I have recently decided to leave my 15 year employment at a small business in the UK.

However, I am currently on a course which does not finish up till December and having invested the time in earlier modules I would like to complete it. I am planning to take a month out before seeking a new job so I’m not on a fixed timetable, however my intention would likely be to give my notice around mid-December. I’m contracted for 28 days notice which may be shortened by some owed annual leave.

Given that it is still October I’m wondering how to pull off the best exit strategy I can. I have a few considerations:

  1. I have a job share and the long-term plan was for us to advance together. I feel it would benefit my colleague to have time to think about what she wants to do as I may not be directly replaced, or they may replace both of us and try to give her a different role.

  2. I have a colleague who I am personally very close to. We’ve worked together for 15 years and I would have liked to have advised her privately and personally before putting my notice in officially.

  3. An extended meeting has been called to address many of the problems facing me and my team and also to re-outline our roles, however it’s too little too late for me and I am still leaving. This meeting would be well before my notice goes in.

I would assume the wise thing to do would be to tell neither colleague and to act ‘as normal’ during the meeting as if I’m staying. However this feels disingenuous, and I fear that my boss, who will take my departure personally will be even more offended that this meeting took place and I ‘renegotiated’ the details of my role etc only to quit a few weeks later. Unfortunately he can be petty and I do not want negative repercussions beyond a couple of uncomfortable weeks during my notice.

As a side point, I was planning to tell my boss that I want to explore something new, but the real reason for my departure is how difficult the workplace is and that I feel ill- treated. I am also concerned that he will badger me for the real reason and wonder if I should risk upsetting him further by not disclosing.

What is the best exit strategy and how should I go about taking it?

Edit: to clarify that upsetting him further could lead to him trying to prevent me getting a good reference or actively bad mouthing me to future employers as he has friends in the same field. I’m not certain he would do this but I know he is petty.

  • If you were to give your notice now, will the course be revoked? Or would you be required to pay for it if you resign before it ends?
    – zmike
    Oct 28, 2021 at 19:08
  • All modules must be completed and the final one is schedule mid-Dec. They’re definitely not going to bring me in to finish it if my notice was up at the end of Nov (if I put it in now). I could give up on the course, but I think it would good for my CV.
    – user130165
    Oct 28, 2021 at 19:10
  • Do not share your plans with your boss. The boss is NOT your friend. The boss's role is to protect the status quo for the company. It'd be very foolish to give even the tinyest details before you're ready to hand in a resignation letter, because a spurned boss can make your life miserable.
    – Xavier J
    Nov 4, 2021 at 7:30

2 Answers 2


Ok, so firstly your boss isn’t your friend and it’s not really your concern whether he gets upset or not.

You also don’t need to inform your co-share until you hand your notice in. Any handover will take place after that point in time.

For your friend, you can confide or not, depending on how you feel.

And go through the motions with the meeting - up until you actually resign, you have flexibility in your plans - something else might turn up that means you can’t resign just yet.

Don’t put your eggs in that basket until they’re good and cooked.


However this feels disingenuous

Because it is, it's short shrift for a place that has financed your life for 15 years. It's still perfectly ok to do so of course.

28 days notice is all you need to or should give to anyone. If he bad mouths you when you followed the contract then he was going to bad mouth you whatever happens.

Personally I'd give him the benefit of the doubt.

  • 10
    OK, they have not "financed his life." He has performed labor in exchange for payment. All balances are settled, and he is not beholden to the company. Other than that, I agree with you. Oct 29, 2021 at 3:35
  • I agree. Morally it feels a bit wrong to work somewhere for 15 years, and then give the bare minimum notice. I've only worked in places, and under bosses where there was a lot of respect in both directions, so maybe that taints my worldview a little. Oct 29, 2021 at 8:56
  • 2
    "it's short shrift for a place that has financed your life for 15 years." - it seems wrong to describe this as "short shrift". Firstly, the OP has financed the company's trade with his labour. Secondly, he declares that the true reason for leaving is a feeling of ill-treatment, by somebody he thinks "petty", and it seems precisely that spitefulness and sustained inconsideration that has caused both the departure and cast doubt over offering advance notice of it. The OP clearly fears the reaction of the employer - there doesn't seem to be any tone of vengeance on his part.
    – Steve
    Oct 29, 2021 at 9:45
  • @GregoryCurrie that's the company that is to blame for that though, not the OP. If in 15 years they never cared about increasing OP's notice period, why should OP care now? He has no obligation to make up for their lack of a better contingency plan.
    – mrodo
    Oct 29, 2021 at 16:44
  • @Steve it depends on your outlook, I never let the actions of others dictate mine. I wouldn't see a need to be petty just because I had some bad experiences. I've left a long standing client with a sour taste due to an individual there. But I still treated them as if they'd been paying my kids school fees for the last 10 years.
    – Kilisi
    Oct 29, 2021 at 22:10

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