My boss expects me to let him know if I plan to quit. He told me some time ago. So, the company that I work for is a small buisness and my workforce is not easy to replace.The hiring process could take significantly longer than I have a notice period.

And now I'm actually thinking about applying away. If I tell him, I have no advantage. Maybe that will give me more stress at work and will force me to do a worse job, which I don't really want.

If I don't say it, he'll ask me why I wouldn't have mentioned it before and he'll put pressure on me for the rest of the time.

What is the best way to deal with the situation?

  • 7
    What's he going to do when you hand in your resignation without prior warning? Fire you?
    – Philipp
    Jul 7, 2020 at 14:59
  • 7
    He won’t be pleased. But again: What is he going to do? Fire you? What’s in it for you?
    – gnasher729
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:13
  • 2
    What does he plan to do if you catch COVID, are hospitalized immediately, and it is several months before you are fit to return to work? That plan should also work, perhaps a bit more smoothly, if you leave with standard notice. Jul 7, 2020 at 15:19
  • 2
    This is a common question and I've linked a few related questions that cover this topic in detail. Please edit the question if you believe your question is materially different from the linked questions to push it to the reopen queue.
    – Lilienthal
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:43
  • 3
    For most workplaces, the "stock advice" to keep your intent to leave secret until you have a new offer in hand. There are exceptions, however, if the workplace is sufficiently trusting. Your boss might be trying to signal to you that he's OK with cooperating with you to ensure a smooth exit. Very tight-knit workplaces ARE able to do this. If it's genuine, that's commendable, but it takes trust. Sometimes in corporate trust-building exercises, they ask people to fall backwards with their eyes closed and have coworkers catch them-- that's the level of trust you need here, x100.
    – teego1967
    Jul 7, 2020 at 16:05

3 Answers 3


What is the best way to deal with the situation?

You hand in your resignation only after you have signed a written offer from a new company. You do not tell your boss at any point prior that you are planning on leaving the company. By telling your boss early, you only put yourself at a disadvantage and risk being terminated prior to securing a new job.

It is your boss's responsibility to find a replacement either externally or internally within the standard notice period of the company. If he is upset that you did not give him prior warning, he should only be upset with himself for not properly planning for the loss of an employee.

  • 2
    That is the correct answer. It’s probably a duplicate but it can’t be repeated often enough. If the boss wants a longer notice period, he can offer a contract with a longer notice period - for both sides obviously.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:13
  • Agree. I'd add that I don't know of anyone who has given extra notice and received a pat on the back or any kind of gratitude from the employer. Worse case they would fire you the same day you tell them or within 2 weeks. Which could be months before you really want to leave. There's really no upside for you.
    – HenryM
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:15
  • Okay, that seems like the right answer. What surprises me is that all my employers have communicated this to me and are then surprised about a "spontaneous" termination on my part.
    – Thomas Z.
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:19
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    @ThomasZ. Agree it can be a common attitude, but they really shouldn't be surprised. If you reversed the situation and asked for an extra month's notice if they were considering firing you, you'd just get laughed at. Telling an employer that you might resign or an employee that they might get fired doesn't really do anyone any favors, since that's already pretty much the current situation at all times. Jul 7, 2020 at 15:48
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    @ThomasZ. If the next asks for this again, just ask whether that means they want to extend the notice period for both sides in the contract. If they are fine with that, you get something out of it too and might want to agree. If not, well, if they wanted to they could have negotiated to get it into the contract... Jul 7, 2020 at 18:25

First of all, your notice period is stated in your local labor laws and your work contract. You are under no obligation to tell your boss about your resignation a second earlier.

Should you still be open about telling your boss anyway?

Reasons for yes:

  • When your boss asks you to tell him before you take a job somewhere else, then that implies that he is willing to negotiate and provide a counter offer or address the problems you have with your current job. So if there is a chance you might consider one, then this would be a reason to tell him.
  • Announcing your plans to leave early as a courtesy allows the business to plan for your absence. This is not your problem, it's theirs. But if there is a chance that you might return to the same company in the future or if you are working in a small and tightly knit industry where word of mouth gets around quickly, then it might be unwise to leave on bad terms.

Reasons for no:

  • When your boss is a manipulative person, he might try to convince you to stay. But not with a good counter-offer, but by using psychological tricks. He might use techniques like:

    • Emotional blackmail ("But your colleagues will all suffer terribly when you are gone! How can you be so mean to all these nice people? Sure, they would all do the same, but aren't you a better person than them?")
    • Fear, uncertainty and doubt ("You know, I heard some very terrible rumors about your new employer. My sources say everything you hate about your job is 100 times worse there. Are you sure you want to go there?").
    • False promises ("When you stay a year longer I promise that I will give you a raise. I can't do it now or give that to you in writing because... reasons... but I will really, really consider it! Far more than the last three times I said I would.").

    When you are susceptible to such underhanded techniques, don't give them the chance.

  • When your boss is a vengeful person, they might retaliate by trying to make your last days as unpleasant as possible or respond with a termination from their side so you are out of work for a while. Or they might try to sabotage your transfer by badmouthing you to your new employer.

  • do you trust you boss? the 2 times I quit my job so far, my department head always knew. the 2nd time, my team knew too. This made a lot of things smoother. The 2nd time it even negotiated for a shorter notice period, which was accepted because the transition started once I said I am searching, so they had more time. Of course, once you do this, you are commited to leaving. Then again, I have a standing (repeatedly voiced) offer to come back to that company. Leaving on good terms is nice! But it all comes down to trust.
    – Benjamin
    Jul 7, 2020 at 15:39

Consider that your boss is trying to get something for free:
If he really needs to know earlier than your standard notice period, he could have offered you a contract with a longer notice period combined with an incentive to keep it - for example, a salary raise/special bonus for giving early notice.

That would cost him some money, and could be a fair deal for you. If he is not willing to pay for his benefit, you have no obligation to give it for free.

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