My boss is leaving our company, and already has a new job lined up (with a start date 60 days from now). He is holding off on telling the company. The problem is that he now has a F*** It attitude and I am having to do a lot of his work. I am possibly up for his seat when he leaves. We are a corp. structured company. Should I tell someone higher up about this information? And will that hurt or help my chances at promotion?

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    At the moment it has only escalated to "Just take care of it, I am not dealing with it". But he is my Boss, so I don't want it to go as far as myself looking insubordinate.
    – Tom
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:47
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    Welcome to the site Tom. I want to point out that we generally encourage you not to accept an answer too quickly. You may want to give other people a chance to give an answer as well and accepting one early tends to discourage other people from replying. You are free to change or remove the mark-as-answered tick at any time and you may want to do so and wait one or two days to go re-evaluate all the answers and accept the one that was most helpful to you.
    – Lilienthal
    Oct 28, 2015 at 21:11
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    You know that this situation will last, at most, 60 days. Why do you need to worry? In any case, who is not doing his job is your boss, not you. Just do your best, but not more than that, and wait to see what happens.
    – Daniel
    Oct 29, 2015 at 1:30
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    The other thing to think about is that he may have only told you about leaving. What if it's not true? Maybe he just wants to rile you up. Maybe he's checking to see who "tells" on him... I'd tread carefully, whatever you do.
    – Möoz
    Oct 29, 2015 at 3:10
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    @Tom Could you consider changing your accepted answer? One here has a high number of votes, another is very negative and I don't think should be rewarded.
    – Michael A
    Oct 29, 2015 at 9:25

8 Answers 8


[Note: I've re-edited this answer to remove any negative connotations -- I did not intend to suggest that the OP manipulate his/her boss]

Whether to tell or not has to be your decision, and we don't know what process your company uses to give promotions, but you do have some strategies for handling the situation.

Consider that your boss is holding off telling the company because he wants to preserve his options, or may have other reasons you don't know about.

Regarding the extra work that your boss is assigning you -- if it is more than you can handle, then I would attempt to have an honest conversation with him, and try to negotiate a solution where the tasks can get done, but you aren't forced to work overtime for the next 60 days.

Even though 60 days seems short, you could very well burn out and eventually feel resentful toward your boss.

If you do think you have a chance at the position, then "telling" on your boss would likely undercut your need to remain a calm and professional team player.


No, you should not tell anyone, and you should not attempt to hold it over his head.

The first reason is a lot can happen in the next 60 days. He could choose to draw it out further, because the company delays his start date or that other position falls through. He could even decide that he does not want to take that opportunity. Even if these things seem like remote possibilities to you, Mr. Murphy tends to stick his head in when you least expect it, so you can not be sure. There is no upside to telling management about something that you have no control over, or influence on. If it falls apart you look like a snake to everyone.

The next reason is that you have a unique opportunity to step up and demonstrate your ability to take on his duties. You also have the opportunity to pick his brain about the job and get him to back you as his chosen successor. Do your best to make it easy for him to choose you. You also have the opportunity to raise your visibility to his boss over the next two months.

As far as perhaps holding your knowledge over his head, or making it difficult for him, remember that it is a two-way street. He also has 60 days to make your life miserable and sabotage your career with the company. These things rarely work out as planned, and more often backfire on the junior employee.

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    The next reason is that you have a unique opportunity to step up and demonstrate your ability to take on his duties. You also have the opportunity to pick his brain about the job and get him to back you as his chosen successor. Do your best to make it easy for him to choose you. You also have the opportunity to raise your visibility to his boss over the next two months. <- This
    – Ruslan
    Mar 23, 2016 at 7:39

If you take on your bosses' workload without telling anyone, you will essentially be doing two jobs in the time that you normally can do one. This will either reflect very poorly on your own responsibilities as you now have very little time to do your normal work, will reflect poorly on your abilities to do your bosses' job as you'll be required to do it in half the time he does, or end disastrously because you do not have the authority your boss does and you'll be fired if they find your signature under any orders that ended poorly for the company.

And in the end you can only hope that anyone notices. Coming to the higher-ups with "Hi, I've secretly been doing this job I'm not authorized for without telling anyone, and doing it sloppily because I still have my own responsibilities" is not considered a plus.

Since telling people that your boss is leaving is also not going to be appreciated (especially not by your boss, who is still in charge) my personal call would be to simply ignore the information about that your boss is leaving and tell your boss' boss that he's refusing to do his job and that you want his advice on what to do with that.

It won't be pretty, but none of these approaches will be and I think this one is the least likely to be able to completely ruin your career.


I don't think you should tell about the job, presuming that you heard about it in confidence.

It is superficially attractive for authority to have a network of informers in place, and for nobody to be able to speak to anybody else in confidence where such confidence keeps information from the authority. So, one might think that one's duty to one's employer is to run straight to your boss's boss with the news. However, in practice this degrades what I'll call for want of a better word "society". Where there is no outright wrong-doing it's better in general, in the long run, for colleagues to be able to speak to each other in confidence, and by no means is it outright wrong-doing for an employee to seek and secure a new job. Betraying a confidence trades this general benefit of trust among colleagues, for a specific benefit of dealing with your boss's current BS.

One result of this is that "snitches get stitches", sometimes even from the authority that they inform to, never mind their peers. It may not be right or fair, but you have to take into account that it probably won't be taken as you having done anyone a favour. If your boss was stealing from the warehouse then betraying the confidence would be not only approved of but demanded by the senior management (and the law). That would be outright wrong-doing.

