I gave my two-week notice last week and I'm spending this week finishing projects, writing documentation, and passing off some stuff for after I'm gone. Part of my work is sysadmin and we have shitty practices on purpose, so there's a ton of stuff that's registered to my work email, or just has one-off passwords, or there's stuff that only I know/have access to. There's a senior sysadmin guy here who's acting really offended that I would quit, and he hasn't spoken to me since I gave my notice, he doesn't respond to my emails, he ignores me when I go to his office and speak to him. We had a bigger meeting last week with my manager and some other coworkers, and the only thing he would say is that I specifically shouldn't make documentation, and pretended he didn't hear me for every other question. No one else acted like that was weird.

My work email is what registered all our machines to the network, so after it's gone no one will be able to get online or access our network fileshare. It's also what's used as our account license for our backup software, so that will stop working if it's not changed. Our website will also go down once my work email disappears. I'm the only one who knows the Windows domain admin password - he won't be able to administer it if I leave and it's not documented.

What's the most responsible/professional way to deal with this?

  • 70
    Why do you think your work email will disappear? Won't the company keep it active and forward it or have someone else looking at it ?
    – DaveG
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 20:09
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    Its a bit weird that only a part of your work is SysAdmin, yet a senior SysAdmin won't have access to the Windows Domain Admin Password. Are you sure there are not multiple Domain Admin accounts? You also say that your work email is used to register all your machines to the network, but that should be tied to an administrator account and doesn't matter after the machine has been domain joined...This isn't even including the terrible practice of using your Sysadmin credentials to provide everyone Network file access....
    – Shadowzee
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 0:35
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    @DaveG I wonder, if one of the shitty practices they have is deleting accounts when the holder leaves.. And even then, it's stupid to have stuff connected to person-specific work accounts.
    – Chieron
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 7:05
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    @DaveG If this is in the EU it will disappear because not doing so would violate a long list of privacy regulations with rather scary fines.
    – Voo
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 9:27
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    @DaveG No. Under EU law you can definitely retain accounts of employees that have left, if you have lectured them that they should not use their work email for anything personal.
    – NotTelling
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 10:49

7 Answers 7


Create the documentation you would otherwise make for this sysadmin and leave it at that. If this coworker is deliberately sabotaging the knowledge transfer then let him (and the company who employed him in a senior position) pay the price. It isn't your problem anymore. Do what you agreed to do and prepare the KT docs. Don't do any more than what you are obligated to do. Ultimately this admin is going to be the one suffering from acting like this, not you. He's going to be the one holding the bag when you go.

Do keep your managers or colleagues (as appropriate) informed about the documentation you created (links in company intranet, email, whatever works). This is to make sure noone can later blame you for not having created the documentation.

If your conscience can't handle that, then go above his head. Be professional, but hold nothing back. Most importantly let them know the risks the company is facing due to his childish behavior.

Either way you go, don't stress about this. It really isn't your problem.

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    I would just add that you should send all documentation via email, and cc all the appropriate managers. This protects you from having the co-worker claim you never completed the documentation, etc. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:02
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    @dan.mwasuser2321368 : and unless it comes with severe legal dangers, it could be useful to keep a private copy (you can delete it later), in case that senior sysadmin sabotages the knowledge transfer by deleting those mails and then blaming you (which might burn bridges for you).
    – Val
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 4:11
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    @dan.m CCing might not be enough if the sysadmin can delete the emails. Giving a hardcopy to your manager might be a nice thing to do in addition to that.
    – lijat
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 7:47
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    @lijat if OP has a reason to be somewhat paranoid, it is possible to go even further and request manager to sign for receiving documentation.
    – Gnudiff
    Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 8:21
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    The person refusing to take the KT documentation is not preventing OP from doing his job. His job is to create the docs and pass them along. If sysadmin chooses to ignore or not take them then OP did what he is obligated to do. Nothing in anyone's job description entails a responsibility to get higher ranking employees to do their jobs. Commented Oct 9, 2019 at 17:21

What's the most responsible/professional way to deal with this?

Explain to your manager what is happening along with the resulting risks. Ask what you should do. Then do it.

Meanwhile, document everything you can. Prepare to leave it with your manager on your way out. Your manager can discard that documentation, if he chooses to do so.


What's the most responsible/professional way to deal with this?

Forget about the disgruntled sysadmin. Document the critical accounts and passwords and hand off this information to your boss. Make sure to clearly explain all the things that may go wrong if they decide to simply delete your account. Make sure you provide this information before your last day and simply let your boss decide who should be responsible for taking care of this mess.

