can I resign via text message?

A reader writes:

Is it acceptable to send a text to your employer you are quitting and will not be returning to work?


You should generally resign in a face-to-face conversation. If that’s not possible (because you work in different locations, or one of you is traveling or otherwise away from work, or whatever caused you to quit is so egregious that you’re not willing to return for the conversation), then you should call so that you can have an actual conversation. Having an actual conversation also ensures that you know your message was received; otherwise it’s possible your manager could miss that text entirely and have no idea what happened.

If the reason you want to do it via text is because you’re just done with the place and don’t want to deal with them for even the length of a phone call, or you want to just deliver the message without having to have a conversation about it … you should still suck it up and have the conversation. It’s five minutes out of your life, and you can redirect or cut the conversation short if you don’t like the direction it’s going in (“I’ve made up my mind about this, so let’s cover whatever transition items you need from me”), but doing it is far better for your reputation than not doing it.

In worst-case scenarios, you can do it via email. But not a text. A text is just too casual. It’s the kind of thing that will make you look bad — unprofessional and a bit cowardly — to other people who hear about it, not just your direct manager.

You can handle five minutes of discomfort.

{ 328 comments… read them below }

  1. rosenstock*

    this is a bit topical for me – i am quitting (via face to face conversation) at the end of the workday today! :)

      1. rosenstock*

        thank you!! i’m nervous because the boss is an angry, unprofessional guy (maybe you can imagine why i’m quitting) so i’m quite eager to get it over with!

          1. Solidus Pilcrow*

            When my mom retired, I so wanted her to channel Bender from Futurama and tell her boss to “Bite my shiny metal ass!” – ’cause what would they do, fire her? Since it was retirement, no worry about burning bridges either!

            Alas, mom is much more polite and reserved than I.

        1. anonykins*

          I got so nervous when I was quitting that I gave myself an ulcer (I was also dealing with a LOT of work-related stress, so this was just the cherry on top). I feared a big scene, but my boss was actually more shocked and concerned for me as a person because he could tell I was really upset. Hope yours goes well.

    1. Lemon Zinger*

      Good luck! I’m sure it’ll go just fine. Just remember that you are the better person, and that you’re making a decision that’s best for you!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Good luck. If he has poor behavior then tell yourself that right there is part of the reason why you are leaving. It’s his final rant and you are no longer hostage to his rants.

    3. rosenstock*

      thank you so much to everyone who has replied! it is so helpful to hear words of support as i anticipate this difficult conversation. <3

    4. Jess1216*

      Ugh, I’ve had this conversation. It was hard….but afterwards, I felt the lifting of a weight I didn’t know existed. I hope you have the same relief soon!

    1. snarkarina*

      Yes, likewise (tw0 bosses ago) – and alas in that case I had to do it via email because she was going to be on travel for the next three weeks and I had to give two. And then more recently where I really liked everyone I worked with but had such a good opportunity I couldn’t pass it up I almost HATED doing it face-to-face because it was going to be so hard (fortunately it was within the same company so I still see everyone, and there were no hard feelings, since they–too–acknowledged it was the perfect move for me).

    2. Manders*

      I had an awkward situation at my last job where my boss went on vacation RIGHT before I received an awesome job offer. Literally, I left work for the day and got the call within minutes. I had been relishing the thought of getting to tell him in person that I was out of there for good, but ended up having to do it by email (I tried calling but he didn’t pick up the phone–he was a weird guy).

    3. UKate*

      Same here. It was my first proper job out of university so I was incredibly nervous and shaking beforehand, but it was so sweet to have the managers of this horrific screwed up workplace ask ‘Have you found something else?’ and respond with just a straight up ‘No :)’. I let the awkward silence continue for a bit and enjoyed their faces as they realised I would literally rather be unemployed than work there any more.

  2. Tala*

    You’ll probably get no thanks for doing it the proper way (even thinking of doing it by text suggests you might have an employer who you don’t think will react well….) but this is an occasion where gritting your teeth and doing it ‘properly’ is the right thing to do.

    1. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Yes, this is one of those times when doing the right thing will go unnoticed (except by us here: yay you!) but doing the unprofessional thing will definitely be noticed and perhaps have long-term consequences.

  3. L.*

    Got fired by text once, can confirm that it totally sucks to be on that end. Always call, or at least send a decent professional email.

    1. Danielle*

      I’ve always done both–given notice verbally and then sent my boss an email to confirm, and so we both have it in writing.

      1. some1*

        I gave notice once by email, because it was the Monday of the first week of my two-week notice and it was a holiday. I did, however, write that I was planning on following up with my boss in person the next day when we were back at work.

        1. shep*

          Yes, I had to give notice via phone once–I was in the office, but my supervisor was out of town at a meeting. I had known a day or two before, but wanted to wait until the end of the week. I didn’t realize he was going to be out. He was super-nice so I felt awful doing it over the phone, but the actual work was soul-sucking and I was NOT about to delay my departure just so I could talk to him face-to-face.

          Of course, since I gave two weeks’ notice, we had plenty of time to do exit interviews and follow-ups, and I left detailed notes regarding my cases. Not quite the same as quitting via text.

    2. namelesscommentater*

      I quit once without notice (job wanted me to relocate 1500 miles the next day), and sent an immediate follow up email outlining the date/time the conversation took place and next steps .

      My director acted like the email was unnecessary, but I didn’t trust them so it put my mind at ease. Turns out having it was a great back-up “as stated in the email confirming my resignation, I was going to email you these receipts…” later in the week.

        1. namelesscommentater*

          We had known we would all be relocating, but my team had a guarantee of staying in the rockies. This was the least of their management errors. Watching the hire ups is the closet to a cult I ever wish to be.

          (I ended up relocating 1,100 miles in the opposite direction the next day anyways – to a job that paid twice as much with significantly more advancement opportunities.)

      1. YuliaC*

        Yes, it is best to have this proof of resignation even if the boss says that’s not necessary! I had resigned from a retail store several years ago,, after giving a decent verbal 2 weeks notice to my boss. Only to discover recently that it says “abandoned the job” in my file at that company. And I have no proof whatsoever that I had resigned properly…

        1. namelesscommentater*

          It wasn’t as dramatic as “asked me to move 1500 miles the next day” might suggest, but it was in a long string of WTF.

          We had been told we would all be relocating that week – but my team had a very clear “you’ll be in this state” which we had made plans for (including plane tickets, medical decisions, purchased clothing…). So we were packed and ready to move (with the understanding it would be a <5 hour trip and fulfilling the same contract we had already been working on). Then they sprung the "You guys are SO AWESOME that we need you…" Many people went – because it was easier to follow the status quo and they didn't want to quit without notice, and at least two people played into the "they told me I'm so valuable so I owe them something."

          My bigger concerns with the company were that they: expected employees to share beds (including with the executive director); paid around $4.85 an hour and made jokes about how they weren't accountable to overtime, minimum wage or break laws; and phrased any unrest as "guess you're not as strong as the rest of this because you can't deal" But that's a conversation for a different post…

    3. Lady Montworth (née Janice in Accounting)*

      That’s horrible, to be fired by text. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

    4. Lissa*

      That’s horrible! I think another problem with texting somebody with anything like that if the text doesn’t go through? How bad would that be? I’ve definitely had texts get lost in the ether before.

  4. YouDontKnowMe*

    I once quit by leaving a post it note on my name badge saying “I’m out -Ang” and left that on my bosses desk while she was in a meeting.
    the office was rotten, degrading and I have actual emails from the supervisor and other staff calling me and other people “idiots”. I don’t feel bad

    1. ButFirstCoffee*

      Wow. Glad you got out, I would’ve done the same thing. I quit over the phone once to a different manager because another manager terrified me, making me cry at work and then asking me “What kind of game are you playing?” after she made me upset.

    2. Doodle*

      I’m glad it worked out, and that sounds like a terrible place to work.

      For the OP, however, I think Alison clarified that it’s less that you’d need to “feel bad,” and more that it’s a poor reflection on you that could follow you to your next job: “It’s the kind of thing that will make you look bad — unprofessional and a bit cowardly — to other people who hear about it, not just your direct manager.”

      1. Hotstreak*

        If they’re being cruel towards her, I think it’s justified. She shouldn’t have to subject herself to the potential for more of that kind of treatment, just to save a little face (how valuable was that reference going to be – they think she’s an idiot).

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Even then, it’s better to do it by email, not by post-it (as satisfying as I can imagine that must have been!). Email doesn’t subject you to more bad treatment and preserves your reputation with the other people in the office who will hear about it.

          1. Hotstreak*

            That’s true, but not all workplaces have access to email (such as service jobs). I suppose writing a more formal resignation letter would be professional enough, if you really don’t want to do anything in person.

            1. Tequila Mockingbird*

              What if you’re a flight attendant? Would it be OK to quit by announcing it over the plane’s PA system, grabbing a beer, and then deploying the evacuation slide?


          2. Sketchee*

            I agree, if we don’t have values when inconvenient than others will question whether we have values. Better to find a way to handle it as well as possible

    3. Q*

      OMG! We had someone quit via post it note! She left it on her computer screen and it seriously read “I’m sorry. I can’t do this anymore” like this was an episode of Sex and the City and not a professional office.

      1. SJ*

        I came into this post to make a joke about someone quitting via Post-It, but I guess it happens in real life!

      2. LBK*

        That’s hilarious that someone actually quoted that. Did they not watch the rest of the episode where the whole point was how horrible it was to do something like that via Post-It?

      3. Meg Murry*

        Was that actually a plotline in Sex and the City, or are you just suggesting that was the kind of thing that would happen there?

        Am I the only one who might interpret that note as a possible suicide note, not just a quitting the job note, if it didn’t have anything other than what was written above? Or am I just in overreaction mode from dealing with a friend going through some tough times right now?

          1. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

            It was! And everyone walked away from it going, “Wow, Berger is a cowardly **expletive**.”

            So don’t be a Berger, OP!

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          I had the same reaction, not having ever watched Sex and the City. I’d be really worried about my coworker.

    4. ShinyNewAustralia*

      I’m officially breaking my lurkdom for this! At an old job we had a relatively long term temp who was pretty unhappy with how she was treated. She took a really, really long lunch one day – after a couple hours someone finally walked over to her desk and saw a post-it note that said “I’m never coming back” with a nice smiley face under it. It became the stuff of legend.

      1. Annabelle Lee*

        I hope you all learned some lessons from that: how not to resign and how to treat temps for sure.

      2. the gold digger*

        I worked with the awful CEO NotSergio from NotArgentina. There were a few people who just didn’t come back after lunch because they were so tired of dealing with him.

        Fortunately, the board finally fired him two months ago. But why did it take them so long?

        1. LS*

          In my first job, we had a new employee who went out for lunch *on his first day* and didn’t come back. I never found out what happened to him.

          1. Lissa*

            we had that happen a few times when I worked in food service, people would leave for a smoke break and never come back on their first or second day.

