because my true confidants are a very small subset of my friends.

      As for Fergus, as thought he already suspected that OctoG would tell me. As for my promise not to tell Fergus, I didn’t break it. His news was such that updates would get even more personal so I did want to be certain he knew of the breach. From years of friendship, a totally innocent comment about how filters diminish with age conveyed what Fergus needed to know.

      my conclusion:
      The young are learning filters, much of which can come from experience with social & professional norms.
      Middle-aged persons are usually good with filters; of course there will always be those who defy the norms.
      The older one gets, the more one becomes annoyed by bs. Also I think that as one loses certain freedoms that accompany age [eg: the senses, arthritis, unable to drive etc], one tries to control what one can & gossiping easily fits that niche.

      Reply
    8. Bonky

      We had a resignation recently – a young person who still hadn’t really got her head around professional norms – who announced her resignation on Twitter before speaking to her manager – and even then, left a note on his desk rather than be bold enough to actually talk to him about it.

      The head of her division was so furious about the way she’d behaved over the resignation that he told her not to come back for the rest of her three-month notice period. (We’re in the UK – notice periods don’t work quite the same way as they do in the US!) Alison’s “Bad Boss” list today made me raise an eyebrow; the head of that division always takes resignations very, very personally, and it’s not helpful. I’m sure it had something to do with the way the woman who resigned handled things.

      Reply
  3. MegaMoose, Esq

    Given that this is an entry-level, high-turnover position, I don’t think the OP did anything especially wrong or unusual by mentioning to a couple of work-friends that she was job hunting. I know I had a couple of cruddy low-level jobs where it was an open-secret that people were always looking to get out, but you did try and keep it from management because they could be really nasty if they felt like it. It’s certainly a sign of a toxic environment that shouldn’t be carried into more supportive situations, but I still think it’s perfectly understandable.

    Reply
    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

      I don’t see a problem with keeping it from management, but I do think it was a mild misstep to treat work friends like confidantes in this scenario.

      Reply
      1. Anna

        If they’re casual friends, maybe. If they’ve become close friends, there’s no issue. I don’t trust just anyone with my information so if I’ve told you what’s up with my job search and offer, then I’m going to know pretty well that you’re not going to let it get out.

        Reply
        1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

          Sure, but in this situation, we’re talking about an entry-level workplace with high turnover. That tells me they weren’t actually besties, but they were probably more like people who the OP got social with outside work. I think discretion was called for here, even if genuinely close friends from work might get treated differently if they were reliably discreet.

          Reply
          1. Anna

            I’m going to go with some of the feedback you’ve already received about this assumption. You’re making giant assumptions based on a pretty bad stereotyping of people of a certain age. My best friend is someone I met in my 20s, in college, working at the campus bookstore. I’m still friends with people I met at work at the first job I got when I moved to my current city more than 10 years ago, when they were in their 20s and I was in my early 30s. I’m not entirely sure you have a really good body of evidence to go off here.

            Reply
            1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

              And like I said before: this strikes me as a “not everyone can eat sandwiches” argument, a refutation from edge cases.

              Reply
              1. Anna

                This is not about “eating sandwiches”. You’ve made some pretty concrete statements about people of a certain age and sharing personal information. I don’t think that’s fair or even applicable.

                Reply
            2. MegaMoose, Esq

              I’ve got to agree with Mad here – I think you might be taking this too personally. I don’t think it’s an unfair generalization to say that most people do not become close friends with their coworkers at early-career high-turnover jobs. I don’t even think it would be unfair to say that many people never become close friends with any coworkers at all.

              Reply
      2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I don’t know if it’s a wild misstep, in part because I don’t really know how much lag time existed between “told work-friends I’m leaving” and “told boss I’m leaving.” But I do think it’s more ok to make small-scale mistakes like this at entry-level positions.

        Reply
    2. k

      It sounds like you worked in a very similar environment to one of my first jobs. I worked in a call center where everyone was in the 21-25 age range, very high turn over, and most everyone hung out outside of work. Everyone always knew when someone was job hunting or leaving before the managers did. In those types of situations no one really follows professional norms. If OP’s situation is anything like that I don’t think they did anything wrong. They just need to be aware that most offices are not like that.

      Reply
      1. MegaMoose, Esq

        Yeah, one was a chain coffee shop and another was a chain retailer in the process of being managed into the grave. Man, did I have bad habits to break after that streak!

        Reply
  4. paul

    You did kind of violate professional norms here. I’m a little flummoxed that your manager took it badly for an entry level job (but I don’t know what if any projects you’re involved in either).

    Reply
    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

      He took it a bit badly, but I’d have been a little frustrated myself.

      Reply
      1. Anna

        Why? What if the OP had just straight up lied and said she’d told nobody? You would be none the wiser since it seems the friends know how to keep personal information personal.

        Reply
        1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

          I’ve had personal friends slip and spill secrets, and I’ve had former bosses grill former coworkers about when they knew I was leaving. That informs my perspective.

          And as a manager, I don’t want to “officially announce” common knowledge, or learn through the grapevine that someone is leaving before the person tells me themselves.

          Reply
        2. fposte

          I don’t think the choices are just telling the manager truthfully that other people have been notified and lying about it, though; there is the choice of not telling other people first. What does it get you that telling them a week later doesn’t?

          At some jobs it really doesn’t matter and nobody will know you’re even gone, but at a lot of jobs this is information that affects morale–people will be wondering if they have to take over the workload, if there’s money for a replacement, if this is a sign of other people leaving, etc., etc. It’s therefore generally considered the employer’s prerogative to handle the departure message to control its effect on the department.

          Reply
          1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

            Good points. Even if they’re your friend, knowing you’re leaving might also mean not knowing how things will change, how it will affect them, and not having any way to know what’s going to happen because the person in charge of those decisions isn’t informed yet.

