I have a very valuable co-worker (I'll call him Joe). He is my senior at the company by a couple of years.

I am afraid he is thinking about leaving our current company. Without being too specific, Joe had an expected bonus which was not guaranteed, but which was deserved (from my point of view). He did not get it. From my perspective the main reason he didn't get it was bad planning on the company's part.

In the past few weeks Joe has taken a few unplanned half days off. As a friend I asked him what he was up to (I assumed he was just doing something fun). Joe quickly replied "Nothing". I suspect he was interviewing. Before this point I already had concerns about Joe leaving.

My question is if/how to mention my concerns about Joe leaving to management (I am not a manager and somewhat new to the company).

I already mentioned it to my direct manager (Bob) in a one-on-one meeting. I stated that this is pure speculation from my part. He wasn't aware that Joe would leave over the bonus. But he mentioned he appreciated me bringing it up. I am just concerned that information is not getting up the chain. The particular manager (George) in charge of giving this bonus is a couple levels up. I think Joe would hesitate approaching him directly because doing so may be putting a "target on his back".

If Joe does leave, the damage done to the company (I estimate tens of thousands of dollars) will be far more than the cost of the bonus (a few thousand). I work with him closely and know his performance is top notch. He is regarded by my peers as a great asset to the team. He helps me out on a daily basis, and from a selfish point of view, I would hate to see him leave. I think he wants to stay, but has been slighted by the company a couple times already before, so he isn't afraid to leave. I think if the company gave him the bonus, it would go a long way to keep him.

My question is: Should I raise my concerns that Joe could be leaving to my managers? Should I go to Bob again? Should I go to George? Should I talk to Joe directly?

UPDATE: I apologize for updating this so late. A couple of key points that may affect the answer to this question

  1. This "bonus" was in the form of an initiative that all employees were made aware of. Everyone knew the possible bonus would either be a smaller X or larger Y depending on performance. In short, it was known nobody got Y, so it seems Y was not possible all along.

  2. The person in charge of this initiative(George) was a few levels up. He ultimately had to decide who would get the bonus. Bob, Joe's manager(and my manager) is of the view point that that Joe did deserve the bonus. But has told me he feels it's between Joe and George.

  3. The culture and workplace is great. Bob is a great manager. Joe is a great co-worker. Part of my motivation for wanting Joe to stay is not to have change.

  4. While Joe does help me, I would be fine without him. He makes my life easier and is a good guy to have around. That's why I want him to stay.

  5. I wish to convey the manner I brought this up. I did not do it to "tattle". I did it this manner: "Hey, you do realize that Joe being shortchanged like that could lead to him leaving, right? Joe does a lot for us, it would be shame to lose him over Y dollars". I didn't mention it to anyone but my boss. I am not spreading rumors around.

  6. Joe is so important to the company, even if the company thought he was leaving, they wouldn't punish him in any way. On the contrary, they would try to figure out how to get him to stay(reasonably). Joe wants to stay, but he feels a little short-changed. Just my point of view, but Joe's career is not at stake here.

Again this is from my point of view, so take it for what it's worth. But I will say making assumptions about my culture, my performance that are untrue are unhelpful and I won't make an answer as correct that does such.

  • 4
    Comments removed. Please avoid using comments for extended discussion. Instead, please get a room, a chat room. Comments are intended to help improve a post. Please see What "comments" are not... for more details. Update: that goes for comments on answers, too. Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 2:45
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    Funny, I just posted an answer to Coworkers paranoid about me leaving?... so shoes and other feet and all that. Commented Nov 8, 2014 at 22:32
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    Comments removed, again. If people continue to use comments here for arguments and personal criticism I will lock this post. I'd rather not have to do that. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 22:56

12 Answers 12


By your own admission, your manager is already aware and shares your concern. I would simply leave it at that. The reality is that regardless of how valuable he is, there's probably nothing that they can do. If he chooses to leave, they can't really stop him.