        1. ShinyNewAustralia*

          We all thought it was pretty damn funny. I think somebody actually took the note and kept it in their desk for years, dreaming of the day when they could use it for themselves. Of course, Post-it Lady would also take off her leggings and sit on the floor of her cube to cut her toenails, so she was pretty well versed in “super unprofessional”. :)

    5. Tequila Mockingbird*

      I’m sorry, but quitting via Post-It is dramatic, immature and unprofessional. It doesn’t matter how badly they treated you. You stooped to their level, making you look just as bad (and burning any bridges that might have helped you in your next job). Being treated badly is never a valid excuse for treating others badly. Golden Rule and all that.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          The point is that the victim can end up being the person who does it, because of its impact on their reputation — not just among the manager they dislike, but among anyone who hears about it, even if they were fairly sympathetic to the person’s beefs previously.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Sure it is. Would you think that it was okay to be fired by post-it? The polite and professional thing to do when ending a business relationship is to treat it with more seriousness and decorum than a post-it allows for.

            2. LBK*

              Fine, maybe it’s not treating others badly. But others treating you badly is an even worse reason to treat *yourself* badly, which is what a “minor rebellion” like this does.

          1. Anon for this*

            I once excluded someone from consideration because he flaked from his prior job – he just stopped going in one day. They were worried something had happened to him, but eventually tracked him down only to find that nope, he just didn’t want to work for them anymore. Unfortunately for him, I used to work at his prior company, so I checked with his former manager for a reference. Too unprofessional for us!

        2. Hotstreak*

          Well, there’s one victim, the person writing the note, but they can weigh the consequences and make a decision for themselves.

          I’m not counting the employer as a “victim” here, since regardless of the method of notification, this person is quitting This. Very. Second. and the effect on business operations is the same.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Actually, if you’re quitting without notice, in many jobs the employer suffers too, since there’s no time for transitioning the work. A person quitting by post-it probably doesn’t care about that though.

            1. Hotstreak*

              Right, the point I’m getting at is that quitting with no notice via post-it or text isn’t more harmful to the business than quitting with no notice via email, or in person.

                1. Zombii*

                  Definitely, but it’s a calculated risk. I quit with no notice via email from a call center job that handled management by way of passive-aggressive bullshit all the way down.

                  The company refuses to give any reference, only confirming dates of employment and eligible for rehire (everyone is eligible for rehire; I’ve seen people who were fired for stealing customer account information be rehired months later like it was nothing).

                  The company also has a policy against managers giving references, if they find out it’s a final written warning which means the manager loses their bonus for two months.

                  The company is too mercenary for me to be any less mercenary.

        3. LBK*

          I dunno, if I heard one of my coworkers did this, I think it would permanently tarnish my impression of them. They’d have to be in a highly extreme situation (like getting physically abused at work) for me to think it was justified.

          The way you leave a job has a lot of weight when it comes to how people describe you as an employee going foward. I had a coworker who was adequate but not terrible. After he put in his two weeks, he basically ghosted the job, and my manager ended up firing him for NCNS before his two weeks was up. If someone called me for a reference now, the story that would immediately come to mind would be how he quit, not anything else about his work.

          1. Lissa*

            Yeah, a lot of things are funny to hear in a story or to watch on TV but when they actually happen, everyone is just kind of embarrassed. Like the woman who quit by coming into work (it was a restaurant) and ordering lunch in the uniform of her new job and yelled into the back “I quiiiiit.” I’m sure she thought it would be awesome but it was more awkward than anything.

        4. Tequila Mockingbird*


          The “victim” in this scenario is the person who quits in a childish manner.

      1. Nicole*

        Agreed. As satisfying as it would be in the moment, it’s not worth the long term damage. Plus I know I’d feel horrible later when I thought back on it.

        That being said, I did walk out on a job two and a half days early once. My last day was a Friday (had a new job lined up) and my boss and a coworker were being pretty crappy towards me and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I gave my Nextel and badge to the admin (who was also a friend) and told her I wasn’t coming back. Got home to find out my grandmother, who was like a mother to me, had passed away that morning. I feel like it was her spirit influencing my actions since I usually don’t behave that way. She was a no nonsense person and had she been alive would have told me to walk out.

    6. Elizabeth*

      I wouldn’t have even interpreted “I’m out” on a post-it as a quitting notice. I would have just assumed you were going home for the day and would be back tomorrow.

    7. ReallyReallyAnon*

      I knew someone who did this (left badge on bosses desk). I didn’t think poorly of the leaving person: they had been treated horribly by the boss. A few years subsequent I was placed under this boss and eventually I shared with them that I had discussed some matters with my lawyer about them and the boss backed off.

    8. Anion*

      Ugh, no wonder you quit like that! Good for you!

      I quit a part-time job at a mall record store by slipping a note under the security gate before they opened (a friend of mine and I decided on the spur of the moment to move). It was a horrible job; the manager was both unprofessional and racist. I will never forget him telling me to keep a closer eye on African-American shoppers because “they’re the ones who steal.” My mouth literally fell open. (I grew up in a place that everyone seems to think is full to the brim with horrible racists, and in the entire eighteen years I lived there I never heard *anyone* make a comment like that, or even imply anything like that.)

      He also once screamed at me in front of everyone, for an extended period of time, because I mentioned how small his hands were–I know (now) it wasn’t the most professional thing for me to say, but I was barely eighteen, my last job had been in a place where everyone hung out outside of work and our managers were really cool and loved to joke around with us (they were still very professional, but a comment like that wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow there), and the conversation in which I made the comment included several other people and all of them were joking about each other and the manager in a similar fashion. I was new and thought that was just the way everyone talked to each other there, especially since said mgr. told me when he hired me that they were such a fun group and they all teased each other and joked all the time. His yelling included not only my comment, but how I shouldn’t think he was just some small-town guy because he was going to get out of there and move to the city. Ohhkaay, man. I was crying–really sobbing, because I didn’t understand what I’d done wrong and he didn’t really explain it, and I’d only recently moved to that town and was tremendously homesick for my hometown *and* my old job, including the head manager who was honestly more like a mother to me than a boss– in front of everyone and it was just a huge nightmare.

      So I wrote out a note that said: [Name]: I’m leaving town today. I won’t be back. Sorry if this inconveniences you. Anion. P.S. Say goodbye to [one manager who’d been mostly nice to me] for me.” I slipped it through the security grate and left the building, feeling like I’d just amputated a gangrenous limb that had never worked anyway.

      I know it wasn’t the snappiest and most stick-it-to-the-man note ever, but I still wish I’d gotten to see his face when he read it.

  5. NPOQueen*

    I text my boss during events and when I’m sick (company email doesn’t work off property and he’s rarely at his desk for phone calls). I can’t imagine texting to quit. Even the “I’m sick” texts feel too impersonal to me, but it was requested. Every resignation talk I’ve had has been awkward, but I can still count on all of my former managers to give me a good recommendation. Don’t burn that bridge OP, it’s not worth it.

    1. Doodle*

      Yeah, I think the difference between “I’m sick” and “I quit” is that one they might need to know immediately (“I’m sick”), and so while texting might not be ideal, it’s the best method for reaching that person away from their desk.

      “I quit” feels so urgent to the person who is doing it, but it’s rare that it actually couldn’t wait until later in the day, etc. to set up a phone call or meet in person.

    2. Lemon Zinger*

      I also text my boss frequently, since she is always traveling between offices/having email issues. I’ve never felt very comfortable with it (I’d prefer to reserve my phone for only personal use) but that’s the way she wants me to do it.

      That said, when the time comes for me to move on, I will definitely schedule a face-to-face meeting with her. If she chooses to cancel it (which happens too often), she’ll just have to be notified over the phone.

    3. SJ*

      I’ve usually texted my bosses when I’m out sick, but I send a followup email too. I just like letting them know early in the A.M. before they’ve gotten into work and have to check their email to find out where I am.

      1. NPOQueen*

        My job is super on lock down, so if I don’t have my work laptop, there is no way to access my email. It’s incredibly frustrating, because sometimes you are a mess, but you could still get stuff done if you could only get into your inbox.

        I have also called the front desk to leave messages for my boss if he doesn’t respond to a text, so someone in that office knows I’m not coming in.

    4. Meg Murry*

      If the boss is generally only responsive by text, sending a “I need to talk to you today, please call me as soon as you can” or some other kind of text to set up an appointment to talk is acceptable. But quitting by text is not.

  6. N*

    I used to help coordinate a job skills program for youth, and one of my coworkers used to always explain to the young adults that having a job was a lot like dating–you have to give your interviewers, coworkers, and managers the same courtesy you would give someone you were romantically interested in. For example, calling your boss to let them know that you’re running late because you’re experiencing car trouble instead of leaving them to wonder where you are, or not stalking a hiring manager and sending them dozens of emails a day. Here, I think the metaphor applies. Quitting your job by text is a lot like breaking up with someone by text–unfortunately, it looks cowardly at best.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        In my area here, it could work into a no call/no show. Texts don’t always arrive, or you can get it three days later.

        Some messages are too important to rely on technology. Before technology we used to say, “Don’t send a third party to deliver YOUR message.” It’s a similar idea.

      1. Important Moi*


        I think about the guy who texted me 90 minutes to professional athletic event, apparently not taking into account time required to get myself ready, get there, find parking, find him and find my seat.

        1. I didn’t see the text until 20 minutes before said event. A phone call would have been great.
        2. I was already out and about doing stuff.
        3. It would take me 90 minutes to all the above in the best of circumstances (if I were at home)

        1. Emi.*

          About an hour before my date was supposed to pick me up for a college dance, he texted me to say “Sorry, I can’t go to your SYR*, I remembered I made plans to watch the game with my friends.” [*SYR is an informal dance. This was actually my formal.] I went with my friends; he semi-apologized again next time he saw me in person, and I said, “Oh, don’t worry. I had tons of fun without you.”

      2. Anon13*

        Agreed, as well. “Ghosting,” while wrong, has become increasingly popular in dating – let’s hope it doesn’t become a trend in workplaces.

        1. LBK*

          Miss Manners actually argues that ghosting is more polite than explicitly breaking up with someone, because there’s no way to break up with someone that doesn’t involve either insulting them or lying to them about why you don’t want to date them. Google “Kafka romance dissolver”.

            1. LBK*

              I think her advice is predicated on the idea that you should be comfortable saying to yourself “You know what? They turned down/haven’t replied to three invites for another date. If they’re still interested, they know where to find me” and then moving on. If you’re someone who can’t do that and will continue to assume the person is interested until they explicitly tell you otherwise, then yeah, ghosting sucks.

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              I don’t think she recommends ghosting the way many of us use that term. She’s ok with doing what LBK describes, though (vaguely turning down all invitations to spend time together).

          1. Emi.*

            Is the Kafka Romance Dissolver really ghosting? I thought it only counted as ghosting if you don’t answer calls or texts, etc., in effect disappearing, like a ghost, whereas KRD involves picking up the phone and saying “No, I can’t go to the movies with you.” That said, I think either is a crummy thing to do.

            KRD seems to me like an okay way to brush off someone you’ve been on a couple dates with but aren’t in a Relationship with. Do others think that’s off-base?

