9

Today I put in my notice of resignation and didn't look back.

However, half an hour after the office closed up, and after a whole day of my manager not mentioning my resignation at all, he sends me a text asking for details of the salary I've been offered.

Is it a good idea to share that information in a text message to my boss? How should I respond to a situation where my manager asks me for this information?

  • 6
    Maybe your boss is ready to quit too, and needs to know what someone might offer him or her. – Meredith Poor Jul 9 '13 at 23:33
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    Hi Tess, welcome to The Workplace SE! I edited this to focus on a more substantial question that better describes what I think you're looking for. Pleas for advice don't really fit well with our Q&A model. Hope this helps. – jmort253 Jul 10 '13 at 4:36
9

I would be as professional as possible because obviously your boss is not. Reply to the text with an email. In the email state "In response to your text: I will not discuss this with you because of my agreement with the company" or "In response to your text: I will not disclose that information to you"

It just needs to be short and sweet and to the point. Don't come down to his level and become unprofessional. You might want to tell him off for a number of reasons but it is not worth it. If you reply but hold yourself to a higher standard, that's all you need to do.

STAY PROFESSIONAL

  • Nice one, @Cah. – samarasa Jul 9 '13 at 18:11
  • If I had to put it down to words, I think I'd go with "Sorry, I don't discuss my dealings with other businesses." – Blrfl Jul 9 '13 at 19:29
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    If you wanted to be very polite, "Unfortunately, I don't feel comfortable discussing those details with you." It allows you to sympathize with the hurt party while getting the point across. – David B Jul 15 '13 at 23:53
17

You've already made the decision to leave, so at this point, I'd suggest a polite response along the lines of

I'm happy with the salary I've been offered, and I don't think discussing it will be productive for either of us at this point.

...unless you're willing to let yourself be lured back. In that case, tell him! Maybe he can make a better offer, but if you've already resigned, I'm guessing this is not the case.

14

You have some information that is valuable to your manager (information about the market / a first estimate of how much it might cost to replace you), so you need to evaluate what you will gain and lose by sharing the information. You might, for example, think you will gain a better reference from your manager, and it's not even unheard of to want to return to a company you worked at before, or to encounter the same person again elsewhere, so staying on good terms might be valuable to you.

If you decide to share the information, don't put the information down in a text or email (written communications can come back to bite you), but phone your manager or offer to meet and discuss over a beer. Otherwise you could simply reply and say you'd rather not discuss, or failing that, just ignore it.

  • 1
    All the other answers are RIDICULOUS. This is the only solution: pick up the phone and talk to your manager. – Douglas Held Sep 6 '17 at 15:26
14

Avoid short, curt messages via text

Others have suggested that you respond with curt text messages like, "I don't discuss dealings with other businesses."

No, please don't text or email your boss telling him or her that it's none of your business or that you don't feel you should discuss salary information with him or her. When you text or email your boss, there's no body language, and it may very well come off as rude, impersonal, or dismissive, even if you're not trying to be caustic by implying that it's none of his business.

Use in-person communication throughout the entire process:

Although the following research relates to notifying your boss that you're quitting, the information is still very much relevant since you're in transition and your boss may attempt to try to change your mind. In this Business Insider article titled, How To Tell Your Boss That You're Quitting, Jason Calacanas, CEO of Mahalo, says that the worst way you can resign is by email and the best way is to sit down and have a face to face talk.

Thus, what you should do, regardless of whether you disclose your salary information or not, is to discuss this with your boss, in person. Any questions related to your resignation should be done in person. If there's anything you need to document, send a professional, polite follow up email, but be sure to communicate in person.

While this is business, keep in mind that you were essentially in a long-term relationship with your boss, and now you're ending that relationship. It doesn't technically end until your very last day on the job, so it's important to end this relationship on a positive note, as you don't know what the future holds. According to The Art of Manliness's article How to Quit a Job Without Burning Bridges, we live in a small world, and you may very well need something from your former employer, whether that be a recommendation letter or even possibly returning to your employer in a new position!

Despite all the talk you hear about living in a globalized society, the working world is a surprisingly small place. And whether you’re leaving your current position for another company, or going into business for yourself, you never know when you’ll be working with, asking a favor of, or needing a recommendation from a former boss or co-worker.

Handle requests for salary information the same, in-person.

As for what to do when your boss asks you for salary information, consider that it's quite common for employers to make counter-offers to preserve the business relationship. If I was your boss, I would want to take some time to think about what sort of counteroffer I might propose, so like your boss, I might wait awhile before reaching out to you. This isn't something you should find offensive.

Now, while the boss did initiate the request for this salary information as a text message, you still should respond in person. It's difficult to negotiate through such a communication medium, and much is lost in translation. There's no body language through text, and the amount of information you can typically send in a text message is quite limited. Even if you don't want to disclose the salary information, just simply respond with this text:

"Hey Boss, let's talk more about this tomorrow at your convenience. Looking forward to meeting with you."