  • I wanted to write pretty much this. Ignore the co-worker. Deal with the boss. Make sure he has the information you need to give and let him confirm that he received it. You don't want this to come back to haunt you.
    – Tom
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 5:22

What's the most responsible/professional way to deal with this?

Create a handover document outlining all your role specific tasks with a section for passwords.

Apart from that focus on where your career is going, not where it has been. Stay cheerful and ride out your time.

What happens is not your problem so long as the documentation has been provided. A good sysadmin could step in without any passwords or documentation, perhaps your colleague thinks he's good. Either way not your problem, it's his if it all goes South.

  • 1
    You should also take the time to create a new email address, for the purposes you describe, which can be rotated to whomever takes your responsabilties. This email would not be deleted.
    – Donald
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 19:48
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    @Donald it's not your problem...... if someone is being a prick, no need to do more than professionally necessary for them. I've cheerfully watched people dig themselves a hole if they can't give me normal courtesy and respect. Not maliciously , but if they want to create problems for themselves, fine with me.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 19:52
  • I suppose it depends how small the world is. You never know who will be your supervisor in the future, if the author doesn't take the steps to try and setup the company for sucess, they might find themselfs interviewing with somebody who remember what happened at the author's company in 2019 in 2029.
    – Donald
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 19:56
  • @Donald no idea, I have met former senior colleagues in interviews a decade later, but I was the one interviewing. Anyone expecting a tech to be at the same level that much time later is out of touch with reality. Fastest moving industry in the World.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 20:08
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    I'd just add that the handover document needs to be presented to both the colleague, and the OP's/colleague's manager - the OP needs to prevent against the colleague claiming that the OP never provided the necessary documentation, etc. Commented Oct 8, 2019 at 21:05

Part of my work is sysadmin and we have shitty practices on purpose

This is problematic on its own. If you disappeared today (bus factor) then the company would be in a (sad) state S1.

They have two weeks to move from S1 to a better S2 by, more or less magically, make you transfer the information you have.

It is not your fault that the documentation is not there in the first place. Except if there were any legal arrangements of you, and only you, being in charge of the documentation.

Now, they can make the trip from S1 to S2 more or less useful.

This is why you have to ask them: what do you, my current management, expect me to do during these two weeks?. This question must be formalized, with cc: to all people that matter and numerous hard copies for you.

In the meantime you have a daily job to do, which you have to perform as well as you can.

If there are no answers to the email, then ask again, copying the previous email and stating that you had no answers. The point is to document that you genuinely seek to understand what is needed.

Then, when day 14 arrives, say goodbye.

One important thing to remember is that you were not hired to facilitate transitions or something like that. You were hired to do a job, and your management was there to make sure the job is done correctly.

When you leave, up to the last day, you are still hired for that job. If nothing else pops-out then there are no changes for you.

The whole circus of "transitioning my job to someone else" means that there were no documentations, backups etc. in place before. It is a damage mitigation/containment exercise for the management, not something you should be spontaneously doing.


Sounds like you're doing what you should be doing.

...we have [bad] practices on purpose, so...

I'm curious about your role in this.

There's a senior sysadmin guy here... [At a meeting he said] I specifically shouldn't make documentation, and [he] pretended he didn't hear me for every other question.

You said "a" glad there are others.
Sounds childish, and borderline negligent.

No one else acted like that was weird.

It should be obvious to enough people that you're trying to make a good break.
Just ignore the behavior of "that guy."

Start emailing your documentation to him with a CC to your boss.
CC all the other sys admins who are technically knowledgeable.
(leave out passwords, give those only to your boss).

Recommend someone (not you; maybe a company) who could take over the sysadmin role at an hourly rate... in case of an emergency.

Because I smell an emergency coming.

I expect "that guy" will create an emergency if it doesn't show up on its own in a short period of time.

Give your boss a printed copy of the emails in case someone screws your email service.


Having just been in your exact position what I did was documenting everything over my last weeks, working a bit less on my normal tasks. Documentation was still one of my tasks.

I documented as much as I could in the document wiki and also wrote guidelines for how to extend the documentation in case I wouldn't be able to finish it.

I told some other colleagues in the IT department where this documentation was in-case it would be needed, as my closest colleagues were ignoring me. I also made sure that they actually took a look at it.

Sadly I wasn't able to finish it because my manager, who was also ignoring me, suddenly decided that he didn't want to see my face in the office anymore.

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