you need to do these 10 things before you resign

If you’re preparing to quit your job, you’re probably focused on the resignation conversation itself – telling your boss and your team that you’re leaving. But before you take that step, there are a bunch of things you should do first — finding out how your company is likely to handle your notice period, making sure you have copies of some specific key documents, and much more.

At New York Magazine today, I’ve got a complete list for you. Head over there to read it.

{ 96 comments… read them below }

  1. Sharkie*

    Yes! Number 1 is so important. I have seen it play out so many times. Manager gets their feelings hurt and kicks out the employee that day, or wait until Friday to lock the employee out

    1. Meghan*

      Luckily, being walked is very common in my industry so I had already cleared out 95% of my office before I turned in my notice earlier this year. I just recently learned that my boss at that job got her feelings hurt that I quit, pouted about it for a good month, to the point where other sales managers were having to console her for my quitting. Like, wtf? I was only there for 5 months and didn’t even come to work with her, I came to work with 2 other Directors who quit within 6 weeks of my being hired at that crazy place.

      1. Properlike*

        This was the reason my mom gave for never taking personal items to work. The locking/walking out part, AND never wanting an employer to get a heads-up that she was ready to quit.

        1. Meghan*

          I think about that a lot, but as I’ve gotten larger offices, I just can’t help myself, I’ve got to make it cozy and surround myself with pictures of my kid, especially.

          I do always leave enough stuff around so that it a) fits into a box when I leave and 2) doesn’t look super obvious when I’m on my way out of that place. And I make sure to have enough random things- vases, candles, cute supplies- that aren’t sentimental to me and could be left behind if necessary.

    2. Reluctant Mezzo*

      It would also be a good idea to clean any Weird Crap off or from your desk, just in case you are walked out, hereinafter referred to as ‘rat pile’. Yes, it’s a bad idea to toss something you plan to deal with later or preferably not at all into a pile or desk drawer, but alas it happens anyway.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Do project transfers & goodbye emails a day earlier than last day. Not only does that give.your co-workers time to remember things they forgot to ask, it allows for scheduling snafus. We once had someone’s account get deactivated before the start of her last workday because an IT ticket defaulted to 00:01. Luckily she had transferred critical OneDrive files because the rest were wiped. (Subfolders of anything created with that userID.)

  2. HailRobonia*

    #11: If you have any sense of kindness towards your coworkers, please don’t leave them with a mess to clean up and dozens of loose ends. I had a colleague leave a couple weeks ago and the amount of stuff I have discovered that needs fixing, completing, etc. is incredible. I’ve brought this up to my boss and his previous manager.

    1. NYNY*

      Dozens of loose ends? Sounds to me like coworker might have been overworked. It is employer’s job to deal with this.

      1. Higher Ed*

        Yes, and they probably repeatedly brought it to the manager’s attention and got no help, which is why they’re leaving.

        1. wordswords*

          The comment section fanfic is striking early today!

          It’s definitely possible. It’s also possible that the colleague resigned ahead of a PIP for not doing their work, or that they had mentally checked out for a while, or any number of other reasons. We don’t know! Literally all we know in this case is that HailRobonia’s colleague left a bunch of loose ends for their coworkers to deal with and that HailRobonia thought it was worth bringing up to multiple managers (whose managerial skills, or lack thereof, they presumably know and we don’t). That isn’t really enough to confidently announce that any situation was “probably” the case, let alone something this specific.

          1. AngryOctopus*

            If someone leaves a ton of loose ends dangling, the two most likely reasons are that 1-they were on a PIP/underperforming/not doing their work, and therefore had tons of stuff left undone or 2-they were vastly overworked and couldn’t keep up with the workload, which was not redistributed to anyone, thus leaving lots left undone. There are other explanations, but none as likely as one of these two.

            1. ina*

              People like to blame low performing employees or sympathize with overworked ones but in both scenarios, there is supposed to be someone, somewhere, identifying these things early and preventing both of them (their managers…namely, the previous manager would surely have noticed something was off already?) No one is perfect, but it’s also one of the reasons managing is a nightmare unless you’re equipped for it…people management is sometimes thrust upon some though, to which I do empathize though.

              I do find it strange to talk to their previous manager. Seems…weird unless there’s a connection I am missing between their current work and their previous position.

