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How to Know When to Quit Without Notice and Resign Professionally?

How to Know When to Quit Without Notice and Resign Professionally

If you can, it is considered polite and professional to give at least two-weeks notice before leaving a job. However, if there are severe circumstances where you can’t give notice, you must think seriously about what you will do and do it professionally. How you quit a job can influence your future relationships with potential employers and past colleagues.

You want to leave a good impression on your superiors and staff, so there are no hard feelings if you cross paths in the future. But sometimes there are reasons why you may have to quit and don’t have a choice.

So, let’s look at How to Know When to Quit Without Notice and Resign Professionally…

how to know when to quit without notice resign professionally

When You Can Quit Without Notice?

A two-week notice isn’t a law. It’s just polite standard practice. This allows your employer to find someone else to take over your role. It also reduces the impact on your colleagues by giving them time to adjust and plan the workforce without you.

However, contracts exist in these circumstances, which may impact your compensation or final paycheck. Employees who don’t have a contract will likely be employed under an at-will employment agreement. At-will agreements mean that the employee can be terminated at any given time with no notice and will also not face any legal action for leaving without notice.

According to workplace fairness in States such as California, Nebraska, and New York, employers have to pay their staff unused vacation time in their last paycheck.

Reasons you make need to quit immediately

  • Unsafe work environment
  • Personal Health
  • Family Emergency
  • Hostile environment
  • Better opportunities elsewhere
  • Ethical challenges
  • Sexual Harassment
  • You haven’t been paid

Unsafe Work Environment

The last thing you want when you’re going to work is to feel unsafe. If you are in a profession that deals with criminals or hospitalizations, you will face some danger at times.

However, if you are working in an office role, you should feel safe going to work. If you feel that your safety is at risk, you can quit on the spot, especially if you had already addressed your concerns with senior management and they did nothing about it. An employer must make their employees safe full stop.

how to know when to quit without notice resign

Personal Health

Whether it’s your physical or mental health that’s suffering from the job, you can also quit without notice. It may be a sudden cancer diagnosis, or perhaps you’re dealing with mental health issues that are worsening due to your job role. Keep it professional and exit the workplace to take care of yourself. When your mental or physical health is damaged, don’t stay for a two-week notice, it’s not worth the risk.

Family Emergency

If your situation is urgent and you need to leave right away, take a minute to consider whether it’s worth applying for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act).

The United States Department of Labor has this act in place for people who have to leave urgently to take care of family members. Eligible candidates can take unpaid, job-protected leave for family reasons and continue with the company’s health insurance policies.

Hostile Work Environment

Studies show that 30% of people have experienced bullying in the workplace and that around 48.6 million Americans experience bullying at work. Women are twice as likely to bully women than men.

Quitting your job if you are on the receiving end of a bully is not unheard of. Not only does it impact your mental health, but it gives you anxiety about going to work and definitely takes a toll on the quality of work you produce. If your managers haven’t addressed workplace bullying, it is likely time for you to move from that company anyway.

Zero tolerance for bullying…

With so many ‘BeKind’ type of campaigns and ‘Women supporting women,’ there should be no space for hostile work environments in this day and age. If your superiors bully you, a two-week notice won’t make much of a difference anyway as it is unlikely they will give you a glowing reference.

Better Opportunities

Suppose you have a job offer with another company and they want you to start tomorrow. What if they don’t offer flexibility on your start date, and it is your dream job? In that case, you sometimes have to leave your professional morality at the door and jump into the opportunity.

However, you should be careful of a new employer who doesn’t allow you to finish your ‘proposed notice’ for your previous company. You’ll know yourself the reasons they need you, as it could be for a business trip or want your help closing a deal. Use your judgment. Since you’ve already got the job, it’s not like they’ll be calling your previous employer for a reference anyway!

when to quit without notice resign professionally

Ethical Challenges

Have you ever been asked to do something illegal or something you don’t believe in at work? Has it made you feel uncomfortable? Well, that’s another reason for leaving a role. Suppose your employer does not understand your hesitations.

If a company is acting out with your professional morals, that company isn’t the right fit for you. Plus, you’ll find another job somewhere else that fits with your ethics. Staying in a company that takes part in unethical behavior could be detrimental to your future career. Get out; the quicker, the better!

Sexual Harassment

Studies found that 81% of women and 43% of men experience sexual harassment or assault at some point during their life. This is a shocking figure for anyone to hear.

While the #MeToo movement encouraged many women to come forward and talk about their sexual assault, the workplace popped up as one of the places where women most frequently experienced harassment. Another study showed that according to victims who have reported their assaults. 95% of those men went unpunished.

If you don’t want to come forward…

Suppose you have experienced sexual harassment and have or haven’t come forward (it’s totally up to you how you deal with it). It is an acceptable reason to leave your job immediately. Women who decide not to come forward about harassment in the workplace are worried it will bear consequences for their career progression.

