What is the common practice for turning in a notice to quit, is email good, or do I need to do it face to face with the board?
July 31, 2011 12:03 PM   Subscribe

What is the common practice for turning in a notice to quit, is email good, or do I need to do it face to face with the board?

The deal is, I have to get out of this role/job I'm in. I was offered 5% of ownership of the business that is brand new (back when we started the venture), but that seems to be reneged now because they can't "gift" me the slice of the (non)cake. I don't have a contract. I'm a manager(of two employees) and much more(IT support, design, web admin) for the mother company trying to launch this separate biz. The main partners (one is my cousin a slimy producer, getting married in a month) are traveling till Tuesday. The other two are at different places in the city.
Do I call a meeting and let them have it first hand, or is it kosher to simply email them all, (CC or individually?), telling them that for the benefit of the companies growth, I'm not the right fit for the position any longer?
Previously I've always worked as a freelance artist, so I don't know much about other business etiquette. Please help!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The normal protocol is to do this face to face with your direct supervisor, who then tells whoever else in the company needs to know. If you report directly to the board, I'd go to them directly, but otherwise, go to your boss. I also wouldn't say that it's "for the company's growth." Tell them that you've enjoyed working at their company and that you've learned a lot, but that another opportunity has come up, and so you'll be leaving effective X date. Thank them for the opportunities they've given you, and then finish up your projects and leave. Good luck!
posted by decathecting at 12:21 PM on July 31, 2011

Given the width and breadth of what you're doing, unfair as your workload and responsibilities may be, I'd meet one of the partners to tell them and try to negotiate good terms relating to departure or set up a follow-up meeting for all that.

Sounds like its not your doing that's left you responsible for so much, but having some flexibility about how you wind things down as they find another person or people to handle those things could serve your best financial interests.

Too, even if they're shoddy, at least you know you made a good-faith effort to resolve a situation that caused problems for your employer (much as the employer had a big hand in creating the situation in the first place).
posted by ambient2 at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2011

This is very simple. You call a meeting with the superiors who will be affected by your departure (your bosses, in other words, but if it's a partnership and you're a partner, then maybe it's a meeting of the partners.) You say "I've decided that I will be leaving this position." Be very matter-of-fact about it: you have decided after all, so there's really very little to discuss. Some superiors will have the mistaken impression that you are asking them to help you make the decision (i.e., they will try to argue with your decision to leave.) Don't get dragged into this.

They may ask what you plan to do, and why you're leaving. Personally, I don't think this is the time to address critiques of the company's way of doing business. Since you're "hurting" them by leaving, it's likely to become to personal. Think of it as a breakup in a relationship: the time to address problems in the relationship is during the relationship, not when you break up.

The standard amount of notice to give is 2 weeks if you are in the USA (if you aren't in the US, do some country-specific research.) This is a custom and a courtesy: you do it not because you're obligated to, but as a courtesy to your employer and to avoid burning a bridge (should you ever want to work with them again or use them as a reference.) If the situation is truly toxic, you may choose to give less or no notice at all, but be aware that this will badly harm your reputation with these people.

They may ask you to stay longer while they find your replacement. It's entirely up to you whether you do so. Personally, if it's an okay working situation, I would do them this favor, but again, it's entirely up to you.

If they're decent people, they might ask some questions to understand your decision, and then they'll wish you well. After that, they'll probably have you start documenting whatever you know so that whoever replaces you has an easier time getting started.

After you give notice, inform your colleagues of your decision. Have a beer or lunch with the ones you like, and stay in touch with them!
posted by !Jim at 12:44 PM on July 31, 2011

... that seems to be reneged now because they can't "gift" me the slice of the (non)cake. I don't have a contract.

they might not be able to "gift" you that slice, but they can probably "be sued" for it--if you want to push the issue. i.e., if you have anything in writing (even email) where you were offered 5% in exchange for your work, or if someone is willing to corroborate that you were told this, you may already have proof of a contract. (contracts can be verbal.)

to the main question, though: face-to-face (with two weeks notice). email is, imho, only acceptable if this were a purely online gig, or if you just recently started a hellish job to which you never want to return and are more than comfortable with burning that bridge.
posted by matlock expressway at 12:51 PM on July 31, 2011

I am of the opinion that handing in one's notice is something that should be done face to face. Same goes for breaking up with a partner. It's a big deal; the person/entity/group you are dumping deserves the respect of the personal touch.
posted by Decani at 1:02 PM on July 31, 2011

Since no one else has mentioned it, I'd add that most places that I've worked require a written letter of resignation that explicitly states your last day of work. It needn't be long. Something like:

Dear Boss/HR person/whomever it may concern,

Please accept this letter as formal notification that my last day of work at XYZ company will be August 14, 2011.

I am grateful for the opportunities afforded to me during my tenure here. (You may or may not want to add something about assisting in the transfer of your duties or making the transition easier during the next 2 weeks).

Best regards,

This should be done AFTER you've told your direct report in person, rather than in place of telling people in person. I believe that the letter is required by most HR departments.
posted by kaybdc at 1:36 PM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

kaybdc has it.

Do not be drawn into any 'why' conversations. "I've decided it's time to move on" is all that should be said.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 4:11 PM on July 31, 2011

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