An employee gave her two weeks notice. This employee had worked for the company for 4 years then left the company. Then came back to the company after 6 months into a new position. Now one year later, the employee is leaving again. Since I have worked for this company, about 7 months. I have seen employees sign a going away card for the leaving employee and give a gift. I have gotten close to the employee who is leaving. So I asked the manager if we would be doing anything or getting anything for the leaving employee. His response was no because this employee left the company once before. I feel that was a little cold and I feel the leaving employee should at least get a card. I plan to buy a goodbye greeting card for the leaving employee and pass it around for employees to sign. I plan to not give it to the manager. Am I doing anything wrong by getting the card? The card would be paid for from my own pocket. If I had known the Manager would react like that. I never would have asked him.

  • "I have seen employees sign a going away card for the leaving employee" So why not just sign this card? Or did you mean you've seen this for other leaving employees?
    – Barmar
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 15:44
  • Do you know if there was any bad feeling or dispute between this employee and your manager? If there was, and it's related to the employee leaving, your manager might be touchy about this because they don't want you to shine a light on the situation. Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 17:32
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    Your title says 'greeting card', I thought you were being clever by suggesting she would be back with another new job again.. Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 20:45
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    "So I asked the manager if we would be doing anything or getting anything for the leaving employee" Is that what you literally asked? Because if that's what you literally said I'd say no too. How am I supposed to know you're not talking dinner, party or gift?
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 21:38
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    I ended up getting the card and just walking it around getting people to sign it. I will leave it on his desk on the day he is leaving. That's all. Commented Jan 29, 2023 at 0:28

5 Answers 5


You are making a mistake by doing this behind the manager's back. The manager might feel disrespected after you asked and ignored the answer, or even that you are challenging the manager's authority by doing something the manager decided wasn't earned.

If you want to get her the card out of your own pocket, that's fine, but at least tell the manager your intentions if you want to pass it around, allow the manager to dissuade you, and offer the manager to sign it. If the manager pushes back again, just present the card with only your remarks.

  • I'd argue this is also a "don't know the circumstances" - if coworker has been asked to leave or is being pushed out the door, you might not celebrate in any way
    – lupe
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 9:21
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    I'd agree with this answer considering the limited information we have. But actually we have no idea if the manager's opinion is "Naahhh.... we gave her one already", or "It's strict company policy: One leaving card per person", or the manager's personality at all, or the mood / culture in the company. There are a lot of nuances involved in a question like that probably can't be conveyed on an anonmymous public forum.
    – komodosp
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 10:26
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    It may be that the manager just doesn't like this employee and was annoyed that she was rehired, but would be in full support of a card for other employees leaving a 2nd time. Who knows... Fully support the OP giving a goodbye card signed only by him/herself.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 14:13

Nope not doing anything wrong. You've done it of your own volition and out of your own pocket.

I understand the manager's reason(s) - if they've left previously and come back - it's a little petty, but I get it.

You are fine though.

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    Can you explain? I don't get the Manager's reasoning. Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 1:06
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    Each person gets 1 leaving gift. You can't "farm" gifts from the company by joining and leaving in this way (of course there are other considerations as to why someone may not want to/be able to do so, but anyway the manager says they can't, absent those other concerns)
    – Ertai87
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 1:21
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    I read this as though your coworker had been gone for 6 months, and back for 6 months at first, which as a manager would have been super annoying. But, yeah, you can't really get frustrated at people who leave after a year.
    – lupe
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 9:08
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    @Ertai87 I would hardly call getting a card with some well meaning messages a "gift" worth farming. We're talking about a few cents of whatever is the local currency.
    – terdon
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 11:15
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    @user3067860 So they shouldn't be considered as persons worthy of a few cents spent on them and a token of gratitude for the months working alongside them? This is so petty I can't even begin to describe it. You also make it sound like someone selling their services (employees) are getting something they're not worthy of.
    – Jonast92
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 15:56

I understand how you feel, but ultimately the only reason why I would do this would be if I was personally close to the departing employee. I would not give a gift to a random coworker, particularly against the wishes of my manager and the company at-large, and I would certainly not involve other coworkers in doing so.

If you are personally close to this coworker, by all means, buy this person a gift or a card and give it to them, in person, and in private.

  • 2
    I am close to the person. I made the mistake of going to the manager first. His reaction was not what I was expecting. Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 1:58
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    In that case, give them a gift as a friend if you wish, but make it clear that it is not from the company, but from you personally as a friend. There's nothing wrong with a friend giving a gift to another friend.
    – Ertai87
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 1:59
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    Make the gift personal and inexpensive. I once gave a jar of homemade jam in the same situation. He almost got tears in his eyes. Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 13:45
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    @DiligentWorker25 your comment would be an excellent addition to your original question. Please edit that info in so everyone sees it when they read your question.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jan 27, 2023 at 14:15

I understand why you want to do this, but you shouldn't. Two different relationship dynamics are in conflict here:

(A) You and this individual as friends.

(B) You and this individual as employees of the company under a common manager.

As a professional you need to clearly separate those out, and act appropriately.

I plan to buy a goodbye greeting card... The card is paid for from my own pocket.

This is completely fine. You're doing a nice thing for a friend. Relationship A dominates. Relationship B has little relevance. For example you doing this outside working hours and even premises would not affect the gesture - in fact you may well consider doing that!

(I plan to) pass it around for employees to sign. I plan to not give it to the manager.

With this, though, relationship B dominates. You've involved other employees of the company as a collective, and by definition will likely have to do so in working hours and/or premises. Worse, you've indirectly involved the manager too by defying their wishes.

It'll still be a nice gesture from their point of view, of course, but relationship B just makes it overall inappropriate, and a negative for you, given the circumstances.

Your 7 month tenure at the company is a factor here too - you've likely not yet built the social capital at the company necessary to counterbalance any negative effect on you, in a way a more tenured employee may be able to.

Really, I think it's unwise to do this. I'd advise only doing the first part of buying a personal card/gift yourself and leave the gesture at that.


So I asked the manager if we would be doing anything or getting anything for the leaving employee.

If this is literally what you asked then the manager probably interpreted that as requesting the company to organize a dinner or gift. What other reason could there possible be to bring it up with a manager? For an employee leaving for the second time, it would be completely reasonable to say no to that.

A card is so inexpensive that there's little reason to get the manager or company involved which would be why it might not even occur to the manager that was what you had in mind.

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