            1. LBK*

              I always considered constantly turning down invites or giving vague “Sure, we can hang out again some time” replies with no firm commitment to be a form of ghosting, but I suppose it depends on your definition.

              1. Ask a Manager* Post author

                This might be the first time I can think of that I’ve ever disagreed with you! I think ghosting is limited to just going completely dark — disappearing. We need a different type of undead creature to describe what you’re talking about here.

                1. LBK*

                  Ha – I suppose I think of a ghost as still being an appropriate metaphor, because you might hear it slamming your doors or rattling your windows, but never actually see the ghost itself. Just like you might get a response from someone that lets you know they’re still around, but never actually see them again.

                  I also find that giving vague, non-committal responses is usually the precursor to not replying at all, so that’s probably also part of why I equate the two. They’re steps on the same path.

                2. JB (not in Houston)*

                  Yeah, I refer to what as LBK describes as “the slow fade,” and I’ve seen others call it that, too. I’m with you, Alison, “ghosting”=disappearing

                3. LBK*

                  I suppose my question is what difference it makes – whether you disappear over time or immediately, the end result is the other person having to come to the conclusion on their own that you’re not interested. The three strikes rule applies equally: whether you get a half-assed reply or no reply, after 3 invitations without a commitment you move on.

                  At least with instant ghosting, there’s no illusion that they may at some point still be interested. And if you find yourself unable to take a hint and move on after continually shouting into the void and hearing nothing back, well, maybe you have some other issues you need to work out (and I say this as someone who has paid a therapist a lot of money to help work out those issues).

                  Again, if you’re not someone who can stick to the three strikes rule and pivot emotionally once it’s clear they’re not engaging, then ghosting sucks and those hard no’s make life easier. But I disagree that explicit breakups are always better across the board.

                4. JB (not in Houston)*

                  The slow fade seems better to me because you have the chance of saying “I’m sensing that you don’t want to spend time with me any more” and maybe get confirmation or a discussion, or at least it lets you think that maybe the friendship/relationship just died a natural death. Ghosting seems harsher and more likely to start someone down the path of speculating about what they did wrong.

            2. KB*

              I think KRD is slightly better than ghosting, but both are only not egregious if you’ve been on a handful of dates with someone. That being said, KRD has to be done correctly or you get a Rory/Paul scenario from the Gilmore girls reboot.

              “Benching” is also a common phenomenon that is an offshoot of KRD, but for the less decisive.

              1. Lissa*

                Yeah, IMO ghosting is OK after like, one date maybe? and the other thing would I guess be OK after a few dates, but I still think it’s kinda rude. Both are *awful* if you’ve had any kind of “where is this going” discussion…like how many times does the person I’ve been seeing have to turn down invites before I realize it’s over and I can see other people?

          2. Marillenbaum*

            I think it depends on how long you’ve been dating. Someone I’ve gone out with 2-3 times and don’t care to see anymore? That’s one thing. But if we’re dating each other exclusively, I would call–otherwise, you’re asking them to meet you somewhere to get dumped, which sucks. I will say, though, that my first boyfriend and I ended things by a sort of mutual ghosting; we were in contact every day, and then we just…weren’t. It was weird, but I also felt pretty okay with it.

            1. Gaia*

              OMG the same thing happened with my first serious relationship. I realized one day that we hadn’t called or texted in weeks and I thought “Oh I should call Fella” and then I just…didn’t. Nothing had happened we just somehow mutually ghosted at the same time.

          3. Garrett*

            Yeah, ghosting sucks because you don’t get the closure and it can hurt too, so I totally disagree with it being better. Just tear off the band-aid.

            1. LBK*

              I think the argument is that an official breakup doesn’t necessarily give you closure anyway, because if someone says “I’m not interested in you anymore” that still leaves you pondering what it is about yourself that someone you were attracted to doesn’t like, or what you might have done that someone who did like you at one point doesn’t now.

              1. SarahTheEntwife*

                It still leaves unanswered questions, but it at least reduces the time the question “are we still dating?” is unanswered, leaving the person to try to move on and stop trying to pretend the other person really is just super busy these days.

                1. LBK*

                  I think this all depends on whether you were already at the point of asking “Are we still dating?” or not. If you’re already sensing the relationship may be on the outs, I agree that it can help to cut to the chase rather than dragging it out. But if you think everything’s fine and then out of the blue you get dumped, doesn’t that leave you with way more questions about what the hell happened, since you thought things were going well?

                  It’s situational, is all I’m saying. I think a blanket rule that you should always be explicit about breaking up is one of those things that sounds kinder in theory than it can be in practice.

                2. LBK*

                  I might also argue that telling yourself they must have been eaten by a bear or abducted by aliens lets you protect your self-worth a little more, because that allows you to tell yourself that it’s nothing you did or nothing about who you are that drove them away. If they explicitly break up with you, you aren’t allowed to write your own answer to that question.

                  Of course, this also varies depending on how closely your self-worth is tied to your romantic success. Ideally the two would be completely disconnected, but realistically I think they’re heavily intertwined for a lot of people.

          4. KEM11088*

            I disagree. My ex fiance, while going through mental health issues, tried to GHOST ME, his fiance, after several years of dating.

            The emotional scars have carried right on over, while he has blissfully moved on with his life, not caring about his actions or consequences. Ghosting is never, ever, ever ok. It is cowardly.

            1. LBK*

              That’s clearly not the context implied by the conversation – we’re talking about someone you’ve only been casually dating for a few weeks or months. Disappearing from a serious, defined relationship isn’t ghosting, it’s abandonment.

          5. Candy*

            Wow, I totally disagree with this! I would argue that ghosting someone is more insulting than simply saying Sorry, I’m just not that into you. Leaving someone hanging without closure displays much less consideration for someone than doing it quick and painlessly. Not every break-up needs to involve insults and dishonesty.

          6. paul*

            I *really* disagree with that, pretty strongly. Tell them you aren’t feeling it and move on. Don’t just ignore them or give vague statements. yeah it can be awkward but if you’re going to be dating, kind of suck it up and deal with it you know?

            1. Lissa*

              Yeah, I agree with you. Ghosting someone you’ve been dating lets them have days/weeks (?) of uncertainty, going from “oh I guess they’re just sick/busy” and an increasingly bad gut feeling about what’s happening. At what point is it reasonable to say “oh, my boyfriend/girlfriend hasn’t contacted me in a [week/month/two days] Guess I’m single!” I think even if it’s only been a few dates and say, you met online, if the other person saw it going somewhere you should tell them — then they know to keep looking for dates which they might not do if you just stopped talking to them…

              1. Oranges*

                I have asked someone since they did the slow fade. Sure it was super awkward but worth it. If you need that hope squished ask for it. I’m not good at it yet but I’m trying.

                Some people like the slow fade. Each to their own.

                I think ghosting on anything less than 2-3 dates is no.

      3. N*

        Oh sure. This was usually followed with a conversation about how to appropriately treat people in general.

    1. ZSD*

      Yeah, I think that analogy presupposes that people treat their romantic partners decently. One guy in college “broke up” with me by just avoiding me – no discussion, no “I want to break up” announcement, no empathy. I would hate to give him permission to treat employers the same way.

    2. Marillenbaum*

      I got dumped by text once. I actually kind of preferred it, because it was way easier for me to be like “I understand. Good luck” and look reasonable than if he’d done it face-to-face (I’m a crier). I’ll freely admit that it’s a YMMV situation, though.

      1. Anon13*

        For me, it depends on how long I’ve been dating someone. A handful of dates? A text is preferred. Five years? You better be breaking up with me in person, preferably at my house so I’m not in public and I don’t have to drive myself home. Of course, there are a lot of scenarios in between those two extremes, too.

    3. Tequila Mockingbird*

      I don’t know how to say this without sounding like an old curmudgeon (and I’m not even 40 yet!), but I HATE what text messaging has done to modern communication. Phone calling is a dead art, and people use text messaging for ALL manners of important situations when a call would be far more appropriate.

      Dating is just one area of that. Before I got married, I dropped many clueless guys who kept texting after I told them, over and over, to CALL me if they wanted to go out. If you text me “Hey, what are you doin’?” at 10:45pm, I will NOT respond. WTF is wrong with people?

      And did you all hear that Malaysian Airlines sent a text message to all the families of the missing passengers on Flight 370? “Sorry, your loved ones are prob dead by now.” WHAT THE HELL. I fear that we’re moving toward a society where no one has the ability to deliver important news in an appropriate way. Can you imagine a hospital telling you by text, “Hey, your dad died”?

      So to pile on to what AaM has already said above… anytime you feel the urge to send a text to anyone who isn’t a close friend, stop and ask yourself if a phone call would make you look better. Texting should NOT be your automatic default method for every communication.

      1. JB (not in Houston)*

        I haaaate phone calls, so texting actually allows me to have conversations I otherwise wouldn’t have at all. But I agree with you that it does give some people a cowardly way out to say what should be said at least in a phone call, if not face to face.

        1. SarahTheEntwife*

          YES. Hate phone calls. I don’t like texts for long conversations just because the medium is kind of awkward, but phone calls to me are only for absolutely urgent things where you need me to run and pick up the phone now. Otherwise text or email or face to face.

          1. Tequila Mockingbird*

            Why do people hate phone calls so much? Genuine question. I hear this a lot from people who insist on texting for nearly everything.

            Also, texting, like Twitter, should NEVER be longer than 140 characters. If what you need to say is much longer than that, that’s a clear sign that texting is not the correct medium. My phone (like most, I think) splits very long texts into separate messages, and if I get 5+ messages from someone reading like a chapter of a damn novel, I will block that person from ever texting me again.

            1. JB (not in Houston)*

              Why don’t some people like action movies? Why don’t some people like social gatherings with lots of people? Why don’t some people like football? Or chili? There are things in life that you like or you don’t, and this is one of them.

              For me, part of it is that the phone call feels more intrusive–it’s easy for me to set aside my book for a second to see what a text says and maybe quickly respond, but a phone call is more of a distraction. Also, I’m an introvert, and phone calls are more draining than a text. And finally, some people I have a hard time getting off the phone with (Hi, Mom!), so they take a lot of time. But different people dislike the phone for different reasons.

            2. Rabunzel*

              Personally, I’m very much NOT an auditory learner, so (conversational) phone calls are frustrating for me. I can talk on the phone for work or for specific purposes, but I can’t get into the groove of a conversation on a call because I lack face/body language for context. If I can’t see the person I’m talking to, then texting is the next best thing because it allows me to re-read and process what they’re saying and not forget important details they’ve just told me. So if a friend calls me, of course I’ll answer it, but for most people I’ll never initiate it myself.

              And I respectfully but strongly disagree about the lengths of texts! Lots of old, faraway friends will text me long (easily 5+ messages) updates when they can, and it delights me. Even if I’m too busy to commit to a phone call, I’ll take a second to read it and answer when I have a minute. It gives me a lot more flexibility to hold a conversation and maintain a friendship without trying to fit it into anyone’s schedule. I’m sure that doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s certainly helped my relationships :)

              1. FiveWheels*

                Agreed with all the above! WhatsApp has also been amazing for my friendships. I have a group of good old friends from around the world, but our relationship isn’t such that we would have one in one chats. We have a WhatsApp group which is basically about ten of us in a constant ongoing stream of consciousness.

