I recently put my two weeks notice into a company that I had worked at for 5 years. At most previous jobs I've had fantasies about quitting, but this job I thoroughly liked. My boss (the CEO, it's a small company) was generally good to work for, the pay was good, and the work wasn't bad. I informed him and HR about my notice and as expected he was very distraught, but I just kept telling him that I liked working here. I also mentioned that it's just time for me to move on for my career and that I'd do whatever possible to make the transition easier.

I'm now a week into my notice and I knew that it wouldn't be possible for them find a replacement for me so soon (it'll most likely take months). My job is very unique, I have multiple ongoing projects and support tasks I need to take care of with my clients. My boss hasn't spoken to me since the day I gave him my notice and I'm not really sure what to do. He hasn't announced to the team that I'm leaving, which means the one person that could possibly take over my duties isn't up to speed on them at all. I would also like to alert my clients to my departure, but I have no new point of contact for them. I've never been in such a vital position and held so much responsibility when quitting before, so I'm not sure what to do if my boss won't talk to me.

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    Why is it that you feel you need to do anything at all? Not being able to replace you quickly enough is a learning experience for your boss, it's not your problem. I would avoid trying to contact any clients too, you don't want to be seen as trying to poach them. As long as you are sure the 2 weeks is sufficient for your local employment laws (And maybe your contract) I wouldn't worry about it, just focus on your next job.
    – musefan
    Feb 21, 2022 at 14:39
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    How did you resign? Did you do it verbally, through e-mail, letter? Do you have a paper trail? Some Letter with an inbox stamp? E-mail with a received confirmation? If you don't have a paper trail, do you have a witness of you resigning?
    – jwsc
    Feb 21, 2022 at 14:54
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    @jwsc I resigned via email then spoke over the phone with my boss because I work remotely.
    – VuongN
    Feb 21, 2022 at 14:57
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    Are you looking for a counter offer? Otherwise who cares?
    – Pete B.
    Feb 21, 2022 at 15:33
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    @Bruce If resigning after 5 years was enough to poison the waters then I'm not sure there's anything OP can do. They've already offered to do anything to make the transition easier. They can't make themselves responsible for their boss' personal feelings about their resignation.
    – BSMP
    Feb 22, 2022 at 18:56

8 Answers 8


You have informed the boss, and HR. It is up to the company to determine their next steps: they can hire internally, they can hire externally, they can decide not to fill the position. The company will decide how to tell the team, and their customers.

Unless a company hires internally, they almost never have time to fill a position unless the incoming person has a shorter notice period. I have seen organizations identify a person internally and have the two people spend weeks together, I have also seen cases where the handover lasted 10 minutes. Or less.

Contact HR to discuss what things you must do by the last day: stuff to turn in, forms to fill out, details about the final paychecks.

Your obligation to the company is almost over. They will decide what they want to do, though they might not do that until after you are gone.

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    I somewhat disagree with "The company will decide how to tell the team". If they haven't given you specific instructions and you like/respect your team I'd suggest telling them, from a "basic human decency" standpoint.
    – Martijn
    Feb 22, 2022 at 9:04
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    @Hilmar Is that something that would be typically written in an employment contract? (I assume the US?) None of my (EU) jobs had such a requirement and even the relevant labour law doesn't prohibit telling anyone when I decide to quit.
    – TooTea
    Feb 22, 2022 at 15:20
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    @computercarguy Can you clarify what you mean by "in trouble"? Like legal trouble or was your ex-boss just not happy about it.?
    – BSMP
    Feb 22, 2022 at 18:58
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    @Hilmar, I live the in US and have been in professional jobs for almost 40 years now. Not once have I heard "resignations are considered confidential". Some individuals may have thought it, but never said it.
    – donjuedo
    Feb 23, 2022 at 2:04
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    In Germany the notice period is at least a month, sometimes much longer. I agreed in the past to not tell my co-workers that I gave notice for a couple of days to allow my manager to inform the team and the stakeholder in their preferred way. But I would never agree not telling them for more than a week. Teams need to plan for leaving co-workers too, it is hard to do a proper hand-over on the last day... Feb 23, 2022 at 7:13

As others have said, it's not your responsibility to find or train your replacement. But there is something you can and should be doing - letting your teammates know that you will be leaving.

Sometimes companies want you to hold off announcing your departure, but that shouldn't be more than a day or two. For example, they may be working on bringing in a replacement for you from another part of the company, and would rather announce both your leaving and your replacement together. So make sure you check first.

Email your boss and say that you would like to tell your team you are leaving, unless he prefers that it comes from him. If he comes back and says he would rather do it, or would rather you wait, let him. If he doesn't respond after a reasonable time then start telling your teammates. That should spark enough discussion about who is taking over your duties that your boss will be forced to do something.

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    If there's no response at all from the boss to the "who should tell the team" email, since it sounds like the boss is completely ignoring the OP, I'd suggest a "since I haven't heard back from you, so I'll let them know tomorrow morning". Give him time to respond, but let her know you will be taking action unless you hear otherwise.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 22, 2022 at 14:05
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    @Freeman I like this answer, because it contains an polite ultimatum: it isn't a "who should tell the team?" question. Feb 22, 2022 at 20:16

He hasn't announced to the team that I'm leaving, which means the one person that could possibly take over my duties isn't up to speed on them at all.

This is the only piece that matters. You don't want your boss to paint a negative and unexpected departure to your coworkers; you'll need them for references in the future.

I would call and ask something along the lines of:

Hi boss, I was wondering if the team is aware of my impending departure? I would like to say my farewells.