So let's look at the positives and negatives:


  • Management is even more aware than right now that he's leaving.
  • You demonstrate your concern for the welfare of the company


  • You potentially annoy your manager by looking like a pest since they already know he may be looking.
  • You hurt your relationship with your coworker which could have an impact later on if you ever want him as a peer reference.

Given that they already know he is likely looking, I don't see what there is to gain, to be completely honest.

  • I am sorry if I wasn't clear. My manager did validate my concerns but I don't think had really thought that Joe leaving was a real possibility. Joe would stay I think if he was given the bonus. I updated my question to better reflect that.
    – Ronnie W
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 18:33
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    I understand what you're saying but I still think it's a bad idea to press it, if for no other reason than it's not your place. To be rather blunt (from his standpoint) they may not value him as much as you do in the sense that they obviously don't think he deserves the bonus. Actions have consequences and if he leaves because of it, maybe they'll think better next time. Even if they did want to keep him, giving him a bonus to keep him after denying it at first could set a bad precedent.
    – Chris E
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 18:39
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    There are so many things wrong with this picture. It's none of your business to make assumptions unless it's in your job description. You are flat-out meddling. Did the company ask you to look into this? If not, caring about the company and mentioning it to your boss is tattling with a capital 'T'. There's no guarantee they care or will recognize your weariness for them. From your perspective the company miscalculated, but that is an assumption unless explicitly told by those authorizing bonuses. Sounds like you're just trying to get the bonus for your friend. Commendable, but misplaced. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 22:22
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    @Ronnie Of course your manager validated your concerns. He wants to know everything about his employees, why wouldn't he? You've done two damaging things here... you've shown your manager that Joe doesn't trust him, and you've shown your manager that you can't be trusted to know when information should be considered confidential. How can he trust you not to tell people things when you've clearly not extended the same to someone you consider a friend? I'm afraid you've performed a career limiting move here for as long as you're under that manager.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 0:10
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    @RonnieW. you cannot force your company to be fair (in your standards) to a certain employee, you just don't have that kind of power. These things happened in the past and will continue to happen, it even happened to me. In addition since you're just assuming what's going on you'll hurt your friend, your friendship and eventually yourself. Listen to the good advice you've received here, stop meddling. Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 18:13

Stay out of it

You should not have even brought this up with your manager. If it turns out Joe is not leaving, and he simply had perhaps some (possibly embarrassing to him) doctor's appointments, you may have done irreparable damage to his career. His managers might shift responsibilities away from him due to the belief that he is leaving, or may simply overlook him for a promotion because they think he is a short timer.

Reverse the question - would you want a co-worker tattling on you if you went to a couple interviews? I suspect not. Keep to your own business.

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    I think this is sage advice. Spreading suspicions about coworkers is never a good thing. That's why agreements are made about notice periods. Anyone tells me someone is leaving because of a lack of bonus makes me think this person is trying to secure a higher bonus for himself.
    – user8365
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 18:50
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    @RonnieW.: these 2 previous comments (with @JeffO) at least demonstrate that not everyone reacts as you would expect. It is entirely possible that Bob thinks like JeffO (even partially).
    – njzk2
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 20:47
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    "As his friend I think he would tell me it was just a doctor's appointment when I asked him and I would have the common sense not to follow up on the question." You'd be one of few. It's easier to say nothing than risk someone asking about what the doctor's appointment was for. But that's not really the point. There are literally uncountable reasons why someone wouldn't say what they are doing, and interviews are only one of them. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 21:51
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    @RonnieW. there are many reasons why someone may not wish to discuss doctors appointments with work acquaintences, or indeed anyone except their immediate family.
    – Rob Moir
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 10:47
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    +1: I don't know if it's a culture thing or some kind of warped sense of responsibility, but I just don't know why people can't find a way to stay out of things into which they have no business interjecting themselves. Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 19:34

You were told confidential information about a co-worker's bonus, and then went to management and repeated that same confidential information. Which, for all we know, has doomed Joe even if he wasn't already being shown the door, because exchanging salaries and bonuses is normally a very bad thing.

