Is it unprofessional to quit a job over email?
You've been working at your current gig for several years now and have grown close with many colleagues—until yesterday that is… You're about to walk out the door but before you leave, you need to let someone know you'll be gone within the next few hours or days.
Would you prefer to write an email or call them on their cell phone (assuming they still use those)? Or would you rather just pick up the phone and say "bye" in person? If you choose any other option than sending an email, are you making yourself look like a jerk? Is there such thing as professional etiquette around quitting jobs? Let's take a closer look so we can decide if you should quit via email, or how to go about doing so professionally.
If you want to quit your job today, I'm here to help! This article will give you some guidelines about what not to include in your resignation email, and also offer advice on how best to handle this situation.
When is it OK to quit your job by email?
There are three main reasons why people might ask to email-quit a job:
1) They don't work directly with the manager who has asked them to stay past their contract period. In these cases, most employees see their direct supervisor first whenever they need anything done regarding their employment. However, if the employee doesn't work under one specific person, then he/she needs to find another way to communicate with whoever made the decision to keep him at his position beyond the end of his contract. For example, HR department personnel may make decisions about whether or not an individual stays employed, while managers may set salary levels. When either party makes a request outside of normal channels, it could cause confusion among others involved. Asking for permission to email-resign should only ever happen once during a relationship, typically after multiple requests through more traditional methods haven't worked. Some companies even require written approval from superiors before allowing anyone to email-fire them.
2) Employees often get stuck in limbo between two different departments. The company hasn't yet updated its records to show that the employee no longer works there, which causes issues when other parties try to contact her about projects she was working on earlier. Other times, employees simply aren't aware of upcoming changes to their benefits plan, or lack access to important information. Emailing-quitting allows the employee to provide updates herself instead of relying upon inaccurate reports created elsewhere in the system. It also gives both sides time to sort things out prior to having to meet face-to-face and explain everything again.
3) Sometimes, employees need to inform bosses quickly that they won't be coming back into work due to personal circumstances. There isn't enough room for emotion in emails, but sometimes situations arise where it feels necessary to express feelings verbally or in writing. An immediate response is required, though, because the employer must verify that the employee actually resigned and stop processing payroll. Even if the employee wants to come back later, giving the decision time to process ensures nothing gets overlooked and everyone knows exactly what happened.
What NOT to put in your resignation email
While there are plenty of resources available online explaining proper grammar rules, tone, etc., here are some common mistakes to avoid in order to maintain professionalism throughout your resignation email.
Don't start off by saying something generic like, "I am resigning." Instead, think about what specifically motivated you to quit the job, and craft a statement based on that reason. A good rule of thumb is to phrase it in the present tense ("I am resigning…"), using words like "today," "tomorrow," or "immediately," to signify urgency. Next, state your reasoning clearly, and finish off your sentence with a positive note. Something along the lines of, "After careful consideration, I felt it wouldn't benefit me to remain at [company name] anymore."
Keep your language simple. Don't use big fancy words, jargon, abbreviations, or slang. Your goal is to create a clear message that conveys exactly what you'd like to say. Use short sentences that flow well together, and avoid long paragraphs.
Do not lie or omit facts. While you likely trust your former colleague wholeheartedly, you shouldn't assume he/she will relay your side of events accurately. Be upfront about the fact that you're leaving, and share all relevant details. If you were unhappy with coworkers, discuss it honestly and openly.
Consider speaking to human resource representatives before going forward. HR professionals can advise on policies surrounding firing, layoffs, performance reviews, and severance packages. Plus, they can answer questions about vacation schedules, insurance coverage, 401(k)-plan contributions, and other perks offered to full-time staff members.
Once you're ready to draft your resignation letter, check out our guide to writing a great resignation letter.
Should you mention your new job search or relocation plans?
Depending on your industry and field, employers vary greatly in terms of what kind of follow-up action they expect from laid-off workers. Typically, however, companies tend to want to hear that you found a replacement role somewhere else. If you intend to continue looking for a better opportunity elsewhere, feel free to mention your plans. Just remember not to dwell too much on this topic. Stick to talking about your experience at the old organization and the skills learned there. Avoid bringing up salaries, unless your next job pays significantly less than the one you left behind.
Doesn't mentioning your health care coverage amount to lying?