            Reply
          2. MegaMoose, Esq

            Those are definitely good reasons for why a manager would want to know first, but I don’t think they’re likely to apply in an entry-level, high turnover environment. Either that’s the kind of job where people are expected to be job searching, or it’s a toxic mess that can’t hang onto employees (or both). It is certainly fair to say that in some jobs it would matter, but it doesn’t sound like the OP’s was one of those.

            Reply
          3. Cat

            I think that for a lot of people, one or two close work friends are going to be the people they’ve been keeping in the loop the entire time — i.e., the people who knew there was an offer and maybe gave advice on negotiating strategy, even. It’s just natural; the people you work with who are your close friends are likely to be the only friends of yours who can even advise you on your industry. It’s not surprising they’ll be up to date on the job search.

            That’s why I personally wouldn’t feel bad about lying about it at all; nor would I really expect an employee who told me I was the first to know to be strictly honest about it. I’d draw a distinction between people who know for personal reasons and people you tell for professional reasons.

            Reply
      2. AllTheFiles

        IMHO Managers can either create a workplace where people can tell them they’re looking and have a hopefully smooth transition OR they can stop complaining.

        Reply
  5. Jesmlet

    I was in a similar situation – main team was me and 2 other people I considered friends. When my first coworker was doing major job searching, we both knew, and when she got really close to an offer, we knew. But she didn’t tell us about accepting that offer until after she told the manager. When I was on the verge of quitting (no job offer in hand), I actually talked to both of them since we had all been miserable. I pretty much told them I was quitting, saying something like, “I think I’m gonna do it tomorrow”. I know I should’ve given my manager the courtesy to tell her first, but my manager was 90% of why I quit, so F that. It was a high turnover entry level position as well so my leaving affected them more than it did her and in that situation I stand by my decision.

    Reply
    1. the gold digger

      Me, too. In the previous awful job with NotSergio Who Has Since Been Fired By The Board, a former co-worker and current friend and I were both miserable and talking with each other about our searches. I told her the day I got the offer for my current job, which was a month before I told my boss. I see no issue with sharing the information with someone who can be trusted.

      Reply
    2. Whats In A Name

      I think this is where the apparently blurry line is. I honestly see nothing wrong with casually discussing it (depending on situation). But once the offer is in place and you’ve accepted I do think the right thing to do is tell the boss first. Then go immediately to your co-workers.

      Reply
      1. Jesmlet

        I do think it also depends on how close you are and how often the subject comes up. If they know I’m waiting to hear back after having a final interview and ask if I’ve heard anything, I’m very likely to tell them the truth if I have, and if I’ve accepted and they ask, I’ll also let them know. Once I’m minutes away from giving notice, I’d rather not lie to a friend for convention’s sake, especially when the boss doesn’t have to know that I’ve told them first.

        Reply
      2. AllTheFiles

        I think if the boss is part of the reason you are leaving, it only makes sense that you’re not putting them at the top of your priority list.

        Reply
    3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      This was my conversation with my coworker at ToxicJob.

      Actually, it went the other way around. She told me she was giving notice the next day (she did), and in a momentary freakout, I told her I was also giving notice (I was—I needed signoff from my donor because I was grant-funded, which I received later that day, at which point I promptly gave notice). I think it was important we both knew what was going on because we both shared an office, we hadn’t meant to quit at the same time, and our resignations looked timed, even though they were not. It was also helpful to know what really happened because ToxicJob was infamous for flat out lying about why people had left and misrepresenting the terms upon which they left (implying that resignations were actually firings for cause, spreading rumors in the local advocacy community about staff that left, etc.).

      But again, this didn’t happen until the 24 hours before we both gave notice, and even though we knew we were both miserable, neither of us knew when the other was going to quit. I think there are lots of circumstances in which what OP did was ok, or at least “not a big deal.” Particularly at ToxicJobs or with ToxicBosses.

      Reply
  6. Kage

    I had something similar happen at one of my early jobs. Gave my notice (in-person) to my boss at 10am on Monday. We confirmed last days and discussed transition plan for duties. Heard nothing from Grandboss before I left for the day at 5:30 (he was in the office all day & had a meeting with my boss that afternoon when I knew she shared the news with him). Went to an employer-sponsored sports team on Tuesday night and told some of my colleagues (just that I was leaving – no transition details). On Thursday at 11am, got a meeting invite to sit down with Grandboss at 4pm on Friday. They wanted to counter and were upset that other folks already knew about my upcoming departure. Meanwhile we were almost a week into my 2-week notice period.

    Was really frustrated that they were mad at me for sharing my departure news after I had appropriately given notice/discussed with my boss and Grandboss did not follow up for a few days. Tried to tell me that you cannot quit unless it is officially accepted by head of company. Ummmm – no. I can quit at any time and just owe you decent notice. Just like you can fire me at will with no notice.

    Argh – still annoys me years later. I’ve gotten really secretive about my job searching/leaving now and won’t tell anyone anything until it’s announced by someone else.

    Reply
    1. Mike C.

      Tried to tell me that you cannot quit unless it is officially accepted by head of company.

      Did they bring back indentured servitude and forget to tell me?

      Reply
      1. Amber T

        Lol really, what are they going to do if it wasn’t “officially accepted by the head of the company?” Keep you on the payroll then fire you when you didn’t show up?

        I can *understand* the frustration of your grandboss (understand it, don’t agree with it) – but if they wanted the opportunity to counter, they should have been up front and asked you not to disclose you were leaving until they figured out how they wanted it disclosed (as Alison described above). But considering the fact they think the could have denied your resignation… clearly not everyone was on the same boat.

        (By the way, how do you get things bolded or italicized in the comments?_

        Reply
        1. MegaMoose, Esq

          If you click on the “how to comment” link over to the right, there’s a run-down on formatting at the bottom.

          Reply
        2. Whats In A Name

          There are directions on how to do it in the commenting guidelines section, to address you last question.

