Can you Quit without Notice?
Deciding when to quit is never an easy decision—and just as hard is figuring out how to quit. So, can you quit without notice? The short answer is legally yes, but you probably should not quit without notice, barring a few exceptional circumstances.
The answers herein depend on your seniority and the type of job that you have. In general, the more senior/professional/responsibility-laden your role is, the more severe quitting with no notice becomes.
This post explores the cons of quitting without the customary 2-week notice period and how to tell when to quit. There are also two email templates for quitting below.
First, check your employment contract. If there is a stipulated minimum notice period, that is how much notice you must give or risk legal action. Typically, these clauses are rare in employee contracts.
In Canada, it is required that “reasonable notice” be given by the employee when they resign. The typical length of notice is two weeks, but this is not legally mandated. “Reasonable notice” is intentionally vague and companies seldom take former employees to court over this issue.
In the United States, there is no “reasonable notice” requirement. This means that quitting with no notice is an option.
Quitting without notice can have some adverse effects on your career:
Strained Professional Relationships.
Leaving abruptly can strain relationships with coworkers and supervisors, potentially damaging the references you need for your next role. Also, if you work in a small industry, the reputational impact can be larger because other companies are more likely to hear about your abrupt departure.
Your quitting might inadvertently pile extra work onto your colleague's desks. Quitting without notice makes this worse. And as they do the extra work you left behind, they are more likely to resent you for not giving notice. Be careful; no notice will burn a few bridges.
Job Market Implications.
Quitting without notice can be viewed negatively by prospective employers, as they may worry about your commitment and reliability.
This consideration is more relevant to those working in small labour markets or niche industries. While it’s unlikely that word would get around in a large city if you quit without notice, it’s still not a good idea to risk reputational damage.
When is it Acceptable to Quit Without 2-weeks notice?
There are situations where quitting without notice may be justifiable:
Hostile Work Environment.
If you're experiencing harassment, discrimination, or other intolerable conditions at your workplace, your well-being should take precedence. In such cases, quitting without notice might be the best option to safeguard your mental and emotional health.
Unforeseen personal emergencies, such as a family crisis or a medical condition, may require you to leave your job suddenly. Employers are usually understanding in such situations. Give as much notice as you can while looking out for yourself.
If it was Justifiable, Learn from the Experience.
Reflect on the reasons that led you to quit without notice and use the experience as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Think about what you can do differently in your next job to avoid similar issues or challenges.
It is important to look for red flags in the company (if it was the company that caused you to leave without notice) so that you can identify and avoid them in future jobs.
It’s also important to reflect on what other self-advocacy measures you could have taken. If you encountered challenges in your previous job, think back on how you could have addressed them differently or sought support from management or HR.
Learning to communicate your needs is an important skill for your professional growth.
But are we not in the age of Quiet Quitting?
Quiet quitting is the practice of resigning from a job without giving the traditional two-week notice or any communication at all to your employer that you quit.
It has become quite popular online, especially amongst Gen Z. It stems from a few different sources. To some it’s a radical equalizing force in the traditional employee/employer power dynamic: the employer can fire you at any time without notice; why can’t an employee quit whenever they want?
They believe that the customary two weeks is evidence of the power differential between the employer and employee. Quiet quitting empowers the employee—proponents feel.
For others, quiet quitting is done because of laziness or lack of communication skills.
If you want to quiet quit as an act of protest against corporate power in the modern employee’s life, fine. But weigh the potential consequences first.
As Resume Rejuvenation is in the business of getting people jobs, we do not recommend quiet quitting simply because it is easier than giving notice. This could have a large impact on your career (especially if you need the reference).
Templates for sending notice that you are quitting.
Subject: Resignation Notice
Dear [Supervisor's Name],
I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to formally announce my resignation from my position as [Your Job Title] at [Company Name], effective two weeks from today, [Last Working Day - e.g., November 12, 2023].
I have enjoyed my time at [Company Name] and have had the privilege of working alongside some truly remarkable colleagues. I am grateful for the opportunities I've had to contribute to the team and grow both personally and professionally during my tenure here and I am committed to assisting in any way possible during the next two weeks to ensure minimal disruption to the team.
I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you and the entire [Company Name] team for the support, mentorship, and camaraderie that I have experienced during my time here.
Thank you for your understanding, and please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or need further information.
[Your Full Name]
[Your Job Title]
Subject: Resignation Notice
Dear [Supervisor's Name],
I am writing to inform you that I am resigning from my position as [Your Job Title] at [Company Name], with my last working day being [Last Working Day - e.g., two weeks from today, November 12, 2023].
