I have given notice at my current company and have admittedly done a poor job of organizing all of my contacts, so sending out an email to all of them would be tedious to say the least. Everyone internally knows of my departure, it is the people outside of my organization that I am concerned about.

Would it be generally appropriate to include the fact that I will no longer be with my current company in my email signature? I feel that giving this notice to everyone will cause a lot less headaches for them down the road.

Is it even my responsibility to inform them that I am leaving? (I have no problems doing so)

I also plan on setting up my out-of-office reply to include this information once I leave to handle any overlap between incoming emails and my company shutting down my accounts. Is this appropriate as well?

Note: Everyone internally knows of my departure.

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    The people who are "your contacts" probably fall into two groups. Some of them are your personal contacts, and perhaps also personal friends. What information you want to share with them on a personal basis is entirely up to you - but just updating your email signature doesn't seem a very good way to do it. The rest have a relationship with the company you work for, not with you personally. When you leave, the relationship with the company will continue, so the company should be making the decisions about who their new contact will be and how to inform them of the change - not you! – alephzero May 4 '17 at 19:50
  • Ask your manager how it should be handled in your company. I'm sure you're not the first person ever to resign from the company. – Dawood ibn Kareem May 4 '17 at 20:40
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    You said "sending out an email to all of them would be tedious" then suggested adding this information as a email signature. But you would send emails for them anyways right? This is so confusing. – André Werlang May 4 '17 at 23:10
  • @AndréWerlang My thought with that is that as emails come in from people and I reply, they would be made aware of my departure. As opposed to going through all my recent emails and sending the message unsolicited. – Dryden Long May 5 '17 at 13:22

It would not be appropriate to use such an informal approach as an email signature to indicate your departure.

You should make an effort to notify those that will be affected, and not worry about the rest.

As for after your departure, that is your organizations IT responsibility. A good organization will shut off your account and access almost immediately anyway.

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  • I agree and will add a suggestion on how to deliver this message to your clients or the people you want to know about your departure. Use the BCC feature and send a note to all of those contacts. – Andieisme May 4 '17 at 20:13
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    "It would not be appropriate to use such an informal approach as an email signature to indicate your departure." This is opinion, and although clearly an opinion shared by a number of people here on ws.se, could you elaborate as to why? – Sam May 4 '17 at 21:22
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    @Sam It is too easily overlooked in a signature. Normally you would only look at a regular contact's signature if you forgot their phone number or address and need that information. – Brandin May 5 '17 at 5:21
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    This completely misses the point. Joe Strazzere put it in a comment, and mhoran_psprep put it in an answer: Do whatever your company tells you to do! – AndyT May 5 '17 at 13:42
  • I agree that it's not really appropriate to put in a signature, but going around telling every client who you think should know could, in the worst case, cause the company to lose a bunch of clients and consequently have all your bridges burnt and possibly even end up in court. It's really best to talk to your boss about it first. – Bernhard Barker May 5 '17 at 14:17

Talk to your company/supervisor. They may/should have a plan for what to do with your email account and phone number. They should even have a plan for how to inform customers and vendors.

This is one of the items that takes place during the transition period. Though I have never heard of a company that wanted to use am email signature to spread that information.

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People don't read e-mails from bottom to top, and their attention is least likely to be on something that occurs at the end. If you want people to know, with the least amount of confusion or guesswork, do the work of writing a proper message with a proper subject line pertaining only to your change in status.

The footer approach will cause confusion - is that the impression you want? I think it'd be best to either be succinct, or don't send anything at all.

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  • +1 - In addition to the strong possibility it will be overlooked, putting it in a signature block also makes it seem like an unimportant afterthought. – Leigh May 5 '17 at 0:12

Issues of professionalism or appropriateness aside, using your email signature to announce your departure is likely to be ineffective. The vast majority of email clients de-emphasize or hide signatures by default, so most of the people you're trying to contact with this method will never see it.

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If you don't email somebody, they're not going to see your email signature.

If you do email somebody, you've remembered who they are and can therefore make a decision as to whether or not to send them your proper notification.

So, this is a non-problem.

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The customers your company has after you leave are of little concern to you, to be honest. If they want to keep them, they will contact them and let them know that another person will be handling their accounts. Unless you're expecting to keep up with the customers after you leave for some other reason (which would be unprofessional if you keep to the same industry), then you leave the company and let the company deal with their customers. Personally, I don't want the clients I work with to know when I'm gone.

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I don't see any problem with using the signature function of your email client to automatically append a note to the end of all of your emails explaining that you will be leaving the company.

I wouldn't make it look like a signature, but in all the email clients I have used the "signature" is just text added to the end of the email. Just add the note above your current signature.

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I would be careful in doing this. Check the terms and conditions of your employment contract and the laws in your country, to make sure you are not in breach.

I know someone who did this. His contract was subject to a clause which prevented him from working with any of the company's clients within a certain period of leaving that job.

He sent an email to all his clients to inform them that he was leaving (he had good reasons for doing so which I won't go into here). The company took him to court and obtained an injunction against him. They were able to successfully argue that by informing the clients that he was leaving, those clients (who may have valued their relationship with him more so than the company) would be able to easily locate him at the next company he worked at, and switch their business.

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