I resigned from my company and my boss took it very personally.

I am a software dev and found myself in a position of a sole owner and maintainer of a rather complicated project. I gave a proper resignation advance notice of more than a month, which is longer than the contractual or the legal mandatory period of advance notice.

He stated that it was morally wrong not to raise flags and to make an appearance of an employee that is content with his position.

According to his position, although I am not at fault legally or contractually, I did put my company and himself personally in a difficult position, and he maintains that I have should avoided it by being upfront about my plans to find a new place of employment.

I am aware that it will be difficult/expensive to replace me in a short time, but I don't see it my responsibility to mitigate this risk for the company at the expense of me disclosing my plans and as a consequence putting pressure on myself to leave in defined a period of time, or limiting my options.

Does he have a case? What is the norm in such circumstances?

How can I behave to diffuse the situation on one hand, and assert my position on the other hand?

Currently I am under impression that my boss is very tense and is acting out of emotion rather then reason. I don't want to alienate him or make the conflict protracted by hurting his ego, but I also don't want to take the fault about something that I don't feel I am at fault with.


I'd like to save the good relation with my boss, though I'm in doubt it is feasible now...

  • @ WorkerWithoutACause Great reference, thanks. I would be glad to get some insight into how can I diffuse the situation. I feel that stating "this is your fault, deal with it" won't exactly help. Maybe I should have phrased the question title differently...
    – user19668
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 11:51
  • 1
    Is there a reason you haven't raised concerns before? (Or have you, and did your boss just ignore them?)
    – Erik
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 11:53
  • 14
    I am probably preaching to the choir here, but your boss is wrong. There is notice period exactly for this reason, no need to give additional "flags". Put the boot on the other foot for a bit: If the boss wanted to fire you, would he give you "flags" several months before the firing? Most likely they would just ask you to leave abruptly, ensuring that they squeeze every drop of effort from you until the last day.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 11:56
  • 8
    As someone in a similar position (sole software engineer in a small/medium sized company where I hold a lot of 'head knowledge' that's needed for future development and a number of on-going projects) I've been making it clear that I'm not happy with my job and looking for other work for a few months now, when I gave my notice that I had another job lined up once the usual retention offer/counter offer was rejected everything shifted gear from "get these jobs done" to "document everything so someone else can pick it up in the future" and that seems to make everyone happy.
    – RobbG
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 13:50
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    @RobbG Didn't you worry of making your life situation unstable by doing so? I really want to know what is the mindset of people that did choose to disclose that they feel like leaving the company.
    – user19668
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 15:07

4 Answers 4


I am aware that it will be difficult/expensive to replace me in a short time, but I don't see it my responsibility to mitigate this risk for the company at the expense of me disclosing my plans and as a consequence putting pressure on myself to leave in defined a period of time, or limiting my options.

You're correct, it's not your responsibility. If it were the other way around (you were being let go), then you could likely bet that the company would give you the minimum notice they could, so why should you behave any differently?

As for your boss - you may well just have to put up with him being moody for the rest of your time working there. Try to ignore this, and don't get drawn into any discussions about your resignation (replying with a firm "I'm sorry you feel that way" or similar to any such remarks is sufficient.)

If you want to save the relationship, then do as good a job as you can, document everything you can, and make the transition as easy as possible. If you do that right, it'll mean you leave on a positive note, and have a higher chance of getting remembered as "the guy that documented everything he did well and made the transition a lot easier than it could have been" rather than "the arse that left with no documentation behind and made this whole thing a nightmare."

  • 1
    "make the transition as easy as possible" This is 100% the right course of action: if you make it easy to bring the new person up to speed, you'll likely salvage the most of this relationship that you can in the long term. Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 15:05

Bad leaders always blame their subordinates for their problems.

  1. He takes no responsibility for knowing how you feel about your current job. Did he ever ask for any feedback? Is he open to new ideas to make your situation more enjoyable? Good leaders motivate people.
  2. No contingency plan. He allowed a situation where there is a single point of failure. Why are you the only person on this project? Did he account for you needing to make sufficient documentation for someone else to take over? People leave for reasons outside of their control (e.g. Hit by a bus.).