              1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

                I read “previous manager” to mean “the manager of the now vacant role.” So, the manager of the former employee, not a previous employer.

          2. Reluctant Mezzo*

            I remember an airman who was suddenly transferred for flunking a drug test who left a ton of stuff in his desk he was actually supposed to be working on (procurement office). If he left any drugs behind nobody said.

        2. justme*

          Speaking as someone who has repeatedly tried to bring up the subject of team workloads, a need for prioritization and help, etc. only to be told, and I quote, “we’re all busy”. I wouldn’t assume you know the entire story. I am actively starting a new job search for this exact reason. And while I feel a great deal of sympathy for coworkers left behind, it will literally be impossible for me tie up every loose end before I depart. The best I can do is make sure everything is documented. And reading this, I’ll probably take the extra step of forwarding this info. to my colleagues too, not just management. Who for all we know failed to pass over some of this important info. Companies and managers reap what they sow.

      2. NotRealAnonForThis*

        Or they were downsized during a long term project. I think I mentioned in today’s five that during one layoff, I was offered the opportunity to walk out instead of working the afternoon.

        Friends, I was a PM and nobody in the office knew thing one about ANY of my projects because that’s how the company’s processes worked. Nobody would have known I’d talked to one of the foremen that morning to please request an inspection the next day. Or that the widgets were backordered and that I was writing a letter to address this with the customer to fax so that there was documentation. This was a small firm in the early 00s…email shmemail, and forget electronic tracking systems. It was all paper. They knew I had projects. They knew I had files…but they would have had to dig through those paper files. I stayed that afternoon and created cover sheets and status standings for them so that whoever they were dumped on was not set up to fail miserably.

        1. Johannes Bols*

          That’s gracious of you. Considering that they would’ve thrown you under a bus without a thought. But I did the same thing the day I walked from my last job. I stayed until the inbox was cleared out of requests before swiping my card and handing it to a collegue to put in the supervisor’s inbox on her door.

      3. riverflows*

        Yeah , I agree with NYNY if we are going to go “comment section fanfic mode” :-)

        This list is for the benefit of the employee resigning. Tying up loose ends are for the notice period and if the employer walks them out upon receiving the resignation, that is not on the employee. Also it’s on the manager if they don’t oversee if the resigning employee is not tying up loose ends during the notice period.

        1. Artemesia*

          Yup, part of the resignation notice should be to say something like ‘I plan to use the next two weeks to provide status reports on my projects and tie up loose ends to make it easier for the next person in this role.’ If they walk you, then good luck to them.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          OK so what do you suggest for someone with a dozen ongoing projects who has been told they’re all important, nothing can drop, and no funds are available for another hire? It’s a constant refrain for why people are leaving. If I get a new job, I realistically have a 2 MONTH backlog because of poor management decisions.

      4. Lexie*

        Or the person planned to use their notice period to tie those ends up but management had IT remove their access to certain files that they needed to complete their job. It was apparently to prevent them from taking certain information with them when they left.

    2. Not Bob*

      And also don’t abandon your boiled eggs in the fridge. This happened in my first company.

    3. L-squared*

      I mean, that sounds like a management issue.

      I wouldn’t purposely screw over my coworkers, but they aren’t exactly top of mind for me either.

    4. Gary Patterson's Cat*

      Sometimes you have no choice! I was laid off, effective immediately, and there was literally no time to wrap anything up, and I was in the middle of several projects. My computer access was cut off within about 2 hours, and I barely had time to do anything, or transfer any files to the VP of the team I worked with.

      1. Stephanie*

        Yeah, I inherited a laid-off coworker’s work and there was no time for any transfer before his email got shut off. I don’t hold it against him. The supplier has had dealt with several layoff rounds at my employer and I think just kind of, uh, is used to getting a new person and dealing with the ramp up.

  3. The Cosmic Avenger*

    Re: #7, I’ll say that if you have an FSA (NOT an HSA), you may immediately lose any funds that are in there as soon as you leave, so you should check on that, and try to spend that down if that’s the case. I have an automated external defibrillator sitting here that I bought with those funds!

