I got a job offer from a company (say Company A), recently. I don't particularly like my current job due to a few reasons and I'd like to say yes to the job offer. The CEO of company A used to work with my boss, and I'm more than certain that my boss is going to ask me about where I'll be working next after leaving the current company.

Now the problem is, a co-worker of mine has recently given his resignation (he's going to company A as well) and he was asked that question by my boss and he answered it truthfully, and then my boss started bad-mouthing company A and its CEO. I'm too afraid that if I were to do the same, it'd leave a bad taste in both of our mouth.

So, how can I give my resignation and avoid telling my boss about company A?

  • 22
    Whats wrong with just saying "I would rather not say".
    – Donald
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 10:47
  • When I initially posted the question, I was hoping someone could give me a solution on how to avoid the question altogether, but based on the current responses, it'd seem that keeping it as a secret when asked is an acceptable solution; Because my initial thought was, if I did that, that'd still make my boss suspects me of moving to company A, hence the question.
    – Fad
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:34
  • You could try explaining the situation, but it could be misinterpreted or thought of as a trick/lie. Depends on how well you and your boss know each other. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:36
  • 7
    Your friend was fortunate. A more intelligent/evil boss would, instead of badmouthing Company A and its CEO, contact Company A and badmouth your friend, disparaging their working abilities and perhaps alleging civil or criminal misconduct against them, in the hopes of making Company A retract its offer. I've seen it happen. Though it was ineffective, as everyone knew that the intelligent/evil boss was a pathological liar.
    – aroth
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:54
  • @KemalFadillah - If you already old your supervisor you were leaving, its to late to avoid the question, but if you are leaving no matter what then saying you would rather not say is WELL within your rights
    – Donald
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:08

3 Answers 3


Just say that you'd prefer to keep that to yourself for now. I've said it to previous coworkers and previous coworkers have said it to me.

  • 5
    Realize that the company might be concerned if there is a non-compete clause, and they suspect you are trying to get around the clause. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 12:30
  • 9
    @mhoran_psprep - Yes, they might be. But it's their responsibility to worry about such a clause, and to prove that it's been breached if it has. The employee is not obliged to tell their former employer where they are going.
    – aroth
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:49
  • 1
    If your boss persists, an extra argument to keep it to yourself is that your boss badmouthed your colleague, and you are afraid that will repeat.
    – user8036
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 15:09
  • @JanDoggen wouldn't giving that reason tip off the person as to where they are going? Commented Jan 20, 2015 at 18:53

how can I inform my resignation and avoid telling my boss about company A?

Like this. You write this on a piece of paper:

Dear Mr./Ms. Manager: This is my formal notification that I am resigning from (company name). (Date) will be my last day of employment. Sincerely, (your name) (today's date)

and hand it to your manager. Notice that Company A was not mentioned.

If anyone asks any nosy questions about your personal life such as where you intend to work next, then the answer is:

That's a personal matter that I'd rather not discuss.

If they ask again, say it again. This can be surprisingly difficult, so practice.

(Note that this applies to more situations than just the one you're in.)

Now, if they ask a question that pertains to the business, such as:

Have you signed an offer letter from another company?

then you answer the question truthfully. Many companies have entirely reasonable policies that employees who have signed an offer letter with a competitor are security liabilities. (Whether you have to volunteer that information depends on your agreement with your current company; read your employee handbook.)

It ought to go without saying but I'll say it anyway: Be prepared to be escorted out of the building by security at any moment after you announce your intention to resign. Make sure your personal items are already cleared out or nothing you wouldn't mind leaving behind.

Another thing that ought to go without saying: if your current company asks you to sign anything other than your resignation letter or your final paycheque, do not sign it. Some companies will suddenly produce a noncompete agreement on the day that you're leaving that they "forgot" to ask you to sign on your first day.

They are not in a position to get you to do anything; they can't legally withhold your pay, and threatening to fire you on your last day seems ineffectual. If they pressure you to sign anything, the right response is:

I do not sign anything without my lawyer's approval.

And if they ask you who your lawyer is, well, you already know the answer to that nosy personal question.

I was hoping someone could give me a solution on how to avoid the question altogether

Like this. You write this on a piece of paper:

Dear Mr./Ms. Manager: This is my formal notification that I am resigning from (company name) effective immediately. Sincerely, (your name) (today's date)

and hand it to your manager. Then you turn and walk out of the building.

Alternative solution: do something that gets you fired. Ideally try to find something that gets you fired immediately but not arrested. Since you have been fired there's no need to resign, and no one is going to ask you where you're going next.

Neither of these solutions are very professional. I'd go with not trying to avoid the question and simply refusing to answer it.


Alternatively, tell him nothing is final and settled yet and leave it at that. If he continues to push for an answer, simply reiterate yourself. In fact, nothing is final and settled until you have you have worked at your new job and actually collected your first paycheck or if you really want to be conservative about it, until you have worked long enough to be past the probation period. As Cuba Gooding Jr would say: "Show me the money!" :)

  • It's not final and it's not settled because the employer that made the offer can still rescind its offer. Just before your first day on the new job. Or the new employer could lay you off on the basis of seniority within a few weeks after you start with said employer. Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:06
  • Pretty much, if I choose to look at it that way :) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:25
  • I think this would give the impression that either your open to renegotiation or the boss would know your lying. Seems like a worse situation than just telling the boss where you are going.
    – NotMe
    Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 13:51
  • Continuing reply to Joe Strazzero - sorry, something came up and I got interrupted - Pretty much, if I choose to look at it that way :) The only things that are final and settled are our last day on the job, the bills we paid and the fact that we cannot change the past :) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:11
  • Reply to Chris Lively: And no, I am not almost never open to renegotiation with the boss. Once I tell him I out, I am out. Because if I stayed, the boss can no longer trust me to stay and things will no longer be as they were before. If I stayed because I accepted the boss's offer for more money, I am basically saying that my loyalty is available for rent and I'd rather avoid that. I am better off making a clean departure on good terms, with the leaving the door open to my coming back in the future, when I'll be armed with better experience, a stronger skills set and more solid judgment :) Commented Mar 25, 2014 at 14:17

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