                There are few things I find more reassuring than waking up, going online, and seeing that my friends are/were around and they saw my jokes/vacation photos/rant about work/comment about movies we all like/whatever. And that their similar thoughts, from other timezones, are right there.

                Text based asynchronous conversation isn’t perfect for everything, but it means I have those lazy days hanging around on the couch with my buddies takking about everything and nothing… In my pocket, every day.

            3. FiveWheels*

              I don’t like phone calls because I feel like I don’t have enough information about the other person but I’m forced to expend energy on communicating.

              If there’s a moment of silence in a phone call my brain wants to know WHY WHY WHY. In a text conversation slow replies aren’t a problem and face to face silences are great, there’s no awkwardness.

              Also phone calls have always felt intrusive to me. Like someone is yelling NOW NOW NOW STOP AND TALK TO ME NOW! I might be engrossed watching sport, or playing a game, or reading, or talking to someone face to face, or lost in thought. Text messages are non intrusive and don’t demand my immediate attention.

              This is probably an introvert thing.

              1. Lissa*

                I’m not an introvert and also hate phone calls! A quick information one is fine, but a conversation is nope, and I’d much rather a text unless there’s something really important. TBH unless it’s work or my father, if someone calls me I assume it’s super important because none of us just call regularly.

                1. Gaia*

                  Me too. I am quite extroverted and my phone remains on silent at all times unless I have an emergency call I am expecting. I never used to be like that and then a few years ago the ringer on my phone started freaking out my dog so I just turned it off…and never turned it back on. My life is much more peaceful when I decide how and when to communicate.

            4. Hrovitnir*

              I hate phone calls through a combination of anxiety and the fact that it’s often easier to have what you want written down – you have a written record and they can’t misunderstand you. I am fairly good at professional conversations as I did it a lot in my previous job, but my anxiety started to make calling out harder and harder even at work, where I at least am calling in a professional context.

              For making appointments it can be very frustrating having them understand you (I will never understand how so many receptionists are very average at communication) and it can be all round frustrating. Any online booking system will make me happy.

              I basically am only OK with calling either for urgent things that will be much more efficient via a phone call, or for calling my partner if he’s away.

            5. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

              So I don’t think texts replace calls/convos, but I also hate the phone. I’m a really poor listener who gets distracted if I’m on the phone. The only way for me to pay complete attention is to literally block everything else out and possibly close my eyes / note-take while listening. I’m willing to do that for work, but who takes notes when talking to their friends??

              BUT, this is why I like the rise of video-conferencing. I like face-to-face convos, but absent that option, simply being able to talk to a face increases my auditory retention by like 5000%. Plus so much communication is non-verbal that having a broader picture makes it easier for me to pick up on subtleties in a way that I can’t easily do on the phone.

            6. Claire (Scotland)*

              I hate phone calls because I find it difficult to follow what’s being said (I have some mild auditory processing issues), and I also have some social anxiety which means that without the visual cues to tell me the person’s mood/attitude, I find it really hard to know if they are being serious/angry/happy or whatever, and so I misjudge the tone of conversations badly at times.

              As an introvert, I find phone calls are draining, and texts or tweets or emails work better as they are asynchronous and I don’t have to be ready to reply immediately. I can take time to reflect and answer when I have the energy and opportunity, rather than being pressed to have a response instantly which is stressful and anxiety-inducing for me.

  7. Mallory Janis Ian*

    I am laughing because giving notice at my last job entailed an awkward, painful, hour-long conversation with my two married bosses about why was I leaving, where was I going, what exactly were the benefits and pay at the new job versus the current job, etc. There was the wife-boss telling me that I only wanted to return to the university because no one can ever get fired from there, and the husband-boss defending me by telling his wife that she doesn’t understand what a good assistant is and that I was the only assistant he’s ever had who understands what it means to be in a support role. There was a spousal argument, right in front of me, about whether I gave the job at their company a fair chance. There were tears and recriminations and a whole barrel of drama. The only positive part was that the husband-boss was on my side at every turn.

    To think that I could have avoided all that by just sending a text saying that I quit. Lol.

    1. AdAgencyChick*

      OMG. I am imagining the FunnyBot from South Park sitting in on that meeting and going, “AWK-WARD!”

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I know it’s hard to do this in the moment (and I too once was stuck in an manager’s office for an hour after I resigned, while she alternately played good cop and bad cop with me about it, before I realized I didn’t have to deal with that) but it’s useful to know for the future: You don’t have to stay there and listen to it! It’s perfectly okay to say, “My mind is really made up on this, so rather than getting into the details of exactly how I made the decision, let’s talk about what you need to transition my work.” And if they still continue, you stand up and you say, “Well, I’ll give you some time to think about how you want to manage the transition, and I can talk any time that’s good for you this week.” And then you leave, cheerfully and professionally.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        Hopefully I’ll never find myself in such a situation again, but I hope someone else can learn from my troubles. Part of the reason I wanted the conversation to go well was that my past ten years of work was in the hands of this couple! I had worked for the husband-boss for eight years at the university before joining their firm, everyone in my network was a architectural professor or a practicing architect with ties to them, and in that moment I thought that my whole professional life would be torched to the ground if I didn’t successfully navigate that meeting.

      2. Sled Dog Mama*

        Oh I am so dealing with this right now! I let bosses (I have two because I’m 50/50 between two divisions) know I would be resigning in a phone call. Next day I submitted an official resignation letter via e-mail (detailing schedule between my two sites and transition steps with those sites). Total radio silence for three days, then it’s suddenly “Why are you going? If we offer you full time at this work site, that we know you like, will you stay? Can we move you? Give you different work site?”
        She keeps calling asking. At one point I had to take a step back and say to myself “Am I giving her any indication that any of this might make me stay?” I finally had to say “Thank you so much for wanting to keep me but I’ve made my decision and I’m sticking with it. Now about training Fergus on XYZ…”

    3. Lemon Zinger*

      Wow. They sound absolutely delightful! Good thing you got out of there. I’m sure you have plenty of other amusing stories about that couple…

    4. Mallory Janis Ian*

      AND THEN, my going-away celebration was a fancy luncheon for the whole office at a country club where the bosses had designed the clubhouse, and the wife-boss made a big awkward speech about how she knew that she was the reason that I was leaving. I didn’t really have any words at the time, but when the other employees and I re-capped the awkwardness of it all on the ride back to the office, the general take on it was, “Oooh, so she does realize what’s going on!” We didn’t know she had the self-awareness to realize that she was the problem.

  8. Noelle*

    I put in 30 days notice awhile ago…my last day is Dec 8th! Had a 1 hour conversation about it, submitted an official resignation letter by email, told all the staff etc. My boss still has done nothing to find my replacement and keeps asking what I will be doing in December and if I could possible help out with 1 or 2 of the special programs.



    1. KR*

      I’m leaving right before Christmas because I’m moving and my boss keeps hinting that I should stay here because my position is becoming full time if the budget passes in March. It was hard to turn away but at this point I just wish he wouldn’t hint at it. I’m packing, I’m going, and that’s that. He also keeps piling projects on me like I’m not leaving in 2 weeks.

      1. LawCat*

        Denial! Not just a river in Egypt!

        I had a supervisor do the same thing and I finally had to say, “In the time I have left, I can’t do both these new tasks and the tasks you wanted me to wrap up. What should I prioritize?”

      2. Merida May*

        A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I think you’re doing the right thing. Maybe it’s just my experience seeing others getting burned by this, but I always take the last ditch promise of a pay raise/promotion/whatever x thing is that wasn’t feasible before I dropped the ‘I’m leaving’ bomb that they’re now totally willing to look in to with a giant grain of salt.

    2. SophieChotek*

      Stick to your plan Noelle and good luck!
      It’s amazing how one suddenly becomes valuable and recognized when one is out the door…at least from what I read here!

    3. Sled Dog Mama*

      Yep, I’m there too.
      Boss: Could you help us with coverage on these days?
      Me: No My last day is X.
      Boss: we’re short staffed this week could we send work to you?
      Me: No my last day is X.

      I’m starting to feel really guilty that I gave in and agreed that I could help as an independent contractor (it’s all remote work and I’d be doing it from home even if I was still employed). I only agreed to it because I know she won’t go to the trouble of setting that up but still.

  9. SeekingBetter*

    Speaking of resigning via text message, a person I was talking with this week was the hiring manager for a role at her company and she told me she was both amused and shocked when she received an applicant’s cover letter in a text message to her phone. Needless to say, that person wasn’t considered at all.

        1. BTW*

          This is me. Unfortunately at the expense of everyone I know. We call it “decatexting” and joke about it all the time. My parents always know when it’s me because their phones goes *bling* … *bling* … *bling* *bling* *bling* haha! It’s just habit! I text really fast too so it’s like one after the other. DH has a busy job however so with him I’ve had to learn to shove it all into 1 or 2 texts if I can.
          My Mom always said I march to the beat of my own drummer lol!

          1. Hrovitnir*

            I didn’t think so many phones still split them into multiple messages! When I first got a mobile phone (after resisting for a few years) I would carefully write multiple texts and send them in reverse order with 1/x on them so they were read in order. Haha.

            But I thought most/all smartphones allowed massive screeds in one go these days. I have tended to have higher end ones for a while though so maybe it’s that.

            1. Zombii*

              This. Seriously. Did everyone turn on the split message setting for nostalgia purposes or is this forum weirdly skewed towards people who are still rocking flip phones?

              Even my $60 StraightTalk smartphone knows how to send/receive one (huge) text message without splitting it.

      1. Lemon Zinger*

        “I am very interested in this position because my skills exactly meet the requirements. LOL :D”

    1. Ama*

      See, this backs up my theory that part of the problem with how text messages are used is too many people think texts and emails are interchangeable, when they really are not (particularly in a business context).

  10. Shazbot*

    If you are sinking to your death in quicksand and want to tie up that loose end before the inevitable, go ahead and text your resignation.
    Otherwise, here in real life, no. Just no.

  11. ZenJen*

    I’ve been broken up with by text, and that’s just lame and cowardly, which is why I only did it once (when I was concerned the other person might be angry-violent in their response). But quitting a job by text??? Cowardly! And, I agree, if I was quitting, I’d WANT to see the faces of those I was leaving.

  12. Fluke Skywalker*

    The only time I can imagine this *might* be… not okay, but understandable, maybe?…. is if, say, you’re working a crummy retail/service job that you’ve been at a short time and it’s not going to affect your resume/future prospects. I know both my brothers did, at one point in their lives, just stop showing up for jobs or walked out without notice, and since they were young and the jobs had nothing to do with their field, it didn’t matter.

    I wouldn’t recommend it, though. I scolded both of them for it and they just shrugged it off, as younger brothers do when their older sister nags them.