          As for the rest of your comment. I get that grandboss was frustrated but also agree that unless specifically asked “do you mind not announcing your departure just yet?” followed by a timely (24 hour) follow up with plans or further discussion it’s the employees prerogative to tell anyone once the boss knows.

          Reply
    2. Kj

      Yeah, I’ve had that happen- I told boss, she told me not to say anything. It was 1/2 way through the (long) notice period, about the time I needed to start transitioning my projects, when I decided to start telling people anyways. They were going to need to be able to take on my projects and boss was dragging her feet. Boss found out and then said she “forgot” she had told me not to say anything. I wonder if she forgot I was leaving! It took them until the week before I left for them to publish a jobs notice and schedule interviews. I gave them over 6 weeks. My previous colleagues who I’m still friends with have decided it isn’t really worth giving the long notice I gave because company and boss used my notice period so poorly. Sucks for my company, but the reality is people judge you on what you do with the notice you are given.

      At least I wasn’t driven out early?

      Reply
    3. paul

      You didn’t know? Those employment offers are legally binding and you have to sacrifice a goat, three sheep and an unblemished yearling calf to accept a new job offer.

      Some employers are just nuts.

      Reply
      1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        This made me laugh because it’s so sad and so true.

        But you were fine, Kage, and your boss/Grandboss were loons.

        Reply
  7. Matthew Bloch

    Having received a few resignations over the years, I’m not sure I agree.

    I think it’d be discourteous if they found out before it was definite. So you’d avoid a situation where your manager might hear that from someone else in the company – that means a bit of discretion around who you tell in the workplace.

    But it’s silly for a manager to expect that they’re the very first person you’d tell. Quite often a worker is going to start job-hunting *because* of their manager, and so it’d be natural to share their doubts with co-workers etc. first And if it doesn’t pan out, or relations improve, you might end up staying.

    Reply
    1. Jesmlet

      Your last paragraph, exactly. If the coworkers are close enough to know that you’re seriously looking for another job, then there’s really no harm in them knowing before management that you’ve succeeded, especially given this was entry level with high turnover. Now if only those managers were smart enough to take a look at why there was high turnover and address it, or maybe try looking in the metaphorical mirror every once in a while.

      Reply
      1. Matthew Bloch

        Yes! I’m not saying a manager can’t be “hurt” by a resignation. But if they are, that’s 100% on them and an unprofessional thing to share with an employee.

        A good manager should know – from silence, disengagement, obvious boredom, missing work etc. – whether an employee is likely to be job-hunting. I agree they should look in the mirror and feel embarrassed if someone’s leaving takes them that much by surprise.

        Reply
      2. MnGreeneyes

        I have been fairly open about the fact that I am looking as I am acknowledged to be overqualified for my job. I have been looking for a couple of years but since I am trying to transition from being an administrative assistant to more program oriented positions in academia, it is taking some time. Our university has 3 levels of employees and switching from bargaining unit – where I am now- to civil service or professional and academic is difficult, if not nearly unheard of because of attitudes about bargaining unit abilities. I have a job like most in the bargaining unit that REQUIRES a high school diploma or GED, but ideally would have a college degree. I have a masters degree. This was supposed to be a foot in the door position, but almost 5 years later…

        I have recently applied for a job that looks promising (fingers crossed) and a big leap from bargaining unit to Professional and academic. If I were to get this job, (still a big if), I would tell my officemate and one of the people I support (not my boss, but a mentor who helped me with my resume and cover letter for this application) before I would give my notice to my boss. I wouldn’t be able to give notice until after a background check and those can take WEEKS after the initial offer so I wouldn’t give notice until that part is through. Both these people have been integral parts of my job search through the years and support systems through boss changes. Both are also people I would not hesitate to use as references in the future, but this particular boss I’m not sure I would.

        Reply
        1. Jesmlet

          That sounds completely reasonable to me.

          As an aside, how do background checks take weeks?? Ours do 50 state criminal, sex offender, driving, credit and SSN trace, and it usually doesn’t take more than 1 day. Maybe there’s additional stuff with academia?

          Reply
            1. Jesmlet

              Looks like it’s the education then? We do in house reference checks but that’s done before the offer but don’t typically check highest degree since the majority of the jobs we hire for are more about soft skills than technical knowledge.

              Reply
          1. N.J.

            As a data point, I had a background check take 3 weeks in a position in academia and almost as long in a private industry position. Both times the company or staff performing the check had difficulty in verifying random past employment or education items despite providing adequate contact information…

            Reply
          2. MnGreeneyes

            I think it is a combination of our bureaucracy and the company that does our checks. I started this job just before they instituted background checks for ALL employees so I have to have one as I switch jobs, even though I am staying in the same university, same college, and same building, although potentially switching departments. There is nothing for them to find, but you can’t start work until it is complete! Technically, I believe this is strictly a criminal background check, not academic, and might include a credit check although the credit check is not “allowed” to be used against you unless you work with $$.

            Reply
    2. Sabine the Very Mean

      I disagree with Alison here as well. I also disagree with those who are saying it was a mistake to treat work colleagues as friends–similar to how I feel about trying to stop grown adults from getting romantically involved. We work 40 hours or more per week. These are the people we know and know pretty well. If the manager didn’t want her to tell anyone, I think she shouldn’t have asked if she did. Instead, maybe she should have asked OP to withhold the info for a while inviting OP to decide if she wants to tell boss that the secret is already out.

      I’m going to preemptively ask those who disagree with me to just do it politely. I find it a little insane how intense the masses can be on this site when a person dissents.

      Reply
      1. a big fish in a small pond

        Sabine wrote, ” I think she shouldn’t have asked if she did. Instead, maybe she should have asked OP to withhold the info for a while inviting OP to decide if she wants to tell boss that the secret is already out.”

