my manager was escorted out after resigning, and I’m freaking out

A reader writes:

My supervisor (who was in upper level management) gave his notice two days ago. We found out yesterday, and this morning around 10 a.m. he was apparently escorted from the building. I don’t know the details because I didn’t find out until around 1 p.m. We haven’t been told anything, and our team lead was supposed to have a meeting with our new supervisor at the end of the day, but instead she went to a management meeting, so we know nothing.

It’s great to know how the company is going to treat us should we try to leave (which makes me want to make that sooner rather than later, just to get it over with), but this has completely shaken my faith in the company. I thought this was one of the best companies I’d ever worked for, and now I just feel like a naiive fool. Our yearly reviews are a little over a month away, and how is our new supervisor supposed to evaluate us if she’s worked with us less than a month? Our one chance at a raise for the year is at stake. But mostly I’m worried because I was told by that supervisor that I was doing well in the company. I have no idea if that’s true any more, or even if it is are they going to hold the fact that he praised my performance and apparently recommended me for a lead position if they held him in such contempt? What am I supposed to do now?

Reserve judgment.

You say yourself that you know very little right now, so it doesn’t make sense to panic. While it’s possible that your company did indeed treat your manager poorly and/or that they routinely do this to people who resign, it’s also possible that there was good reason for it. There are times when it makes sense to have someone sooner than planned when they resign (for example, if he was sabotaging the company in some way, stealing client lists, watching porn at work, told the CEO to F-off, or tons of other possibilities).

There are also some fields where it’s routine to do this is someone is leaving for a competitor and everyone involved understands and expects that, and where often your notice period is paid out but they just don’t want you working during it. (I’ve never understood that practice, because presumably anyone planning to steal intellectual property would just do it before resigning, but it’s a common and understood practice for some fields regardless — and isn’t taken as insulting but as just the way those fields work.)

In any case, we just don’t know what happened here, and so it doesn’t make sense to jump to assuming he was mistreated. Wait until you know more.

As for being evaluated by a new manager or knowing how you’ll be perceived now that your boss is gone, hold off on panicking on that too. Managers do leave, and sometimes they leave right before evaluations. It’s occasionally a disaster, but more often than not everyone figures out a way to deal with it. (It will help if you take the initiative to give the new manager a self-evaluation ahead of time, laying out what your goals were for the year and what your progress was toward each of them, as well as any additional achievements you’ve had this year. In other words, you can play a role in supplying her with information, and most new managers will be grateful for that.)

It’s very likely that you’re going to get more information over the next few weeks about how all of this will be handled. The best thing you can do is to accept that there are a bunch of unknowns right now, but that (a) there’s no current reason to freak out over any of this, and (b) if there is really cause to be concerned, that will become clear soon enough. But wait until you have more facts.

{ 122 comments… read them below }

  1. TotesMaGoats*

    I’d echo reserve judgement. You don’t know anything at this point, so any assumption you may is probably incorrect. Focus on your job and doing well handling the chaos. That always looks good.

    1. Rat Racer*

      Yes – at my former company, if a manager left the firm and joined a competitor, they were put on administrative leave and escorted out of the building. It was just their protocol. Not like being arrested in a mall for shoplifting (which is bizarrely how the escorting thing always comes across to me.)

      1. harryv*

        This. Some companies just decide to release the individual earlier. I had a friend who got escorted out the minute they resigned. It was a state entry level position. He found another job and wanted to resign before going through the whole training. The manager announced it to the class and had security escort him to get his stuff and left. He wasn’t in shock as I gave him a heads up that this can happen. The 2 weeks is just a courtesy.

  2. Kyrielle*

    I especially suspect it may be the case that he did something they didn’t like, *or* they found out he was leaving for a competitor after he resigned, because he was escorted out two days after he resigned. Someone who was being asked to resign or was escorted out as a matter of routine would normally go out the same day they resigned. Also, it’s totally possible they’re being fair to him.

    I mean, if you give two weeks notice and they send you home that day but pay you for the two weeks…that’s different than if they just say “no, effective today” and stop paying you, in terms of how it impacts the worker and the tone.

    1. Just another techie*

      That’s what I came here to say. It is very unusual for someone to be escorted out days after submitting a resignation. I wouldn’t at all think this is how the company normally handles a departure.

      1. BRR*

        This is what struck me as odd. This is a data point (and my guess is there is likely a reason). I would try and see if there is an overarching trend to how resignations are handled.

      2. AnonaMoose*

        Actually this is the normal protocol for folks in high capital sales environments, especially if they have a bonus to pay back. The couple of days is to reach an agreement to how the person plans to pay back the bonus (lots of sales orgs do this, it keeps them there – especially if they buy an already existing financial practice). Once that is resolved, out they go, as quickly as possible so as not to have access to client data that is no longer theirs. I agree with Alison, it’s stupid for several reasons. Especially because everybody gets to keep a ‘holiday list’ which includes name, address, and type of account. So dumb.

        1. Stranger than fiction*

          Great points you and kyrielle make. Other than that, this can be normal and I’ve seen it happen. They generally don’t want people to have an opportunity to download sensitive customer and product data, but the two days passing could be either one of the things you mentioned.

    2. Not my real handle*

      I gave a month’s notice for my last job and my boss snapped and said, “we don’t need any notice.” Luckily, HR stepped in and said they would pay me out for my notice time.

      But I agree with Kyrielle, if it was a case of the company not accepting the notice, they would just do it that day.

  3. Bend & Snap*

    This is really common when someone leaves to go to a competitor, at least in my industry (tech). It sounds like you guys could use some transparency for peace of mind, but really, no need to freak out given the info you do have.

      1. Judy*

        It is very common in my experience, but I’ve only seen once where they let them stay for several days. Usually it’s when the person puts in the notice. The several day time was when the person was in a critical spot on a project.