This decision wasn't made lightly, but I believe it's the right step for my career at this time. I am committed to ensuring a smooth transition and will be available to assist during this period.
Thank you for the opportunities and experiences I've had at [Company Name]. I appreciate your understanding.
[Your Full Name]
How to know when it’s time to quit?
Quitting a job is often one of the largest decisions that anyone will make in their career. Jobs, whether we like it or not, give us a sense of meaning and purpose, and often comprise a sizeable portion of our social lives. It’s no wonder that deciding when to quit is so challenging.
We’ve all been there when the doubts about your future at the company coalesce into a real need to quit immediately, but sometimes those doubts creep in and it’s hard to know whether to take them seriously.
Maybe it’s time to start brushing off that resume. Just to test the waters. Listed are the common telltale signs that it’s time to look for a different job. The more items on the list that resonate with you, the more seriously you should consider making a career change.
Regardless though, this is a big decision and thoughtfulness is key. Talk it through for a few hours with multiple trusted friends or family members.
You are no longer growing.
As human beings, we are naturally dulled by routine. Research shows that studying in the same spot daily yields lower retention than working in a new location.
And, in a larger way, working at the same company forces us to fall into a routine. When there are no longer those bright new aspects of your job to keep pushing you forward and keep your curiosity pushing you into new knowledge, then it could be time to move on.
If there is no room for promotion, no new sub-niches to get into, no new projects to work on, and no new hills to climb, it might be time to go.
You’ve achieved your goals at the current company.
All of us enter a new job with goals. We know what we will take away when we accept that offer. And much later, when it feels like we have accomplished those tasks, it’s time to find a new job.
After all, work takes 40 hours per week—those hours may as well be spent pursuing something we desire, and if it’s not goals, it’s really just money.
You are procrastinating a lot more.
I notice that when I approach burnout my daily procrastination increases 1000%. Social media, checking the fridge for snacks, and even just staring out the window become so much more attractive than they were before.
Burnout is a tricky thing to pin to one exact cause and it’s a harder thing to resolve quickly. It takes more than just a walk in the park a few times per week. And sometimes it just disappears on its own as the tides in your life ebb and flow.
But if it’s persistent, all-encompassing and doesn’t seem to be coming from sources beyond your professional life, it’s another sign to look for a new job.
Sunday evenings are worse than usual.
As a kid, school filled me with such dread that Sunday evenings were almost unbearable.
The anticipation of misery was so intense that even sweets had lost their succour by mid-afternoon.
If moping around your place on Sunday evenings is becoming more and more a part of your routine –you guessed it—start looking for and exploring new opportunities.
Your workplace no longer meets your standards for emotional health.
The workplace is a strange dynamic—it’s the place often called a “family”—except with few of the upsides that family and other forced relationships yield.
But at least your work family can be traded with relative ease. If your workspace is becoming controlling, punitive, or otherwise unhealthy, move on.
When you no longer want to be at the company long-term.
As soon as you struggle to imagine your staying at the current company for more than a year into the future, it’s time to consider quitting. If thinking about being at the role 2 or 4 years from now turns your stomach, yeah, it’s definitely time to leave.
This feeling is just a sign that the company no longer matches your trajectory and long-term interests. Leave sooner rather than later.
Things to try before quitting.
Often, reinvigorating your work can be as simple as seeing it differently and modifying it in small ways, something often referred to as “job crafting.” But if you’ve exhausted that path and can no longer grow in your profession, it might be time to move on.
Before deciding to move on though, talk to your employer about your feelings and see what options they can provide.
Explore Internal Opportunities.
Before quitting, see if there are other roles or departments within your organization where you could transfer. Sometimes a change in job responsibilities or environment can alleviate your dissatisfaction.
Explore professional development or educational leave.
If you're dissatisfied with your job because of a lack of growth or skill development, discuss opportunities for professional development with your employer. This might include training, mentorship, or educational opportunities.
If there would be more fulfilling or exciting roles available to you internally if you levelled up your skills, see whether your employer will pay for the requisite training.
Take a vacation.
If you’ve been burning the candle at both ends and letting vacation days pile up far too high, it’s time to take some time for yourself and regroup.
While vacations will never fix the underlying causes of burnout, they are a great salve that can extend your stay in your current role.
Quitting a job without notice is a decision that should not be taken lightly. In most cases, providing notice is the professional and ethical approach. However, there are valid reasons for quitting without notice, such as when personal well-being and safety are at risk.
If you find yourself in such a situation, follow the steps mentioned above to ensure a smooth transition and maintain your professional reputation to the best of your ability.
Remember that this should be a last resort, and open communication with your employer is usually the best way to handle a job transition.
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