        Are you saying that the manager shouldn’t have asked if others (at work) know? The communication and process for handling turnover – even at entry level – is something that has to be managed and as a manager you need to know if you’re starting at square one or not (otherwise you look like a slow-responding and out-of-the-loop when you officially communicate it not knowing that everyone already knows.

        It’s about respect and teamwork.

        Reply
        1. Anna

          Respect and teamwork go both ways, and part of respecting your employees is knowing they don’t owe every detail of their personal lives to the company. My personal friends are my personal friends and what I share with them, as long as I’m not breaking confidence, is my business.

          Reply
        2. Sabine the Very Mean

          It was more about the issue of asking someone something but getting upset at one of the possible answers–meaning, boss was only wanting to hear one answer. Boss should have just said she doesn’t want word to get out yet.

          Reply
          1. Jesmlet

            Agreed, if they want the answer for logistical reasons then fine. If they’re asking expecting one answer and knowing they’ll be upset at the other, then don’t ask, just tell them you’d prefer to keep it under wraps.

            Reply
      2. Kj

        No disagreement here! Yeah, I am friends with some my work colleagues. I like them, they like me, we hang out. We don’t work THAT closely together, and we are all low drama people, which helps, but every job I’ve ever had involved people at work being friends with each other. It is normal in many settings. It is somewhat expected. It helps us stay on the job, because we like going to work for many reasons, not just the paycheck. My current boss is happy her team has good friends on it; she sees it as an asset, which it can be.

        I will tell my friends from work if I am job-hunting. They will know before my boss if I find something. My friends from work are also discreet, so they aren’t likely to spill at work, but if they did, I’d remind my boss we are friends and talk outside of work.

        Reply
      3. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

        “Instead, maybe she should have asked OP to withhold the info for a while inviting OP to decide if she wants to tell boss that the secret is already out.”

        That’s fair enough, but like I said elswehere: even close friends can have loose lips, and expecting people to keep secrets for you as a friend can expose them to some risk as your coworkers. From the perspective of respecting the manager’s prerogative to manage how the news is made official, and not making them look like an idiot “officially announcing” common knowledge, I think rolling it out in a controlled and thoughtful way makes more sense. All friends don’t need to know everything, even important things, at the same time.

        Reply
    3. INFJ

      That’s a good point. It’s not like the OP’s manager found out from someone else. Manager found out from OP directly and THEN asked if anyone else had been told. As far as professional courtesy goes, as long as Manager found out from OP, who cares? (I mean.. why does Manager care? Ideally, you would tell the manager first so that nobody else could tell him/her before you do.)

      Reply
  8. TotesMaGoats

    Was this a misstep? Sure. Generally, we tell the boss first. However, it’s not like it’s the worst thing in the world. My work BFF at OldJob knew when I was looking and got the offer before my boss. Just like I knew when she was officially resigning. You can be friends, close BFF type friends with people at work. Especially with your peers who are suffering through with you. You just have to know that your friends can keep their mouth shut. That’s the key.

    I can understand a boss blowing up more with a higher level employee who spilled the beans all around before telling the boss than an entry level.

    Reply
  9. Blue Dog

    A couple other issues: (1) he may have been willing to try to counter to retain you (notwithstanding conventional wisdom against accepting a counter) but by telling other co-workers, that option is off the table; (2) you may have jammed your co-workers (i.e., if Cain and Abel knew about this but didn’t mention it to the boss, it could impact their careers); and (3) with the exception of your immediate family, your current employer REALLY needs to be the first to know — not a lot of respect here to the people who employed you.

    Reply
    1. the gold digger

      not a lot of respect here to the people who employed you.

      As previous posters have noted, sometimes the employer is the exact reason you are looking for a new job. So – I will tell my close work friends (of which I have one now and of which I had one in my previous job) when I get a new offer before I tell my boss. Respect has to go both ways. When the CEO screams at people in a public meeting, he loses mine.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        And that’s fine; you’re presumably aware that this will annoy your boss and accept that as the price of your decision. That’s not where the OP was; she just didn’t realize that it can cost you if you tell other people before your boss.

        Reply
        1. the gold digger

          it can cost you if you tell other people before your boss.

          I would phrase that as “it can cost you if you tell other people before your boss and your boss knows about it.” :)

          Reply
            1. Anna

              That’s a little judgmental. Alison frequently advises against complete honesty if it will hurt a person. How is this any different?

              Reply
              1. fposte

                I think you have to make that call in all decisions, so I don’t think this is any different. I’m not saying the only way to have integrity is to tell your boss your every waking thought, but that just because the boss doesn’t know you’re lying doesn’t mean it’s a consequenceless thing to do.

                Reply
              2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

                I don’t think it’s judgmental; it’s a realistic assessment of the underlying dynamic. Each person gets to decide whether the action they’re taking is consistent with the person they want to be or how they see themselves. There’s nothing inherently wrong or judgmental in recommending self reflection.

                Reply
                1. the gold digger

                  This is the first time in my life that I have heard anyone say that telling a trusted work friend in confidence you are quitting before you tell the boss is questionable. It never even occurred to me that this would be considered protocol.

                2. fposte

                  @gold digger–but that’s not what was said. You said the cost is if only the boss knows; I pointed out that getting found out isn’t the only possible cost when you take an action.

      2. paul

        The caveat I always try to keep in mind with work norms: the more dysfunctional the working environment, the more you may have to violate some of them to keep functioning.

        Reply
        1. ArtsNerd

          This is an excellent way of putting it.

          First reaction to this letter: “Huh. I definitely alerted my close peers before management during multiple resignations and it was absolutely the right call each time (for the organization, as well as my personal relationships.)”

          Reaction to your comment: “Ah, yes. That’s why.”

          Reply
        2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

          It’s like the First Law of Work Norms. Dysfunctionality and professional courtesy towards your manager are inversely related :P

          (That said, I mostly agree. I know people feel squicky about situational ethics/norms, but the kind of departure OP has described is a pretty low-level one that would easily fall within the First Law of Work Norms.)