Remember, quitting a job is like quitting any other relationship. You're dealing with real people with real feelings and emotions, and you want to be sure you approach this professionally and with care, even if you have to be the one to control the communication medium.

If you really are planning on leaving the company and know you won't take any counteroffers, you might say the following statement when you do meet again in person:

Hi Boss, thanks for taking the time to meet with me. Are you asking for my salary information so you can make a counteroffer? If so, I'm really sorry, I appreciate the gesture, but I've been presented with an opportunity at Company Y that I just can't refuse. I appreciate everything I've learned working here and wish you the best, but I feel it's time for me to move on.

Following the golden rule in this case will ensure that no doors get slammed shut, doors that you may one day need to reopen.

If this doesn't convince you, consider this comment I left on a related Workplace SE post:

It's not uncommon for employees to return to previous employers, according to this Finance Fox article. I myself have returned to a call center job twice and a restaurant I worked at once, an internship, and I've known people who have returned to their previous employers as well, which even includes members of the military. It pays to not burn bridges, give the two weeks notice, and be respectful. You never know who you might run into again.

In short, everything you do from the moment you announce your resignation to the moment you walk out the door on your last day should be conducted with the utmost professionalism so that you leave a positive, lasting impression.

  • You keep quoting something giving advice on quitting, but the OP has done that. You also don't explain why someone that texted the question would think a text reply would be unprofessional. – Andy Mar 16 '14 at 1:54
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    You're right, @Andy, that wasn't as clear as it could have been. Essentially, the resignation process doesn't simply end with resigning but may extend into counter-offer attempts, exit interviews, knowledge transfer, and more. To maintain professionalism throughout the process up to the very last day of work, treat every sensitive communication the same, and conduct them in person so as to avoid any negative feelings. Hope this helps clarify. – jmort253 Mar 16 '14 at 20:26
7

I was in a similar situation and there are some things to consider.

As previously stated, that information is valuable to him. I was on good terms with my former boss and he asked because he wanted to know how to stay competitive in this area(very few jobs in my field here).

He also wanted to know because the next day they were willing to match my offer.

If you feel comfortable with it, you can let your boss know what your offer is. It is also completely fine to withhold it as private information.

4

This could be much more innocent then most of the current answers are letting on. Remember your boss is human as well. He may simply be interested in the current going rates.

If you work in a small company that doesn't hire new staff all that often, it can be difficult to gauge the current going rates for their staff. Managers often want to know how much a position is worth so that they can budget for a new hire before posting a job advertisement.

I would not immediately dismiss his communication, rather ask him if this has to do with your job personally or if this is to do with the manager trying to determine how much the going rate has become.

2

Well, there seems to be two different aspects to this: whether you tell him at all, and when to respond.

First I want to point out that 8 hours isn't all that long of a delay between your resignation and his asking. If he is asking for business reasons, then he may have just gotten around to it after a long day. If he is asking for personal reasons, he may not have wanted to ask during work hours.

Since he did not specify that this was a personal request, you are entirely justified concluding that he is asking as your manager, and not responding in any way until you are again at work.

If you do not want to answer, and assuming that you don't typically correspond with him via text messages, I would suggest simply ignoring it -- you received it off hours and it has nothing to with your current responsibilities. Let them/him ask more normally, and then say you do not wish to disclose that information.

Note that if you would consider a counter offer, you might respond with terms instead of salary -- ie that in order to stay, you want X (amount of money, vacation, flex time, work environment, whatever).

1

Unless you're actually friends with this manager (and from your question, that does not seem likely), it doesn't seem like there's any advantage for you to share that information. A polite, professional response indicating that your new salary is confidential is sufficient.

Someone mentioned counter-offers and my advice to you is this: NEVER EVER accept a counter-offer. Once you've made the decision to go and have informed your employer, the trust and commitment that may have existed no longer exists, or at least it won't in the mind of your employer. The chances are higher that they'll give you that pay rise now to hold on you to, but likely dump you later when they no longer need you and have transferred your skills to other, cheaper employees. That not a 100% rule, but likely.

In the broader context, moving on will remind your former employer that skills are a scarce resource which they should look after pro-actively, rather than waiting until people are ready to leave. Think of this as socially engineering your employer, rather than allowing the employer to engineer you. In the long run, it's better for everyone if employers feel that their employees are valuable resources to be looked after, rather than disposable commodities.

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My preference would be something like, "I can't tell you that, I'm under a non-disclosure agreement," or "That isn't any of your business. I don't have to tell you." The former could be close to lying though there is something to be said for what an NDA will cover at times when it comes to companies at least in terms of what I've seen in Canada and the US. Salaries and intellectual property tend to be the top of the "Don't tell anyone this stuff!" in my experience.

Why would you have to tell him in the first place?

  • Absolutely, @Joe. – samarasa Jul 9 '13 at 18:25

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