        Of course I’ve heard managers suggest that a person who interviews with a competitor should be fired. It’s common knowledge around here.

    1. Sarahnova*

      It’s not common to be escorted out, but in the UK most senior executives are on 3-month notice periods contractually, and when they give notice, they are typically put on leave immediately to remove their access to confidential information.

      It’s informally known as “gardening leave”, and provides a nice paid break between jobs.

  4. AndersonDarling*

    I wouldn’t freak out because the manager “was escorted out.” That could just mean that HR met with the manager, and said they would rather end employment now then wait two more weeks. It could have been handled kindly and professionally.
    You could say “escorted out” which brings to mind punishments, or you could say, “Sally from HR was chatting with Manager as she turned in her badge and left” which sounds like a social departure.
    Heck, the manager could have called HR and said she changed her mind and wanted to leave now.

  5. Lia*

    Sounds like my partner’s (blessedly FORMER) company. Partner got a new job, went in to boss and resigned, giving 3 weeks’ notice. Later that day, Partner met with all of the direct reports Partner managed and informed them, etc etc etc. Next morning, boss tells partner, “get out now” and bam, by noon, Partner’s locked out of everything, and got a 3 week paid vacation til the next job started. They didn’t like having people around who had given notice, so generally, they paid out the remainder of the notice period to not have them underfoot. Personally, I think they didn’t want to admit that people were unhappy enough to look for other work.

    That said, the best way to handle this is to make sure YOU have copies of your reviews, performance programs, and the like on hand to provide new management. When I’ve gone through this, they have usually been grateful to have the documentation to make the review process as smooth as possible.

    1. AnonaMoose*

      “Personally, I think they didn’t want to admit that people were unhappy enough to look for other work.”

      Just so I understand – they think that by kicking them out, it makes the employee look HAPPIER? Or that they’re saving face and “really” cutting ties first, nah nah boo boo?

      1. Hotstreak*

        Well, I think somebody is much more likely to say bad things on the way out the door, where as if they are going to stay for a while they will be kind in order to maintain an amicable workplace.

      2. Three Thousand*

        Which is really kind of sad, since it just comes off sounding like “You can’t quit, you’re fired!” I still have a hard time believing how personally some workplaces take it when people leave.

      3. Nisse*

        I’m slightly torn here. I live in a country with months of period notice, been through 2 of the 3 months I have. My company is going to let me leave a few weeks earlier which is nice but hasn’t happened to me before (apart from when I’ve had a couple of weeks of holiday left).

        A problem with keeping someone around from my perspective is morale. I’m a mid level manager and resigning took some time to make up my mind about. Keeping up the team spirit and morale for 3 months after that can be challenging and for me is a good reason to let people walk early. You don’t want someone around who really doesn’t want to be there, at the same time this whole being escorted by security thing sounds medieval to me.

  6. Juli G.*

    ^Everything Allison said.

    Have you worked for your company long? Is this the first person that you’ve seen resign? Consider asking some longer tenured peers about what they’ve experienced – “Wow, I’ve never seen someone walked out before their notice period. Does that happen a lot?”

    The two day time lapse makes me think there is more to the story but that’s only based on my experience.

  7. F.*

    I was a lowly administrative assistant for Dysfunctional Very Large Financial Services Corporation and was escorted out both times I was laid off. I was paid for a week’s notice each time, but was let go immediately after I was notified and met with HR. This was standard operating procedure, and was most likely due to the nature of the business.

    1. Kyrielle*

      IMX, people who are fired or laid off are likely to be escorted out right away – that way it’s over with quickly, and also if anyone was inclined to retaliate they have no chance.

      But for someone who quits voluntarily, it depends a lot more on the industry – and on where they went to work. It’s pretty common to go the day you hand in notice if you work in my former sub-area of tech *and* you accept a job with a competitor. If you didn’t, though, as I and many others didn’t (retiring or going to a different industry/area, not a competitor), you worked out the notice period.

      1. TootsNYC*

        Yeah, it’s a very different scenario when the company is the one doing the severing. They figure they’ve pissed you off, and you might be willing to hurt them for it.

        When the employee is the one instigating the break, there’s not the same worry about retaliation.

        (That said, I’ve seen some layoffs where the company said, “We’re giving you notice that your last day is the end of the week, 4 days from now [or in one case, the end of the day], and we’d love it if you’d stay and set things up for your colleagues, and you can clear out your email, etc.; but it’s OK if you don’t, no hard feelings, and darn we’re sorry we can’t afford to continue to pay you, we think you’re great!” Those worked very well, actually.)

        1. Kyrielle*

          Yes! It can go well. My husband’s former company went into bankruptcy and shut down. They asked several people (my husband included) to remain around for operations necessary to that process, and gave them when their last day would be if they didn’t find anything first. They also let them job-hunt using company computers whenever they didn’t have a task they needed to do, which was pretty much some of every day after a while. (It worked out really nicely, because my husband was able to tell them he’d found a new job about a week before the next trimming cycle, in which the slightly-more-junior guy with a similar role was going to be let go – and he hadn’t found a job yet. So they trimmed my husband instead, and his work friend got more time to job hunt.)

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Same here, and with Former Coworker. We both got to pack up and then were taken out right there. I got six weeks’ severance (I was there for six years), which really helped make up the difference before UI had to start. It was a godsend since I went through all the tiers of UI and was about to run out completely right before I got this job. I don’t recall anyone who left voluntarily being taken out, though.

      1. Omne*

        Where I work I have to walk down with anyone leaving my group voluntarily or involuntarily so that I can get their proximity badge. The whole building is secured.

        I usually end up helping them carry things.

  8. Helka*

    As far as your new supervisor goes… what sort of a relationship did she have with your previous supervisor? It may be that she’s already somewhat looped in.