    1. Enn Pee*

      I’d also say to check with your employer’s rules about FSA. Before I left a job, I’d agreed to contribute the maximum to my FSA.
      A month later, I left the job.
      Before I did so, I charged that amount ($2750?) to my kid’s orthodontist. That nearly paid off the orthodontia work.
      Again, you’ll have to check with your employer’s rules, but I didn’t need to pay it back…

      1. goducks*

        FSA plans are shared risk. The risk to the employer is that the employee will use the full year’s funds at the beginning of the year and leave early in the year before they’ve paid in all the annual funds. That’s a risk to the employer, they can’t go after the employee for the remaining funds.
        The risk to the employee is that if they don’t use all the funds in the year, or during the portion of the year that they’re employed if they leave mid-year, they cannot use the funds for any expenses incurred after their last day of employment.
        It cuts both ways, and I’ve seen plenty of employees get braces or lasik for nearly free due to scenario A, and plenty of employees lose funds due to scenario B.

        1. Eric*

          Yep. And generally even if other benefits run through the end of the month, the FSA will end on your last day.

        2. Aitch Arr*

          Note that this is only true with Healthcare FSAs, not Dependent Care.
          DC FSAs are ‘reimburse as you go’.

  4. Audiophile*

    These are all good tips. As far as #4 goes, make sure you know your company’s policy on email retention. I’ve worked for several non-profits with government contracts, in which case there were stricter policies on cleaning up/out your email inbox.

    I deleted anything personal, as much as I could, but was limited because the org needed to keep emails/records for x number of years.

    1. Tammy 2*

      Yeah, really, you shouldn’t have anything in your inbox that would be a problem if you left, especially if you work in government and there are retention/disclosure rules regarding your email.

  5. perstreperous*

    I would add a couple more:

    – Remove personal files, if any, from corporate shared drives/cloud services.
    – Wipe your work phone and, if possible, work laptop (last thing to do)”.

    The phone is easy – iOS and Android both have options to do so, unless the corporate configuration has removed those options – but laptops are more difficult, require some technical knowledge and may be locked down so that wiping is not possible.

    1. Gumby*

      I mean, my company backs up the data on our laptops anyway, but wiping your laptop is absolutely NOT something you should do here. The IP issues alone that it could cause….

      If it’s going to be re-used by another employee then IT does another backup before wiping it and preparing it for the new user. But until and unless it is reassigned, it doesn’t get wiped.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Noooo, do NOT wipe your devices unless you have explicit permission to do that! That would be considered something near sabotage in a lot of workplaces and would be a huge deal.

      1. perstreperous*

        Interesting. I have always worked where there was shared information, so having anything of any business value on a laptop was explicitly discouraged and the position was “if you do [wrongly] have anything of business value solely on your laptop, upload it to a shared drive before you leave”.

        (Confidential information has settled on using Azure Information Protection recently, which is an easy way of restricting those who can even open it).

  6. Sleeping Sun*

    Leave enough documentation of how to do things so that you are not the reason why X or Y is not getting done in the done in immediate future:

    I left a job two months ago, and I knew that the only person available for me to train in a couple of processes (J) was not exactly the best at his job so now imagine if you add a few more things. I left a manual AND a serious or recorded training sessions I had with him going over every single step of each process, then I emailed my boss and whole team both the document and links to the recorded sessions along with updates in all the projects I was responsible for and expected next steps in all of them and who they needed to talk to get those steps done.

    I’m still in contact with a couple of people there that became more friends than colleagues and as expected, J is not doing well, the main process went from 7 to almost 20 days turnaround and he never contacted at least one of the persons he needed to move a project forward. He tried to tell them I never properly trained him / told him who to contact, but there was evidence that I did, in fact, gave him all the required info.

    I also gave a colleague access to all my files the day I gave notice (and after deleting all my personal files) so she could save them since I had literally all the departments history in there as I was one of the founders of this particular program.

    1. justme*

      Even if your employer is crap and so is your manager, you need to take this step for the sake of your own reputation. Once you are gone it will already be very easy for folks to blame XYZ bad thing happened because of your departure. So you gotta do it for cya if nothing else. (I mean, being a good colleague and ethics are important too… But even if you want to burn that bridge like it was made of dynamite, resist if only for the sake of your own professional reputation.)

  7. Snow Globe*

    “ You’re most likely to see this as a security measure, especially if you’re leaving for a competitor (something that has never made a lot of sense, since if you’re planning to steal trade secrets, presumably you could do it before you resigned).”

