I accepted an offer at a new workplace last night. I typed up my resignation letter and planned to formally resign first thing this morning. My boss has no idea that I am planning on leaving, but I've consciously been trying to lighten my work load over the past couple weeks so that the transition will be easier when I leave. I had everything planned out for this resignation and mentally prepared myself for all the different ways this might go.

But my boss isn't here today and I don't know when he'll be back.

If he doesn't show up, how am I supposed to resign? Am I supposed to wait til he gets in (whether that be tomorrow or sometime next week)? If so, how should that affect the notice I give? Should I give my resignation to a higher up or resign via email? What is the protocol here?

  • Can you wait a day? It's the middle of the week, so hopefully your boss will be back in tomorrow.
    – David K
    Jun 12, 2018 at 14:22
  • 2
    @DavidK Today is Tuesday, and I initially planned for my last day to be next Friday, with the stipulation that I'll work the following Monday if that makes my transition easier. If my notice keeps getting pushed later in the week because he's not here, does that mean I should push out when my final day will be? My employment is "at will" so I'm not required to necessarily give any notice at all, but I'm trying to leave on good terms. Jun 12, 2018 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


Happened to me a couple of years ago. Former boss was on the board of directors, and was on annual leave, so I just gave my resignation letter to another director instead.

Alternatively - does your direct boss have a boss? They will be able to receive said notice on your bosses' behalf. A third option - hand it straight to HR.

  • +1 for the third option. While it's polite and expected to notify your boss of your resignation, HR is the party you need to notify officially, since HR manages your place in the company (such as approving raises, promotions, and hiring/firing decisions).
    – GOATNine
    Jun 12, 2018 at 14:37

This would probably depend a lot on many factors like your relationship with you boss, company policies and such.

In your position I would definitely call my boss so we can talk about it and then agree with him/her how should I give out the formal letter of resignation. Most times I have resigned I have first had unformal talk with my boss and then I have just send very short email for us both to have written proof of resignation.

If I knew my boss was on long holiday or such, I would not call and rather go to bosses boss or hr, depending on the size of company, your own role and relation to those people. In some cases I also could think about asking for help from someone else who has same position in company as your boss. Like other relevant line manager or such.

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