    And even if she isn’t, she may be prepared to handle this. A past boss of mine died suddenly (car accident) about three months before my review, and her boss stepped in to fill the gap, without knowing much of me beyond my name. What we arranged was that at my review, we did a goalsetting/catchup talk, and six months later she would give me a belated review, based on my late boss’ scanty notes and her observations. It wasn’t perfect (I could have used that raise earlier!) but it reflected her understanding of how this impacted my job and pay.

  9. Amanda*

    This is pretty common at my company, but it’s not a nefarious thing – the notice periods are paid. I work for company that is heavily regulated by the government and where some individuals have access to very sensitive data. There have been a few high profile (i.e., in the news) cases where people have tried to steal source code and other confidential stuff from my company, and every time it happens, regulators get involved. I imagine that if the company has reason to know that an employee is leaving, regulators would be more likely to take action – so it’s probably easier and cheaper to just pay out the notice period and immediately remove access.

    1. Hotstreak*

      Exactly. There’s always a risk of somebody stealing intellectual property, customer lists, etc., but once a person announces they are leaving the company & ending their loyalty, the company needs to act quickly on the increased. It can seem odd from the outside (like Alison talked about), but in the sort of industry you’re talking about there’s not much of a choice.

  10. HRChick*

    Reminds me of a situation here where employees were accusing administration of firing someone “for no reason” and getting all up in arms. What they didn’t know was that this very likable, well-known employee had been found to be misusing their corporate card to the tune of thousands of dollars.

    When called on it, he made frank but vague threats to release some kind of personal information about individual employees here that had been shared in confidence with him (due to his position in ministry) that he felt could damage our reputation.

    We couldn’t share that information with the employees. All they saw was someone they liked being banned from the property and so they assumed we were the bad guys. :-\

    Reserve judgment. There is probably some more information going on here than you know.

    As for your yearly review – I would prepare a self assessment and have it ready for submission.

    1. Juli G.*

      Ugh, let me just say that I feel you sister.

      We had a well liked employee fired that people were all up in arms about – supposedly fired for a stupid, vague policy.

      I wish I didn’t know why he was fired.

      1. HRChick*

        Sometimes, keeping your mouth shut is the hardest thing in the world. The number of times I wanted to say, “Excuse me, but he’s lucky he’s not in JAIL, so back off” was terrible.

        1. Academic Librarian*

          second all of this. Had an employee that was extremely social and well liked by all of the staff. Even the people she “threw under the bus” during her PIP had no idea of her transgressions- financial and performance. Super stressful keeping my mouth shut after the separation.

        2. Juli G.*

          Yep. When I read the “My HR person blabbed about X” letters, I always think it’s extremely unprofessional and disappointing but I do sometimes sympathize because it can be hard to cart all that baggage around.

      2. fposte*

        Another in the family here. Yes, he was amazingly likeable, and I’m glad you liked him. Do you want to do his work for him?

      3. hbc*

        It’s amazing how much people can miss, too. You worked side by side with him and saw him rolling into work late three days a week, and you’ve got no idea why we didn’t keep him around? I liked him too, but it’s easy to be nice when you’re so well-rested.

    2. Apollo Warbucks*

      Could you not have said something about financial irregularities to at least hint at the reason behind what was going on. I get the need for privacy and confidentiality but not at the expense of emoloyee moral / relations.

      1. HRChick*

        Our administration, unfortunately, is very very protective of employee reputations. Even when the employee is dead in the wrong, we’re not allowed to say anything. It often makes us look like the bad guys, but the higher ups feel that it saves us on embarrassment and law suits.

        1. NickelandDime*

          This. I know of situations where companies had to fire people for theft, sexual harassment, all types of nefarious stuff – and they didn’t let people know the real reason why they were let go. This is why I try to reserve judgement and if I never figure it out, I assume there’s probably a very good reason why I don’t know.

          Not to say this is the situation in this letter – it could be a non-compete issue or something else.

      2. F.*

        At one company, we had to terminate someone who had embezzled a very large amount of money. Of course, all levels of law enforcement were involved behind the scenes. We were sworn to secrecy by both law enforcement and the banks and credit card companies. L.E. didn’t want to taint the investigation, and the banks and c.c. companies did not want damage to their reputations.

    3. AnonaMoose*

      I’ve been there too! I had to let a ‘favorite’ go for uh…not using company resources as appropriate, and everybody hated me, even though we told NOBODY. But the staff person ratted their mouth, and so it looked like we were just after her. Nope, we’d been watching for quite some time.

      Leadership – it’s such a lonely place sometimes.

      1. NickelandDime*

        It is a hard job. I think the leap to judgement is reserved for the inexperienced – new grads, people working just a few years out of school – and people who stay in trouble. The first category eventually learn that in many situations, there’s a much bigger story going on behind the scenes and they aren’t just “out to get people.”

        I am not managing people yet, but I’ve had a lot of personal conversations with managers, etc., and I don’t envy them.

        1. OhNo*

          I actually tend to think that the leap to judgement is pretty universal. I mean, everyone has their own individual perception of a person, and very few people like admitting that their perception could be wrong (especially about people they like and/or trust).

          I do agree that new grads/inexperienced workers seem to have this warped perception of management as a malevolent hivemind, though. I’ve noticed it in myself (as a new grad), as well as the vast majority of my friends and coworkers my age. I wonder where that comes from? Some by-product of mass schooling, maybe?

        2. HRChick*

          I think the leap to judgment can come from the experienced as well. I know a lot of the people who are most vocal on behalf of their terminated friends are those with higher rank. They’re a lot more secure in their positions than newbies and also believe they know a lot more. Problem comes from when they pass that misunderstanding and attitude down to the newbies, who begin to believe we’re out to get them when, in fact, that would be against our interests.

