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I resigned from my current job. Hoping things will stay quiet (which it never does) and I accept that, things have become quite awkward.

Firstly, my boss came to me, asking me to give exact details as to my current project and what technologies I am using, as he wants to place an ad for my replacement as soon as possible. (This was done in front of the whole team…so much for keeping things quiet…if everyone didn't know they know now.) So, I gave HTML, ASP.NET, etc., etc.

Then, today I hear out of the corner of the office, some of the "seniors" being called to his corner to discuss possible candidates. So, I can hear them discussing my role, as well as the new candidates.

I don't know why, but this is bothering me. Is this ethical? I kind of feel worthless. The only time my resignation has been discussed with me is when I broke it to my boss, and he asked me "if he can't convince me to stay" and I said, it's time to move on.

Like I said, it just feels a little awkward… Anyone else had experience like this?

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    I can't see any problem here, maybe you have some other reason for getting so flustered, but it seems pretty normal to me. Your boss needs to find a replacement, so he will have to ask you eventually what work you are currently handling. Your colleagues will know eventually that you are leaving, not sure why you wanted to "keep it quiet" to begin with. Your boss will have to discuss with senior team members to choose among the candidates. What is the problem? – Masked Man Feb 19 '15 at 8:55
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    @RandbyB - If you were worthless, they wouldn't need to put plans in place to take over what you were doing, they'd just let things go into stasis and then close them off after you've left. – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 19 '15 at 9:37
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    @RandbyB, it seems you are taking this (extremely normal course of action) both quite personally and somehow as a comment on your worth to the company. I have to ask, how did you imagine this process going? – Celos Feb 19 '15 at 10:04
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    @RandbyB: The company has a business to run. Your departure upsets the apple cart a bit, and it isn't reasonable to expect the entire company to sit on its hands and not say anything until you're out the door. At any rate, if their biggest complaint is that it will take them a year to fully replace you, take that as a testament to your value and go do whatever's next. – Blrfl Feb 19 '15 at 13:03
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    Just as something to consider, when I've resigned from anywhere where I was really important (like being the only sysadmin, or being the senior sysadmin), not only was the issue of my replacement discussed in front of me, it was discussed with me, and it sounds like that's what your boss is doing. And isn't that the way it should be? Who would know better about what your replacement will need to do and be than you, the person who's currently doing the job for them? – HopelessN00b Feb 19 '15 at 16:14
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I think you are unusually bothered by this - it doesn't sound unusual to me.

my boss came to me, asking me to give exact details as to my current project and what technologies I am using, as he want's to place an add for my replacement as soon as possible. (this done in front of the whole team..so much for keeping things quiet..if everyone didn't know they know now)

Your team would have to find out at some point that you are leaving, your boss could possibly have handled 'the announcement' better but it doesn't sound out of the ordinary.

I can hear them discussing my role, as well as the new candidates. Is this ethical?

Why do you think it's not ethical? You work there. You're presumably competent at your job. You are leaving (which you are perfectly within your rights to do). They need to replace you. This involves (but is not limited to) finding someone who can do your job, asking you to tie up any loose ends, informing other people of your work so the transition can go as smoothly as possible.

I kind of feel worthless. The only time my resignation has been discussed with me is when I broke it to my boss.

It's not that you're worthless, it's that they need to prepare for you not being around, and find a replacement for you. It's bound to be a bit awkward because your duties and responsibilities will gradually be taken away from you, but that's just part of it. As Jon Story pointed out in the comments, they aren't talking about replacing you personally. They are talking about filling your role and discussing business requirements, not discussing you as a person behind your back.

People talking behind your back is never fun, but you need to understand that they are just preparing for work without you, which is perfectly fine. Also bear in mind - you don't have to listen to them for much longer!

If someone seems to be talking about you an awful lot, why not talk to them? "Hi [name], I've heard you bring my name up a lot. I appreciate it's difficult with me leaving the company and leaving things for others to sort out, but I'm happy to chat to you if you have any concerns about making the transition to my replacement." Then you might get them to talk to you about your resignation and make it "normal".

