How to Resign

Chris Holmes' resignation cake.

Employment lawyers can get very excited about clients resigning from employment.  How much notice has to be given or why the person is resigning are often key questions; legal claims may be envisaged as a consequence of resigning. For instance, when an employment relationship has gone seriously pear shaped, careful consideration may be given to resigning immediately and claiming constructive dismissal.  In most cases then the discussion is about timing, or the reason for leaving.

Rarely is much thought given to how the fateful message is to be delivered, although plucking up the courage to do so can be testing. How will the message be received?  What will be worse?  Your boss calling you a Judas, or  (maybe worse?) him/her stifling an urge to jump for joy and declare a half-day holiday for the whole company in celebration?

If you do  a Google search you will find any amount of articles on what the letter should say or how you should say it.Try this site, which I picked at random, for example. It’s all about mood and context and avoiding the temptation to say what you really feel about your soon to be ex-colleagues.

There is a long tradition of amusing, spiteful or bitingly honest resignation letters, as the Telegraph reported on 1st March last. My favourite is here, although I doubt it is genuine.

Nowhere will you find anyone suggesting that you write your resignation letter on a cake and deliver it to your boss.  That, though, is what Chris Holmes, an employee of the Border Agency at Stansted Airport did on Tuesday. The cake served a dual purpose: not only did it communicate his desire to leave the soon to be disbanded, discredited government agency it also proved to be a smart marketing move as Mr Cake,  as he henceforth wishes to be known, will no doubt be deluged with orders from all the publicity.

Mr Holmes isn’t the first person to give his employer the shove in this way though. In 2009 Neil Berritt in San Francisco delivered his resignation epistle on a cake, declaring with tongue firmly in cheek (assuming that his mouth wasn’t already full of cake) that “during the past three years, my tenure at the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard has been nothing short of pure excitement, joy and whim”.

So, whatever next? If I were the boss of a disgruntled worker  I would  think twice before eating a cake he or she had baked; who knows what might have gone into it? And what if the employee had decided instead of leaving the corporate world for a life of artisan bakery  to go into a less tasteful line of business and they decided to promote their new business with an example of their work?  Hopefully budding rodent controllers wouldn’t decide to attach their farewell to a dead rat.

 Click here for a Podcast  with Mr Cake.

Michael Scutt, Employment Solicitor 

Employment solicitor with Crane and Staples, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. Blogger & writer. I like cycling, cricket, football and history.