          But, from the outside, I’m sure that a lot of administrative decisions look flippant and uncaring. I can’t really get mad at people for coming to the defense of someone they consider a friend (and from whom they’ve probably heard a very different version of events). I just wish there were more opportunities for people to know ME as a person so they would stop and say, “You know what, I can’t see HRChick firing someone for that. Wonder what else is going on” instead of “OMG THE HRCHICK GAVEL OF EVIL STRIKES AGAIN!!”

  11. CaliCali*

    In the one case I witnessed something similar after someone gave his notice, I asked my boss about it (we had a good enough relationship that I felt comfortable doing it), and she told me that 1) it was general SOP that you got escorted out on your last day, in part as a professional courtesy — she was the escort-er — buuuut 2) apparently all the employee was doing was spending the day on Monster looking for new jobs, and they figured there wasn’t any sense paying him for that, so they informed him it was the end of his notice and he could go now. It wasn’t contentious; it was just a matter of the professional relationship having already reached its end, and they were just expediting the process.

  12. grasshopper*

    I would wait until you hear more from management before jumping to conclusions. There might be a perfectly good reason, or it could be your worst nightmare but you won’t know until they confirm it either way. Management should have been more proactive in giving you information quickly in order to prevent FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real). Sometimes I wonder how managers don’t realize that in the absence of information, people will create their own information about a situation.

    1. Stranger than fiction*

      Right?! While I think it’s totally normal to have people leave right away sometimes, some sort of stock generic announcement should be made but so many companies don’t. Then surprise! People start whispering and gossiping and to me that’s much worse.

  13. Melissa B*

    I work for a wonderful company, but this has happened a few times for us as well. It’s always been because of specific circumstances – eg. we’re in a high profile project competition and someone’s leaving for the competitor and they don’t want to risk the proposal secrets being shared, or we’re about to contact some new NDA projects and don’t want them to take that knowledge to the next firm. I’d suggest taking a look at the other people who resign – are they being released early as well? Did it appear to be for a reason? That might help you understand the culture and reasons for early release.

  14. Apollo Warbucks*

    Gardening leave is not uncommon and you don’t know what lead to your old supervisor leaving immediately. Don’t panic just yet keep an eye on things and see what happens. When you come to leave be prepared they might want you to leave immediately too so you can have some money put aside for your notice period if it goes badly for you.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        As I don’t have a garden, I used to call it plant pot leave.

        When I resigned from my last job, it was just before Christmas, so after a couple of days to tie up some loose ends, I was told I did not have to come back to the office.

  15. Another HRPro*

    Unless you have seen that this how the company typically handles resignations, I suspect that something happened after your manager gave notice. He may have said something or done something during the transition or the company may have discovered something.

    Alison’s advice about being proactive about your performance to your new manager is great. Take some time to create your own self-assessment and be prepared to brief your new manager on what your objectives for the year were and what you have accomplished. I recommend that you keep an open mind about the transition and take this opportunity to make a great impression on your new manager. Walking into this situation can be difficult and you can help make the transition easier for your new manager. If you do so, your new manager will appreciate it.

  16. Dasha*

    Deep breath, OP! I too would be kind of freaked out if that happened, I think it’s just a knee jerk reaction but hold on and wait until the dust settles and you get more information. Deep breath, wait and see.

  17. LBK*

    Nothing here really sounds egregious, worrisome or particularly unusual. I’m going to guess either you’re relatively new to the workforce or there’s more context about how your company operates that would make you afraid something nefarious was going on, because the situation as outlined in the letter doesn’t sound bad to me.

    This line in particular is odd to me: I thought this was one of the best companies I’d ever worked for, and now I just feel like a naiive fool. If the company otherwise treats people well, what makes you think that this one incident is the result of them being secretly shady and spiteful and not the result of some smart decision or mutual agreement being made by a good manager that you otherwise trusted? I just don’t get how this incident is cause for such alarm.

    1. michelenyc*

      I thought that line was odd too! When I left to go to a competitor I was gone the next day. It is very common in the sportswear industry to not finish out your notice and be escorted out by security, HR, or your manager! When I was escorted out my manager and I just laughed about it! I had zero access to any information my new company would have thought was useful.

    2. Jake*

      This does seem like the type of thing to add to a list of offenses, not the type of thing that would shift your entire perspective.

      1. fposte*

        I think if you’re not familiar with the convention, it might look like a lot more egregious–like somebody’s being hauled off in chains, in professional terms.

        1. TootsNYC*

          Yeah, I think there is a bit of “green”-ness going on here, so it’s good the OP wrote to Alison. Hopefully hearing her reassurance and everyone else’s stories of this practice will make her feel more comfortable with this.

          1. KarenT*

            Agreed. My first couple of years working I thought everything was A. Big. Deal. Then you see things happen a few times and you become unflappable!

    3. Rae*

      I can understand this as a young working person who had lower managment jobs and moved to a professional one. I, too, love my company. Some people have gone without incident but others have been escorted out without being able to gather their personal items….HR got their car keys and they were legally barred from speaking with anyone.
      These all came with good reason…one had stolen directory info, one lied on their app about level of education (making what they were doing illegal), one had written a porno about underage girls…but we never knew that until there was evidence in Google or horrible emails surfaced.
      I must say, at first I was really shaken and especially before I was able to see for myself Google evidence of what went wrong with that person, I was very resentful to my company.

    4. Kara*

      I echo the above.

      OP it does sound to me like you’re overreacting quite a lot. Going from “best company ever” to “OMG ENDOFTHEWORLD” seems a bit overwrought. You have no idea what happened. Even if the manager had worked out his/her notice, you’d still have your reviews done by someone else, so I’m not sure how that’s relevant either. It happens all the time that a manager leaves before annual or periodic reviews. And it’s perfectly normal in many industries (I’d say most all of them that I’ve worked in) to be escorted out. It’s often an HR/security requirement that has nothing to do with the person who’s leaving specifically.