Not necessarily. Health insurance varies considerably depending on each business' policy. Many companies offer limited medical options for part-timers, meaning that if they fire you, you may lose your entire package. On the flipside, some businesses treat part-timers differently altogether—as far as offering additional training, or helping pay for gym membership dues. Whatever happens, always doublecheck with your previous employer to ensure you weren't given special treatment in exchange for keeping quiet.
Are you allowed to email-quit if you didn't receive two week's notice?
Yes. Most companies allow for immediate termination without advance warning, provided the worker voluntarily quits. Of course, you should talk to a lawyer or legal representative beforehand to confirm this info.
Some states have laws preventing employers from asking for two weeks notice, especially if the employee believes that s/he will eventually return to work. To protect yourself from losing future opportunities, consider putting down roots at your next job right away. That way, you can prove you had strong intentions to stick around.
How do you tell your boss you quit immediately?
Unless you have a very open office environment, chances are you can't speak to your superior privately straightaway. Fortunately, a quick text seems to suffice. But if your workplace permits, try picking up the phone instead. Here are some general suggestions to keep in mind:
Ask to schedule a meeting. Tell your boss you need a moment of his/her time to discuss recent events. Explain that you feel uncomfortable discussing sensitive topics over email, and would appreciate setting aside 10 minutes to chat. Offer to bring coffee or water so you two can sit across from each other comfortably.
Explain that you have decided to move on. Then, briefly summarize your experiences at the company and highlight key accomplishments achieved since starting. Take extra effort to emphasize the value you contributed to the team, and reiterate your desire to pursue further career opportunities.
Thank your boss for considering you for promotions in the future. Closely relate to your parting thoughts. Ask for his/her blessing and wish him/her luck moving forward. End your conversation on a high note, and sign off respectfully.
For bonus points, send a handwritten thank-you card afterwards!
How do you politely quit a job immediately?
As mentioned previously, employers usually expect that employees who are fired will announce their departure publicly with ample lead time. However, if you believe that you cannot wait until Monday morning to hand in your resignation, you can certainly deliver it in person. Try arriving early to the office, and approach your boss confidentially. Do not attempt this step alone, and definitely seek legal counsel if you live in certain areas.
Here are a couple of ways you can word your resignation:
"Dear John Doe, my client and I met recently to finalize this matter in regards to our mutual agreement to terminate my services effective immediately. My client expressed regret over losing me, and wished only the best for us in the future. We agreed to disagree on this issue, and I respect his opinion."
"John, we met yesterday to determine the best path forward for both our organizations. After extensive discussion, we came to the conclusion that we mutually agree to part ways immediately. Both our goals differ, and I respect his wishes to focus on achieving success in his own ventures. I hope that we can stay connected in the near future."
Remember to always smile, shake hands firmly, and exit with dignity.
How do you politely quit your last minute?
This scenario involves an unexpected layoff. Maybe the economy tanked, maybe management wanted to cut costs, or perhaps your position got eliminated entirely. Regardless, you probably received little advanced notification. Now you realize you need to leave within the hour, but you forgot to notify your boss ahead of time. What do you do?
When your boss tells you that you're fired and then hands you an envelope with two weeks' severance pay in it, what are you supposed to do?
If you have any human decency at all, you'll read the letter carefully and consider whether or not this is really how things stand before sending off your resignation by mail (or more likely, email). But if there was ever a time for instant resignation, it would be now. So we spoke to HR experts about quitting jobs via email—and whether it's okay to do so.
In short... yes! In most cases, it is absolutely fine to hand in one's notice via email. We've got some advice on how to go about doing just that. If you want to get creative, though, here are some templates that can help you craft your own effective resignation emails.
How do I quit my job immediately?
If you work for a small company where no formal "resignation" process exists, and your only option is to submit your retirement papers through your employer's Human Resources department, then it may make sense to take care of this task yourself. You should first confirm that submitting your paperwork directly to your manager will suffice as official notification.
That said, if you have been consistently communicating via email with your supervisor, he might already know that you plan to leave. And even if he does not, asking nicely could still earn you extra consideration. A kind note explaining why you feel compelled to step down can also soften the blow.
For example, you could write something like:
Dear [Your Name],
I'd love to continue working at [Company] until June 30th but ultimately need to find another position due to personal reasons. It has come to my attention that our conversations regarding these matters haven't always been clear, which led me to believe that I am being let go. Please let me know if this is true.