    1. Mockingjay*

      I taught both my children the importance of resigning properly by giving notice in person and providing a written note, even for crappy, seasonal retail jobs. When you are starting your “real” work jobs, you’ll need those retailers for initial references, until you get established. A short, courteous note can make a difference in the employee file and what the retailer says (or remembers) about you.

      1. Fluke Skywalker*

        I mean… good for your kids? Do you want a gold star for that? My mother taught all of us better than that, but kids don’t always listen. Especially immature 18 year olds who think they own the world.

        I’m not saying it was okay, just that I can understand why an immature teenager would quit by text, versus an adult with an established career. By the time they’d finished college and had other jobs, those first ones were so far back in their work history that they didn’t affect future applications. *shrug*

    2. KB*

      I had a friend who was working retail while getting her JD. She was about to graduate, already had a job lined up at a prestigious law firm, and submitted her 2 weeks notice. On the last day of her notice towards the end of her shift, a customer was being especially terrible. My friend threw her name tag on the ground, said she quit, and walked out while coworkers clapped. She was well-liked and came back to get her stuff and going-away present. Definitely not professional, but, man, if that isn’t a fantasy of every retail worker.

      1. Fluke Skywalker*

        That is amazing. That’s the dream, for sure. I worked retail for 7 years all through college and most of grad school, and wow did I ever want to do that. On top of that, I had a boss who threw actual, literal temper tantrums, constantly screamed at both the employees and customers, and was… just overall unhinged. He FINALLY got fired, and then I felt weirdly sorry for him because we found out some things about his home life that were awful. I mean… doesn’t excuse his behavior AT ALL, but I have this habit of feeling pity even towards the worst of people.

        1. paul*

          I hear that :/ I had a manager once who started as a really good dude, but became a nightmare…..wound up finding out he died a few years after I left the retail world. Drug overdose.

    3. Anne*

      This is my thought as well. I worked in a restaurant for a few years in college and there were times people just didn’t show up for their shift. A text would have been better than nothing.

    4. Heffalump*

      It didn’t matter?

      Maybe it doesn’t matter to them but it was still a crabby thing to do to their managers and the rest of the team.

      That kind of immaturity and total disregard for others say something about their character. And that is going to follow them in any workplace they go to, even if references don’t.

      1. Fluke Skywalker*

        I mean, maybe saying “didn’t matter” was the wrong choice of words, but both have been employed in jobs they love and that pay well for many years, they have families, and those jobs never affected their prospects. *shrug* This happened when they were like 18. Of COURSE they were immature then. But then they went to college, had other jobs, and those first ones that they impulsively quit didn’t follow them.

        I’m not saying it was right, or that it wasn’t crappy of them. I’m just saying if you’re gonna do that, do it when you’re 18, before you have a career to speak of and a reputation to tarnish.

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          I agree that stuff like this when you’re 18 isn’t likely to have a big impact on your future.

          But at the same time, “I know people who did X and nothing bad happened to them” isn’t in and of itself evidence that X won’t harm you. It just means it won’t harm you 100% of the time, but that necessarily doesn’t make it a good risk to take.

        2. Heffalump*

          The reason why you give some form of notice is because when an employee randomly doesn’t come to work, it affects the rest of the team and wastes a lot of manager time.

          The manager has to contact them, they have to find shift cover, they have to follow the legal procedure regarding job abandonment and document accordingly, and any recruitment plans get put on hold until their termination is confirmed, etc. Depending on the law this can really be a huge pain in the ass when a quick conversation would suffice.

          The fact that this may follow you in your future careers is only one of MANY reasons why you don’t simply walk off a job with no notice. The main reason is that it’s a really crappy thing to inflict on your company.

        3. Not A Morning Person*

          Yes, it can be true that the choices we make to behave unprofessionally won’t matter 10 or 20 years from now. But what about the very next job that asks about your experience for the role and asks for references? Sure, some or most of the immature choices we make won’t follow all of us into eternity, but they will often follow us for a few days or to the next job we apply to. Behaving as an appropriate and professional employee makes a difference to us and to our former or soon-to-be former coworkers. I would not look kindly on a coworker who did such a thing even if I thought the manager “had it coming” due to their unprofessional behavior. It’s your rude and unprofessional behavior that people remember, not what prompted you to be rude and unprofessional in the first place.

    5. JessaB*

      I did once do an “I quit, goodbye.” I worked for a lawyer and he’d been literally screaming at me for something I A: had not done, B: had no information about in the first place, and C: would not even let me try to cut in and explain that it was the other secretary. So I finally looked him in the eye, interrupted his rant and said “My father doesn’t get to talk to me like that, so you surely don’t. I quit.” And I went and cleared my desk and left.

      I got a job the next day on the kind of weird interview where I talked to them for about an hour and they asked if I could stay and work. So I called home and stayed my first day on the new job.

      But normally I give notice. Properly, in person and give two weeks or whatever the employee handbook asks for. But this guy I was just fed up.

    6. Gaia*

      I had a second job at a fast casual restaurant a few years back (started as a holiday gig and just kept going). I had a vacation planned and about a month beforehand decided that I just wasn’t going to keep the job after the vacation. So I put in two weeks’ notice with the notice ending just before my trip.

      I came home to dozens of texts and voicemails asking why I didn’t show up for shifts. It seems no one really thought I was leaving and were so angry that the final message fired me. When I called to remind them I had quit, and forward the email I had sent, they suddenly had no clue about the voicemails.

      I don’t miss that job.

  13. Mabel*

    And if there are any transition items that need to be taken care of (at the very least getting back an ID badge or keys to the office), you can discuss how that will happen. And if your boss says she wants you to stay for two weeks to transition, and for whatever reasons, you need today to be your last day, you can still say that. I agree that it is still more professional and better for your reputation to do it in person or at least by phone. And you’ll probably feel better (in the long run) about having done it that way (you can think of it as “taking the high road” if that helps).

  14. Bonnie*

    All of this plus, it feels so great when you’re done. What if your boss doesn’t text you back? You’re stuck in a weird, anxious limbo – or at least I would be!

  15. SKA*

    I’m reminded of my first time quitting a job… which I did via answering machine.

    However, I was 14, and I was quitting a babysitting gig. My mom told me I had to be the one to do the quitting, and to call the child’s mom (reasonable!). When she didn’t answer, I was caught off-guard and ended up starting to cry and quitting via voice message. (As a side note, the reason I was quitting was because the toddler I was babysitting had fractured my arm.) (Everything about the situation was very weird.)

    1. Sandra Dee*

      I quit a babysitting gig when then kid set fire to the back yard and threatened me with a knife. Yep, dont need that kind of nonsense. Good for you.

      1. SKA*

        She had a Barney toy with a tape deck inside. She had it slung over her shoulder and then flung it onto my arm with some help from gravity. While the child WAS extremely frustrating to work with, I don’t believe she meant to hurt me by doing that. (And even if she did, she was 3 and still learning how to cope with emotions.)

        In brighter news, this was all nearly 2 decades ago, and I have heard that the toddler has grown into a very nice young woman!

    2. Lovemyjob...truly!*

      My daughter is 11 and was recently sitting for my niece as, what was supposed to be, a temporary solution to her childcare solution. Three months passed. My daughter tried quitting but my sister either ignored her, told her that it would “only be a week or two more”, or applied guilt measures with gems like”If you don’t sit, then I can’t work and I can’t pay for my bills.” This past weekend it came to a head when my daughter finally told me what was going on. I ended up having to help her quit (which I swore I would never do!) My daughter was willing to work two weeks but my sister fired her instead. LOL! Wonder how that is working out for her this week.

      1. SKA*

        Seems like a situation made for a parent getting involved, though! Only 11 and being taken advantage of by a relative? Definitely a cause for interference!

    3. Chriama*

      I kind of feel like your mom was in the wrong in that situation. Dealing kid who’s so aggressive that they injure you is not really the time to enforce standards of professional conduct with a 14 year old.

  16. TootsNYC*

    You can handle five minutes of discomfort.

    This is such an important point. Lately I feel like I’m surrounded by people who just take these sorts of things too seriously.

    You’re tough! Honest, you are. It’ll be fine. And discomfort is where you grow.

    The more you power through these things, the easier they’ll be in the future.

    1. Gaara*

      Well, if your job is awful enough that you’ve gotten to this point, it’s not really “five minutes of discomfort.” It’s more “it’s been months (or years) of increasing discomfort.”

      I don’t disagree that it’s better to have an actual conversation, and if not, that email would be better than text, but it’s not really fair to trivialize this conversation, either.

      1. paul*

        This is another thing were we just can’t know, given that we’ve got no context. I’ve seen and worked with enough real flakes that I can believe people in decent jobs can occasionally do this (we had one just walk out mid shift a year so ago here, and we’re a fairly decent workplace). And I’ve seen plenty of people, particularly younger ones, just flake out and do NC/NS back when I worked retail and restaurants.

  17. animaniactoo*

    Unless you have some reason to be afraid for your physical well-being – no. You can do it, but you’re going to be the laughed at story of “They sent me a text. Can you believe it? A text message.” It’s that far outside of the norms, and likely always will be.

    Resigning from a job is a formal thing. Text messages are a casual thing and likely always will be, so they don’t work for anything beyond temporary head’s up (like calling out sick if you know your boss needs to know but doesn’t want you to call them that early in the morning).

    1. TootsNYC*

      “Resigning from a job is a formal thing.”

      Another good point.

      Would you want them to offer you a job by text? No. You’d want it in person somehow first–phone or face-to-face. Since you’re not at their office, it’s usually phone. And they follow up by email or letter.

      You should be similarly formal, because it’s the same level of officialness.

  18. Random Lurker*

    I had someone quit via txt with a 3 week notice period while I was on PTO. Why he couldn’t wait for 2 days for me to be back and have a phone call is beyond me. I was out of the country and sent the message to HR to handle, so if his goal was to be disruptive to me, it failed. It certainly aided in burning his bridges. There were other issues besides this, but it was a pretty public display of unprofessionalism and passive aggressiveness. Even people who held him in high regard were disappointed with this. His new job didn’t work out and he tried to come back. If he had resigned professionally, that may have been a conversation we would have had.

    Morale of the story: don’t burn bridges. You don’t lose out on anything by taking the high road.

  19. Chalupa Batman*

    I’ve been lucky enough to only have to resign to bosses who I respected and were happy for me (quitting for new jobs), but I always seriously overestimated how despondent they would be to see me go. I was always super stressed about it, but ultimately it came down to “I’m sorry you’re leaving and wish you the best,” logistics, and we were done. Reasonable employers don’t expect that no one will ever leave. OP didn’t give much detail, but if it’s to avoid a difficult conversation, it’s not that bad unless your boss is difficult in general…and if that’s the case, what’s one more difficult discussion?

  20. Whoopsy*

    My first quit was from a kennel after only two weeks on the job. Separating from girlfriend+3h of commute+surrounded by barking dogs 9 hours a day=my therapist telling me I should probably see if I can work one day fewer a week. So I called my boss and she cut me off and said I should call her back when I had my life back together. I left her a VM (which I sent directly from my own VM mailbox rather than deal with the possibility of her picking up the phone) about two weeks later letting her know I wouldn’t be coming back. I’m just glad I don’t have to put a job that short on my resume, because I’d have no idea if that’s a quit or a firing or a whatever else.