      Take a few deep breaths and remember this has nothing to do with you or your job performance. And keep in mind that you may NEVER find out the reason for it (especially if it had to do with money or crucial company information) and that also doesn’t make the company automatically evil. It just means they are keeping confidential information confidential.

    5. TootsNYC*

      Yeah, I’ve worked at lots of different companies, and at all of them I’ve felt the company was basically fair and reasonable and rational.
      So if they suddenly walked someone out in a hurry, I’d assume they were still being fair and reasonable and rational.
      Because there ARE fair and reasonable and rational reasons to ask someone to leave immediately. And to treat them as if they’re a bit of a danger while you do.

      Also–being escorted out is not the horrible insult that it might seem.

  18. Dr. Pepper Addict*

    My wife works for a bank and whenever anyone leaves and goes to another bank, they are told they have to leave immediately and are escorted out of the building. It’s not that they think this person did anything wrong, it’s that they don’t want them hanging around and working out a two week notice and telling clients that they’re leaving and what bank they’re going to. Banks typically believe that people will follow their favorite bankers and are paranoid about losing the business. So it makes sense to escort someone out immediately if they’re leaving to go to a competitor.

  19. Ann O'Nemity*

    I would totally find it disconcerting for my manager to be escorted out of the building during his notice period. Not hearing anything official from above about it would only make it more worrisome.

    Still, like Alison and other posters have said, it’s best to reserve judgement and not jump to any conclusions. There may be a perfectly sound explanation for what happened. And although more communication would have been ideal, the lapse if forgivable in the grander scheme. I think it’s best for the LW to stay calm, but cautious until everything shakes out.

    1. Another HRPro*

      It is always difficult in these situations for a company. Generally a company wants to protect an individual’s privacy and not disclose why they are leaving if there was an issue. My experience is the less you hear about what happened, the more likely there was some sort of indiscretion.

    2. TootsNYC*

      Actually, it would be worrisome, but it would not be the COMPANY I’d be worrisome’d about. I’d assume it was because of something bad the manager had done–at the very least, I’d assume she was going to a competitor. At the most, I’d assume some nefarious deed on her part.
      Also, the silence would be really telling. If they were going to a competitor, there’s no reason for them to keep silent; I’d expect a manager to just say, “Oh, yeah, he got a job at ThatOpposingTeam, and so we asked him to just not come in for his last two weeks. He’s getting his two weeks’ salary, we just don’t want him in the office. It’s the look of the thing.”
      If they’re saying NOTHING, I assume it’s because they don’t want to be sued for slander, or there’s a criminal investigation they don’t want to compromise.

      The thing is, it’s more work to escort someone out. It’s way way easier to just let them finish their notice period. So if the company and its execs bestirs themselves, and interrupt their normal routine, there’s something behind it.

      1. Ann O'Nemity*

        Yeah, I agree with that. It’s more like “OMG what happened with manager?!” instead of “OMG my employer is evil and treats everyone like crap!”

  20. KT*

    Don’t panic. This happened to a former manager of mine. She gave her notice, then after a few days, they got panicky about her new employer. She was escorted out with security carrying her things in a box. It was not a pretty picture, but it was more a perception thing.

    I was close with her, and she said they were actually quite nice. They paid her through her notice period, and they have provided her with glowing references when she was job-searching again a few years later.

    Some places just get very skittish about employees going to competitors.

    1. TootsNYC*

      And in those cases, as a manager, I’d be making that announcement:
      “As you know, Katherine has accepted a job at our competitor. Since she’s going to the opposing team, we’ve asked her to finish out her notice away from the office.” Personally I’d throw in a compliment or two, and maybe a threat to beat the pants off her new company in terms of sales, nyah nyah nyah Katherine ;) , rah rah Team OurCompany!

  21. hbc*

    If the company has looked reasonable up to this point, there’s no reason to expect that they’re going to go, “We hate ExBoss now and will therefore do the opposite of what he said. Demotion for OP, and casual Fridays have become White Tie Fridays!” Even if they found something extremely damaging, unless that had to do with his judgment in reviewing people, his opinions are still going to be valued. I recently had to fire someone for (lots of) cause, and am still putting through the promotions he recommended.

    And all that is assuming the escort out had to do with “contempt” or other bad feelings. Sometimes the lawyers get hold of procedures, and the walk-out means that your boss can feel safe that no one will accuse him of stealing his laptop or something. It might not be any more of an insult than asking him to return his badge.

  22. lionelrichiesclayhead*

    I had a similar situation happen at work in which someone gave their notice but wasn’t escorted out of the office until a few days later. For some reason, upper management didn’t realize that this guy leaving to go work for the competition meant that they should probably pay out his notice but have him leave the office immediately. It wasn’t until a few days later when one of the heads of compliance came in and wanted to know why the guy was still coming into the office that they finally had him leave permanently. This guy didn’t do anything wrong; I would bet he was surprised himself that it didn’t happen the day he gave notice! But sometimes things get overlooked and then they are taken care of when someone notices or brings up the issue to otherwise clueless management.

    And being escorted out by security or HR is very common, in my opinion, even when it’s a very unremarkable situation. We’ve had plenty of people at my office escorted out by security on their last day, congratulations balloons and leftover cake from their “last day” party in hand. It’s SOP for everyone leaving. Now, being escorted out in handcuffs or by the real police is another thing ;)

    1. Another HRPro*

      This is a good point. Any my company, everyone who leaves is escorted out because of security. All of our properties require you to badge in and out. When you leave, you can’t badge out on your own as you had to turn in your id. Therefore, security has to escort you out.