At this point, you've already shown your manager that you cannot keep a secret, and you've betrayed the trust of your friend, possibly firing him, and you've cast aspersions on your friend's honesty (because he sure didn't tell his managers that the half-days mentioned were for job-hunting) and you've possibly double-fired him, because he didn't want to tell the company he was unhappy because he feared to have a target painted on his back.

Now you are asking if you should double go over your manager's head, thus making him both look like he cannot keep his team in line and make him realise you think he's incompetent. And then tell the department head (or whatever), which is going to show the department head you have no idea about office politics and have in inflated sense of your own worth and judgement!

I don't think you realize you have decided to manage Joe's employment based on rumors you started, and that you have hurt everyone in the process who did not act on your rumors, and since they did not tell you everything you wanted to hear - because it was none of your business and you clearly proved to them you can not act in confidence - you kept going with your crusade. STOP.

I think you should maybe consider telling Joe you mentioned this stuff to your manager, and allow Joe to

  1. know you don't know how to keep a secret

  2. upward manage to keep his job

I don't think what you've done now is super bad, because you're obviously young and all eager beaver. I do think that going further is not going to look good on you, and affect your career trajectory somewhat.

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    -1. Unfounded assumptions in the question. Bonuses are confidential? Often enough they are not, when the idea of a bonus is to inspire everyone to work harder in the future. The notion that "Joe is doomed" isn't even weirder, as that's not even based on flawed assumptions. I can't see the logic in that at all.
    – MSalters
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 11:05
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    @MSalters by way of explaining my "assumptions" ~ this is the first time i've ever heard of public bonuses, especially when the number is big enough to make someone (possibly, according to the OP) want to leave. I don't know how they do things in the Netherlands, but where I've worked (SF, NY, London & Sydney) you don't share your wage or bonus, it is a sackable offence.
    – bharal
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 11:10
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    This culture of wages and bonuses being treated as confidential is indeed prevalent in some places and industries, but it's one I'd consider fundamentally dysfunctional. All it does is make it harder for employees to estimate the real value of their work, and thus keep them from bargaining efficiently in the employment marketplace. It's bad enough when companies try to enforce it in employment contracts (and when local laws let it be so enforced), but it's when employees start trying to enforce it on each other via peer pressure that it really becomes a self-perpetuating dysfunction. Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 16:26
  • @bharal This may be the first time you've heard of this, but it's hardly an unknown thing in the industry. At the last company in which I worked (a company that makes software for the financial industry) salary and bonuses were tied to job titles, so you generally knew how much someone was making just by seeing their job title on their business card. And I found that did make the company a more relaxing place to work.
    – cjs
    Commented Dec 8, 2022 at 7:56

My question is: Should I raise my concerns that Joe could be leaving to my managers? Should I go to Bob again? Should I go to George? Should I talk to Joe directly?

Short answers: No, no, no and no.

Long answers:

Should I raise my concerns that Joe could be leaving to my managers?

You have a relationship with the company, where you provide expertise and effort and they provide money in return. This is not a relationship managed by your coleagues, but by you and the management of the company. Similarly, Joe has a business relationship with the company, decided upon by Joe, and the management of the company (that is, not "Joe, the management of the company, and you).

It's not your business, so stay out of it. As I understand it, this could affect Joe very negatively (destroy his perspectives in the company) and it would be at least partially your fault if that happens (and you can be sued for it).

Should I go to Bob again?

No. This is between the company and Joe. Not between you, the company and joe. Stay out of it.

Should I go to George?

No. This is between the company and Joe. Not between you, the company and joe. Stay out of it.

Should I talk to Joe directly?