    I often see this kind of comment, but in an ever-evolving organization, you never know when upper management might announce some new initiative, change in strategy or reorganization. There’s no need to give an employee who will soon be with a competitor more information than they need. The company should still pay out the two weeks, of course, but I think it can make sense to part ways earlier rather than later if there isn’t a lot of wrapping up that needs to happen.

    1. Han Sola*

      Also they assume you are checked out basically, which…you are. Easier to move stuff over to people who will continue to be the people working on it.

      As a manager they gave me a few days to wrap things up, but non-managers usually asked to leave right away.

      1. Han Sola*

        But also I guess counterpoint…I had accepted my other offer over a month before I even gave my notice, because of bonus payout and things. I also figured I would be leaving about 5 months before I did so. I know the company acts as soon as THEY know, and yes, something could happen in those two weeks, but someone could be in talks and planning to leave for months before they actually resign, so I don’t know how much risk management that is accomplishing except for making the company feel better about it.

    2. Allonge*

      Plus, a lot of people will be in a different mindset before and after making it official. If everone thought everything through, the whole checklist would be unnecessary!

      Seriously though: sure, it’s not a foolproof thing. And over here where your notice period can be months, it probably happens a lot less that you get a ‘leave now’, but it still does happen. Best to be prepared.

  8. cme_runfast*

    I can confirm this. It is a stupid IRS rule, IMO, but you can only submit receipts for goods and services incurred during the time you were employed, so you lose the money that you accrued up to the point that you left unless you have receipts within the dates you were employed by that company. I left in July and didn’t have time to go to the doctor/buy eyeglasses since I was so busy January through July, so I lost that 6 months of contributions to my FSA. That seems wrong to me … seems like I should have the same amount of time (in my case, the calendar year) to submit receipts against the money I accrued January through July, but no, that is not the case. My employer did not alert me to this, either.

    And in hindsight, I would not have kept personal docs on my work computer. I was notified later in the afternoon, effective immediately, so I didn’t have much time to pull down my personal documents, deal with email, and all the other stuff mentioned before I lost access to the file system. I didn’t have many personal documents to pull down and the ones I did were related to employer-related benefits (hello, FSA receipts, wherever you are), so it was more convenient to use my work computer and keep everything in one place. I don’t think I will do that again.

    So, cover all your bases and do your homework before you are at the resignation stage! Or better yet, “tread lightly and leave few digital footprints on your work computer” and avoid all this nonsense.

    1. goducks*

      The tradeoff to your FSA situation is that if you’d spent all 12 months worth of funds in the first 6 months and left, your employer couldn’t collect the remaining 6 months from you, you’d be getting 6 months worth of FSA funds for free. That’s why the rule exists, both the employer and the employee have risk in the plan. Employees rarely realize that they can use all the funds and bolt, though. But some smart ones do. I’ve seen people opt for max FSA, get Lasik in the first month of the plan year, and then leave right after. They get Lasik for nearly free.


    I didn’t click the link, but is posting to LinkedIn that you’re Open to Work and looking for a new position while you’re on a PIP a thing you do *before* you resign, or…?

    (happened with a friend’s direct report just today)

    1. Magpie*

      In a lot of situations, it’s a good idea for someone on a PIP to be looking for other work in case the PIP is not successful. I would imagine most managers would assume this is happening. It doesn’t necessarily mean the employee isn’t trying to complete the PIP successfully, it just means they’re being realistic and making sure they’re not in a bad situation if they’re let go.

    2. Relentlessly Socratic*

      Depends on how little you care if people know you’re looking for work…

      1. Han Sola*

        If you are on a PIP, I assure you that the manager is STOKED that you are looking for work. The firing process is long and hard, better someone moves on on their own.

    3. Han Sola*

      I had Open to Work on LI before I planned to leave, and I wasn’t looking, just fielding calls from recruiters. I had told my boss how much interest I received with recruiters, and the things that bothered me about my own company, pay, etc. So, not a big deal to announce that yes, I do take calls from recruiters.

      1. Relentlessly Socratic*

        I guess the question is: is it the open to work toggle (which I frequently leave on “ooops I must have forgotten to turn that off”) OR the big green banner over your profile pic. I presumed THE PANCREAS meant the latter.

