I am about to leave my job of 7 years for another company. I am leaving because it does pay $16k more and has a $10k sign on bonus. I will also have unlimited PTO. But my real reasons for leaving are because I do not have any relationship with my manager (no 1-on-1, no goal setting), feeling on my own and doing my own thing without direction and workplace conflict with others that has only been partially resolved.

I could probably rant about the reasons for leaving when I tell him this week or just say I found a new opportunity that I could not pass up and thank you for the opportunity to work here.

What is the preferred method?

  • 6
    I just wanted to comment on this: "I will also have unlimited PTO". You will not. Your employer might be nice about PTO. Or maybe they won't have strict accounting for PTO. Maybe you'll be free to choose when you work. Those are good things and some employers offer them. But "unlimited PTO" is not a thing.
    – Jeffrey
    Sep 27, 2021 at 2:32
  • 2
    No relationship with manager but you were able to stick around for 7 years?
    – Lightsout
    Sep 27, 2021 at 8:25
  • 5
    @Jeffrey Yeah, that was a big warning sign for me too. To me "unlimited paid time off" means "you won't even get to take the mandatory minimum holiday offered by other companies due to the high workload and pressure to deliver". I would take guaranteed four weeks off over "unlimited PTO" in a heartbeat.
    – Eric Nolan
    Sep 27, 2021 at 9:29
  • 5
    @Engineer2021, I'd be concerned about a company that advertises Unlimited PTO but later tells you anything over 4 weeks must be approved. That's not unlimited and likely very had to get approval.
    – cdkMoose
    Sep 27, 2021 at 15:52
  • 1
    When you are debating the amount of detail to go into when explaining your reasons for doing something, you should think about what you hope to accomplish by telling someone those details. It's natural to want to explain to someone how they contributed to a situation that made you want to leave your job, but is it constructive? Will it make you happier or make your life better or will it just cause a needless confrontation and waste energy that would be better spent on something positive in your life?
    – ColleenV
    Sep 27, 2021 at 17:48

7 Answers 7


Email your boss, saying you've accepted another offer and when your last day will be. That's it.

Resist the urge to tell your boss the real reasons. If they make you do an exit interview stick to "It was time for a change." Always stay positive when interacting with your current employer.

The only thing telling "the hard truth" will do is possibly alienate your current boss and loss you a reference. There is absolutely no reason for your boss or the company to change (you've already left). Leave the company on the best terms possible. Stick to simple platitudes like "Please stay in touch", "I'm thankful for the opportunity to work here for 7 years", etc.

EDIT to address comments

if he/she (the boss) personally ask "what do you think after working in this company and what can we improve?" isn't that the perfect condition to tell him/her about that?

Even if the boss ask for your feedback personally, think long and hard about "letting them have it". There is no upside for you, you're leaving, and it's very unlikely to change the manager's behavior.

This is a case where biting your tongue and plastering a smile on your face is the right move. You've solved your problem by getting a new job. Let that fact speak for itself. Don't talk your way out of a reference. You'll probably see this manager again when folks ask for references.

If you absolutely must say something, keep it vague and don't blame anyone. Something like.

I've been here a long time and just felt it was good for me to make some changes.

  • I agree with you. However, if he/she (the boss) personally ask "what do you think after working in this company and what can we improve?" isn't that the perfect condition to tell him/her about that? I don't know if that one is likely to happen. This is just another probing question from me because I'm in the same condition as well haha
    – el-cheapo
    Sep 27, 2021 at 22:43
  • 1
    @el-cheapo, If they do ask. You tell them to have coffee/dinner with you one or two months from now. In other words, you use this as an opportunity to cement a networking relationship with that person, even after you leave. And if they still ask for feedback then, you pick one element that is easily within their control (and that's not tied to their ego), and you give them a feedback sandwich. In other words, you make sure to sandwich that element between two positive elements (just like you would do in a Toastmasters club). But even then, you have to be extremely selective about what you say. Sep 28, 2021 at 3:46
  • 1
    When I left my previous employer earlier this year, I made the mistake of telling them why. I'm still on good terms with my former coworkers, but the bridge with my former manager is burned. And yeah, the company didn't change at all, even though my feedback also applied to coworkers. The best possible outcome will be neutral, so no reason to say anything other then something generic.
    – Dnomyar96
    Sep 28, 2021 at 5:33
  • 1
    I did exactly what you said. I did not provide feedback. Only said there are new opportunities. Oct 4, 2021 at 20:01

