Quiting by Email
October 17, 2010 11:30 PM   Subscribe

I need to resign my job sometime on monday - I'm taking a position at another company. Through contracts and sub-contracts, I have at least 3 different "bosses" who work at three locations - I only sit at the same location as one boss (one of the others is fairly accessible). Is submitting a resignation by email to the off-site bosses acceptable to mainstream north american business etiquette?

I expect to follow up the email with a normal written letter. The two remote bosses are ones I talk to/meet with/exchange emails with very rarely - but one of them is from the company that currently signs my paycheques/the guy who did my annual reviews. All these people will face some loss of service when I resign.
posted by Deep Dish to Human Relations (11 answers total)
Fax a letter, or pdf it and enclose in email.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:32 PM on October 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can't call them? I would think you'd want to talk to them as personally as possible. If there is a major time zone issue or the like where you really can't call, then yes, I'd email. Ironmouth's suggestion of sending a pdf of a letter just seems really weird to me, unless it's something where your signature is important or a specific legal document that you only have in hardcopy.
posted by Lady Li at 11:37 PM on October 17, 2010

Well, as long as you're giving them at least two weeks notice (while we're on the subject North American business etiquette), I don't see why submitting an email to your off-site bosses as an initial heads up wouldn't be acceptable, since you don't interact with them that much. I would give your on-site boss a a hard copy of the resignation letter (and be prepared to talk with him/her about it) just before you email the other two, just because the on-site boss is likely to be contacted by the off-site bosses to find out more details about what led your decision leave their company. And follow up with that formal hard copy AND a phone call to each of them within the next day. I don't know the size of your company, but be prepared to go through at least one exit interview as well.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:45 PM on October 17, 2010

I'd call and follow up with an email containing a letter as an attachment and the body of the email referencing your phone conversation. That way the email is a courtesy to them (containing your formal, written resignation) rather than the actual notification.

However if you can't get in contact with them, then yes by all means do what you have to do by email. Don't delay or give less than the requisite notice because of someone's phone being turned off. (I once had to resign by email — I spent most of a day trying to get one of my multivarious bosses on the phone, to no avail ... but when I sent my resignation via email suddenly he was on the phone.)

If you have to go the email route, you might be mention that your preference would have been to do it in a more personal manner, but you wanted to make sure they got the news directly from you.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:53 PM on October 17, 2010 [2 favorites]

Speak to your in-person manager first; at the end of that conversation, give him/her a heads up that you are about to call your other managers, and then follow-up to all with an email stating the last date you intend to work. ** Be sure to cc H.R. on your email. H.R. will take over in contacting you with whatever you need to sign for legal reasons, and in coordinating who will conduct your exit interview.
posted by vignettist at 11:58 PM on October 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

I think using the golden rule applies here - would you like to be fired by an email? I wouldn't, personally. You don't want to burn bridges, ever. What I would do: (1) Speak in person to the on-site manager, and let them know you'd like to call the other managers. (2) Call the other managers. (3) Send a gracious email to all of them, along with HR.

And that's it! They'll hopefully be pros about it, and you'll preserve relationship in case you want or need to work together in the future.
posted by visual mechanic at 1:08 AM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]

have letter ready, go personally to the one and talk about it, leaving the letter for him/her. the others call, and follow up with email pdf of same letter.
posted by thilmony at 5:08 AM on October 18, 2010

When I've been contracted & subcontracted, I always felt it appropriate to notify the boss from whom my paycheck originates first. It's their discretion on when to notify their client - they may wish to line up a candidate for the position first.

Since I never met these contract company managers, I felt an email or a call to be fine.
posted by hey you over in the corner at 5:17 AM on October 18, 2010

I've had remote employees resign by email and by phone and I don't particularly feel bothered if it happens by email. If it was someone with whom I was accustomed to speaking via phone routinely, I would prefer to be told that way, but I have one employee who pretty much conducts every interaction with me by email and I'd be astonished if they resigned any other way.
posted by Lame_username at 5:27 AM on October 18, 2010

If you're remote, resigning by phone is just fine. I've had to do it, and have known others who've done the same - no one ever got their drawers in a twist about it. I would avoid email unless it's absolutely necessary, though.
posted by deadmessenger at 7:06 AM on October 18, 2010

I would follow up with a mailed hardcopy, dated Monday.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:21 AM on October 18, 2010

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