    4. Pink Candyfloss*

      If a person is on a PIP, it’s in their best interest to be open to opportunities that may be a better fit. Especially since in many circles a PIP is considered to be just a CYA-formality in preparation for firing someone, so maybe examine your company’s historical track record for people on PIPs…. if 99% of them end up fired regardless of the PIP then in the case of your company, the answer to that question is: absolutely, yes.

    5. Stephanie*

      I guess it depends if the company has a culture where people can survive a PIP. Everywhere I’ve worked, a PIP is just CYA against a wrongful termination lawsuit and the formal step before a firing. I personally wouldn’t care if someone on a PIP was looking for work that publicly.

  10. Immortal for a limited time*

    All good advice, except that you can’t always just decide to delete your emails. I’m a public employee and there are rules about retention and so forth. Even if you delete them, there’s a chance your employer has a backup copy of everything that passed through your email gateway or every Office 365 file document or spreadsheet you worked on, etc. etc.

  11. Magpie*

    #2 surprised me. Are there companies out there that allow former employees to take some of their work with them to use as work samples in the future? Every place I’ve worked has made it clear that all of my work output is proprietary, confidential, and completely owned by the company. Any attempt to take any of it with me would throw up huge red flags

    1. Coverage Associate*

      Really depends on the industry. In law, most court filings are public, so it’s very common to take at least samples of such work product. Non privileged letters, eg to opposing counsel, are more of a gray area in terms of the industry norm in taking several, but of course they’re not considered confidential to the employer.

      It’s going to be similar in other jobs that produce public work product, like journalism and graphic arts.

    2. Allonge*

      Totally depends on the company / work.

      There are plenty of cases where we are talking about a public report’s editable file, an Excel sheet with some nifty calculations and pivot tables, a custom taxonomy or other things that are not confidential. Is it the property of the employer? Sure, but in a lot of cases that is clear and still nobody will mind that you use it further.

    3. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      I struggle with this. Legally everything I do belongs to my employer/clients and contractually i can’t take any samples with me or show anything in the future. And some parts of the work are genuinely sensitive. Yet my bosses are always bringing in confidential work from old agencies that “fell off the back of a truck” for us to use, so they don’t exactly have the high ground here. Everyone in the industry does it — without samples it’s hard to get work. My approach is to keep copies but be cautious how/what I show, and hope it never blows back.

    4. NeedRain47*

      My work samples are articles that get published on the internet, so although they own it, it’s certainly not confidential. I’m going to keep pdfs or something b/c it won’t necessarily be on the website forever. I wouldn’t use it for anything beyond showing someone “this is the kind of thing I did at that job”.

    5. Ranon*

      In architecture in the US if the firm is a member of the AIA they must allow employees to take work samples

    6. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain*

      In graphic design…I can usually take printed samples, or photographs of large displays, of my work for my portfolio no problem — it’s the same as taking a brochure off the counter at the dentist (for example); having a (mostly uneditable) digital file like PDF/JPG/PNG or screenshots are also usually not a problem, but it’s certainly best to ask permission for anything that wasn’t publicly accessible or were in the working stage; editable files are usually a copyright issue because I can’t take (steal) copies of assets that the org owns or has licensed — like stock photos/videos/audio, fonts, editorial photos, logos, templates. My portfolio is used for demonstrating my skill or style, not providing me with assets to create new work for a different client.

    7. AskPermission*

      I generally ask permission if I don’t have public output. Most but all of the time I can get specific items approved, sometimes with key redactions. If given, I make sure the permission is in writing.

    8. Peanut Hamper*

      There is a difference between having a piece in your portfolio (with a note about when/where you created it and who owns the rights) and actually using that same piece at a new job.

    9. perstreperous*

      Technically no but practically yes. I developed various specialised templates for a big project and must have had a dozen people over the years say “I used your templates for project X” (where X was a different project, sometimes in a different company or even different industry). All despite the legalese about not taking proprietary information with you when you leave …

      I had no difficulty with this, as it headed off a tedious and lengthy task each time and there was no proprietary content involved other than a logo which would be changed anyway. Lawyers might differ, but one thing coming out very clearly here is that the UK is far looser than the US on such matters.

