How to Quit a Job Over the Phone: Conversation Examples

How to Quit a Job Over the Phone: Conversation Examples

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We constantly hear about “business etiquette” and how rude it is to quit in any other way than by showing up in person to quit your job. However, quitting over the phone is becoming a new normal in today’s fast-changing corporate environment. So, what is a proper way to quit over the phone?

When quitting your job over the phone, you should always plan ahead of time what you’re going to say. Always remain polite and calm and listen to anything the person over the phone says. After the call, you should provide your former company with a written resignation letter.

In this article, I’ll cover a few key questions you might be wondering about when quitting a job over the phone, such as if it’s better just to write an email and if it’s rude to resign over the phone. Most importantly, I’ll include conversation examples for quitting over the phone.  

Is It Better To Resign by Phone or Email?

Okay, let’s say you want to quit your job, but for whatever reason, you don’t want to quit in person. Maybe there was an unprofessional level of cooperation in your company, or people there are just rude. Perhaps you simply can’t be there to quit in person. These are all valid reasons to switch to plan B: quitting remotely. 

The main question now is: Is it better to resign by phone or email? 

It’s better to resign by phone rather than by email. Sending a resignation via email suggests unprofessional behavior on your part. Additionally, correspondence via email takes longer, and you don’t have a real-time verbal conversation with somebody.

What To Say When Resigning by Phone?

Now that we know what we should do if we want to resign over the phone without being rude, it’s time to see what exactly we should say during that much-feared phone call.

When resigning by phone, you should always keep the conversation concise and polite. Mention your name, position, and the reason for your resignation. Finish the call by thanking the company for everything and make sure to be there during the transition process. 

Here are some important elements you should incorporate in your resignation by phone:

  • Remain polite throughout the conversation.
  • Be specific about names and dates.
  • Mention the reason you’re resigning by phone.
  • Make it a short conversation.

Quitting Over the Phone: Conversation Examples

Some employees may suffer from anxiety before resigning over the phone. To cope with that, you can better prepare yourself by reading these conversation examples.

Quitting Because of the Work Environment 

Hi Mark. How are you? This is (your name and position in the company).

Listen, I’m currently out of town, that’s why I’m calling you to offer my resignation notice from my position, effective two weeks from today (date). We discussed some issues I have with the company, with the corporate environment there, and the behavior of some people, and I didn’t notice any changes. 

So, unfortunately, I’ve decided to resign. I got another job offer recently, and I’ll accept it. Anyway, thank you for everything. I am thankful for the experience. I’ll send my resignation letter as soon as possible. 

Note: Here is a perfect resignation letter sample for quitting a toxic work environment.

Quitting on Short Notice

Hello Mark. How are you? This is Steve, Systems Administrator at the company.

I know this is sudden, and I truly want to apologize first. However, I’m calling to let you know I’m resigning from my current position, effective (date). As you know, I live an hour away from the office, and it’s really difficult to travel that much every day. 

As a matter of fact, that’s the reason why I decided to do this over the phone. I got an offer from another company much closer. Unfortunately, the position starts next week and I was just informed. I hope you understand, and I’ll be here for a few days to help with the transition. The resignation letter is on its way.

Quitting for Personal Reasons

Hi Mark. How are you? This is Lucy, Accounting Manager at the company.

I’m calling today to let you know that I’m resigning from my position due to some personal reasons effective two weeks from today. I couldn’t come in person because I’m currently out of state. Although I don’t want to get into those reasons, I just want to say it’s nothing to do with the company. 

I want to let you know how grateful I am for everything and everyone in that company. Thank you once again. I’ll also send my resignation letter.

Quitting for Being Underpaid

Hello Mark. I hope you’re well. I’m John, and I’m a Full Stack Developer.

The reason I’m calling you is to let you know I’ve decided to resign, effective two weeks from now.  To be completely frank, the reason I decided to quit has to do with my salary. 

As you know, I’ve asked for a raise multiple times now, and I was never given one. I feel quite undervalued in my position at the company. I know we had some troubles financially, and I’m sorry it came to this. I wish you all the best and am genuinely thankful for the experience. I’ll provide you with a resignation letter soon.

Note: If you need a perfect resignation letter sample for resigning because of a better opportunity, I got you covered.

Quitting Because of Work-Life Imbalance

Hi Mark. How are you? I’m Steven, Managing Director at the company.

This call serves as a resignation notice from my current position, effective two weeks from now. I’m doing this over the phone because I’m moving houses and can’t be there. 

I had to make this difficult decision because I noticed that under my current job, I didn’t have enough time for my other personal obligations and my family. I also have kids, and I want to spend more time with them. It’s just become overwhelming, and I feel I need more time for other things. 

I wish you all the best, and I am grateful for everything. I’ll send a copy of my resignation letter soon too. Thank you, Mark, for everything. 