Despite this I do think you're entitled to call out the "F--- it attitude" and the fact that you're now doing a lot of his work, but do so in the way that you would do if you didn't know the reason behind it. It's not your job to report to the company as a whole on your boss's motivations, but it is your job to report what work you're doing.

Frankly, if you're in the running to get the job, then simply mentioning that you're already doing much of the work, without making a complaint of it, probably does you no harm. So you might choose not to complain anyway, if it's to your benefit not to. Try to get enough written down, that when you're considered for the post you can say, "I already have proven experience of doing X, Y and Z required in this role". But if the workload of the two jobs combined is unmanageable, or if your boss's attitude is harming things that you can't just cover, then you're definitely entitled IMO to address the fact that your boss is severely underperforming. You don't have to provide the reason your boss has chosen to severely underperform.

If this calls unwelcome attention on your boss, with the result that they somehow figure out that he's planning to leave, well, maybe he should have carried on doing his job up to the point he actually did leave. So another thing you can try is to say, in whatever words are appropriate to your relationship with your boss, "you wouldn't take this view if you weren't about to leave, and people are going to notice the sudden change. If you don't care about them finding out then would you mind just giving them the date so that we can all work towards a clean handover?".

  • +1 for "snitches get stitches". The boss is being unethical, but has he violated an actual company policy yet? Now if you happen to see the boss of your boss in an elevator there wouldn't be any harm in talking about how much you have enjoyed taking on some of the workload from your boss!
    – Morpheus
    Oct 30, 2015 at 14:19

One assumes that he will or has handed in his notice. Therefore the people above will or about to know that he is moving on.

As to the issue of his attitude - do you think anything you can do will change this? I would imagine not. So the best policy is not to upset him by having people above on his case. If you want promotion you have an opportunity to subsume his role now and thus demonstrate your ability to fit into his shoes.

So my advice is keep your head down. It is only for eight weeks. If able take a week off in the middle to have some breathing space.

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    He is a branch manager, he is holding off because he wants his full end of year bonus, and does not want anything to detour it.
    – Tom
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:38
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    From what he has told me, he is giving them a one week notice. His higher up is a hot head, and he thinks less face time after the fact is smart.
    – Tom
    Oct 28, 2015 at 19:41
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    @Frisbee - You can make his life tough and he can make your life tough. For what . He will be gone in 8 weeks. Besides it is the companies money not yours. Go for the easy life and spend the effort to gaining that promotion
    – Ed Heal
    Oct 28, 2015 at 21:11
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    It is the easier option. It has the most benefits. It has the most rewards. It does the least damage to the person left behind.
    – Ed Heal
    Oct 28, 2015 at 21:18
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    @EdHeal Benefit? What evidence is there that OP benefits from covering? How does he have more chance of getting his bosses job by covering for his boss? I seriously doubt his boss is going to tell his hot boss by the way I have been slacking the last two months and OP covered for me. I seriously doubt hot head boss is going to take any advice from a guy that just collected a bonus and put in 7 day notice.
    – paparazzo
    Oct 28, 2015 at 23:52

It surprises me that no one said this but - I think there are two different issues.

  1. The fact that you know your boss is leaving the company - I don't think you have anything to do with that.

If I was leaving my company and decided not to announce it in advance, I wouldn't like anyone to do it for me. It would be unprofessional of me, but it would be more unprofessional of the one that rats me.

  1. The fact that your boss has a screw everything attitude - that's a problem. If you didn't knew your boss is leaving and he had that attitude, what would you do?

I think it could be wise to talk with him to see if he thinks there's any problem - not accusing, just knowing what he thinks about that. And, if he goes on like that, you should talk to any superior or whoever is there for you to report you think your boss is doing his stuff wrong.

In any case, I would leave the boss-is-leaving stuff completely out of the equation - that's his problem, not yours.


Difficult situation: Do not tell anyone about him leaving or you are not trustworthy, but also make sure the promoting people know you do the tasks.

Best would be if your manager would introduce you as some kind of backup hit-by-the-bus-plan now. In two months they will maybe consider you instead of someone else then, but they probably won't if you never appear on their radar.

Talk to your manager if he sees a way to help you along. And it should happen now, not short before or after he leaves when there is lots of tension.


I would say there are a number of reasons why you should NOT tell.

You'd probably be getting involved unnecessarily, and it should be none of your business. I understand though, that your workload seems to be increasing, but it is not such a long time anyway and most replies have suggested that it could be a good opportunity for you to shine. If you learnt of your boss' plans by accident, you should just forget it and if he told you that on purpose, then keep his trust!

Secondly, if your management is taken by surprise, your chances of being promoted are better than if they get a chance to look around.

Most important point would be, this is a good chance for you to prove to your present boss that you are trustworthy. You never know, when you might meet again. You are saying, that you might be promoted, but then you might also face the same "hot headed" boss, that your boss is going away from!

Heck, two years down the road, you might also be on your way out. Wouldn't it be nice to meet your ex-boss then, and he could vouch for you being trustworthy? You might even follow your boss out of the company! I think it is a very good chance for you to have a well-wisher outside the company. So, be diplomatic, don't spill the beans, and try to shine as best as possible.

Remember: Everybody loves the treason, nobody loves the traitor!

All the best!!

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