No. This is between the company and Joe. Not between you, the company and joe. Stay out of it.

Sorry for repeating that so many times, but you accepted an answer that states that "You have done the right thing by talking to your manager". This is bad advice all over.


There are several distinct aspects to this;

  1. For whatever reason, the company knowingly stiffed Joe on a bonus he deserved. Bob perpetrated this, and George approved it. Dishonest culture. Most us of have seen this go down. [update: you say this was an isolated incident and the culture is good.]
  2. All this hierarchical nonsense about saying "Bob knows he deserves it and that it was unfair, but doesn't have any actual authority. The only person with authority is a remote senior manager". Any company which plays games like this is dishonest. Has it always been like this or has there been bozocreep?
  3. "Bob wasn't aware that Joe would leave over the bonus... but appreciated me bringing it up". Now you're getting sucked into the dysfunction and dishonesty. As others said, how on earth do you know Bob was being honest with you?
  4. Whether Joe is actually interviewing and preparing to leave, is your guess, and you gossiping, even behind closed doors, is not ok. Multiple people here told you. Even if, Joe will eventually find out at some point, and I can't see how that will be positive for you. Mind your own business.
  5. Given Joe made the judgment call not to raise it with either Bob, George or anyone else, who are you to decide he was wrong? In particular if he figured doing so may be putting a "target on his back", then you already might suspect the culture's rotten. What possesses you to believe you can singlehandedly fix that? Chances are Joe is smarter than you.
  6. Be honest with us about the reason you felt compelled to intervene. Was it the general principle (we doubt it), personal loyalty to Joe, concern that the company culture is getting bad, or your naked self-interest about how you'll get on after he's gone? I think your most telling statement was "He helps me out on a daily basis, and from a selfish point of view, I would hate to see him leave." So, is all this your disguised crypto fear for your own job security when Joe leaves? Truth? [update: you said you're doing fine, you're not weak, marginal or insecure. In that case, it's disappointing, but not your problem]
  7. Forgetting about Joe for a minute, if your company culture is/has become so bad, why do you stay there? [update: you say it's actually good] Is this simply a case of hiring one bozo senior manager, or has the company gone terminally bad? Are you not capable of getting a job elsewhere? Maybe you're not. Maybe Joe is the only reason you still have a job. Or maybe not. But be honest with us about how it actually is. Not this phony concern for Joe. None of us buy it.
  8. "If Joe does leave, the damage done to the company (I estimate tens of thousands of dollars) will be far more than the cost of the bonus (a few thousand)." Either that's true (in which case they're seriously clueless/greedy/ dishonest), or it's self-delusion clouded by your own insecurity or selfishness. If anything, this is more proof that the culture is rotten, the managers are dishonest, bozos or spineless wimps [update: you say this is totally not the case]. Which brings us back to: what are you doing to change the culture (does any manager listen to you?), or why aren't you also leaving? These are the problems you're not solving. Ratting out Joe isn't helpful or ethical.
  9. Conclusion: [update] Companies do bad things all the time, you just have to accept it unless you're prepared to quit in protest, which you're not. Likely you will never find out what the real issue between Joe and his management was (maybe they already figured he's leaving, possibly to a competitor, and just decided to stiff him on the way out to teach the rest of you a lesson, or claw back bonus for the bonus pool - those are two of many possible scenarios). Unless he tells you subsequently. But stop talking to them about him behind his back. If he does quit and there's a departmental outcry, then observe carefully who says what and what happens, if anything. Often, it will not go down the way you imagined, and people will be more governed by their own self-interest. Employees can be just as disloyal and selfish as managers. The bottom line is, the culture is very clearly broken and you can't fix it on your own.

[Updated from previously - RonnieW says the following is not accurate] based on what you've written, either you need to shape up, ship out (or plan to somehow find a new mentor if/when Joe leaves, although that seems unlikely). Or follow Joe to some new employer, if he wants you to.


What you have done.