  23. Chris*

    At my last company, I put in my two weeks notice on a Friday. I had my manager and his boss that day have meetings with me to try and keep me. The following Monday, the higher boss submitted his resignation to go to a competitor, and he was gone that afternoon. I continued working out my last two weeks, due to the fact that I was switching industries, and would in no way be taking any IP with me that could be useful to my new company.

  24. LizNYC*

    This happened at my company too for one resigning coworker. He was going to a direct competitor, which wasn’t discovered until two days after he put in his two weeks. He was asked to pack up and go (and, I’m assuming, was paid for his notice period). It wasn’t contentious — the boss told him he was welcome back if he wanted to return — but it was an NDA / IP issue.

  25. AllieJ0516*

    In my former industry, this was VERY common practice, mainly because people leaving were generally staying in the industry and the sensitivity of the information could be easily to gain a competitive edge or an advantage in future negotiations. I think that’s especially true with executives the higher you go up the ladder. Over the 30 years I was in that biz, I had seen it happen after a couple of days (supervisor was out/not available, etc), but generally it was not unusual for people to give a two-week notice on a Friday, and be at the new company on Monday. I wouldn’t get freaked out over it at all.

  26. Zahra*

    Most of the jobs I worked at did escort employees out. One of them wouldn’t let me log on my computer to retrieve music I had imported on it. The last one let me do a quick cleanup, with the general HR/admin person looking over my shoulder, which I found much more compassionate.

  27. Beti*

    I’m not sure why there is the assumption that the company automatically the bad guy here. It doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility that the supervisor did something unprofessional/contentious/threatening and required an escort out. People are unpredictable. This is an extreme example but look at Jared from Subway. All we saw was his public persona. Turns out there was some pretty awful stuff underneath. I’m not saying the supervisor was some sort of criminal; I’m just saying without any evidence one way or the other, there’s no reason to assume one party or the other was at fault and the OP will be run out of town on a rail after giving notice. Give it time. Assume positive intent.

  28. LeisureSuitLarry*

    I thought it was very common at the higher levels of executive management (VP and above) to end the relationship on the day they resign. Certainly the time my VP resigned he had just enough time to inform the team, gather his belongings, and go.

  29. Waffles*

    This actually happens a lot in finance/banking/investments, particularly if you’re in a sales role. The fear is that you’ll be taking clients with you, but if you’re going to be in the same role at another company, the expectation for getting hired is that you’ll be bringing your clients. The same companies who will try to sue you for taking clients when you leave are the same companies who expect you to bring clients when you’re hired on. It’s a very fine line. When you put in your two weeks, you pretty much expect to be walked out the door. Whenever a financial advisor suddenly starts tidying up their desk, it’s a sign! I’ve occasionally seen someone be allowed to stay if they were switching industries completely.

    1. BeenThere*

      Also particularly if you are in an IT role, because you have the keys to do a lot of damage or extracts information quickly. In every scenarios I’ve witnessed, including my first hand experience I’ve seen, the notice period has been paid out and you cannot go back to your desk. I still wish I’d gotten to send my last email at one of my jobs.

      1. Windchime*

        We generally let people work out their notice (IT), but we recently had one guy quit in a fit of pique while he was having a disciplinary meeting in HR and he wasn’t allowed to work out a notice or even come back to the building. He had to surrender his badge immediately and his credentials were revoked within minutes. He was the kind of guy who would definitely cause trouble.

  30. Ann Furthermore*

    I did some consulting work at a large bank years ago that would do this if you were going to work for the competition. All your network access is immediately cut off, and a security person will come to your desk and stand there while you gather your belongings, take your badge, and walk you out of the building. I would imagine that it would make you feel like a common criminal, but it’s a pretty standard practice.

  31. Macedon*

    I’ve been in your supervisor’s exact shoes mainly on a bureaucratic glitch. In my case, I submitted my resignation when the Big Boss wasn’t in, and my manager didn’t have the clout to authorize my immediate removal. Once Big Boss returned to the office a few days later and got word of my situation, he called me in, we bade our farewells, and I was promptly escorted out.

    I suppose the overall effect depends on how the process happens too. I was pretty light-hearted about it and, being a very light-framed woman, even got help from security, who carried my things. It doesn’t have to be a particularly menacing development.

    As for your review – managers can change at any point. This particular incident doesn’t necessarily speak to the detriment of your promotion prospects, since your progress will hopefully have been documented in personnel files.

  32. NicoleK*

    Sometime it depends on the manager of the departing employee. My organization typically allows employees to work their two weeks. But there was a situation where a manager elected to accept the resignation effective immediately (which is a whole other story).

  33. Mena*

    Slow down. You don’t have any information so why leap to panic?

    This isn’t hugely infrequent. Sometimes it makes sense to just pay a person for the notice period and end things right then and there.

    Calmly wait for the meeting with your new supervisor. And in the meantime, just do your work as usual. You former manager’s ending with the company doesn’t mean your ending with the company.

  34. TootsNYC*

    Re: this: Our yearly reviews are a little over a month away, and how is our new supervisor supposed to evaluate us if she’s worked with us less than a month? Our one chance at a raise for the year is at stake. But mostly I’m worried because I was told by that supervisor that I was doing well in the company. I have no idea if that’s true any more, or even if it is are they going to hold the fact that he praised my performance and apparently recommended me for a lead position if they held him in such contempt?

    This is why we should all be building the case every week for our raises and promotions.
    We should be documenting and revealing.
    Did something good? Send an email to your boss about it (and keep a copy).

    Keep a document somewhere that’s titled ” Why I Should Get a Raise or Promotion,” and write the good things in it every week or so. Or, the moment they happen.
    Sure, also keep a note in there of what you might be struggling with, and then include also the things you’re doing to get better at it, or to fix it.