TL;DR: This is a normal part of the process, which is bound to feel awkward, but you'll be fine. :-)

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    Indeed, and I get the impression this informed your decision to leave! Enjoy your time there while you can, but don't worry too much about it - get on with it, and look forward to your next project. – user29632 Feb 19 '15 at 10:00
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    One thing I think is missing from this: They aren't talking about replacing you personally. They are talking about filling your role. They aren't talking behind your back at all, it's not about you as a person, they're discussing business requirements. – Jon Story Feb 19 '15 at 13:15
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    @JonStory - that is a good point and well phrased. Do you mind if I add that to my answer? – user29632 Feb 19 '15 at 13:19
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    +1. Something we have to learn, perhaps painfully and over time, is that no one is irreplaceable in a job. That wounds our pride, but it's also something to help keep us a bit humble through our successes. – Wayne Feb 19 '15 at 18:18
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    ..a bit awkward because your duties and responsibilities will gradually be taken away from you.. - I would personally feel very happy to work at this kind of place. It would mean they plan ahead and they do not mean to squeeze the last bit of life out of me and that also there's onboarding and all the other goodies. It's not always so. – Zlatko Feb 19 '15 at 21:50
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I don't know why, but this is bothering me. Is this ethical?

Certainly there is nothing unethical about your company working hard to quickly replace someone who is leaving. If the "hearing" part is what is bothering you, you might work harder to stop listening - perhaps even wearing headphones.

To do a good job of replacing you, they may need your help. And of course, they need to understand where you will be leaving any in-flight projects, so they can get them completed.

Totally normal. Nothing unethical here. Nothing to be bothered about.

I kind of feel worthless. The only time my resignation has been discussed with me is when I broke it to my boss, and he asked me "if he can't convince me to stay" and I said, it's time to move on.

Well, from the company's viewpoint you aren't "worthless", but your worth is certainly significantly diminished. You aren't going to be around long - whatever worth you provide is clearly just temporary and short-term.

You have indicated it is time for you to move on. Now they need to move on as well by looking ahead, not back.

Like I said, it just feels a little awkward.. Anyone else had experience like this?

Yes. Leaving is always a little awkward.

We don't want to abandon our friends. And we don't want to feel like we have failed in this job.

Sometimes it's hard to accept that nobody is irreplaceable. Work life goes on without us. The folks we are leaving need to quickly move on without us.

It should quickly get easier for you, once you have mentally moved on yourself.

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The way I see it, when you willingly decide to leave your job, it's your duty as a professional to help the company move on without you. You shouldn't feel bad about this at all. Look at it this way, if the company feels the need to find a replacement, it means the job you've done has served the company's interest and that it is worth it to them to spend time and money finding a replacement.

  • Depends on the circumstances, of course, but other than that I completely agree. – Dave Kanter Feb 19 '15 at 22:17
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In everything you described, you only have one legitimate grievance, and even that depends on the original conversation where your boss asked you to stay and you finally told him no..

If you indicated that you wanted to be the one to break the news about your departure, he should have made that happen. Oh, it would still be up to him when the announcement should be made, and select people who needed to hear it / needed to be excluded. But he should have set up the discussion in such a way that you were the one to broach the subject with your coworkers.

On the other hand, unless you specifically asked him to let you make the announcement, he may have assumed you already told the people you wanted to tell personally, and by telling the others he's taking a burden off of you, doing you a favor.

If it's a big deal to you how coworkers find out about your departure, file it away as something to mention the next time opportunity knocks with a change of employment.

Because yes, other people do need to find out one way or another, as part of business continuity, as other answers have explained.

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It sounds like to me that although leaving you may still feel some attachment to your previous position. Perhaps the finality of hearing them talking about filling the place makes you feel like there is no return. However in reality they can't leave the spot open in the hopes that you will come back or not consider filling it until the last minute just in case you change your mind. They can't risk stalling a project for a month or more.

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