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How to Handle a Boss That Knows You Are Leaving Her Department

by Ellie Williams, studioD

No matter how excited you are about a new job, it's important to announce your resignation with care. You're still being judged on your performance, and how you handle your departure could affect your reputation and your relationship with your boss. When dealing with your supervisor, maintain your professionalism and strive to make the transition as easy as possible.

Give Your Best

Even though you're leaving, treat your job as seriously as you did before. Your boss still relies on you and will notice if you start missing deadlines or your productivity plummets. Regardless of your previous job performance, she may resent that you stopped giving it your all once you found another position and may not give you a good reference in the future. If you're leaving for another department within the company, word could get back to your new boss. In addition, you may still have to interact with your old boss so it's in your best interest to preserve that relationship -- and your reputation.

Discuss the Transition

When you tell your boss you're leaving, discuss how your departure will affect the department and suggest creating a transition plan. Give her a progress update on any projects you're working on or clients you're assigned to. If you can't finish a project before you leave, describe what needs to be done. Review your client list and discuss what someone must know to take over these accounts. If there's not time to find a replacement before you leave, work with your boss to decide how to allocate your tasks among other employees until she can find a permanent replacement.


Some bosses will offer you more salary, better benefits or a change in your working conditions to entice you to stay. Don't feel obligated to accept the offer simply to avoid hurting your supervisor's feelings or creating an awkward situation during your final days. Tell your boss you appreciate her offer but feel the change is what's best for your career.


Some bosses become angry or resentful when employees announce their resignation and might treat them poorly during their remaining time in the department. When you announce your departure, prepare yourself for a potentially difficult transition. If your boss gives you grief, your best strategy might be to ignore her behavior. There's little point stirring up trouble when you're leaving anyway, unless your boss attempts to sabotage your new job. To prevent this, finalize everything with your new employer before you tell your boss you're leaving.

About the Author

Ellie Williams has been a journalist since 2001. Her work has been recognized by her state's press association and by her local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Williams graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mass communications and humanities, with minors in French and theater.

Photo Credits

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