  21. Gregory*

    Funny resignation stories, anyone?

    Many years ago I worked for a company that had a few different offices around the country and one day one of my coworkers from another office sent an IM to a manager at my location saying she needed to step out for 15 minutes to buy some tampons. She never came back.

    1. fposte*

      An assistant professor at my grad school slipped a note under the door of the department chair at the start of winter break and never returned.

    2. Oryx*

      Co-worker went to California to visit her long-distance boyfriend for a vacation. Didn’t arrive for her shift Monday morning. Manager called the number, the girl’s mom answered who said “Oh, she moved to California.”

    3. KR*

      At my retail job we had one of our overnight people do that. They went to their car for their break and didn’t come back. When the other person went to go look for them, their car was gone. Never heard anything from them again.

    4. Lia*

      Worked a summer job at a factory packaging automotive parts, where they hired a lot of extra summer help as that was their busy season. Hot, greasy, dirty work. Needless to say, a lot of people left for lunch on the first day and never returned. It got to be a running joke after a while. “Where’s Wakeen? Oh, he went out for lunch? Well, guess we won’t be seeing him again!”.

    5. Maxwell Edison*

      At this one ad agency, a very unhappy copywriter took offense to some “ain’t this job crazy” joke, snarled,”Oh sure, everything is hilarious to you!”, walked out, and never came back. He had a pretty strong German accent, which made his parting line funnier for some reason.

    6. AnotherAlison*

      My husband had an opportunity to toss one of his construction superintendents his keys and walk off a job in the middle of the afternoon. I’m sure the guys on the job assumed he was just pissed off and would be back.

      He hated this superintendent, and had another job offer in the wings, so he knew he was “safe” if he quit poorly. In hindsight, my husband was an immature hothead who needed to learn how to work with people he didn’t like. He’s his own boss now, but he still doesn’t handle jerks well.

      1. Lovemyjob...truly!*

        I did that too! I was an assistant manager for a bath shop years ago. My manager was a woman who would literally spend hours on the phone planning her wedding, talking about her wedding, or talking with her fiance. She wouldn’t even talk to the staff, just about all communication was done with written notes and dramatic hand gestures while she cradled the phone against her head. She was awful. She was lazy. She would kiss the DM’s ass and the second she was gone be back on the phone. One day I got a call at work about my terminally ill grandfather. She actually had the audacity to tell me that personal calls weren’t allowed, that she’d be writing me up and that I would have to work a weekend shift as punishment since the other manager called out. I SAW RED! She was so condescending. She spoke to me like I was a small and slightly stupid child. I literally bit the inside of my cheek until it bled. I plotted though. At the end of my shift while I was doing my end of shift handoff (common in retail) I handed her my store keys. She looked at them with this wonderfully confused expression. I told her that I quit, that I would not be coming in ever again. She started telling me “But – you’re supposed to work this weekend! I have plans! This was YOUR punishment!” I just smiled and said “That’s not my problem because I. Don’t. Work. Here. Anymore.” And then I literally turned and walked away.

        I was 21 years old. I was young. I would never do that now. I’m aware that this was wholly unprofessional. It doesn’t matter. I don’t regret it. Sometimes a dramatic exit is needed when the boss is awful and when you don’t care about the reference.

    7. Wendy Darling*

      I was onboarding and training a group of new hires. One of the new hires vanished after lunch and sent his resignation via email. Okay, well, that’s disappointing and inconvenient but whatever. He then sent all the OTHER new hires an email urging them to quit as well due to the unconscionable policies of the company, which violated their human rights.

      Our unconscionable policy? Asking them to sign a nondisclosure agreement before we started training them on an incredibly valuable proprietary process. We were basically doing our industry’s equivalent of teaching them the secret formula for Coca Cola.

    8. Jane D'oh!*

      At my first “professional” job, a project manager told my group of new hires at the end of the first day of work that several departments routinely placed bets on who wouldn’t come back after lunch on the first day. Apparently my group was an anomaly since we all returned. I should have realized that was a sign.

      1. Episkey*

        At the end of the first day at one of my previous jobs, the woman training me said, “And please come back.” Apparently, the last person had left at lunch and never returned. Per your statement, I should have realized that was a sign.

    9. sometimeswhy*

      I once resigned with two weeks notice that meant my last day was on April 1.

      For the entire two weeks and right up until I turned in my badge, everyone thought it was an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank. Including my boss. And his boss. And all my peers. And half my staff. Absolutely nothing I could say would convince them that I was actually quitting including, “No, this isn’t a joke. I’m actually quitting.” and turning in a written resignation on the day I also gave my verbal notice.

        1. sometimeswhy*

          They actually got it on the first, when I went to security to hand in my badge and had to get the shift supervisor relieving me to escort me to my car since there were more keycard-operated doors between security and the parking lot.

          But, yeah, it might not’ve sunk in until the second when I suddenly wasn’t available for weekend sup coverage.

    10. hbc*

      We had an excellent worker on a temp-to-hire plan for about a month, and then he needed a couple of hours for a “little thing in court.” Neither we or the temp agency ever heard from him again.

      1. Little Miss Cranky Pants*

        I did the walk out at lunch and never went back thing once. It was a horrible place, with horrible non-training, but oh yes LOTs of responsibilities and no documentation, and it was just awful. So unprofessional an atmosphere. I could see this just wasn’t going to work after only 2.5 days.

        The office never paid me either, and I’ve never put in on a resume or job app. It was so horrible, I have literally repressed it from my memory, and would be completely unable to even name the company.


    11. Sparky*

      I worked at a stained glass studio in college. One day the new guy, Todd, left for lunch. And he never came back. One of the owners observed that he thought it was weird Todd was going out to lunch, as he’d left a sack lunch in the fridge. Owners were able to check that Todd was o.k. via mutual acquaintances, and just figured he didn’t want to be there. Two days later the owner announced he was going to eat Todd’s sack lunch. I’ve forgotten so many things, but I remember it was a ham sandwich.

    12. Murphy*

      This wasn’t exactly funny, but I had been given a verbal offer and had been waiting for the written before I put in my notice. When I got it, it turned out that for insurance reasons I either had to start working in pretty much exactly two weeks, or delay it by a few weeks, which I really did not want to do. I got my written offer on a Wednesday afternoon when my boss was already gone for the day…and of course Thursday was the day that all of my bosses worked at our other location, so I had a hard time finding anybody to give my notice to! Our assistant supervisor who until recently had been my peer stopped by quickly to get something done, so I ended up telling her. And then she had no idea what to do. But I’d put in my notice! So it was all good. (Luckily they had recently hired for another open position, so they already had resumes and were able to replace me relatively quickly.)

      1. Alli525*

        Something similar happened to me – I wasn’t about to quit my job until the background check cleared and I had a formal, final offer in my hands. But my boss at the time, whom I adored, frequently made a habit of telling me on the morning-of that he’d be working from home that day, which OF COURSE happened on giving-notice day. So I had to do it over the phone, and sobbed the entire time. He was very kind about it and pretty much knew my resignation was coming eventually (I was very under-utilized for all the skills I’d built), but still.

    13. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I worked at a company where we took orders via telephone and had a small retail outlet for local shoppers. For a period of time, every single time one of our new hires would go to lunch, they would never come back. It wasn’t even a bad place to work; it just wasn’t for everybody, I guess. After losing several new employees in a row to the never-ending lunch break, we were floored when one new hire went to lunch and then came back. She walked in the door after lunch, and we were all like, “:-D You came back!!! :-D”

    14. Cath in Canada*

      I worked in a pub one summer. The manager and her two massive Dobermans lived in the flat upstairs. When I was hired, she’d just come back from a holiday in Turkey and wouldn’t stop telling everyone all about her fantastic new Turkish boyfriend. A week later, we came in to open up one morning to find her car gone, the dogs going crazy upstairs, and a note on the bar saying “I’ve followed my heart. Please call my mum at [number] – she’ll take the dogs”. Yup, she’d moved to Turkey with no warning. Luckily, the mum did in fact arrive a few hours later to pick up the dogs – I have no idea what we’d have done if she wouldn’t or couldn’t come!

    15. Fluke Skywalker*

      A coworker at the retail job I had in college took time off to visit a guy she met online and never came back. We never found out what happened to her, but there weren’t any missing person reports about her, so we assumed it ended up okay.

    16. SusanIvanova*

      My whole team got laid off from upper management on down, with one manager and 5 engineers left for the “transition” which everyone who was honest knew was a joke. Two months to “train replacements” – only a handful had been hired by the time we left – and if we walked out before the end of it we’d lose the severance package. Not that it would’ve stopped me – I told my manager I’d mic-drop my badge and walk out if I found a job, and he was totally approving.

      I made it to the last day but didn’t do the mic-drop because the manager had already gone home.

    17. Lissa*

      I have lots from my time at minimum wage food service jobs. Guy calls in “Hi, I know I’m supposed to be there at 11, but I’m hungover, can I come in at 12 instead?” “Um, I guess so . . ?” from me, the not-manager who was opening and would then have to do 11 to 12 by myself. He called back 10 minutes later. “Actually I decided to quit.”

      Girl decides she hates her job in the middle of lunch rush when it’s just her and I (noticing a theme . . ?) Decides she’s going to walk off her shift. I convince her to wait until the next person comes in except she doesn’t want to see him, so she bolts five minutes before he got there, telling me “Well, I’ll just tell them I quit because my grandmother died!”

      And, on her first day, came out in uniform with her long hair loose and flowing free. I told her “you have to tie your back while on shift.” She stared at me, walked back to the change room, came back, then said “Yeah, I think I made a mistake. This isn’t the job for me.” and then left.

    18. Not A Morning Person*

      My niece recently quit a seasonal job at a clothing retailer. She showed up in person to give notice with a letter of resignation to give to the manager during one of the manager’s times in the store, and not at a time my niece was scheduled to work. When she approached the manager, the manager didn’t recall who she was and said, “You look familiar; who are you?”
      We all laughed at the story and it confirmed her decision to resign was the right one. We also praised her and told her she was learning the skills to be a decent employee and person.

  22. MsCHX*

    +1 on the no to quitting via text.

    My own quitting story…I worked in a call center with a fantastic supervisor. He was promoted to manage a different area and crazy psycho lady was brought in as new supervisor.

    She was so unprofessional that she would argue with her direct reports, openly, with her sitting in her office and people sitting in their cubes. She would swear, call them names (e.g. the ‘b’ word flew often) and other really horrific things. Obviously this isn’t someone you give a heads up to that you are looking, but I did hand deliver my 2 week notice to her. She ripped it in half and threw it at me and told me she didn’t accept. I was 22 and confused. Ha!

    On my last day, daycare called to say my infant was running a fever. She was at lunch so I wrote a note and left it on her desk that I’m sorry I had to leave early on my last day.