          Reply
    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

      Although if your boss is trying to counter to retain you, then frankly, that would be further evidence that leaving is the right thing to do. I think the biggest problem is that you put your coworkers in a tough position, and that for functional workplaces, it’s good practice to notify your boss, first for all the transition reasons described by others, above.

      I might be misunderstanding your comment regarding respect, but I don’t think respect for people who employed you matters when trying to figure out whether to tell your boss, first, that you’re leaving. Employers deserve no more or less respect than anyone else on the street, and they certainly don’t get special brownie points for having employed you, in the same way that you don’t get special brownie points for being employed. Of course we should start with a baseline of treating everyone with basic courtesy and respect (although that can deviate wildly based on later relationships, etc.), but I don’t think your employer deserves a higher-level of respect simply for having hired you. Employment is a two-way, transactional relationship, not a gift given to you by an employer.

      Reply
  10. Streets Ahead

    Maybe it’s that I’ve mostly worked for big corporations with moderate to high levels of toxicity, but the convention I’ve observed everywhere I’ve worked is: tell your close work friends, ask them to keep their lips sealed, tell your boss you’ve told nobody else (but they probably assume this is a lie, because they’ve done this too), everyone’s cool. Anecdata points: I’m an Old Millennial, but I learned this from my Boomer mentors, peers, and bosses. It’s one of those social routines we “play” at work, and it’s fraught with pitfalls that can only be avoided if everyone accepts the game and plays it the same way, but it’s certainly not unique to a particular demographic. As a manager, I’ve asked departing team members to officially keep mum before I announce their resignation on a mutually agreed (and prompt) timeline, but have given my blessing for them to share discreetly with one or two close coworkers before that, and it’s never been a problem. YMMV, etc.

    Reply
    1. Jesmlet

      Yep, the only real mistake in my eyes was admitting you had told other people and not telling those people to pretend they didn’t know. Mid-millennial here but most of my coworkers since my first post-college job have been older and this is the convention I’ve picked up since then.

      Reply
      1. shep

        Same. Mid-millennial, but I’ve also taken my cues from older coworkers. I tend to be pretty tight-lipped to begin with, but there’s one person in the office whom I’d probably share news of my resignation, especially if I wanted counsel on how to approach our boss. I might NOT tell her, but I also know that information would be safe with her if I did.

        Reply
    2. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

      Having seen this dynamic turn into a witch-hunt over who knew that NotMad was leaving and when did they know it, I generally err on the side of discretion, even in toxic workplaces.

      As an aside, I’ve heard Old Millennials referred to as the Oregon Trail cohort – e.g. those of us who lost our best friend Butthead to cholera on a monochrome green monitor have a common bond not shared by the Facebookers or the angsty ”70s kids.

      Reply
      1. NW Mossy

        When I moved to Oregon in my late 20s, I posted a lot of “hope I don’t die of dysentery on the way!” jokes on social media.

        Reply
        1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

          Same way if I ever find myself passing through Laramie or the Dalles.

          Reply
      2. Jesmlet

        I guess that makes me an Old Millennial then, and proud of it! I always say that the people just a couple years younger than me act like they were born in a completely different era. I adopted the new technology, they grew up with it. Amazing what a difference that can make.

        Reply
      3. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

        I think the Oregon Trail cohort is probably a good cut-off for “Old Millennials,” who until recently were Generation Y/”Young GenXers.” I always think of Old Millennials as folks born between 1979-1983 who grew up when computers were still a novelty in the pre-Windows95 era, internet was not something everyone had and it constantly disconnected when you received phone calls, and you have some memory of recession and hardtimes.

        Reply
        1. Josie Prescott

          I was born in 75 and I identify with that description. I don’t really feel I fit with either X or Millennial, but Oregon Trail I relate to. Not to mention Carmen Sandiego. :)

          Reply
          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock

            I hear you Josie, and I apologize—generational cut-offs are always pretty arbitrary. I went from being a “tweener” (i.e., in between X and Millennial) to being an Old Millennial along with my younger sister (7 years younger) and youngest cousin (12 years younger). It’s all pretty silly.

            But Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail are solid gold. ;)

            Reply
        2. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

          Yep. 1983 here, and you totally nailed it. My first computer was an Apple II, my second one was a 133mhz Gateway 2000 in ’90s beige, running Windows 95 and sporting the latest in 28.8 baud modems. My friends were in awe; it could run Fury3 slick as Crisco and it took only 90 seconds to download a dirty picture from the skeevy BBS I’d found.

          Reply
          1. BananaPants

            I just put 32 GB micro SD cards in our kids’ $70 Fire tablets – the SD cards cost $12 apiece. The computer that I took to college with me in the fall of 1999 had a 4 GB hard drive – one of the biggest on my dorm floor – and the entire computer cost $1000. The mind boggles.

            Reply
    3. Xay

      This is the norm where I have worked too. The only exception is when you have a very close relationship with your boss.

      Reply
    4. BananaPants

      Yes, this. I’m also an Old Millennial (Oregon Trail Generation, represent!). In cases where close work friends were job hunting, I was well aware of their searches and knew when they got offers. One or two asked my opinion on resignation timing, i.e., “Will Toxic Manager be more or less mad if I wait until after Wednesday’s design review?” This is pretty normal in big companies/organizations, and I think it’s well-known that others may be aware of a departure before it’s official at work.

      OP’s minor misstep was being honest when the manager asked if she’d told anyone else first.

      Reply
    5. hbc

      Agreed. If there’s any kind of rapport between the “lower levels” and there’s the typical socialization gap between them and management, I would expect some colleagues would know before the boss. To the point that I’ve never thought to ask anyone–I just do the “This is to officially let you know…” intro when I tell people. Whether it’s a surprise to everyone or no one in the room doesn’t really matter to me.