He took a major risk and lost. Companies and leaders too often create an adversarial situation where employees fear for their jobs. They are afraid to voice complaints. Advanced notice is rarely given for fear of being instantly let go.

Your boss is the type of person who tries to make this a personal matter and has the nerve to blame you and question your character when he is just a bad leader.

Be thankful you have another job.

  • I agree. The only caveat is if the manager asked and was told everything was good. Then I can see some justification in frustration. But depending on a single person is always a bad idea. People need to be able to take time off and could become unavailable for innumerable reasons.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 14:43
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    While I can understand the frustration in the situation @JimmyJames mentions, it doesn’t actually justify that frustration or make it professional. Every advice I have ever seen, anywhere, is to not notify your employer that you are leaving until you have the next job offer already in hand. If asked, answer as if you were staying—because you might end up doing so. I have heard that online, from peers, from former bosses, everyone. That is the proper, correct, professional thing to do. To expect employees to do otherwise, and put themselves in a very vulnerable position, is unprofessional.
    – KRyan
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 14:46
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    @KRyan Agreed. I was more addressing that prior to finding a new job the manager was not 'informed' about the OPs concerns. As the answer points out, knowing about this ahead of time is the responsibility of the manager but if the OP was asked about that and did not answer candidly, I can see concern. But even that has caveats because I've seen management cultures where answering honestly will only result in negative consequences. Some managers try to control people with fear and retribution.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 14:57
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    @JimmyJames - I just feel this manager's negative reaction is a sign of a bad culture. If the manager would have said, "I'm sorry you're leaving. I wish I would have known there were issues; I may have tried to fix them." I may give him the benefit of the doubt.
    – user8365
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 15:11
  • 1
    @JimmyJames, for all we know, OP was perfectly happy right until the moment he received the better offer. People don't always leave because they are have concerns, sometimes there is just something better out there. A good manager knows that any of their people could leave at any time for any reason and plans accordingly.
    – Seth R
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 15:13

The fact he is behaving this way when you gave the notice is even more reason not to have informed him in advance. He reacted out of emotion and made it a problem with you. If you had told him in advance he would likely have lashed out at you. Worse case terminate you before you could find another job. The fact you did not complain is not a negative in my opinion.

You have very little power to him placing fault with you. I would focus on a clean transition. Even if a new person is not found before you leave document everything you can. Focus on finishing up existing task rather than start a task you will not finish.


He sees the situation from his perspective and his perspective is that you created problems for him by quitting.

However, from the employee's perspective it's much better to wait with resigning till you have a contract with your new company signed.

There are plenty of reasons for that:

  • If you tell your boss you are not happy or planning to leave, they can hold it against you and even fire you. I've always signalled that I'm not happy and tried to solve problems by discussion and I assure you that this is a very valid risk.
  • It's easier to search for a new job while having one and at the beginning of job searching you can't normally tell how much it will take you to find a new one.
  • You are not responsible for solving company's problems as they wouldn't care about your situation if they wanted to get rid of you.
  • I don't know where you are. Where I live however, the notice period is always the same for the employer and employee. Which means they would be able to fire you with exactly the same notice period as the one you have after you've decided to leave. Companies normally want to have a short notice period in the contract because this makes it easier for them to get rid of employees, forgetting that this will also cause them problem when good employees leave with a short notice, however, it's only fair this way. They signed your contract and you are not obliged to do more for them than your contract makes you to.

To diffuse the situation you can assure him you will work as engaged as you were before till your very last day. You can also assure him you will do all you can to secure a smooth transition to the new person.

But treat catering to your ego as a favor to him, not something you are obliged to.

  • Yeah I know (I hope they won't try to find a way to legally pressure me) I'm ok from a legal point of view, but I'd like to leave on a good note and not lose him as a person.
    – user19668
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 12:08
  • it's not really true that the notice period is the same for both parties
    – bharal
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 15:17
  • Depends on the country. In my country this is true.
    – BigMadAndy
    Commented Apr 16, 2018 at 15:22

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