I just got a new job two weeks ago, the workplace is very formal. Before leaving for home, almost everyone asks the boss: "Can I leave?" or "Can I close?"

which I find very awkward because it seems they're being held against their will. So far I just do the work I'm assigned and each day before leaving I tell them what was completed and what is remaining. After that I just say, "I'm done for the day." And that's it.

Should I also ask like others or is their any other formal way of asking before calling it a day and heading home?

  • 6
    What country are you in? This is a highly cultural thing.
    – Aida Paul
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 14:12
  • Do you have set hours or number of hours, or is it stay until work is done and leave when it is done?
    – Damila
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 14:31
  • 3
    Maybe ask a peer why this is done because you've not had it happen at a workplace before. Maybe don't say "it seems like you're held against your will"
    – Lady_A
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 14:48
  • 2
    What job are you doing? When I was a teenager working as a busboy, I left when I was told to. Decades later working as a software developer, the work was never really done and I left whenever I wanted after the customary end of the day time (generally 5:00 PM).
    – G. Allen
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 1:17
  • 1
    I'm working as a web developer. @G.Allen You're right the work is never really done and I don't know what's up with this place. Will ask today from other colleagues about this.
    – Rahul
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 5:38

3 Answers 3


Disclaimer: I don't know much about Indian culture/societal expectations, so please take this with a grain of salt.

If you weren't given explicit instructions about this when you started, I would say just do what you feel comfortable with, until and unless your boss asks you to do something different. Maybe one person started doing this of their own volition and everyone else just followed suit.

If your boss does ask you to change your behaviour, then you agree to do as he requests, apologize for any misunderstanding and carry on. If you decide at that time that you aren't willing to do what was asked on a regular basis, it's probably time to consider leaving. The reason you could give anyone who inquires is that the company culture isn't a "good fit" for you.

  • Any reason you'd go this route over just asking the manager directly? It's going to seem very tone deaf to go against the grain here, even if this just started organically.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 11:14
  • @Lilienthal To me this is about testing whether the "asking permission to leave" thing is actually an expected rule or just something people do and the boss doesn't mind. If he asks the boss pre-emptively, the boss might just say "yes do it" because everyone else already does it - even though, in truth, he doesn't care. By waiting for the boss to bring it up, we ascertain that yes, this is actually something he expects. Maybe it is a bit tone-deaf, but not too much to be a problem in my mind. Definitely though, OP needs to be the final judge on whether or not this is a good idea to him.
    – Steve-O
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 14:39
  • Hmm, I see the reasoning. I'd follow-up with a discussion on why it's expected and why this wasn't discussed up front, but there are advantages to just pushing through and seeing what happens. Would you mind adding that additional info in your comment to the answer?
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jun 25, 2020 at 15:17

It really depends. It sounds to me like you have to close down or otherwise exit out of something prior to leaving that takes a long while to start back up. If you boss wants you to do something else, it would make sense that the application/interface be up and running. So it may make sense to ask if the boss has anything further to do prior to closing this application.

With that said, I have no idea what it is you do. Your boss may accept your statement but I would think you run into a couple of risks here. First if you boss accepts it but does not accept it from someone else, someone who might change their statement, then your boss might get called out by HR for discriminating allowing one person to use a statement but not others. Second, it really depends on your relationship with your boss. I imagine your boss is expecting the same sort of questions from everyone, so just saying, "I'm done. See you tomorrow." He might raise an eyebrow and may take it as a good or bad thing.

Overall though I say go with your guts. Nobody ever been a good captain in calm waters. Just go with your guts but at the same time if you have to ask, I would say it's best to just follow everyone else.

Me personally I wouldn't even say anything at all. I would just leave and come back the next day unless something came up. I don't think I ever said good bye to the boss in my entire career in multiple companies. Perhaps if I met him in the elevator or something.


Depends totally in the size of the company. If it is less, then it is a courtesy to inform the manager that one is leaving.

If it is an MNC where shuttles arrive on time, then everyone leaves at the designated time and it would be a simple bye if one bumps into the manager.

If it is any other setting, then what you are doing is good enough. Since you are already in that flow, continue it. If this breaks, we can never guess the behaviour of the manager.

There was one company I worked for, where everyone addressed the manager as sir. I was not comfortable with that, and I informed him during the initial days itself they I would address him by his name. He pretty much laughed it off and have a thumbs up. There was never any problem with him.

I chose to address this issue in the beginning itself. But, since you are already in that trend, I would suggest you to continue.

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