Thank you for taking the time to discuss this further. I look forward to discussing this issue again once I'm settled into my new role.
And remember, don't forget to sign off respectfully — maybe with "Best regards," or perhaps, "Have a nice day."
If you feel uncomfortable approaching someone face-to-face, try using video chat instead. The same principles apply. Your words carry weight, and you deserve respect, especially considering you're giving up a steady paycheck for whatever reason.
However, if you think you aren't getting those warm wishes anyway, it probably doesn't hurt to ask specifically for them. At least you won't regret not saying anything later on.
Can you instantly quit a job?
It depends on the circumstances. For instance, you might have signed a contract stating that you were required to give 90 days' notice prior to leaving. This means that unless you had received written confirmation from your employer within the past three months, your resignation must wait for at least four weeks.
But sometimes people don't follow their contracts strictly because they didn't expect to lose their jobs right away. As such, many employers allow employees who wish to retire early to notify others of their departure sooner than expected. However, this type of arrangement requires explicit permission from both parties involved — your employer and their Human Resources team.
Of course, if you did receive proper notification but simply decide that you prefer to start looking elsewhere sooner, there isn't much standing between you and full employment besides a polite email. Feel free to tell your current employer that you are ready to begin searching and see what happens next.
Also keep in mind that while it often makes sense to stay close friends with your colleagues after leaving, it's best to avoid professional relationships during your final week. Don't text them throughout the day hoping to catch a quick update on your career prospects. When you call, stick to business hours. There's nothing worse than feeling ignored for several days straight.
As long as you remain respectful and friendly, however, your old coworkers will surely appreciate hearing updates on your transition plans. Just bear in mind that it's perfectly normal that they won't respond back right away either. They may be busy trying to wrap up projects too.
Additionally, if you are planning to move out of state soon, it's important to remember that states differ in terms of residency requirements. Some require advance notice, while other places stipulate that you must actually end your employment status before moving. Again, check local laws to ensure compliance.
With all that taken into account, if you want to break the news ASAP without breaking protocol, try writing a simple email along these lines:
Hi [Name Surname],
We shared office space together last year, and although I enjoyed the experience immensely, I’ve decided that I’d rather pursue different opportunities. My last day at [company name] will be Thursday, May 12th, 2017.
Thanks again for everything. Looking forward to seeing you around town.
How do you quit an urgent job?
So you left a great opportunity behind, but you can't afford to waste time waiting for your replacement. Instead, you need to find work quickly. Unfortunately, you shouldn't necessarily approach potential companies exactly the way you would if you wanted permanent placement.
The general rule of thumb is to treat each job search like its own individual event. Since you have limited time remaining, you should focus solely on securing interviews with top firms. That way, you can put your energy toward landing those positions instead of wasting precious time applying for dozens of entry-level gigs.
To kickstart your efforts, you should create a solid resume highlighting relevant skillsets, education, accomplishments, references, etc., and upload it to LinkedIn. Then spend the rest of your time networking with recruiters and hiring managers. Afterward, reach out to former bosses, peers, and subordinates to learn about open positions at reputable organizations.
Once you land an interview, make sure you bring copies of your resume and cover letters. Also, prepare questions related to salary expectations, benefits packages, vacation policies, training programs, and similar topics. Ask for feedback afterward to determine areas for improvement.
Lastly, never send your thank-you notes for interviews via snail mail. Email them instead. Not only is it less intrusive, but it also shows professionalism and poise. Plus, since you never know if you'll hear back from certain candidates, it gives you ample time to double-check your responses to common interview inquiries.
What do you say when you quit immediately?
There are plenty of ways to politely inform superiors that you are stepping down from a particular post, including phone calls, voicemails, texts, and emails. Depending on the situation, it may not matter if you choose one method over another. Ultimately, you will need to communicate effectively and professionally. Here's what NOT to include in your farewell missive.
1) Anything negative: No one likes receiving criticism or complaints. If you feel strongly enough to share your thoughts, pick your battles wisely. Otherwise, save that information for private meetings.
2) Complaints: While expressing concerns is certainly understandable, try to refrain from venting frustrations publicly online. Avoid airing grievances in public forums or social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Remember, you're not talking to acquaintances or family members anymore. Be sensitive to the fact that your choice of words may impact negatively on your reputation.