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Public facing material is fine, internal is not. So sales brochures yes, but engineering design specs no.

  12. Yallo*

    Gosh, I wish I’d started reading this blog earlier! I resigned during hard lockdown early in the pandemic – via email. Didn’t even occur to me that calling was the better option. Huge shock for my manager. I actually think doing it via email singed a bridge a bit. Well, I know better now!

  13. Bookworm*

    I wish this was part of career counseling/college career center info. The work sample thing can be important (for example, I’ve worked a few places where my work was publicly available, ie on a website or something), especially if the organization is eventually bought/merged/dissolves, etc. I’ve had some luck because with stuff like the Wayback Machine some of it has been archived but I’ve definitely seen some things disappear (oh well) and others where I wish I had asked if I could take X with me (or some edited version of it) as an example of my work.

  14. Aitch Arr*

    Adding on to #2: ask HR for a copy of your personnel file. That should contain reviews and any other documentation. (Benefits and I-9 documents should be kept separately.)

    In some states, HR must comply within a certain time frame.

  15. Aitch Arr*

    Also, if vacation is cashed out, taxes will be withheld at a higher rate, but that will come out in the wash when you file your taxes.

    1. NeedRain47*

      can you say more about how this “comes out in the wash”? I’ve read about the higher taxes but that part is news to me and currently relevant to my life.

      1. goducks*

        The total tax you owe for the year is based on your total annual income. The end of year tax filing with the IRS is the reconciling of what you’ve paid in vs. what you owe for your income.
        When payroll processing is done, taxes are withheld as if the amount you’re receiving on this check was based on your annual salary. Because income tax is based on tax brackets (the larger the income the larger percentage you pay), an unusually large check makes it look like you’re a high earner and money is deducted as if that were true.
        For example using easy (pretend) math. If your typical salary was $1000 a week, and 52k annual means 10% withholding, your normal checks will be for $1000 with $100 withheld. If you get a check for $2000 due to bonus or PTO payout, the tax tables assume your annual income is $104k. If 104k is taxed at 25%, you’ll get a check for $2000 with $500 withheld.
        At the end of the year, you’ll have actually been paid $53k (your regular salary plus 1k bonus/pto). Your W2 will show you’ve had $5700 withheld. But, the tax bracket for $53k is 10%, so you only actually owe the IRS $5300, so you’ll get $400 back that was over paid due to that weird big check.
        Hope that makes sense.

        1. NeedRain47*

          Yes, thank you so much! The part about being taxed as if your income for that month is representative of your income all year is weird, but makes total sense. (they happened to screw up our withholdings for the first three months of this year, so this might conveniently set things back to the norm as far as me getting a small refund next year.)

  16. Ollie*

    Spend all your FSA money. At least spend up to the amount you have already put in but legally you can spend what you initially asked for even if you haven’t paid in that much yet. My husband had paid over $700 into his FSA when he resigned. We had only spent about $400. The FSA or company decided that only receipts dated up to his resignation date could be used and we didn’t have any that hadn’t been already paid. So they took out $700 and we only got paid $400.

  17. I Have RBF*

    My employer does not allow anyone to use external media on their systems, or even upload files to a personal dropbox. So I have a bunch of stuff like paystubs and documents that I will have to email to myself before I leave.

  18. NeedRain47*

    I resigned last week and haven’t done any of these yet haha. However I’m already cautious about what I keep on my work computer/email (not much in the way of personal stuff) and my manager already knew ’cause she was one of my references. There was no concern that anyone would escort me out the same day or otherwise freak out and three weeks notice period is plenty.