      Reply
    6. Nabby

      I’m a younger millenial but this is pretty much what I’m doing right now. I work in a consulting firm where other students from my college work too, including my 2 good friends from college. Of course they knew, I’ve lived with one of them in some form for the past 3 years. As consulting goes I have like 3 different teams I work with, but if any of them asks, it’s ridiculous to pretend my friends don’t know, and if they are mad, that just doesn’t make sense.

      Also these friends support me leaving and my own personal development (and I to them) more than our managers do. So, priorities.

      Reply
  11. Chocolate lover

    When i resigned from my last job, two of my senior co-workers knew before I told my boss (I was in the middle of the seniority chain.) I had asked one for help preparing in my search, because I knew she could be trusted and wanted some peer feedback. The other I told when I got to the reference phase, because she was the best person to be my reference, for a variety of reasons.

    Everyone else found out after I told my manager. Including the person in the office I’m closest to, because I knew she’d be disappointed and may let something slip before it was official. I kept it pretty close to the vest until it was official, especially since i expected my then -manager to overreact anyway.

    Reply
  12. Mike B.

    I was once in a situation where this actually had some repercussions. One of my reports came to me to resign; I asked her to keep it under her hat briefly while I told my bosses and they figured out how to share the news. She replied “No, I’ve worked with these people for years and I’m going to tell them myself.” And marched off to do so.

    She was gone the next day. She’d have been able to stay her two weeks and tell most of her team within a couple of days; we just wanted to tell the most senior people because she was in a difficult role to fill and there was some sensitivity about it. But we couldn’t have someone there who felt free to disobey a direct instruction and was immune to discipline.

    (I think we paid her out for the two weeks, so it was probably a net plus for her, just a bit of a slap.)

    Reply
    1. Statler von Waldorf

      So, she did what she wanted, and she was “punished” with a two week paid vacation. Yeah, you really showed her.

      Reply
      1. Ask a Manager Post author

        Eh, there’s a cost to that kind of dismissal — in reputation, references, etc. She may not have cared, but Mike’s decision was certainly understandable.

        Reply
      2. Mike B.

        I don’t see the need to be snippy about it. It worked in part to her benefit, but she also left us on a very sour note that will stand out in her future job searches. You can bet her colleagues noticed that she was hustled out the door, which is far from our usual practice.

        But if she preferred the vacation to keeping a slight stain off her reputation, so be it. It had to be done.

        Reply
        1. Mike B.

          All that said, I would probably take the risk of keeping a friendly colleague or two abreast of my plans with the condition that they keep it quiet. But I would also assume the responsibility for the outcome–probably not huge–if someone spilled the beans.

          Telling the wrong person first is usually not a big enough deal to merit moving up someone’s last day or otherwise reacting with anything other than a gentle admonition.

          Reply
        2. Amber T

          Your report’s attitude was ridiculous, no argument here. Out of curiosity though, what was the reasoning behind wanting to let senior staff members know before the people she worked directly with? Assuming an amicable split (meaning, she just found a better paying/benefits/whatever job and had no hard feelings to the company), why would senior management want to “control” how the news is broken?

          Reply
          1. Mike B.

            The role, since then eliminated, required an unusual skill set and didn’t have a counterpart at most agencies of our class. It could take months to fill sometimes. And other people in that role had butted heads with people in other departments, to the point where some of them were not permitted to work on some accounts; establishing interim coverage before a new hire was made would be tricky. It was a delicate situation in multiple ways that she didn’t appreciate (or care about, perhaps).

            Reply
            1. Mike B.

              (“Not permitted” was the decree of other departments, not us. Senior management needed some assurance that they wouldn’t be saddled with people they specifically did not want to work with, so we wanted to go to them with a plan already in place.)

              Reply
        3. Statler von Waldorf

          Apoligies if that came across as snippy, I was going more for quippy.

          That said, how was she supposed to know that she wasn’t going to get hustled out of the door anyhow? Now telling your boss to their face that you are going to ignore them is pretty dumb, and I’m not defending that. However, given that in the US you never know if you are going to work your notice period, I totally understand why someone might tell their friends before their boss.

          Reply
          1. MegaMoose, Esq

            I do think that the flat-out failure to respect a reasonable request is pretty key in this particular anecdote, though.

            Reply
          2. Mike B.

            No worries! I should be less defensive on trusted comment boards.

            We’re a pretty large company, and she’d been here long enough to know that we don’t treat people poorly on their way out. The only other time I remember something remotely comparable happening was when someone in the high ranks of management left not just to work at a competitor, but to work on the product directly competing with the one she had led strategy on for us. She was walked out by security and then sued.

            Normally there are farewell happy hours, somebody or other bakes cupcakes for the last day, etc. And it’s pretty common for people to come back after a few years, so not many bridges are burned.

            Reply
  13. Future Homesteader

    While I get needing to keep things close to the vest, it seems to be that you’d only want to tell your boss once things were definite, whereas you might keep friends updated as the search progresses (provided they’re close enough work friends that you know they’ll keep it secret and they won’t see it as a burden, but a part of the friendship). I think that the boss is kind of off-base for asking. In my experience (and with the caveat that we don’t know exactly how upset this particular boss was), a boss who cares a lot about what an employee shares with coworkers (especially coworkers who are friends) is likely to be nosy and boundary-crossing in many ways, in which case I’d certainly keep any job-changing ideas to myself until I had a written offer. That said, when I’ve changed jobs, I’ve kept my boss in the loop as much as possible. But I’ve also had lots of lovely, supportive bosses, and I can easily see why one might not do that.

    Reply
  14. Statler von Waldorf

    “Sometimes managers feel like they’re more entitled to message control than they really are. And really, regardless of professional convention, it’s not unreasonable to feel that your plans are yours to share with whoever you want and on whatever timeline you want.”