3) Personal issues: Keep personal problems personal. Unless you explicitly asked for approval, steer clear of sharing details about your marital life, health conditions, financial struggles, etc. Nothing says, "Look at me!" quite like sharing intimate details about your personal life with strangers.
4) References: Never reference anyone in your parting email. Even if you worked alongside a specific person for years, you wouldn't mention him if his performance wasn't up to par. Doing so suggests that you're spreading false rumors about him, which is unethical.
5) Salary cuts/increases: Stick to facts. Although it's tempting to talk about raises and promotions, resist the urge. It's bad etiquette to disclose compensation figures in your exit correspondence. Besides, your superior has access to the pertinent data anyway.
6) Negative outlooks: Try to avoid making predictions based upon incomplete information. For starters, avoid commenting on the future direction of your industry, organization, or field of expertise.
7) Unwanted tasks: Stay positive. Refrain from volunteering additional assignments or chores outside of your regular duties — even if you truly dislike them.
8) Threats: Do not threaten to sue or report management to upper levels. This tactic carries serious legal risks. On the flip side, never imply that you intend to steal proprietary materials. Simply explain that you're retiring and that you won't return to work under the same supervision.
9) Attitude adjustments: Mention that you hope your previous attitude contributed positively towards your success. Remind your superiors that you weren't perfect, and that mistakes happen despite everyone's good intentions. Above all else, emphasize that you're confident you made the correct decision for your personal well-being.
10) Apologies: Avoid apologizing for your actions or opinions. Rather, focus on your shortcomings and apologize sincerely.
So, you've been working for this company for years, but now you want out with extreme prejudice! It's time to say goodbye—but how should you go about doing so politely?
Whether we like it or not, there are certain unwritten rules that dictate what is considered professional behavior in an office environment. For example, if someone calls their manager "sir" on day one at work, they probably won't be called sir again, even after months have passed. (Unless he/she has actually earned the title.) Likewise, calling people by first name may make them feel comfortable around you, while also showing respect toward others who might see the same interaction as rude or inappropriate. And finally, never leave early unless you have another commitment that absolutely prevents you from staying late. Otherwise, it can look bad both for you AND for the person trying to fire you.
But these aren't always the types of things we think about when we find ourselves looking for ways to exit our jobs quickly and painlessly. When we need to move on, however, good manners matter more than ever before — especially since many employers expect employees to follow up with specific action items right away. You don't want to come across as passive aggressive or disrespectful, which leaves us wondering whether your departure was indeed very polite. Here's some helpful advice on how to politely walk out the door while still letting everyone know exactly why you're leaving.
How do I professionally quit my last minute?
If you haven't resigned yet, take heart. Your employer will likely try to contact you several times during the week leading up to any official announcement regarding layoffs, firings, etc., simply because it's human nature to wait until the eleventh hour before making such a big decision. So, rather than sitting back passively, arm yourself with information. Make sure you'll be able to answer all questions ahead of time, including dates when you plan to depart. Also, consider writing down answers to common questions you anticipate being asked, like where you'll be moving next, or what other positions you'd be interested in taking elsewhere within the organization. This way, you can easily reference those responses later whenever anyone asks you anything remotely related to your resignation. Finally, keep a list handy of contacts outside your current department or firm, just in case you end up needing assistance finding new employment.
When you DO get the call asking you to step into HR's office, prepare yourself beforehand. If possible, ask for a few minutes alone with Human Resources Manager Aimee Bouchard-Halloran—or whoever else handles your file. Explain that you would appreciate her help navigating through the process of officially resigning. She should then offer to let you sign off on whatever paperwork is required to finalize the transition. Afterward, she should provide you with a copy of that document, along with any additional resources she thinks you might benefit from. Lastly, remind her that you're planning to stay connected throughout the transition period, which means you'll need access to your old computer systems as well as any other emails or files you used prior to your departure date.
How do I professionally resign immediately?
The easiest way to handle quick departures is to give your two weeks' notice in advance. However, if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from giving proper notice, here are a couple options. First, you could explain you had to abruptly relocate due to a family emergency. Second, you could offer to extend your original contract duration, provided the terms were agreeable to management. Of course, if you're going to suggest either option, remember to check in with Human Resources first to verify your rights under employee handbook policy. They might require you to complete a form stating your intent to voluntarily terminate your position, or specify that you must receive written confirmation of termination procedures. In addition, you should review the entire contents of your employee handbook, or consult a lawyer, before signing anything or sending anything electronically to your future replacement(s).