    Monday morning, she was calling my emergency contacts looking for me, and told my mom I was going to be fired if I didn’t call her back.

    Oh. Okay.

    1. Observer*

      She seriously thought that by not accepting your resignation, she would keep from resigning? Talk about being out to lunch!

  23. Xtra Anon Today*

    I’m so genuinely terrified to quit my current job that I’ve had nightmares about it. (I LOVE my work, but don’t love my manager and commute). I’m currently searching and hoping to put in notice by the end of January, but I know that will be one of the hardest conversations of my life.

    All that being said – it will be a conversation, NOT a text. It will be tough, but it will be okay. Plus I have worked so hard at creating a strong reputation with this organization that I wouldn’t want it to be compromised with how I leave.

    That being said, any advice for how to start that conversation? I just can’t think of how to open something like that…

    1. dr_silverware*

      “I’m a little nervous, but I asked you to meet today because I’m putting in my x weeks notice” is always a pretty decent opener imo. It’s how I quit my last job!

    2. rosenstock*

      i think keeping it as short as possible is good for these situations – like, “i want to say thank you for everything, and let you know that i’ve decided to move on from [company], and my last day is [date]. i will try to make the transition as smooth as possible.”

      i definitely feel you on being terrified to quit – i am having that conversation with my angry boss later today! best of luck with your search and the eventual resignation!

    3. Partly Cloudy*

      I walked in with my resignation letter in hand and started crying before I could speak (I was and still am glad that I left, but I’d been there for many years and was genuinely sad). My boss guessed that I was quitting and I nodded and wordlessly handed over the letter. Once I pulled myself together, it did turn into an actual conversation (which was short and painless).

    4. Beancounter Eric*

      Yep, real simple:

      “I am terminating my employment with Con-Am Teapots X time Y date. This decision is final.”

      Keep it ultra professional. Don’t tell them where you are off to, don’t tell them why you are leaving, and don’t think about considering a counter-offer.

      1. Xtra Anon Today*

        I’m curious about this. Would most people recommend not explaining why or where?

        I have a pretty easy out in terms of the reason since it’s significantly commute related, but in general, I still think I would share this information because i’m a pretty open book.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        That’s a pretty chilly way to lead off the conversation! You can go there if you need to because their reaction is inappropriate, but you wouldn’t want to start off that way.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      It’s a moment. That is all it is. The reality is that the hardest part is what you are doing now, trying to make it work, keep it together, etc.

      You can plan your timing if you are concerned about a looong conversation. Go into talk to him just before lunch or just before quitting time, what ever you can use to shorten the conversation if you dread a long conversation.

      I type of up my resignations and fold them in thirds. As they open it, I tell them what it says. Having them do two things at once, kind of distracts them so they are not paying attention to every single word you say.

      Stick with the baseline. You want them to know that you are quitting and x will be your last day. That’s it. Keep it real simple. Resignation time is not the time to solve for world peace, that should have happened long before now. So all that is left is telling them when will be your last day.

      “Boss, just to let you know, I am resigning and X will be my last day.”

      “Boss, this is my resignation letter. X will be my final day here.”

      I think it is classy to thank them for something. “Thank you for my years/time here.” or “Thank you for the opportunities you gave me here.” Find something to thank them for. Even the worst boss can feel that they broke their backs to support you in your role and they want to hear that you appreciate that. It costs nothing to say thank you and it might save you a bunch of problems.

    6. Josh S*

      I recall the first job out of college that I quit. I had been there about 2 years, had quickly gotten two promotions and ‘owned’ several processes, and was a top performer holding an “Acting Supervisor” position for over 6 months. But the corporate policies wouldn’t allow the team to recognize my achievements (literally was given compliments as one of the best in TaskA they’d ever had, but could not get a 5/5 evaluation score), and budget “didn’t allow” them to promote me for real. And no sense that things would change in the future. 60+ hour weeks and a 90-minute commute each way to boot….it was time to go.

      I walked up to my manager and this was the conversation:
      “Hey Sarah, can I talk to you for a minute?”
      “Sure.” [turns from computer to face me]
      “Can we grab a conference room?”
      [jokingly] “What–you’re not quitting on me are you?”
      [deer in headlights look from me] “Um…”
      [She turns pale]

      The next day, the other top performer — same exact situation as me — gave his 2 week notice. Unbeknownst to me. Turnover was always high (an industry problem; this company was better than most actually), but I’m pretty sure that was a ROUGH week for the management team.

  24. Knitting Cat Lady*

    When I quit my sucky job in (German) academia I handed in my letter of resignation at the HR office. As outlined in the employee hand book. HR then asked for a version of the letter that had my supervisors signature on it, to make sure they had seen it. That wasn’t in the hand book.

    At the time my supervisor, who was a horrible bully, was away at a conference.

    I’d called her to tell her I’d quit.

    She was very surprised. Because in her opinion we were getting on so well now…

    That whole phone call I was lying through my teeth.

  25. Well Yeah*

    I once had a coworker who scheduled an email to go out stating their resignation ten minutes after they left for the day with no indication as to why they were quitting, just that they were. They said “Goodnight,” to the boss, walked out, and ten minutes later the email landed in boss’s inbox.

      1. Zombii*

        I tried to do that but the company disabled email scheduling in Outlook for anyone less than management and work email was only accessible via intranet and behind two firewalls, so I wouldn’t be able to send it once I left the building. ;(

    1. CS Rep By Day, Writer By Night*

      Something similar happened at Old Company. I worked with someone (let’s call her Esmeralda) who left at 3:30 while I worked until 4pm. My boss left at 3pm. One Friday Esmeralda packed up her stuff at the end of the day and said “Have a good weekend – see you Monday!”. 30 minutes later as I was packing up my things to leave for the day, an email come through from HR saying that Esmeralda was no longer an employee of Old Company. Apparently, instead of resigning to my boss (which would have been the norm in my office, to give your notice to your direct supervisor), she popped by HR on the way out of the building and informed them that she was quitting on the spot and never coming back. It was so weird to have her say “See you Monday” and then get an email that she quit a half hour later! My boss was horrible and toxic though, so I’m sure it was very satisfying to picture her face when she came into that email on Monday.

  26. AndersonDarling*

    So funny! I’m quitting my part time job next week and I’ll be doing it through email. I worked there for 6 years and never had a face-to-face discussion with my “manager.” I work off hours so she is never in the office at the same time. I see her at the holiday party and we exchange pleasantries.
    If she needs anything, she will email me of have another employee call. And that seldom happens.
    She is so passive that I figured I should send my resignation through email. If I came in and had an important conversation with her, I think she would melt.

    1. Wendy Darling*

      I resigned because my boss had begun a pattern of verbal abuse, so I did it by email. If she imploded and got egregiously horrible or threatened retaliation, which would be VERY in-character, I wanted it on the record, and I live in a two-party consent state so I can’t record audio without her permission.

      I feel the tiniest sliver of guilt for not taking the high road but at the same time, I’m not sure it’s a reasonable expectation under the circumstances.

      I would definitely not quit via text, though. That’s a little too far.

      1. Marillenbaum*

        This strikes me as entirely reasonable. You are still being professional, but professional in a way that also allows you to protect yourself.

  27. SJ*

    I gave my notice to my boss via a voicemail because he had been on vacation and was in the middle of a long day of flying home when I got the offer called to give him the news. He was one of my references and knew an offer might come while he was out of the office, so he had told me before his vacation to give him a call and let him know whenever I found out. I think it worked out perfectly because he takes people leaving VERY hard and VERY personally, and we worked very closely together, so I honestly think he might have started crying if I’d told him in person. So maybe he cried on his end when he got my voicemail, but I didn’t have to see it!

  28. De Minimis*

    Our scammer that just left quit via e-mail. She came by during the weekend to drop off her keys and get her things.

    I was anxious about telling them at my last job, I just practiced what I planned to say. And it was a case of a “good” resignation [moving due to spouse’s job.] I don’t know how anxious I would be if it were negative! I can see the temptation to resign via text or e-mail, though I would prefer to resign in person over making a phone call, because I hate phone conversations.

    1. Electric Hedgehog*

      Scammer? Are you running the ‘Microsoft’ Windows Tech helpline that helps with the viruses that everyone is constantly loading onto their computers?

      1. paul*

        We get those calls at work! I’ve tried to convince our *actual* IT people to play with them but they keep talking about actual job duties and responsibilities. I just hate scammers

  29. Poster Child*

    Don’t do it by text and email is pretty bad too! I just had an employee leave with no notice via an email resignation. It was a continuation of immature behavior up until that point as well as a clear discomfort with open and honest conversations. She did not transition her work or give any feedback about why she was leaving (stated personal reasons which may well be true). It’s a small enough field that we could cross paths again so it was an incredibly foolish and unprofessional thing to do.

  30. Stanley Cupcakes*

    A college floormate of mine recently quit her retail job by sending a giant fortune cookie to her boss with her resignation inside. This is a woman in her mid-twenties. Other college friends were like, “Did she really just do that…?” I get you’re unhappy– especially in retail– but it just seemed incredibly immature.

      1. Marillenbaum*

        Seriously! I wouldn’t do it, and it isn’t professional, but I gotta say I respect her dedication to the bit.

  31. Another Librarian*

    My daughter was laid off from her first full-time job via text. The boss called her cell, she answered, boss said can we talk, she said I’m in Wal-Mart reception isn’t good I’ll call when I am done shopping. Boss hung up and immediately sent her a text telling her she was laid off. When she went to drop off her keys and pick up her last pay check neither boss/owner would come out to talk to her.

    I was an am so pissed at them but it did proper the impetus for me to recommend my daughter read AMA so she could see that was neither normal or appropriate.

  32. Retail HR Guy*

    Having worked leaves of absence in retail, I would be ecstatic if employees would AT LEAST send a text. So many people just quit by not responding to letters or phone calls and it is a huge waste of time for everyone. You want to stay home with your new baby instead of returning to work? Fine. But let us know instead of having to send letters for a month, keeping your position unfilled the whole time, before finally terming you for job abandonment. Is that so much to ask?

    1. De Minimis*

      I don’t feel so bad about quitting over the phone in my last retail job now!

      We actually had someone do this back when I worked for USPS, they just quit coming in and wouldn’t answer the phone. Think some co-workers finally saw the employee elsewhere before they knew for sure she’d quit.

      A month seems to be a long waiting period to say someone has abandoned their job, I guess it depends on the state.

    1. Shelly*

      That’s a bit harsh. I think the norms around texting have changed a lot. I agree you should not resign via text, but being critical of people who chose to ask isn’t very helpful.

  33. BTW*

    I’m honestly surprised that this is even a legitimate question. If someone doesn’t already know that quitting via text is a huge no-no, I’d be concerned about other things in their professional life that might need some serious attention.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      If they don’t know, it’s good that they’re asking. Not everyone has the benefit of learning professional norms from family/school/etc., and they actually aren’t all that intuitive if you aren’t starting out with a baseline of knowledge about them.

      1. Important Moi*

        Thank you for responding so graciously. I always try to remember (but don’t always succeed) that “you don’t what you don’t know.”