But my real reasons for leaving are because I do not have any relationship with my manager (no 1-on-1, no goal setting), feeling on my own and doing my own thing without direction and workplace conflict with others that has only been partially resolved.

There is zero upside of telling the truth. Absolutely, zero!

What is the preferred method?

Just move on. You're not your boss's coach.

Even if HR does an exit interview, do not tell them about this. These people will (possibly) act as your references. Do not try to fix them now, as you're about to leave. It's too late. If you could have fixed the situation earlier, it would have gotten fixed already.

If you tell them now, this is the main thing they will remember about you. There is really no point.

  • Definitely plead the fifth! Absolute silence on your reasons for leaving. There are only downsides to anything else, no upside.
    – Peter K.
    Sep 27, 2021 at 2:04

I good method is to sign the contract with the new company, and give your notice. Many swear it’s the best method. No explanation needed.


It's definitely not worth directing any gripes you have with the company. You won't gain anything and you've already found a new position that you'll be happier in. Let them retain the current memory of you as an employee and move on with your career.


Others have written

There is no upside to telling the truth.

If your only consideration for saying something is whether it benefits you, then they are right - there is no upside. However if you are prepared to take some action that might help others, then saying something like the truth can be helpful. Your boss might learn, the company might learn, and that might benefit the colleagues you have left behind.

Obviously what you don't do is "rant about the reasons for leaving". In fact ranting about anything is pretty much never helpful at any time. Instead present what you have to say in a calm and dispassionate manner. Consider asking your boss whether he wants honest feedback. Also don't present your relationship with your manager as the "only reason for leaving". It isn't You are getting a pay bump, better benefits, and a signing bonus. Feel free to tell your boss that.

If you want to say something about your boss, try

I did feel that I could have been better supported by management. I didn't have an opportunity for regular meetings, and I felt there was little goal-setting here.

Don't make it personal, and absolutely don't get in an argument. If he tries to tell you reasons, or explain his approach, just say that it was something you felt, and wasn't your main reason anyway. If he tries to make it personal, just stop talking.

And if you don't feel that you would be able to maintain a calm demeanour, then don't say anything.


I put in my two weeks this morning. There were some probing questions asking what else can be done to keep me and genuine shock however I have provided enough clues and direct evidence that I was not happy for a long time. A coworker was annoyed because he has warned my boss that I was a flight risk for some time. There is no replacement for me as I have a unique skillset.

I did what was suggested here and said I was seeking new opportunities. Like others suggested in answers and comments (I read all of them thank you), I did not say where I am going and only said seeking new opportunities. In all conversations, I said it until basically people gave up.

Some people will want to commiserate and that’s generally not healthy. Everyone has their own reasons for leaving. It is not my intent to draw anyone else away from what they are doing because I am unhappy.

Anyways, I did the preferred way of leaving and it worked.


As someone who has returned to a previous employer, I want to address the question from that perspective.

My exit was gracefully handled by both sides that when an opportunity to return had arisen, I was seen as someone who they wanted to bring back into the team, but I was also able to have conversations on direction, goals etc before I was able to return. This has actually happened on more than one occasion, with only one acceptance.

While it may feel that there is nothing left to lose by being direct and honest about leaving, you need to think carefully about closing the door completely if a return to the organization was ever an option, or anyone you worked with may be in a position of hiring at a future company and could lead to a negative opinion of yourself if that was the case.

You can be honest on work challenges (eg tech you want to work with) without making it about one individual. This can also demonstrate the career growth and goals and personal development you want to experience and how it has been offered with a new employer without burning bridges as you leave.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .