As title says. Our manager took my team aside, says she knows things are incredibly stressful and could we please let her know if anyone is thinking of quitting their job.

Surely this would only be disadvantageous to the person admitting this? Especially if they aren’t actively interviewing or applying yet.

We’ve now been asked for a second time. I am thinking of quitting and I have told two trusted colleagues as much privately. I may be paranoid but I’m wondering if one has told her or accidentally hinted at it and that’s why she keeps asking? How should I handle this request?

  • 1
    Regardless of which way this scenario goes I'd say it is safe to assume you should be polishing up the resume "just in case"
    – solarflare
    Mar 4, 2019 at 1:02
  • What does your manager say she wants to do with this information? What do you believe she wants to do with it?
    – jmoreno
    Mar 4, 2019 at 1:35
  • 4
    If people weren't thinking of quitting already, they probably should now
    – HorusKol
    Mar 4, 2019 at 5:21

3 Answers 3


You never tell anyone that you think of quitting until you have signed a contract for a new job and have to give your notice.

You are absolutely right, telling your manager can only be of disadvantage to you. You should handle this request by saying "I'm very happy here, I like the job, the colleagues, the salary and most importantly my manager, so I'm not thinking about quitting at all".

Once you put in your notice and the manager says "but you said you were not thinking about quitting when I asked", you can say "well, what answer did you expect?". Or you can be more polite, up to you.

BTW. Don't ever tell trusted colleagues privately that you think about quitting. Trusted is not trustworthy, and private is not private.

  • 1
    That's a very high level of cynicism you have there. Mar 4, 2019 at 3:54
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    Cynical or not, unfortunately, that is life. It is still the best answer. However, instead of "well, what answer did you expect?" I would use: "well, things only changed AFTER you asked... everything happened so unexpectedly..." - there is no way to verify this.
    – virolino
    Mar 4, 2019 at 6:27
  • That's just a sad & depressing view of the workplace and fortunately doesn't match my real world experience at all. I've had plenty of very constructive discussion around making career changes both as a manager and an employee and in most cases, we ended up in a much better spot because of the discussion. I can't recall a single incident where this backfired for anyone. Maybe I just got lucky, but in my experience the world isn't nearly as bad as you portray it here..
    – Hilmar
    Mar 4, 2019 at 12:46
  • @Hilmar Unfortunately, there will always be a conflict of interests in this kind of situations. If your employee tells you they're looking for other options, as a manager your main obligation would be to make sure it doesn't affect the business, and not to accommodate the employee. Hence the common sense is to always ensure you've got everything aligned with the new job, and then notify your employer that you're leaving by giving the notice.
    – Egor
    Mar 4, 2019 at 22:31
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    @Egor I understand that this is the "common wisdom" but in my experience it's flat out not true. I've had plenty of "I want to leave" discussions with both managers and employees and the outcomes were always positive.
    – Hilmar
    Mar 5, 2019 at 10:29

It's an unreasonable request, and you don't have an obligation to share this information with anyone at your workplace. Just play dumb, say "Okay" and forget about it. If you eventually decide to give your notice and get confronted with a question such as "Why didn't you tell you're planning to quit?" - make something up (for example, "Things just happened quickly with my new employer so I didn't have time to tell you"). Again, remember that you do not have to share any of this with your current employer.

  • Possibly a little harsh to call it unreasonable, but I would call it optimistic. As a manager, I would not expect any answer from my staff other than Okay, I'm fine... Mar 4, 2019 at 6:24
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    "Why didn't you tell me you're planning to quit?" - "I just did, by providing notice as required by my contract."
    – Steve-O
    Mar 4, 2019 at 14:18

Depending on your social circle (and your country which you chose not to disclose) you can always be asked by a "friend" if you're available. And people tend to like working with friends. In fact, I've found my last 2 jobs this way.

So whatever you tell her, and whenever you decide to leave, you can blame this on someone you know (without specifics of course).

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