      2. Loz*

        Exactly. My first job of 4 years was kind of start-up casual about a bunch of things such as attendance, language, behaviour, playing games, drinking at work etc. My second job was more akin to going into corporate IBM. It literally took me years and a few bemused chats with some awesome managers to unlearn/relearn. 20+ years on and I’m still a bit of an outlier in terms of normal behaviour. I think I’ve now got the right balance, but don’t we all?

    2. animaniactoo*

      I wouldn’t be. They knew enough to ask and not just assume it was okay.

      At least they’re taking notes to file in the Adult Instruction Manual.

    3. Lady Blerd*

      I can see a teenager asking this question. This isn’t a millenial bashing comment, we live in the world of social media now where a lot of communications are done via text or iMessage, he or she may be used to communicating to his boss via text for lesser issues. I find it understandable that some have to taught how to adult.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I didn’t know stuff about jobs, resignations, etc when I was a teen. Heck, I got into my twenties and still had plenty to learn.

        I see that we get some teens who read/comment on AAM and it makes me so happy to see that.

    4. fposte*

      They probably don’t know all those things either, because we all learned them along the way rather than being born knowing U.S employment conventions.

  34. Lemon Zinger*

    While I was in college, I moved back to my home state one summer to do an internship. I easily got my old part-time job back (management loved me) and I decided to take a class as well. The internship turned out to be a huge joke. On Day 1, an employee told me I would never be able to get into the field, since the government had put a hiring freeze on for several years. The actual work was nothing like what the hiring manager had promised, and there were student employees being paid to do what I was doing for free. The commute was long and I quickly realized that it wasn’t worth my time.

    I quit at the end of Day 3. I was only 20, so I was nervous, but my frustration with the whole thing kept me from crying (like I normally do in stressful situations). All I had to do was walk into the manager’s office, thank her for the opportunity, and explain that it was clear that the internship/field was not for me. I don’t think she even had me sign anything– I was out of there in a matter of minutes, and she didn’t seem surprised at all.

  35. Stellaaaaa*

    I quit my last job by text and I’m not the only employee to leave that workplace in that manner. The owner screamed at us every day, called us the R-word, and got into very violent fights with his adult children on premises. He seemed to think that paying us well meant he could do whatever he wanted. Some people didn’t even send a text when quitting. The owner is about to go to prison so I’m not too concerned about how quitting by text makes me look in this instance.

    1. Observer*

      I guess you’ve come up with the one situation where quitting by text is suitable. But, threats of violence are a bit outside of even “bad boss” stories.

      1. paul*

        That reminds me of my first job, and the only time I quit without notice of any sort. I was 14, washing dishes under the table, and they’d hired a new head cook that absolutely *terrified* me. After two or three days I told the owner “F this, I’m out”.

        He wound up in jail for trying to strangle a cop that gave him a ticket–small town so I heard all about it school that year!

  36. Older and sadly wiser*

    In my 40+ years, I have only quit once without notice and face-to-face. Two person office, two owner small business,. Owners were brothers-in-law. Owner #1’s name was in the the business name, it was his deceased father’s & his business. Father dies, brother-in-law comes in to “handle” the back office because Owner #1 knows he is not the best with handling cash and accounts BUT really knows the technical side of the business and it is based on his reputation.

    After 3 months on the job, I discovered Owner #2 was bi-polar (untreated) and delighted in screaming and humiliating employees & Owner #1 in public, on the job site and in the office. After 12 months there, employee #1 gave 2 weeks notice to leave and take care of a family member full-time. Owner #2’s comment was first “can’t you pay someone to do that?” and 2nd comment was “when family member dies will you come back?”. Next day after horrible day of treatment by Owner #2 that including screaming at me, throwing things, and announcing he was outsourcing 25% of my job because “anybody can do it better than you”, I drafted a resignation letter and as I left for the day, emailed it to both owners. I had been asked to return to previous employer because they needed someone of my caliber to go back to work for them. I had never had bad reviews and in fact had multiple promotions elsewhere before that job.

    Refused to answer Owner #2’s calls/emails concerning coming back to work. Owner #2 forced his spouse to quit her job and work for him. Took me another 12 months to deal with the stress fallout and health issues from that job.

    I cannot imagine what would have happened had I given notice face to face. In fact, my stomach still knots up thinking about it. Company has not been able to keep an office employee for more than 6 months since then.

  37. Pebbles*

    My first job ever was fast food where we had reviews every 6 months. After 1 1/2 years of working there on all types of shifts (opening, closing, etc.) I had a fantastic review from my manager. He offered me a raise of $.20/hr bringing my hourly pay just $.05 short of what brand new hires were getting (I knew this because a younger friend of mine had just recently started). I put in my 2-week notice on the spot during my review telling him why would I continue working for a place that did not value my hard work and experience enough to pay me at least as much as what people with no experience were making? I mean, I could quit and (theoretically) be rehired to get a better raise. He wouldn’t budge and even asked if I would stay on for an extra 4 days beyond my 2 weeks so that I could cover an upcoming holiday weekend. I said no.

  38. ilikeaskamanager*

    I am curious as to what is behind that question. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone really thinks that resigning that way is a professional norm–and the fact that the OP asked the question leads me to believe that the OP knows that too. So what is going on that is making this person want to take this approach?

    1. Tyrannosaurus Regina*

      Well, overwhelming anxiety maybe? If I could deliver any and all uncomfortable news via text message I probably would. Someone with similar issues who hasn’t been exposed to “professional norms” (which aren’t as universal and intuitive as they might feel after many years in the working world), especially if that person is younger, might wonder if this would be an okay thing.

    2. fposte*

      It’s also possible that she knows that it’s a preference not to do it but doesn’t know just how strong a norm she’s bucking. Additionally, as comments show, resignation norms for office work aren’t universal, or at least universally weighted.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      OP,if you think this is going to be one of those rare violent type situations, then yes, resign by email if you can or leave a voice message. If you think your safety is at stake, then you have to do what you need to in order to protect yourself.

    4. Grand Mouse*

      I can chime in as someone who might consider it- I reguarly communicate to my bosses by text because we don’t have a company e-mail and we never work on site together. Thinking about it now, I would at least call, but I could see being tempted to text it in- especially if I didn’t know the consequences or it was a result of a text conversation currently happening (eg being called in at midnight and I couldn’t accept that).

  39. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    Seriously, don’t quit by text! I never left a workplace without at least a few days’ face to face or email notice (I do contract legal work).

    The only time I quit suddenly was when I was doing an odd job for someone. Money was really tight, as I had not passed the bar exam, and my wife and I could barely keep everyone fed (enough calories, maybe, but no fruit, rarely meat, no snacks). And we worried about feeding our pets.

    So I took on this job of cleaning out someone’s loft space for a cross country move. It was supposed to last a week or two. But, I accidentally messed something up, and the lady started screaming and chucking stuff at me! Needless to say, I ran.

  40. Ruby*

    At the job I had during college, most of the people employed were students who had never had jobs before this one. We were all pretty horrified to receive a text from someone (who didn’t even leave a name) who had texted our boss to quit but used the number in the roster group text so everyone who was working there received it. The funny thing was that the quitter was middle aged, had way more job experience than the rest of us and had been pretty professional up until that point.

  41. Okapi Drive*

    Hah! My last day at my old job is tomorrow and I gave notice by email because it was late in the evening when I finished up my paperwork for my new position. I received a call the next morning asking why I didn’t call her about it, and then she started asking all these details about the new job, and I heard her voice break up when I mentioned I was going to a big competitor. I made my answers as short as possible because I did not want to go into details with my manager at all because she is about 75% of the reason I am leaving that job with the rest of the 25% divided by the new commute she imposed upon me that I couldn’t afford (think within 15 minutes vs an hour one way) and our company hitting hard times.

    The funny thing is about all this, I’ve heard from several other coworkers she’s spoken to that she considers me a GREAT employee, but when it came to cutting hours and moving people, I was the person made to move based on seniority (her words), and she wanted me to train the people I left with my methodologies so they could implement them (they could not and would not, although my immediate supervisor did watch me explain the duties and understood them easily. Data filling, literally). The manager, by the way, had me do the move just within three days of a planned move closer to my job.

    I could go on about my grievances with this manager, but let’s just leave it at major micromanager and an inability to treat her supposed good employees in a reasonable manner. The majority of the people I work with are looking for other work as well because of these type of things, and before being told to change locales, I was looking to staying at this company another year or so, but this is in a way fortunate because it opened my eyes to what I’d be subjecting myself to if I stayed.

  42. Moonsaults*

    I quit via text once but it was a side job, the boss sent me a text fifteen minutes prior to going into surgery to ask me a dumb question, then while recovering I got multiple calls from people who shouldn’t have had my number in the first place, asking me more stupid questions that I couldn’t do a single thing about while doped up and flat on my back. I just wasn’t in the mood at that point.

  43. Anon for this*

    I had an adjunct professor quit by text message in October. It turns out that he had not taught at all in the previous two weeks, and had barely taught before that. We’re still dealing with the ramifications (since those students are all WAAAAAY behind the other classes and were basically trained not to care about the class). It would have been marginally better if he’d resigned by email, or had at least been willing to let us know what had been covered and what hadn’t.

  44. Sniffles*

    Had a woman who worked for me just short of a year quit by telling the Managing Director on the way out the door (in a casual conversation with no real details) about two weeks before I was to go on vacation for 10 days. She never sent me any notice, never sent the CEO anything official just looked at the schedule I posted for while I was away and said, “Oh, didn’t MD tell you, I told him I wasn’t going to stay on after this week”.
    Grr… this was a job that we had created just for her and then later found out she was double dipping on hours and routinely collecting OT. Didn’t really care that I was losing her, just more pissed that I had to cancel my trip – a drive up & down the coast on a busman’s holiday visiting colleagues friends in half a dozen states.
    Not amused.
    Her defense? she had never had to resign from a job before (she was mid50’s at the time) and didn’t know how she was supposed to do it!

  45. David St Hubbins*

    If you ever want your boss to give you a good reference, you DO NOT resign with a text message.

    1. Observer*

      I’d go further. If you don’t want every co-worker in your office to trash you, do not resign via text. You never know where you will run into them again.

  46. Jenny*

    I had a situation where I didn’t have much option other than resigning by email. I worked remotely (for a fully remote company), and my boss was difficult to get a hold of in general. We had occasional Skype meetings, but otherwise only communicated via email – I’m not sure if I even had her phone number. Right before I resigned, she left to travel for several weeks and was even less available than usual. I can’t think of any circumstance that would necessitate resigning by text message, though!

  47. Sue*

    Ironically, this came up for me today, just as I am going to be giving my notice. I didn’t have the question of whether to quit via text, however, I did wonder if I should send a copy of my resignation letter to the co-owner (my bosses are married) who is out for the next several weeks and head of our HR, by email after I call her.
    I am not looking forward to having the conversation with my boss either, as I know he won’t take this well, but I also know that doing this on a Friday afternoon is the best timing too.

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