    Quoting this part for truth. (Except instead of sometimes, I’d say the majority of the time) I’ll be honest, other than trying to ensure a good reference, I can’t think of a single way this practice benefits employees. To me it feels like overreach from management, and it may be a professional convention but it’s one I refuse to follow.

    Reply
    1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

      “To me it feels like overreach from management, and it may be a professional convention but it’s one I refuse to follow.”

      As noted elsewhere, sometimes a vacant position can kick off all sorts of internal workplace politics at the manager level that you’re completely unaware of. If you view management as your adversary, do what you will, I guess….but in general, if this is someone you respect at all, letting them take the lead on how to roll it out to their bosses and peers is generally a decent thing to do. If a few close friends know what’s up, that’s probably generally fine, but insisting that you and you alone get to roll it out as you alone see fit reflects kind of an attitude. That’s not to say some bosses don’t earn that attitude, or that some managers don’t obsess over message control more than they need to or are entitled to, but.

      Reply
      1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

        As an example: another manager, my peer, just had someone leave her team and she’s looking to hire externally for a particular kind of expertise she feels she needs. Jane’s team is really desirable and well thought of within the company, and everybody wants to go work for her if they’re in that field. A lot of the groups at that office work together and support the same clients doing similar things, so if it hit the grapevine, lots of people who think they’re due a promotion and/or want to work for Jane would be getting their hopes and dreams way fired up. But Jane’s not taking any of them on, and we’d all like the chance to tell our folks, “hey, Fergus is leaving Jane’s group, but she’s hiring a teapot handle expert externally because they really need that knowledge, so she’s not looking for internal applicants.” Hence why we all might want that information managed to avoid a morale problem.

        Reply
        1. Statler von Waldorf

          Ok, that’s a fair example. I will concede that in your scenario, it makes sense that a manager would need to know first.

          On the other hand, let’s look at “I gave my manager notice, and was on the street with a box of my stuff and no job less than 10 minutes later.” This is something that happens. In that scenario, if I don’t take control of the situation and inform my colleagues that I’m leaving, I may never get the chance to do so.

          Management isn’t your adversary, but it’s not your friend either.

          Reply
          1. The Not Mad But Occasionally Irritable Scientist

            It’s not necessarily either one, as a generality – se depende.

            Reply
  15. Czhorat

    I generally consider it a reasonable professional practice to keep job searches quiet until one actually lands a job, and then tell the boss first. I agree that it isn’t a cardinal sin, but in general most bosses don’t like to be surprised, and with good reason. I’d see this as a moderate breach of professional norms. The good news, of course, is that given the circumstance there’s not all that much they can do to you about it; you’ve chosen to quit, so it isn’t as if they can fire you.

    I’d certainly take the boss aside and offer a sincere but low-key apology for not having handled this more respectfully and discretely.

    Reply
  16. Channel Z

    I was on the other side, my “friend” was the one job searching and I knew about it, and encouraged it as it would be a good move for her professionally and financially and I thought I was helping her. Once she gave her notice though, it became very awkward, as two days later she suddenly became very nasty to me and even intimidating (glaring, slamming doors, physically getting in my way when working). Big big mistake on my part to get involved at all, and big mistake in general to be friends with someone at work. Never again.

    Reply
    1. ArtsNerd

      Whoa. Did your friend explain the reason for the hostility? This is bizarre behavior and not typical. It’s certainly your prerogative to shy away from work friendships but I would not recommend basing that decision on this particular incident.

      Reply
      1. Channel Z

        No, it transpired that she wasn’t my friend at all and had been spreading rumours about me while being nice to my face. She also claimed that she had been doing all my work. She is two years gone, but I still have bouts of paranoia. I learned that she had done this at previous employers, playing the victim and eliciting sympathy through false accusations. She was also a suspect of experiment sabotage. I was played.

        Reply
    2. Jesmlet

      I don’t necessarily think you should take this situation and conclude that having friends at work should be verboten. She is either just a shitty person, or someone must have said something to her to change the dynamic of your friendship. Certainly not a common occurrence.

      Reply
  17. NP

    How long was it between telling your coworkers and telling your boss? If you told them at 9 am and told your boss at 10 am, I am not seeing a problem at all. If you told them several days or weeks earlier, that’s a different story.

    Reply
    1. paul

      and on the flip side: I know other posters have mentioned how it can be important to let the managers know first for internal reasons that a person may not know…but how long do you wait after telling them?

      If I gave my boss my two weeks, would I generally be in the clear a week or so after giving notice? At some point I’m also concerned about preserving relationships with coworkers, and just dropping it on them that “hey tomorrow’s my last day” might damage that too.

      Reply
    2. Mike B.

      An hour is plenty of time for word to spread. A coworker could say something in innocence at a 9:15 meeting that was overheard by an SVP, who would then call the front-line manager at 9:45 to blindside her with a worried request for a coverage plan.

      Just wait an hour.

      Reply
  18. A.

    At my last job, the managers correctly assumed they were the last to know whenever someone got a new job. Most people told their immediate work circle unofficially before giving their official two weeks notice. I even told my boss unofficially and told her I would be submitting my letter of resignation as soon as my offer letter came in. She was fine keeping it under wraps until I submitted an official resignation a few days later.

    Reply
  19. Mockingjay

    Yes, managers like to know first.

    Last week I ran into a former coworker from Ex-Toxic Job. He told me that people are still talking about my (perceived) abrupt departure. (I was Government contractor working on site with customer. I gave company notice and wanted to give customer courtesy notice as well. Company refused; wanted to wait until they had a replacement.)

    http://www.askamanager.org/2016/07/open-thread-july-15-16-2016.html#comment-1140820

    Reply
  20. Murphy

    Funny, I was just thinking about possibly getting in trouble for not telling my boss something first. (I’m not resigning, and I know I won’t actually get in trouble. But quickly this morning I went from “going on maternity leave soon” to “my last day is tomorrow” and of course my boss is traveling all day, so I can’t discuss this with him. There are multiple people who need to know, and it’s just unfortunate timing that he’s not here today.)

