So I've been interning for a small company the last year and a half while I finish up school. The pay is well below par, but it's flexible, easy, and close to school so it works.

I graduate in May of this year, and have accepted a job starting in early July. My supervisor is aware of this, and knows of my schedule (I have a small phase-out period). In any case, I said I would be happy to stay on in full capacity until then, and train my putative replacement. We have several long-term projects I've been trying to wrap up and move the system into a state where it would be easy to take control. My supervisor keeps kicking me new projects, that while I can handle, have no hopes of being complete before I leave.

Personally, I dislike the idea of leaving unfinished crap in someone else's lap on both a moral and professional level. My supervisor is certainly aware these won't be completed (I said as much), yet I keep getting these assignments.

I did say both in person and in my letter of resignation that I would be happy to work on anything he felt important, but I think some of these cross the line from ambitious to foolhardy. What should I do?

  • @JoeStrazzere I think my caution stems from when I came on board and found my predecessor had multiple backdoors and undocumented procedures and security holes. I think my time would be better-spent buttoning everything down. I guess you're right though... At the end of the day the guy with the checkbook makes the call Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 14:12
  • @JoeStrazzere I didn't create any, no. Much of my time has been spent modifying architecture to comply with SOP. Right now there are some in-flights and undocumented features etc. in my head that's I'd like to wrap up and fully document before leaving Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 18:26
  • You are doing everything in a highly ethical and professional manner. The fact that they are kicking you new projects is not your fault, nor your concern. The best that you can do is meticulously document everything so that if something is left half-finished the next person can pick it up with little difficulty Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 12:59
  • @agentroadkill "found my predecessor had multiple backdoors and undocumented procedures" - Your predecessor actually left backdoors, as in intentional ways to get into the system? That seems quite suspicious. Mistaken security holes is one thing, but leaving an unauthorized backdoor in someone else's system...
    – Brandin
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 13:53
  • 1
    @Brandin, having held two systems administrator jobs at a financial and then medical firm, you'd be amazed the things I've seen Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 14:12

3 Answers 3


You don't need to manage your exit. That is part of your manager's job.

You can, and should, make a list of your current tasks and how long you expect them to take. The list should include both what you see as necessary hand-over work, such as writing notes on the current state of each project, and also any new tasks your manager has assigned.

If the total estimated time is greater than your remaining work time, discuss the list with your manager to get guidance on priorities. It may be the case that some of the new work is higher priority than cleaning up some of your prior tasks.

  • 1
    I upvoted, but wanted to reinforce what Patricia said: I agree that it's your manager's job, but also wanted to add that you should care about your "personal brand" even if you're leaving. All of the points she makes above are good. Have strong ethics, and leave with them singing your praises.
    – Baronz
    Commented Mar 13, 2016 at 18:14
  • +1 spot on, it's not your problem, once you have one foot out the door, focus on the next step in your life/career.
    – Kilisi
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 10:11
  • In line with what @Baronz said, if there are aspects of the job, project or transition, you should let the manager know about them.
    – user8365
    Commented Mar 14, 2016 at 16:29

Yes starting new stuff is probably not the best use of your time compared to closing out existing projects. But all that matters is what your supervisor thinks. If you have communicated that you cannot complete the task before your end date then you have done all you can.


It's a good habit to keep projects in a state where someone could take over, for any number of reasons. So an overview of what needs to be done, with some parts stubbed out, is appropriate. As you move to larger teams, business needs and personnel changes will require that people shift projects. This is a great opportunity to focus on that aspect of work.

  • 1
    It would pretty much be impossible to leave most jobs if everything had to be finished first. And in almost 40 years in the workplace, I have never once seen the replacement hired and on board before the person left. They don't want to pay two salaries at the same time.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Mar 16, 2016 at 19:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .