I'm in quite of a bind here.

Although this is unintentional, I've found myself in an awkward situation where I've been offered a job that I'm interested in while being on annual leave, and I'm not coming back for 1 more week. I'm currently overseas where coming back isn't an option unless I wait for my return flight which comes in a week.

I don't exactly have the luxury of time to wait until next week to personally hand in my resignation letter, so I'm looking to do it by email.

Is there anything I should be aware of? Anything ethics related, or when the notice period starts, and things I could do to smoothen the process?


  • What's stopping you from showing up at your company to deliver this personally right now? Being on leave doesn't mean you can't enter the building... P.S.: Don't resign by e-mail. It's just bad. It's almost as bad as breaking up by e-mail, and thoroughly unprofessional.
    – Nelson
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:40
  • @Nelson Financial reasons. I'm overseas at the moment and travelling on a whim isn't too practical. I'll include this in the question.
    – Zaenille
    Dec 4, 2015 at 3:41
  • How about going to a bookstore, buying paper and envelope, writing your letter, then going to the post office and sending by registered mail? If you're in a city, should take you 2 hours.
    – user8036
    Dec 4, 2015 at 9:03

5 Answers 5


It is very common to give notice immediately before or after a vacation period. It is not ideal as it can cause coverage shortages, but it is far from uncommon. Ideally, you should at least call your manager or, barring that, HR. Discussions will need to be had over what next steps will be needed including off-boarding interviews, etc. You should do your best to comply with reasonable requests from your soon-to-be-former company unless you want to burn bridges. Your hiring company will probably be willing to wait so that you can comply.

If you do not have the ability to resolve these questions by phone, then an email should include your willingness to follow the steps above. That should minimize ill-effects mentioned by other posters.

From a legal perspective you should check your company's policies which should be in an employee handbook. While I cannot speak to your particular case, it is not possible to legally force people to work in the US under most circumstances.

All of that said – it should be noted that if they can arrange coverage for you when you are on vacation, then it is unlikely that they can't find a way to cover after your departure.


Why do you have to tell them now, rather than after you get back? You should be able to delay the start of the new job a few weeks, to allow a respectful notice period in which to transfef knowledge before you depart.


Anything ethics related, or when the notice period starts, and things I could do to smoothen the process?

There is nothing smooth about resigning by email. It's totally unprofessional and would put you in a terrible light with your former employers. I would only do this if I was in a toxic work environment where I couldn't care less about them or about getting a reference. At the very least I would send my resignation in writing by normal mail and a phone call if it's totally impossible to do it in person.


Unless you wan't to burn bridges, don't. Resigning via email while on your annual leave is unprofessional and has the potential to completly blindside/sabotage knowledge transfer efforts of the company.

In short, unless you never want to work for your current employer again, don't.

  • What makes you say it is unprofessional? Opportunities come up at any time, including during your leave. And in a country where you can be fired without notice on a whim I somehow cannot manage to feel bad for the employer.
    – gnasher729
    Dec 4, 2015 at 10:32
  • @gnasher729 He's saying don't send your resignation via email which is a good advice since emails are impersonal. A phone call or preferably in person talk are much better options.
    – Dan
    Dec 4, 2015 at 15:27

Your notice period starts when your company receives your notice, or when your company didn't receive your notice through their own fault (for example if you write a letter and they don't open their letter box for a month then they have legally received your notice when it arrived in their letter box, not four weeks later when they opened it).

In case there is an argument, you might have to prove that date. If your company has a fax machine, sending a fax might give you the evidence. Otherwise, a registered letter but that might be a bit difficult when you are abroad but only for a short time.

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