You have done damage to the person possibly quitting, and you have done utter damage to your own reputation. You have done damage to the company, too, considering the wasted work time, and probably there is more damage to come to the company.

More of a sidenote: If the company is ethical and interested in a good team spirit, you might just have put yourself on the ramp. Where there is a good spirit, there is not place for unfounded allegiations.


  • It was not your business. It's his/her and the company's business to negotiate an appropriate cancellation period. And as long as both sides honor the laws in that regard, it's neither anything YOU can do or influence, nor is it in any regard your business.

  • You do not even have proofs. From a coworker's point of view, you may make a a joke of yourself. It could be that the other guy has cancer or is burnt out, and in the utter need of a therapy. He/she might even be donating his leave days to not cause friction with the company targets. Or maybe his/her significant other currently is in the need of help on certain days; a newborn might be approaching, or significant other may need a drive to the distance university because of exams or tests.

  • What if the company starts interviews and even hires someone new, and it turns out he/she was simply going preparing for an upcoming Karate event? Now you have done damage to the company and to the newly hired guy who must now been told that all her/his other interview cancellations were waste! ** Or, the company decides that this is a crappy situation, and fires your coworker based on your "observations", and now his approaching newborn cannot even be fed or his/her significant other cannot get any more treatment against cancer? Or misses exams or must quit university?

  • What is your benefit, really?

In no case, I can see any benefit from what you've done. You have not the slightest clue of what could be, and you have not the slightest clue of what can happen because of your allegations.

Expect to become an avoided person in the future and not be told anything sensitive again. Alternatively, I hate to say, you are now in the danger of becoming a target of bullying.


** All mentioned examples are things I would not necessarily tell any random coworker.

What you can do.

  • Tell the coworker what you have done and sincerely apologize. He will knock you out for this, but if you are a real man/woman, you will do this.
  • Apologize to everyone you have told, and explain that any guessing from your side was asocial and pure speculation, and not well thought.
  • Tell them you erred for causing any difficulties on this and promise to avoid making baseless allegations in the future.

However, the bobsled has left the ramp, and you probably cannot improve the situation anymore. Let this be a lesson for life.

Finally. Answering your question.

Can/Should I do anything about Joe possibly leaving?

If you could have done anything in the past, now you cannot anymore.

If he leaves, don't get into the idea of following him; he will not want to have you as a coworker ever again if he knows (or find out later) what you did.


If you read a few of the threads on workplace, they are quite often about leaving jobs, and how to go about it. And the person who wants to leave their job is always given the advice: Don't tell anyone that you are leaving. Find a new job and sign the contract. When the contract is signed, give your notice. Exactly as much notice as the company needs to lay you off.

There are reasons for this advice. Companies often don't like it when people think about leaving, and it's not good for your career. Some bosses may actually take it as a personal insult and act accordingly. So if you are looking for a new job but the job search fails and stays, you want to avoid any damage to your old job. Even if the search succeeds, you want to be able to keep your old job if something goes wrong at the last second. Even if nothing goes wrong, you want to give the minimum of notice to avoid being fired out of revenge and be without income for some time.

And here, Ronnie, after reading all this, what are you trying to do? You are basically trying to make it impossible for your colleague Joe to follow this excellent advice. Fully intentionally. That is despicable behaviour and about the most evil back stabbing that you could do, and you don't even seem to get it.

Here are some foreseeable consequences: If Joe's manager who you told this is a decent person, he or she will completely ignore what you said as far as Joe is concerned, but put a big black mark on you for being a backstabber that cannot be trusted. Otherwise, it is quite possible for Joe to suffer substantial career or financial damage or both because of your actions, including losing his job. On the other hand, if Joe keeps his job it is inevitable that he will find out about your backstabbing, and unless Joe is a saint, he will make you pay.

And if you go higher up, the bad consequences for everyone, including you, will just be worse.