Note: Here’s a resignation letter sample if you’re quitting because of burnout. You can choose from a few examples that will save you so much time. 

3 Scenarios When It is Acceptable to Resign by Email

Whenever there’s a choice to choose a phone call or email as your resignation method, yes, the phone is a better option. However, there are certain situations when quitting over your email is actually more productive for everybody. Let’s see what those situations are.

1. The Person You’re Trying To Reach Isn’t Picking Up

All of us are running busy schedules. So, in many cases, when you want to resign over your phone, chances are that person won’t be available. Of course, let’s not forget there are situations when they don’t want to pick up intentionally because they can see who’s calling them. 

The situation usually goes like this: you try calling your company, but nobody’s picking up. So, after fifteen minutes of desperately trying to reach the company, you give up and go about your day, only to find five missed calls from your company later in the evening. Now, you’re frustrated and need to wait the next day to try everything all over again. 

Therefore, it might be better to open your email, write a resignation letter with all the necessary information, mention how thankful you are, and hit the send button. 

2. It’s Difficult To Communicate With Managers

Sometimes, it can be so challenging to communicate with managers or even CEOs if it’s a small business. First of all, you’re forced (so to speak) to talk with your manager about quitting your job, and let’s be clear, the manager won’t be particularly thrilled about that.

Another reason it’s better to resign over email is that many of these managers are simply difficult to talk to–it’s just their nature. They don’t make the situation any easier by starting a conflict, yet many of them do. They start screaming how ungrateful you are, and it’s just the worst (unnecessary) situation you can be in. 

Lastly, many people are just not that great at speaking over the phone. You start mumbling, forget what to say, start sweating, and you realize how easier it would’ve been if you just sent an email. 

3. The Manager Requests You To Send an Email

Remember the scene I mentioned about people not picking up phones? Well, imagine this time your manager answers the phone, but they’re too busy to speak right now because there’s some very important meeting happening in five minutes. 

So, when you explain that you can’t come in person any time soon, the manager will usually say something along the lines of, “Okay, send the resignation over the email.” That’s pretty fantastic if it happens to you, plus it’s great as a piece of written evidence that you informed somebody of your resignation.

Now that you know you can resign over email, read my article on how to write a perfect email subject line for your resignation. It will save you so much time.

How To Successfully Resign Over the Phone Without Being Rude

Resigning over the phone isn’t rude in itself. However, it can be rude if you have a harsh tone and aren’t open to conversation. Resigning over the phone is sometimes even necessary if you’re unable to resign in person for some reason.

Know What You’re Going To Say

It really leaves a bad impression–even if you’re resigning–to call your manager and mumble throughout the conversation. You should have a clear structure of what you’re going to say and at what point in the conversation. 

Prepare an outline with the essential points you want to mention. Even better, you should have an entire text that you prepared.   

Have the Call Already Scheduled 

If you’re planning on resigning from your job for some time, and it’s not an out-of-the-blue decision, then the professional thing would be to schedule your phone call. Especially if your boss knows what the phone call is about or if you wanted to come in person but couldn’t.

By scheduling a phone call, you’ll most definitely avoid some of the issues like the one in our imaginary scenario of missed calls. 

Prepare Your Surrounding

Preparing your surroundings involves making sure that the place where you conduct your phone call is as quiet as possible. The last thing you need is some random noise in the middle of the conversation, and then you have to shout, and your manager can’t hear anything. 

So, avoid any cafes or noisy places where other people can come and go. If there’s a construction site nearby, I suggest you run as far as you can from that place. 

Have the Phone Call

Now that you have prepared the text of what you’ll say and found a nice and quiet place, it’s time to make the call. I’ll focus on what to say during the call in the rest of the article (so make sure to keep on reading), but for now, just remember not to panic or be nervous

You have the right to quit your job if you’re unhappy with it, and nobody can stop you from doing that. Also, remember that resigning by phone isn’t illegal, even though some people might find it unprofessional, but that’s nothing to worry about.

Send Your Resignation Letter 

Now that you’ve finished with your phone call, you might think you’re free, but there’s more to do (there always is). Firstly, you should always send a copy of your resignation letter to your former company because it’s the professional thing to do. More importantly, a physical resignation letter will serve you as proof that you did, in fact, resign. 

Also, if you provided a two-week notice, then you’ll still have to continue working in the same company for two more weeks, and you should be there to accommodate a smooth transition.


Quitting over the phone isn’t rude, and sometimes it has to be done that way if you’re unable to come in person. However, you should always send a copy of your resignation letter to your former company.

About The Author

Nathan Brunner
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Nathan Brunner is a labor market expert. He is a mathematician who graduated from EPFL.

He is the owner of Salarship, a job search engine where less-skilled candidates can find accessible employment opportunities.