“Is it OK to give notice of resignation BEFORE I fully vest in my 401k?”

Question: Hi, Alan – Your site has been most helpful in planning my resignation. I am planning on resigning on June 28th. My 401k will be 100% vested after one hour of service on July 1st. My last day is going to be July 8th. Do you foresee any problem with this? Do you think they will show me the door on June 30th to prevent me from becoming 100% vested.

Also, I was planning on telling my current employer about my new position until I read your blog. Currently, I am in the Casino industry; my next job is in the Retail industry. They are not competitors, let alone in the same industry. It might be awkward to not tell them. I know everyone will ask and we are a close bunch.

Thanks, in advance, for your expertise.

Vallejo, California


Answer: Erin, I am in my 28th year of assisting employees. Over that time, I have see many employees in your situation hurt, not so much by an evil intent by their employers, but by the simple fact that their supervisors, managers, colleagues and bosses are human, and suffer (as do we all) from human frailties.

A. Notice of Resigning Before Vesting: A Big No-No

Do I think you should give notice of resignation before July 1st, when you become 100% vested? No, no, no and no. A boss may have hurt feelings that you are “leaving him.” You might unwittingly be breaking a rule that requires 30 days notice of resignation, and for this you may be fired. A manager may want to put someone into your job immediately, and for that reason ask you to leave immediately. So many things could happen by which you could lose your 100% vesting that I ask you to change your plans, if that is possible to do. I don’t want you to be hurt; for no good reason, that is all.

B. Sharing Where You Are Going Before You Get There: Also a No-No

The same thing goes for telling your employer and colleagues where you are headed. What if one of them contacts your new employer and says something negative about you? What if a colleague knows someone else who works there, and tells them of your arrival, and that causes a stir? What if your new employer is contacted by your present boss with some negative comments about you?

The best way to handle this is as follows: “I’m sorry, but I can’t share with you the name of my new employer. They have asked me not to, because they have not yet told their staff of my arrival. They want to break the news themselves. So, I can’t tell you where I am going. What I can tell you is that it is a large retailer, with no ties to the Casino industry. I promise you, though, I will call you the first day or two to let you know where I am. I’m sure you can understand that I want to honor my promise not to “spill the beans.”

“Life is too short to make all the mistakes yourself.” A big part of this blog is dedicated to that saying by scientist Louis Pasteur.
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And good luck in your new job.  

Best, Al Sklover

©  2010 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.