  • 2
    Not directly related to your excellent answer, but it is hypocritical of companies to pester their employees with requests to "refer your ex-colleagues for our job openings", but do not want the same thing done to their employees.
    – Masked Man
    Commented Nov 10, 2014 at 8:06

People leave jobs all the time for various reasons.

At the end of the day you likely don't have all the facts as to why Joe didn't receive his bonus. The fact that your manager appears to already be aware of the situation could mean anything from:

  • he's quietly encouraged Joe to leave while asking that he not inform others.
  • he's dissatisfied with Joe's performance in areas you aren't privy to and is actually happy Joe is finally moving on.
  • On the flipside, maybe the manager has already tried to encourage Joe to stay but they just can't work it out.

Who knows, maybe Joe slept with the manager's wife and the current situation is the most civil and private way to handle it. I'm not bringing this up to say that he has, rather that there is often far more going on with others that we simply aren't privy to.

Regarding the "paying the bonus is cheaper than losing Joe" part... Companies lose key people all the time. They'll recover. Given that you think Joe deserved his bonus - which I question why you were aware of it anyway - and that he did not receive it, I suspect there is far more to this story.

As Hilmar said, you've done the right thing by talking to your manager. At this point it's time to let it go.

*note: Changed my mind. You really shouldn't have talked to your manager at all. Joe made it clear that it wasn't your business by declining to discuss it with you. You should stay out of it.

  • I guess a general problem with StackExchange is putting a really difficult problem into a few paragraphs and expecting a great answer without giving all the details. You brought up a lot reasons why I may not understand why he didn't get the bonus, about his performance in general. I work with him closely. He is a top notch developer. I think your answer of "doing nothing" is an acceptable one, but your reasons for it are somewhat off.
    – Ronnie W
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 18:36
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    @RonnieW.: If you feel there is more detail that would change the general answer of "you've already done your bit for Queen and country" you could certainly provide that.
    – NotMe
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 18:40
  • I have updated my question. But, the key of the questions isn't about the bonus and whether or not he was deserving. It's about what I do now(if anything).
    – Ronnie W
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 18:49
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    @RonnieW.: a dirty secret about the real world is that "performance bonuses" often have little to do with performance and a lot to do with politics, favoritism, horse-trading between middle managers. Especially so the more hierarchical the company gets and the more remote the bonus-granting power bubbles upwards.
    – smci
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 22:38
  • It's not a "performance bonus". I never said it was. It was a initiative some employees participated in and were told of a possible bonus.
    – Ronnie W
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 22:48


1) Joe did not get a bonus.

2) Joe curiously took some half-days off.

Your assumptions:

1) Joe is planning to leave.

2) Joe leaving would be a desaster for the company.

3) If Joe had received the bonus, he would not want to leave.

4) If the decision was reversed and Joe received the bonus now, he would not want to leave.

5) Management (George) knows and agrees that Joe leaving would be a desaster for the company.

6) If it was pointed out to George that Joe wants to leave because of the bonus, he would possibly change his decision.

Your question is, if you should talk to George. That implies three other questions:

A) What would be best for you.

B) What would be best for Joe.

C) What would be best for the company.

Let's examine your assumptions.

1) As others have pointed out, this is just your speculation, there are hundreds of possible reasons for Joe's behaviour.

2) Can you really judge that objectively? It sounds like the company is quite big, so employees leaving and hiring qualified replacement should be rather routine.

3) Again, that is just your speculation. Even if Joe wants to leave, the bonus may have been just the straw that broke the camel's back, or he simply found a job with more pay, or he wants to move for family reasons, or hundreds other possible explanations.

4) Dubious. If Joe has already commited himself to new employers or his family, it might be too late. Even if that is not the case, he might be suspicious of the reasons for the change and continue to mistrust the management. And if he somehow learns that you were involved in changing the decision, he might be highly embarassed on how to deal with you in future and decide he prefers not to work close to you anymore.