On a similar note, NEVER write a letter of resignation directly to your supervisor or another manager. Instead, address your correspondence to the company itself, using its legal name. That said, your former employer CAN legally forward letters of resignation between parties once you no longer work there. The only caveat? Be mindful of potential red flags, such as vague language indicating dissatisfaction with your pay or benefits package, or references to legal proceedings against your previous employer. If necessary, you should set aside enough time to carefully edit any outgoing correspondence before hitting Send.
Finally, depending upon your relationship with your direct superiors, you may wish to reach out to them individually via email instead of waiting for a formal meeting request. But you should still avoid mentioning anything negative about your experience at work, lest it appear as though you're airing grievances or complaining about something. Simply state that you're resigning for personal reasons, and thank them for everything they taught you while at the company. Then, add that you hope to continue supporting the goals of your former employer in the near future. Keep in mind that managers often tend to read too much into tone, content, and body language in general communication. So, if you prefer speaking face-to-face, it's OK to opt out of email altogether. Just make sure to follow up personally afterward with a phone call or in-person conversation.
How do I tell my boss I'm quitting last minute?
You can certainly choose to verbally inform your boss that you're leaving unexpectedly. However, if you're concerned about appearing unprepared or lacking professionalism, it might be best to play it safe. Try to schedule a mutually convenient time for you to deliver news of your impending departure, preferably in person. Tell him/her that you've accepted a better opportunity elsewhere, and that you'll be turning in your keys ASAP. Once you've made the switch, send a brief email thanking your manager for his/her support thus far, and reiterate your desire to remain connected after you formally part ways. Then, include links to copies of relevant documents, and encourage your boss to download them onto his/her desktop. At the bottom of each page, please type in your signature noting your full name and affiliation with XYZ Corp. Whenever possible, limit your farewell communications to electronic media. If your boss insists on receiving hardcopy missives, kindly return them promptly.
How do I properly notify coworkers of my resignation?
There are many factors to consider when choosing how to effectively communicate your resignation to co-workers, clients, customers, vendors, partners, et cetera. While most companies understand that workers need time to settle into new roles, it isn't uncommon for a departing employee to run into resistance in the workplace. As such, you should evaluate your situation thoroughly, weigh the pros and cons of various approaches, and select whichever method seems most suitable given your unique circumstances. The following suggestions may prove useful.
First, determine how long your notice is intended to be, and establish a timeline accordingly. Typically, two weeks is sufficient notice for severance packages, 401K contributions, vacation accruals, health insurance coverage, COBRA continuation coverage, and pension plans. Three weeks is generally recommended for short-term disability benefits, paid holidays, unused sick days, performance reviews, and other perks tied exclusively to length of service. Consider consulting an attorney or financial advisor regarding the specifics pertaining to your particular industry or region.
Next, decide which methods of notification seem best suited to your personality. Is it easier for you to express yourself orally, or would you prefer communicating in writing? Do you trust email to convey your feelings appropriately, or does it feel impersonal? Would you feel more relaxed talking via telephone, or are you prone to feeling anxious? Remember that whatever medium you choose, consistency is key. Don't change it halfway through the process, nor should you suddenly stop updating your colleagues entirely. Rather, stick to the guidelines outlined above to ensure maximum clarity.
Lastly, you should make every effort to maintain open lines of dialogue with your former colleagues. Yes, it can sometimes become uncomfortable or awkward to talk about your pending departure. Yet remaining cordial and friendly after you announce your intention to leave shows respect towards your peers, demonstrates loyalty towards past supervisors, and provides reassurance that you truly care about everyone involved. Ultimately, it goes a long way toward establishing positive memories of your tenure at the company.
With that said, if you're struggling to figure out how to approach telling your bosses about your resignation, you should NOT assume that you'll automatically be granted permission to use Facebook or Twitter accounts created specifically for personal purposes. Some firms restrict usage of social networking sites to business hours only. Moreover, you should refrain from posting sensitive data online concerning confidential projects you worked on or client relationships you developed. Doing so poses serious privacy risks. Similarly, you shouldn't post details about upcoming interviews or career opportunities, lest recruiters or hiring managers stumble across your updates accidentally.
What if I need to share important information with my coworkers after I've already resigned?