    That being said, when I left my last job, I did tell one of my co-workers first. She knew that I had been looking, and the first opportunity I had to give notice was a day that all of our bosses tended to work at another building, so I had a hard time finding anyone to resign to! But I know she knew to keep it quiet and wouldn’t have told anyone.

    Reply
  21. otherworldling

    I feel like I’ve tended to walk a middle ground with this one. I do feel like it’s certainly more professional to inform a boss first and coworkers, even ones that double as friends, second.

    I’ve also worked for a boss in the past who was weirdly controlling of this. They didn’t just want to to be able to control the message. They didn’t want ANYONE to know. Sometimes our support staff (people who helped us on a daily basis) would just disappear…and we would find out that they had given their two weeks notice…pretty much on their last day or even after that. I’d be walking around looking for so-and-so to help me with someone, and be told that “oh yeah, yesterday was their last day.” The head supervisor might have known, but no one else. Needless to say, there was a lot of hush-hush conversation in that office of people just sharing their plans anyway. Also, bosses in that office tended not always to react well when they found out someone was job searching or quitting, or…heaven forbid, had started a job search without telling them first. So there were also a lot of people discussing job searches and plans just to get opinions from each other on “how should I go about telling them?” and the like.

    I’ve also before worked at a place where another coworker and I became very good friends (as in, we sometimes got together outside of work as much as 2 or 3 times a week). We often talked about more general future plans. So they knew long before my boss that I was at a point of “I don’t see myself working here more than another year at most.” I did have a good relationship with my boss there and did inform them when I was starting my job search. My friend was the first to know when I got an interview. My boss was the first to know when I resigned – they asked if anyone else knew and I did admit that the friend knew I had been looking for a job, but I hadn’t said anything about the official resignation yet.

    I still think it’s better to be discreet because it can be sensitive. But every workplace is going to have its own dynamic where it’s different.

    Reply
    1. Manders

      Yes, my current employer works this way. There was a spell of people quitting with no notice and then two people were fired with no announcement to the staff. It made things very tense in the office. For a while afterward, every time someone didn’t show up for work, you had to ask around to figure out if they were just sick or if they’d vanished.

      Reply
  22. Erin

    Why did he specifically ask that question, I wonder? Did he already know you were leaving before the news reached him? In that case yeah, that’s kind of bad and your coworkers were not discreet.

    In general I’d say it’s a faux pas, but like Alison said, not a huge sin.

    If you haven’t given him an official resignation letter yet – or maybe you could shoot him an informal email if you did – try saying something like, “In retrospect, you’re right I should have come to you with my resignation first. I just wanted to apologize for that, and to thank you for X number of years I’ve had with the organization. I’ve learned a lot from you…” blah blah blah.

    Reply
  23. TotesMaGoats

    I also think we need to differentiate between telling a close work friend that you are resigning and the prerogative of you boss to determine how/when everybody else finds out. The first, I think is fine. The second, yeah, you need to generally bow to that particular wish. When I left OlderOld Job, I told my boss and my immediate team that day. But I waited until my boss sent the “she’s leaving” email before emailing everybody else. Word actually hadn’t gotten around and while the email my boss sent was less than I was hoping for. Seriously, who refers to someone as “Mrs. Susie TotesMaGoats” in an internal email to 30 people I’ve worked with for almost 8 years. I still waited for him to do his thing.

    Reply
  24. kapers

    “Have you told anyone else?”

    To me, this means he had heard it elsewhere already. This is what you don’t want– you don’t want it in the air before you can control the narrative (imagine if you hadn’t gotten the job but your boss knew you were looking– that could make for awkward times.)

    Reply
  25. SlickWilly

    I recently changed jobs and in my previous position, I was under a dysfunctional management team where three different people thought they were my manager whereas, of course, only one really was. I communicated my resignation clearly to “real” manager and then had to deal with these interrogations from the other two “fake” managers about why I didn’t consult with them first. I hope that this actually gave them a bit of a clue about how dysfunctional they are, but I doubt it, and weep for my former team that still deals with them.

    Reply
    1. paul

      I have to ask because I’m flabbergasted: did they think you were actually a direct report when you weren’t, or is th ere more of a general “they were bossy and would frequently try to reassign from work my manager had assigned” thing?

      Reply
      1. fposte

        Seriously, how bizarre! I would have been tempted just to blurt out “You know I never worked for you, right?”

        Reply
      2. SlickWilly

        “Real boss” knew she was real boss, had the official assignment in the HR systems, etc. “Fake boss #1” was my original boss, but got reassigned to other projects and duties and gradually disappeared from our deparment without any official word, though when he reappeared from time to time he would give work to everyone as though nothing had changed. “Fake boss #2” was interim while “real” was out sick for an extended period, and in his mind, never gave up his interim role.

        Reply
  26. Mrs. Fenris

    Ooh, I just went through this. I am starting a new job in 3 weeks, and was not about to have my boss find out that I was looking. I couldn’t use her as a reference, obviously, but I’ve been there for so long that I didn’t have a lot of references outside of this job. So I quietly asked a peer coworker if I could use her, and to keep it on the DL. I got the job, and did not breathe a single word to anybody until I had given my boss my resignation. It felt super awkward because I am fairly close friends with a couple of coworkers, and to not tell them something of this magnitude felt downright deceptive. But my workplace has a thriving rumor mill and I just couldn’t do things in the wrong order.

    Reply
  27. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2

    The other reason your boss might want to know first – is so he / she has the opportunity to discretely discuss the reasons for your departure AND – also you are giving him or her the chance to extend a counter-offer.

    Once word gets out that you’ve given notice, it becomes virtually impossible for them to counter. You might not accept it, but at least, afford them the chance.

    Reply

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