Treat your resignation as a fact and not a feeling. At this point you should be executing standard resignation actions like documentation, tying up loose ends, and saying farewell.


I just saw this comment:

I resigned via email then spoke over the phone with my boss because I work remotely.

Oof, that's a faux pas. Call me old-fashioned but I think you should have done the resignation over the phone; a follow-up email is for documentation.

What's done is done though so just proceed with the resignation.

  • Was searching for this, when you have worked for a long time, I think its fair enough have a conversation first and open up why this is happening and then drop in an email to make it official.
    – GoodSp33d
    Feb 23, 2022 at 6:36
  • Agree that the phone call should have been first, with the email as a follow up, if at all possible. Feb 24, 2022 at 17:10

My boss hasn't spoken to me since the day I gave him my notice and I'm not really sure what to do.

He hasn't announced to the team that I'm leaving, which means the one person that could possibly take over my duties isn't up to speed on them at all.

I would also like to alert my clients to my departure, but I have no new point of contact for them.

I've never been in such a vital position and held so much responsibility when quitting before, so I'm not sure what to do if my boss won't talk to me.

I hate to be "that guy" but based on these statements, I don't think your role is as vital as you think. Most companies do a pretty good job at making their employees feel like they are a valuable part of the organization and that the entire company's health is on you. It's part of the millennial era where we all grew up in the 90s and made to feel very important and that when we got a job, we'd be the most important person there that the boss can't fire.

My advice is to continue doing your work, don't inform your clients but definitely put an away message that reads something like your last day will be X and to forward the email to your boss. I also don't think you should feel obligated or somehow compelled to teach others. Just do your 2 weeks, tell your boss thank you, and head out to your new job. Hopefully you'll get an away lunch or something to that effect but it doesn't look like that is the case here. I do not recommend doing anything with the clients or how they should go about. That could be a lawsuit on your hands especially if you left them your personal number. Instead I would just do the away message and continue to answer questions as your approach your departure date.


You enjoyed your time at the company, that generally implies that you have good relationships and respect for your boss and your coworkers, this unfortunate immaturity from your boss aside. There might not be any professional obligation here but departing on the best terms possible can be valuable for your own self-respect and connections for the future.

Do what you can asynchronously. Wrap up projects as much as possible. Document in detail the status and history of all your open projects and clients. Document all the "specialist" areas of your work that you feel aren't generally known.

Reach out to your boss, but phrase your requests in a way that put the value to him and the company. This reinforces your statement to your boss about liking working there and wanting the best for the company after you go.

  • "I think "co-worker" is best suited to take over these open tasks, shall I start some knowledge transfer?"

  • "I want this change to go over for the clients as smoothly as possible, is there someone I can bring up to date on their current issues so they can get in touch?"

Whatever happens you have put in a solid effort to leaving on good terms, and you can sign off with HR on your last day without regrets and with genuine good wishes to those you've worked with.


It is your responsibility to adhere to the terms of your contract. It is your company's responsibility to ensure the contract has proper terms and to prepare for business continuity issues arising from them. That's the bottom line.

In this case, your contract states you have to give 2 weeks notice to quit, and you did. That's your responsibility, and you've fulfilled it. Anything arising from that, e.g. with regards to giving someone else responsibility for your clients, making sure your coworkers are prepared to take over your projects, and so on, is your company's responsibility. They will instruct you, through your manager, as to what your responsibilities are during those 2 weeks notice to ensure company continuity, and you should do whatever they ask, because that's your responsibility.

If the company fails to acknowledge your resignation or fails to ask you to perform knowledge-transfer or anything like that, that's their business and not yours. You should continue to do your work as normal, and when the 2 weeks are up, simply fail to show up for work. That's all you need to do. In some cases, irresponsible companies will call ex-employees and ask for their assistance on continuity issues after the employee has already left the company. In this case, remind them you are no longer their employee and instruct them that if they need your assistance, you will require a consulting fee for your time (you may also politely decline the request if you feel so inclined).

Regarding letting your coworkers know you are leaving, unless you have specifically been instructed not to, you can send a note to your coworkers informing them of your departure, some warm message, and possibly personal contact info if they'd like to keep in touch or whatever.


Resignations can be confidential. Not necessarily legal, but as a form of courtesy.

Often some people stick around only because of someone they like. One resignation would follow with others. That can be more of a concern than replacing the person who leaves - it might mean internal discussions of whether everyone is being treated well, compensated fairly, and sometimes they wish to act on your exit interview.

Trying to fill your position often indirectly announces that you are leaving. In the end, it's up to the leadership to decide how to handle it.

I've been in situations where they offered me a part time contract to keep my replacement up to speed, after leaving. This is uncommon, but it means there are still options for you and them.

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    This is silly. Even if the OP doesn't tell people today, surely they will notice in a week when the OP is no longer there. If it's so bad that your leaving will spark a landslide of resignations but management is somehow thinking that they can increase pay or fair treatment or whatever now that they're literally faced with people leaving, maybe rethink if management is the people who deserve your extra courtesy, or your coworkers who deserve the courtesy of not being blindsided by the extra work. Feb 24, 2022 at 21:27
  • From the question, I had the impression that OP was good friends with both the management and colleagues, and wished the best for both. If OP is leaving despite good pay and treatment, it's unlikely that management is bad. It seems more like a courteous divorce situation. Colleagues are likely to leave because of OP's leaving left a hole in the ship.
    – Muz
    Feb 26, 2022 at 6:40

Just a thought: why not draft a short hand-over plan, which includes a list of responsibilities, who IYHO is best suited to take them over, and they key things they need to know? This could be useful evidence if (worst case) your boss later claims that @VuongN left them in the lurch.

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