5) If George already knew that, why did he not give Joe the bonus?

6) If George does not consider Joe leaving such a tragedy as you do, it is highly unlikely you can convince him - he probably assumes that as a manager he knows a bit more about such things than an employee. Could you point out any objective facts he is not yet aware of? And even if his private reaction is "my god, what have I done", he might want to hide it and stick to his decision to save face. Managers probably do not enjoy employees telling them how to do their business.

To summarise, talking to George would be effective only if assumptions 1-6 are all true, and some of them are quite unlikely. However, you seem to think "no harm in trying". As the previous answers have pointed out in quite some detail, that is highly naive. That you have good intentions does in no way guarantee a good outcome. You will look like a meddler, possibly like a bumbling fool, possibly like a devious schemer. Even if you are so selfless to ignore the negative consequences for yourself (A), it's unlikely you will be helping Joe (B), because he probably only leaves if he found another job with better pay or other advantages. Also, if you speculated wrong and he wants to stay, your actions will make him look highly suspicious to the management. So would you at least help the compay (C)? Not even that is certain - talking to managers about co-workers behind the co-workers' back, even if done in good intentions, will cause mistrust and suspicion between management and employees, and among employees.

Remember, you are not a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day. You are dealing with competent adults who are taking care of their own lifes and their own jobs. In a TV-series meddling in matters which are none of your business tends to have amusing and heart-warming consequences, but this is real life.


I don't really get it. You say Bob appreciates Joe as a worker. You say he's competent and a good manager. But you feel he won't bring this up to his superiors. How is that good or competent?

Whatever you do, DO NOT go above your manager's head. Not only will it make you look bad to your own boss, but it makes both you and your boss look bad to his boss.

You may have already hurt both Joe's position in the company as well as your own. If not with the company, then with your co-workers. I know companies where if they find out you are going to leave, they will let you go. Immediately. Make sure that you don't compromise the work or the data or take any clients with you if they can help it.

And what about you? When it gets out that you went to management with your suspicions about Joe, let alone the personal information Joe told you, do you think anyone else will trust you? Maybe you will be lucky this time and no one finds out, but you need to tread carefully. For example, you say Joe helps you out every day. Well, how much helping out is he going to do for you if he finds out what you did?

Basically, you did so much wrong, it's hard to imagine. The only thing you can do now is do nothing more and hope it works out. But it might be smart to start working on your resume, just in case.


Based on your two comments:

  • I have a very valuable co-worker
  • I am afraid he is thinking about leaving our current company.

It sounds like you actually care about Joe and your goal was to make things right in terms of the company acknowledging his value.

Unfortunately, the best way to do that would be to say everything you said about Joe to your management--except for the part about believing he's leaving. There's nothing good to be gained by saying that. Only bad. You've now put his employment further at risk.


You have done the right thing by talking to your manager. At this points it is out of your hands and there is nothing more you can or should do. This is now between Joe and the company's management. If your manager has decided to not elevate it, there is probably good reasons for that. If he has elevated, than the management needs to work it out one way or another. Either way, it's not something you can or should be involved in.

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    -1. Whether Joe is quitting or not is no one's business but his, and @RonnieW. has not done the right thing by saying anything. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 22:36
  • 33
    @OP - You should never have brought this up to management. 1) You've betrayed a coworker to an organization that doesn't care about you or him (anyone who has worked in a corporation can tell you, at the end of the day you and he are a line on a budget sheet). 2) You've given them more of a reason to pass over said coworker 3) You've sown distrust among everyone if this ever gets out. You better be prepared to move on yourself, because no one is going to be looking to help a snitch.
    – C Bauer
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 4:13
  • 7
    This answer logically doesn't make sense. It's a "You did good to talk to your manager", but in the end "It's a bad thing to interfere"
    – yuritsuki
    Commented Nov 7, 2014 at 16:31

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