  19. Molly*

    OMG! #4 – Clean out your email.
    Not me, but a coworker. Twenty yrs ago, I was working for the US office of a small UK contract/consulting company. One of my coworkers, slightly senior to me but much younger (that’s what happens when you change careers at 50), resigned to move to the EU and marry someone she met through work.
    Our IT was based in the UK, but I was sort of the unofficial office IT person. So after Lisa left, Sean in the UK asked me if I would clean out her laptop and get it ready for reformatting. NP. I just had to go through and make sure emails with clients and any documents were on our shared drive so all of us, no matter the country, could access it. Delete personal stuff like music, etc.
    First I deleted her music. Then a few photos, books etc. I went through her Word and Excel files, all was good. Anything still there had already been copied to the shared drive and titled in the correct format. Same with Power Point and a couple of other project management things. Deleted all the various folders.
    Then I opened up her Outlook. Her inbox was clear, she had transferred it all to the appropriate shared folders. And then I opened her sent mail. I don’t think she had ever deleted anything. First I sorted by client and all was in the shared folders so I deleted. And then I looked for intraoffice…and I can never forget or forgive. Now, I knew the office manager hadn’t liked me. But my boss told me just to ignore her as I didn’t need her in any way. But I honestly thought Lisa and I were close work friends. Well, Lisa and the office manager had spent an inordinate amount of time trashing me. My age, my looks, my body, my clothes, my voice, everything possible. Once I started reading, I couldn’t stop. I was devastated. It was true Mean Girls.
    I said nothing, just deleted it all. And took care of any backup and hidden files without looking.
    And then I ghosted her as she had tried to keep in touch. Fortunately for her, the office manager had gone on maternity leave (and never returned) before I read all that. Otherwise, I would have shown it to my boss and gotten her ass fired!
    People, your outbox exists! Remember to clean every single damn folder!

  20. feline outerwear catalog*

    Re: #9 I recently returned to an old employer from several years ago. Thankfully, my old emails have been long since deleted but I’m surprised at how many professional mailing lists I’m still on that haven’t forgotten me. I thought I’d unsubscribed from them all!

    1. perstreperous*

      That reminds me of many years ago where someone returned to my old employer after about four years and logged on with his old username and password.

      (I could never get a straight answer on whether they were never removed, or were restored. I suspect the first).

  21. Melody Powers*

    I’m really hoping this will prove to be timely for me. I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to move to another city to pan out before I quit my job that I hate but can’t really afford to leave otherwise (plus I don’t want to start a new job and only then finally be able to move).

    It’s #10 that worries me since the place is badly understaffed and I know it will be a problem for them when I leave, and I’m extremely easy to guilt.

  22. CatA*

    Wow, this is timely. Just cleared background checks for new job so I’ll be giving my notice tomorrow

  23. Delta Delta*

    Adding – create your conflict list, if you work in a profession where conflicts of interest are an issue.

  24. My husband was perp walked*

    My husband made the mistake of sending a NSFW video to his team years ago, he mistakenly thought everyone would find it as “funny” as he did. Most did, except for..someone who did not. He had worked at this company for 20 years, and was well-regarded/liked, but clearly he did not know his audience as well as he thought he did. Someone on his team forwarded the video to his boss (who was very new to her position) and she immediately fired him and had him perp-walked out of the office. He was shocked, but gathered his belongings and left the office, and drove away with no fuss. Once he got home, his phone started ringing off the hook. Apparently, his boss had decided that he was a “threat” and she had sent everyone home for the day, and closed down the entire office campus. To know my husband is to know he is the last person that would be considered a “threat” to anyone, and we laughed our asses off about this. Turns out all of the calls were from his former coworkers (minus the one who forwarded the video to his boss) and they were thanking him for giving them a half day from work off, and to wish him well in his next adventure. But the best part is that one of his coworkers was the daughter-in-law of an actor who was currently the star of a hit TV police drama at the time. She told him about what happened to my husband, and his response to the situation was definitely NSFW! Shortly thereafter, my husband’s former boss was let go. We have no idea why, but we can only hope some “Law and Order” was served on her.

    1. Lenora Rose*

      Firing seems a bit much for a first offense in 20 years — assuming it was a first offense and he hadn’t already had a reputation for inappropriateness — but it may depend exactly what the video was, and that behaviour is generally something that warrants at least a stern talking to and some disciplinary measures.

      OTOH, her follow up about the “threat” sounds very over the top.

  25. Tom*

    Yeah, the degree of NSFWness is important. There’s a big gap between “America’s Funniest Home Videos”-level injuries (which, imo, deserves nothing more than “Tim, it was funny, but it was a violation of company policy so don’t do it again”) and Instagram cheesecake.

    Given the director’s reaction, however, I think she was looking for an excuse to fire [husband] for whatever reason.

  26. Gemstone*

    Definitely download your pay stubs! I got in trouble with that and sheepishly had to email my last company about a month after I left asking them to send me copies

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