Make it Work (Jan 16)

I tried to resign from my workplace, and they asked me to “thoughtfully off-board” over the course of three months to avoid “burning their bridge.” I agreed to a 1-month compromise, even though I don’t want to spend another day in that office. Am I being “thoughtful” or just manipulated?


There are less than three months between a US presidential election and Inauguration Day, during which the transition of nuclear codes hangs in the balance. When the last pope announced his intention to resign, he left the seat vacant just 17 days later. In summary, your employer is asking that your off-boarding period be equal to that of the last president and pope combined.

We’ve all grown fairly accustomed to “two weeks” as the standard notice period (heck, Sandra Bullock even made a movie about it). While expectations can vary internationally and by industry, when an employer requests a “longer than usual” offboarding period, it’s typically understood in advance and often clearly laid out in the employment agreement. Personally I tend to view two weeks as a tad brief, provided you’ve been treated well and depending on factors like seniority, but ultimately that’s more of an etiquette debate.

All that to say, I think your 1-month compromise is probably more thoughtful than it needed to be. Your employer is requesting more than the cultural norm here, essentially asking for a favor which they have no right to expect if they haven’t done their part in creating a work environment that’s warranted such generosity. Given that you “don’t want to spend another day” there, I imagine that’s not the case.

Focus on remaining professional and off-boarding the best you can for however long you decide to stick it out. If that bridge still burns, it will be your employer who is left holding the match. Meanwhile, you’ve departed in good conscience and can safely chalk up any resentment as water underneath.

answered by Morning Brew workplace whisperer Shane Loughnane

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