So recently I was offered a job with a VERY substantial raise.

The problem is I need to resign (give 4 weeks notice) to my current employer. Usually this wouldn't be a problem but my boss has been a great mentor, he's stuck with me when I was very sick, and has taught me a lot. He's always nice to me and considered me a friend instead of an employee.

I need to give my 4 weeks notice in next week, how should I go about doing this. I'm very nervous of what he will do / say.

Edit : just wanted point out I have been at the job for 3 years.

Final Edit: I resigned today (earlier then expected), he took it very well. I was worried about nothing. Thanks for all your responses i really do appreciate everyone of them.

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    Possible Duplicates here and here to name a couple. The latter is what I'm marking as a duplicate.
    – Alic
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 14:39
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    The fact you've been there 3 years actually makes this easier in my opinion. You haven't simply used this job as a stepping stone. You've been with the company a while and now you're ready to move on. I doubt he's under the impression you were going to work there forever.
    – Goose
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 16:20
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    This question is being discussed on meta - workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/q/4442/2322
    – enderland
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 17:42
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    Possible duplicate of How can one resign from a new job gracefully?
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 3:09
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    @mxyzplk and next ones close votres, considering that there is a meta post, if you think this post should be closed, use the meta post.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 11:32

7 Answers 7


One thing to consider. If your boss has been a "great mentor" he probably will be excited for you as you transition.

My last department head basically asked me, "is it a good opportunity you are leaving for or something resulting from here?" and once the answer was that it was a good opportunity, asked questions about that and was incredibly positive and encouraging to me. Even though I was leaving the company.

This isn't guaranteed to be every mentor's response, but a true mentor wants to see you succeed - regardless of where or how. It's part of what makes some managers great, they want their employees to succeed even if it means not for them (though they probably prefer for a different internal team vs leaving the company).

how should i go about doing this

Just say things factually and focus on the other opportunity. Don't be negative about your current position, but focus when asked on the other opportunity. You aren't leaving something - you are going to something else.

Writeup a short letter that states your last date. My last resignation letter was all of 5 sentences, one of which was "my last day will be X."

I'm very nervous of what he will do / say.

You probably are more worried about this than you need to be.

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    +1 for "If your boss has been a "great mentor" he probably will be excited for you as you transition". If he takes this badly, it only means that he has been paying the OP with "being nice", rather than his true monetary value. Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 16:21

It sounds like this is a great man to have in your life both professionally and personally. Make sure you do whatever you can to keep this person a friend.

Regarding your new position, people grow and people move on. Make sure you communicate to your boss how great this new opportunity is and how you would have never been able to get a shot at it without his excellent tutelage. Thank him for his immense generosity with his knowledge and time, and tell him that you are going to pay it forward to any junior members you come across so that you can try to be as great of a mentor to someone as he was to you.

After that, do a fantastic job documenting anything you can regarding a knowledge transfer, get your projects wrapped up or to a good stopping point, part ways as friends, and invite him out for a beer or coffee 30 days into your new job.


You write a brief formal letter tendering your notice as you would for another job.

When you hand your boss the letter, you explain honestly what's going on. I feel that rather than words on a letter, speaking honestly to someone will mean more than words on a letter.

The letter is the formal notice for your contract. It's only when you hand the letter that you will discuss the fact you are leaving and give reasons. In other situations, people may approach it as "Say Nothing", but if you genuinely respect the person, then I would be honest about the new opportunity.


This is very similar to my situation last year in the last company and I can tell you it will be a very emotional 1 month. Here are few things which I did and might help.

  1. Send him an email first that you have decided to move out. Email will give him sometime to digest and process rather than the shock in 1-to-1 meeting. Also, being assertive that you have already made that decision (if you really have), will help in not giving any hope that you will change your mind.

  2. Always mention that it is because of current opportunity and his mentoring you were able to find another great opportunity. It is not that something was missing in the current role, but you just wanted a change for personal reasons and also you think change in company/work environment would add more insights to your experience.

  3. Emphasize that you will stay committed till your last day here to finish whatever is required for smooth transition and follow up on that commitment. That gesture goes long way!


Sounds like a good boss.

A good boss will say "congratulations!", shake your hand, and wish you the best in your new endeavors. He'll know to treat you right, because no one knows what the future may bring - you might wind up working together in another company 10 years from now.

As for how to go about it, write a letter saying


I am resigning effective (some date)

Best wishes,

hand it to him, and wait for him to read it.

That will start the conversation that you're leaving, and serve as official notice.

  • well wouldn't it be better to have an in person conversation with a good boss, rather than ... passing a note?
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 15:29
  • @Dennis - resignations need to be in writing. Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 15:53
  • well ... I imagine that with no prior conversation, walking into the boss' office, dropping off a letter, turning around and leaving, is a bit brash, especially if it is a good boss and there is a good ongoing communication in general. It's like breaking up with a text message. Resignations may need to be in writing, but if all that you do is drop off a letter, it may be a technically valid thing to do, but my social compass tells me it is not all you should do.
    – Dennis
    Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:24
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    @dennis - who said anything about turning around and leaving? I'll edit the answer Commented Apr 11, 2017 at 17:26

The best thing you can be is honest. You can still be friends, but careers often move differently for people. If this is where you want to take your career then you need to kindly let him know while expressing the appreciation for everything he has done and also stating your intent in continued friendship.


You said he was a friend to you, so you have to behave accordingly.

First, it's an opportunity, not a treason. Being loyal to a friend doesn't means you have to lose good opportunities. A true friend will approve that kind of decisions, because that's how life works. Also, from his point of view, it's better for him to keep a good relationship with you.

If a was you, i'd tell him before giving his the resignation. Don't forget to tell him how grateful you are for all he gave you, and that you'll always be there if he ever needs you.

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