    This is, as you say, your one chance of the year to earn more money–so invest -your own- time and energy in it. Document for yourself.

    1. Engineer Girl*

      I’ll echo this with some more advice:
      * Prepare a list of all the good things you’ve done AND make sure that they are quantitative and measurable. “Reduced error rate from 85% to 5%”. “Created 104/140 test scripts (74%) for the entire team”. “Created the training Wiki used by 40 team members”. Having quantitative measurements always helps your manager when they are going to bat for you against other manager. As one old manager put it “you gave me silver bullets for my gun when I’m fighting for you”.
      * Have you done any work for any other supervisors or managers? NOW is the time to go to them and ask for their help. Ask them to help advocate for your since your old manager isn’t there anymore. An employee that provides value to many managers is always valued more highly than an employee that only assists their own manager.
      * Make sure you schedule a meeting with your new manager before the performance appraisal. Go over your last year job duties and your assignments. Ask for input. Use this time to show them your old work too so your manager understands your skill set. Most people won’t do this so it gives you a foot up in having your new manager advocate for you.
      * Make sure you mention performance awards in your performance review, as this reminds/shows that management valued it enough to give you a bonus for it. “Corrected existing test script, resulting in successful verification of requirements. Reduced test time by 30%. Received special recognition award.” This one may have the potential to backfire with dysfunctional managers, as they think that they already paid you for your performance and therefore don’t need to rank you higher for a higher salary bump.

  35. Autoplaying ads*

    Hi, Alison. There seems to be an Oscar Meyer ad autoplaying for me on your page today. I’m using Firefox, if that helps.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Unfortunately, the only way for me to get these tracked down and stopped is if you’re able to send me the URL it links to. If you see it again and can do that, I’d really appreciate it!

      1. Rae*

        Hi Alison,

        I have multiple ads playing at once, one after another all on top of eachother making a huge rucukus. What’s the best way to do this? Click on them?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Ugh, I’m so sorry and I’m letting my ad network know that’s happening. Yes, unfortunately, clicking on them is the way to get the link.

    2. Apollo Warbucks*

      I think your best best is to email her the link if you can, then her ad network can remove it.

  36. T*

    I work in IT so I assume I will be walked out should I resign. Typically, it depends on the position and how the termination went down. If there is even a hint of you leaving on bad terms or you were laid off, you are getting walked out (and will typically get paid for two weeks assuming you gave notice). Either way, I have my desk mostly emptied (except for personal items sitting on top of the desk) and have exported my contacts, made copies of scripts I wrote, etc. before I give notice. Cleaning out your desk for an hour is very uncomfortable for everyone so I would recommend against it if possible. We don’t allow employees to return to their desk if they are walked out which I think is the way to go.

    We also get occasional calls from the sales department when a big time salesperson leaves and those guys are vicious. That is one of those rare jobs where you’re simply never allowed to leave (in the eyes of the company). It’s also one of the only jobs that a part of the business often leaves with that employee. They sometimes even ask us if there are things we can do to “punish” them for resigning (and on good terms, no less). Wipe their phones so they can’t keep their contacts!! First, we are always hesitant to wipe a personal phone because you also lose your pictures, personal contacts, etc. Second, their phone may already be backed up to the cloud so they can just restore it. Third, any smart salesperson that voluntarily resigns will have already exported their contacts from Outlook before giving notice. Keep in mind, they’ve already witnessed how irrational we are when their co-workers have left in the past.

  37. Retail Lifer*

    At my company, if anyone in upper management leaves the company to go to a competitor, the same thing happens. I’ve heard it’s quite dramatic. In a previous job, even as a low-level manager, they would always “choose not to accept” your two weeks and just tell you that you were done. My state doesn’t mandate that they pay you unemployment in that circumstance, so it was upsetting but completely legit. I quit, but they totally made me feel like I got fired.

  38. scmill*

    I worked for a small software house once, and three days after I gave my 2 week notice, they asked me to leave early (with pay). The weird thing, though, was that, when they came to fetch me, I was in the middle of deploying some changes to production, and at the end of the get-out meeting, when I asked if they wanted me to finish the deployment, they said yes! And this place had pathetic change control and backup processes – I could have wiped their whole production system out.

    Fortunately, I was like “yay! paid vacation for more than a week!” and just said byeeee.

    1. Clever Name*

      I just posted below of a similar experience. I was seriously ecstatic because I had been regretting not taking time off between jobs. It really was a gift. :)

    2. T*

      I don’t know why people get so upset by this. I would have no issue being walked out as long as it was with pay. I guess to some people it would suck to miss a farewell lunch or happy hour but I’ll take a paid vacation over that any day.

      1. Cath in Canada*

        I’d feel bad for my colleagues, if I knew that the lack of a smooth and planned transition would dump extra work on them. I’d be delighted for myself, though, as long as it was paid!

  39. Clever Name*

    I think this is common when people have a book of business clients. They give notice and are escorted out immediately. Of course this just means that they have already downloaded their client list before they give notice.

    Or it could mean that the company is poorly run. I once gave notice only to have my boss tell me 3 days later they were accepting my resignation “effectively immediately”. In my case, I think my boss waited a few days to tell his boss who then told him to cut me loose because there were people sitting in the office with no chargeable work and I was booked solid, and they wanted to redistribute the workload to people who weren’t leaving.

    Either way, I don’t think you need to freak out. Just wait until management gives you more information about how things will happen moving forward. And you may never know the details of exactly why he was escorted out.

  40. Kat A.*

    I know plenty of people who worked for banks or in IT who were escorted out the moment they gave notice. It’s just protocol.

    They were, to my knowledge, all paid for their 2-week notice. But some weren’t allowed to get their own things back at their desks.

    1. BeenThere*

      Yep this happened to me, my manager retrieved my handbag and cellphone for me immediately. I then had to wait for the box to show up at home with the rest of it, which ended up including sensitive company information *sigh* kinda defeating the whole purpose of being escorted out.

      If you were ever interested in obtaining information after such a scenrio just print it out and include it in a random pile in your desk.

  41. CK*

    Yes, all of this is true, but realistically, if someone wanted to take info, they would take the info first, resign second.

    What I got out of the OP’s comment was that the company was fine letting person stay out their 2 weeks, but either
    a) person decided they didn’t feel like staying;
    b) person’s new company asked them to start earlier;
    c) (more likely in my opinion) person started slacking off, doing naughty things, etc. and management decided they had checked out so it was time to go

    1. J*

      You don’t have to be actively stealing IP after you put in your notice to be a threat if you’re going to a competitor. Just being around for those last 2-3 weeks could let you glean enough knowledge to threaten the business’s interests.

      1. CK*

        Yes, true. However this doesn’t make sense at all if they’re not going to a competitor or not in the same field, which I have found to be the case more often than not. I’m thinking realistically, if I’m already planning a career move, interviewing, using my vacation/sick/PTO time, taking one personal item home a day from my desk, I’m probably planning a way to keep “my” stuff. If no eyes are on me, it’s easy to back up my contacts, IP, non-IP or anything else with my access and none would be the wiser. Once you make that announcement, sure, it’s hard to gather those things. But the smart person would just get it ahead of time. Maybe I’m thinking more conniving than most?

        1. BeenThere*

          Nah, you’d be good ina security role. We were taugh in university to think like that so we could defend against attacks. Once that switch is on it’s hard to turn off. I see security flaws in all sorts of systems, fortunately I have non judgemental people to share these thoughts with :)

          1. CK*

            For me it’s more second nature based on experiences. Scary enough, I know my old boss’s/the owner’s passwords for several sensitive files at my last employer. Shocker that he didn’t change them when I left, because I still could obtain access to all of those files if I really wanted to. It amazes me when places have such lax security measures.

    2. Observer*

      realistically, if someone wanted to take info, they would take the info first, resign second.

      Not necessarily. Sometimes people are not so good at planning stuff like. And sometimes people have a legitimate concern that they will be caught and fired on the spot. If they don’t think they will be walked off the premises, then they may figure that it pays to wait till after they resign, because then they can’t be fired.

      1. Windchime*

        And it isn’t always about stealing information. I’ve got admin-level security access to a lot of SQL servers and I could truncate everything (or worse). Fortunately, everything is backed up so it would just be a momentary inconvenience, but still. A person who was really pissed off could do some damage if they wanted to.

  42. Richard*

    I’ve seen this happen occasionally. I’ve seen it in three different cases, all at both large and small companies:
    1) Where the person did something wrong, and was quitting to get ahead of being caught. (One guy stole a bunch of laptops, another was falsifying timesheets). In this case, they fired the guy for cause and filed appropriate charges.
    2) Where the person did nothing wrong, but was going to a competitor. In one case, I know they paid out the rest of his notice period without working. I’m not sure in the other cases. They just didn’t want a perceived conflict of interest – it wasn’t even a client stealing fear, as much as having access to information and not wanting to have the perception of impropriety.
    3) Where the person did nothing wrong, and they were just being idiots. In this case, they essentially turned his quitting into being fired at will. I think they didn’t think it through, since if the guy’s other job fell through and he filed for unemployment benefits, it would cost them more money in the long run.

  43. Chloe*

    This is very normal for me. Management have always been escorted from the company within 72 hours of resigning. It’s a common procedure and nothing to freak out over. Also, you may not be at a total loss with annual reviews, they may have prepped notes already which would help.

  44. Techfool*

    Party thing is a pyramid. Boss will get a percentage of your takings, and her next up will get a percentage, and so on. The product is merely a cover. Note the emphasis on recruitment, ie you. They’re trained to handle all excuses and objections and to approach friends, family, colleagues, church, school etc. Worst are the ones that encourage the “consultant” to frontload on stock they can’t sell. Just say no.

  45. Mike B.*

    One of my direct reports gave me her two weeks notice a few years ago, then said she was going to go tell her colleagues in other departments. I told her not to do this until our director had had a chance to approach the senior team leads herself (personnel transitions in our department were sensitive matters that could at times cause a minor panic), and she said “No, I’ve worked with these people for years, and I’m going to tell them.” And off she went.

    She was gone the next day. We couldn’t have someone spend two weeks with us who felt free to disobey direct orders as she pleased. God knows what else she would have said and done in that time if we’d let her work the full notice period.

    1. Rebecca*

      I get this, but at the same time, I think it’s fair for her to want to tell her coworkers face-to-face instead of coming down the chain.

      1. Mike B.*

        Oh, of course I understood why she’d want to do it personally. We’d have been happy to let her do so to her day-to-day colleagues, but we needed a little time (a day or two) to create a transition plan to use while breaking the news to the SVP in charge of the accounts she was working on. The way she handled it meant that this SVP would probably learn about it from his subordinates and contact us, probably a little annoyed, before we were prepared.

        If she had merely protested the order, we would have had a conversation about it and most likely reached an agreement that satisfied everyone; direct insubordination was completely unacceptable.

  46. JamToday*

    I was “escorted out” of a job I was leaving because of the nature of our work, which was healthcare IT. I had access to patient data, so the head of IT had to stand there and watch me log off my computer, pack up my desk, etc. to make sure that I wasn’t absconding with company equipment or papers that had sensitive information on them, or shooting off emails with confidential files, etc.. It wasn’t punitive, I not only expected it I would have insisted on it had it not happened. That’s just the line of work I’m in. It was definitely upsetting to my coworkers, but the “veterans” knew why it was happening, and only one person — who was new to the industry — was really shaken by it.

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