I am leaving my current employer and have informed him of the decision. In addition to some congratulatory pleasantry, he asked that I do not tell my coworkers about the decision. Is it common that a boss would ask a departing employee not to divulge the info of his/her departure?

Below are more details regarding the situation: I have been trying to find a new challenge for myself and eventually an offer came through. In the current workplace, my performance evaluation has been good. As a result, I was gradually given more responsibility. Thus when I informed my boss about my decision, I was expecting that he would immediately schedule a meeting with the whole team to go over the necessary issues that would be impacted.

Instead, he asked me not to share the info with the co-workers, except his right-hand person, who holds a slightly more senior position.

Is it common for a boss not to want an employee to tell his/her coworkers about his/her departure? Any reasons why a boss would ask that?

  • 5
    Have you considered asking your boss why?
    – Lumberjack
    Jul 10 '18 at 15:33
  • We'd need a little more information. Why are you leaving? Was it your decision to leave? How is office morale at the moment?
    – user34587
    Jul 10 '18 at 15:34
  • 1
    Might he think he can convince you to stay?
    – Ben Mz
    Jul 10 '18 at 15:44
  • (1) my boss isn't the type that likes to be "challenged", especially on non-technical issues. (2) a bit more details are now added.
    – B Chen
    Jul 10 '18 at 15:48
  • @BenMz I thought that the manager might try to counter offer too, but having OP start teaching another colleague while working on a counter is a little weird.
    – jcmack
    Jul 10 '18 at 16:50

There are several reasons why your boss wouldn't want you to tell employees:

Informing everyone orderly

If your position in your current job is above the lowest hierarchy and your departure impacts a lot of people, your boss probably wants to tell everyone in an orderly fashion in a meeting or email to all employees. This also puts him in a position of control - he tells everyone of your departure in contrast to you telling everyone that you are leaving, whether or not he likes it.

Plan of action

Your boss now has to come up with a plan on how work will be organized, who adopts your tasks, whether to hire someone else and so on. Forming this plan will take some time, hiring someone else even longer.

This directly relates to the meeting / email, in which he will not only inform everyone of your departure, but of his plan as well. He will probably delay the announcement until he has at least a rough plan.

If he cannot come up with any plan at all, he will try to delay the announcement as long as possible...

Stop the rumor mill

Have you heard yet? Alice quit her job yesterday. No way! I heard she was fired. Should we be worried about loosing our own jobs?

If you tell only a few employees that you're leaving, this information will spread irregularily, deformed and misinterpreted, giving way to rumors. informing everyone at once gives this kind of rumor no chance.

Keeping motivation up

Sometimes an employee might look at drastical changes in the future and ask themselves "Why am I still doing this? Will what I'm doing now be useless and obsolete in 2 weeks? Why do anything at all before the new guy is hired / the new plan is in action?"

In my experience, the changes really have to be quite drastic, so I'm not sure this applies in your case. But if it applies, from your bosses point of view, the best he can do is let his employees work as before instead of demotivating them.

Keep other employees from quitting

There are always some people who are not content with their job, their colleagues, the workplace or company. The sooner those people know that you are leaving, the more time they have to talk with you about how unhappy they are and how they want to leave as well. Especially if you already have a new job and are (understandably) excited to start at the new company. This may strengthen their resolve to leave as well, resulting in a wave of cancellations.


Your boss may want time to formulate a plan for alteration of workload after your departure (or arrange for a replacement). Your boss may be trying to mitigate the situation and develop a plan going forward. It is easier to break news of someone leaving to a group when a plan to mitigate the departure can also be presented.

  • 2
    Shouldn't the whole team get involved to brainstorm a plan to address any issues that may arise ?
    – B Chen
    Jul 10 '18 at 15:28
  • 1
    That depends on how your boss wants to handle the situation. While it's true that since your team is impacted and they should have some sort of input, it is ultimately your boss's responsibility to handle and make those decisions. Again, your boss may be strategizing and waiting to present the group with a plan. Your boss may also want to make the announcement of your departure to the group himself/herself.
    – Mxracer424
    Jul 10 '18 at 15:37
  • 1
    @BChen Your manager would gather the whole team to strategize if your team is a democracy, but given that you stated your manager doesn't like to be challenged, it's more likely he would rather formulate the transition plan himself.
    – jcmack
    Jul 10 '18 at 16:48

I have seen this kind of work culture particularly in startups. I think it could be due to the following reasons:

Startup culture:

It could be something related to the culture of your workplace. Perhaps, even when senior officials resign, it's kept quiet until the last day. So that culture is passed down.

Seeing employees exiting in a bad light:

It's possible that the current management in your workplace sees the exiting of employees in a bad way. Perhaps they feel responsible about it, or ashamed, or don't want to have discussions with their own management. Or they want to hush-hush upon the idea of employees quitting their organization. This is especially more probable, if the organization has a culture of taking around new employees to meet everyone and sending out a company wide email to welcome a new joinee.

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