The Steps Before You Quit

Contact HR Department

The smart thing to do is communicate your leave with a senior manager or HR manager. This lets them know you will be leaving without working a notice period. If you are a cherished employee, they may offer you a career break or unpaid time off. Know your options before quitting.

when to quit without notice resign professionally advice

Find a Support System

Perhaps your company offers a company therapist or someone who can help you through your problems. If you aren’t leaving your work due to, for example, sexual harassment or ethical issues, it might be wise to try and work through your problems if, deep down, you actually enjoy your job.

Maybe you just need some time to discuss your feelings and current situation. However, if you do decide leaving your job with no notice is the best thing for you at this time, make sure to have the good support of family and friends around you who know your plans.

Financial Plans

It is important not to add any more stress. Make sure you are financially stable and can afford a career break or some downtime. Remember, you may not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

Unless there are very specific circumstances, employment benefit states that people who have left their job voluntarily are less likely to be offered employee benefits. However, if you quit for what is known as a ‘good cause,’ you may be able to fight your case.

Understand The Risks Involved

Think carefully about why you want to quit so suddenly and consider the risks involved. If you are looking to receive a reference from your current employer and have a good relationship with them, it is perhaps better you give a little notice.

If you are not worried about a reference and have no other way to leave the job suddenly, you have to do it. But do know, some colleagues may be hurt or resentful towards you due to the extra workload they will have to pick up. Remember this for future employment if you ever have to cross paths again.

Be Polite

No matter what circumstances you have endured during your work experience, it’s always best for you to stay polite and well-mannered when leaving the workplace.

If you need time to compose yourself before doing so, go for a quiet coffee or a walk around the block before going in to tell your superiors. Showing grace even in the worst work environment shows your professionalism, and it allows you to leave without stooping to a level that you may go if you’re hot-headed. If you believe you will struggle to voice your leave in person, you can always write it down instead.


Whether you have chosen to speak to HR or a senior manager, make sure you communicate clearly when you will be leaving, whether it’s the next day or won’t be back after the weekend, it’s best to let them know instead of not turning up to work at all. In-person is the best way to do this relationship-wise, but you can do it via phone call or email if you are struggling.

Resignation Template

Although, as previously mentioned, in person is probably the best, followed by a written letter, you can hand a letter over to your superiors if you don’t want to resign in person. A written resignation is a formality, and most people provide their employer with one anyway. No matter how much you hate your job or have been hurt by the situation, leaving graciously is an excellent display of your character.

Email Templates

We’ve put together a few examples of what to write in your resignation email. They should give you an idea of the tone to set while sounding polite and professional at the same time.

Example 1:

Subject: Resignation

Dear HR,

Please accept this email as my letter of resignation for Marketing Manager at CompanyXYZ. I will not be providing two weeks’ notice, and my leaving date will be on the 10th of March 20XX. I apologize for the sudden leave, but it is in my best interest for my mental and physical health. I will do my best to help with any transition.


Sam Smith



Example 2:

Dear HR,

Unfortunately, I am writing to inform you of my resignation. I cannot complete a two-week work notice, and my leaving date will be the 11th of March, 20XX. I am happy to help with any transition and wish you and the team all the best.


Jon Smith



Example 3:

Dear HR,

Please consider this resignation from the position of Marketing Assistant at CompanyXYZ. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my last day will be today. I apologize for the short notice. I have enjoyed working with you and wish you and the team all the best.

Kind Regards,

Lea Jones



More Information On How To Resign!

You are not alone…It seems there is a great need for online handbooks on this matter! So, check out the I Hate My Job: How to Quit Your Job, and The Art Of Resigning: How To Quit A Job And Pursue Your Dream Career, or how about Quit Your Job and Follow Your Dreams, to begin with!

We also found the well known Rich Dad’s Before You Quit Your Job book, as well as the QUIT YOUR JOB OR DIE: Discover the Importance of Self-Employment, the How to Quit Your Day Job and Live Out Your Dreams, and interestingly the Quit Your F**king Job: Escape the Great American Hoax and Live Free, all available online in 2023.

Now that you’ve quit, you might want to update your CV using the Resume Formats book, the English for Academic CVs, Resumes, and Online Profiles, or perhaps the Land Your Dream Job: Join the 2% Who Make it Past Resumé Screening, or how to Optimize Your Resume and lastly the Resume Writing: 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips, which we found very user-friendly!

Final Thoughts

Quitting without notice is a personal choice. At the end of the day, giving notice is just a formality that most employers are used to (remember to check your contract, though). There are many circumstances in which you must leave your job quickly without notice, and if you can justify it or the issue is severe enough, you have to decide what’s best for you.

Remember, there will always be other jobs, but if your mental or physical health is suffering due to a job, leaving and getting yourself better is more important!

Well done on taking the first step, and good luck!

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