Why did my employee quit without notice?

You thought you had a good relationship with this employee. As far as you’re concerned, you were a decent boss. You treated the employee fairly, were supportive of his work, addressed him respectfully, and said “please” and “thank you.” You may even have gone out of your way to provide this employee meaningful development opportunities or a bigger salary.

All that, and out of the blue your employee tells you he’s leaving in two days, or maybe tomorrow.

Or perhaps you didn’t even get that much consideration. Instead your employee left a voice message in the middle of the night that he wouldn’t be returning—thanks for the opportunity, though.

“At will” goes both ways

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Most states are “at will,” meaning an employment relationship can be ended “at the will of” either party without cause and without notice, barring legal prohibitions, contractual obligations, or actions not in the best interest of public policy.

Employers exercise their rights under at will employment all the time, and some circumstances warrant abruptly letting an employee go.

But when employees quit without giving the ubiquitous two-week notice, lots of people have lots of opinions about why that’s just wrong. And, truth be told, quitting without notice has the potential to negatively impact the employee way more than the employer, which is why such behavior generally falls squarely under “cutting your nose to spite your face.”

Still, people do quit jobs without notice (sometimes quite spectacularly). Now why would anyone do that? Here’s why.

The employee wanted time off between gigs

The new job starts right away, and the only way for your employee to get a breather between positions was to shave time off on your end. In an ideal world, the employee wouldn’t have had to make this choice, but, well, it’s not an ideal world.

The employee didn’t think you’d care

In your mind, you treated this employee well. In her mind, you barely noticed her existence and rarely showed appreciation for her work or efforts. So, when it suited her to stop coming to work, she stopped coming to work. She honestly didn’t think you’d give a hoot.

Work was making the employee sick

Maybe you did your best as a boss, but your good actions couldn’t outweigh the real problems in your company—problems that were making your employee anxious, depressed, and angry. For his health’s sake, your employee had to go and the sooner the better.

The employee is a user

Sad to say, but some people don’t have much consideration for anyone but themselves. When working for you ceased to be beneficial, the employee up and quit. End of story.

The employee is angry at you

Despite your opinion of your relationship with this employee, he’s upset with you about something. Quitting without notice is his way of letting you know.

The employee took a preemptive strike

The employee knew it was only a matter of time before you terminated her employment, so she beat you to it. If that sounds a little crazy given the economy, consider the employee might have a sideline business, a part-time job, a working partner, or gumption to spare. Whatever the reason, it pleased the employee to quit before getting fired.

When employees resign without notice, it’s an inconvenience and maybe even a small blow to the ego.

Even so, an employer’s best bet is to not take the employee’s choice personally and instead look at the vacancy as a chance to bring a great new hire on board.

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26 Comments on "Why did my employee quit without notice?"

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I work two part time jobs. One was my newer job in a restaurant, the second was continuing working in the vet clinic I’ve been at for the last 4 years, a place where I am excellent at what I do and my employers and boss love me — but the hours were few and pay not great, so I had to look for more employment. On too of all this I run a petsitting/dog walking/housesitting business and every month somebody needs me. It pays well end non taxed. My restaurant boss has been horrible to me since we started,… Read more »

I quit by texting my manager.I had another job lined up and they wanted me to start asap….My old job cut every one to 13 hours a week…Who can live and pay billes on 7.85 per hour on that= NO ONE……Dollar General can kiss my ass

I just quit today. I walked out without saying anything to anyone. I knew there were other ways, but that was the only way to get my point across. I felt bad for the others because there werent many people working. I liked one of the managers. He was very respectful and gave good constructive criticism. The other one? I hated her. She isn’t respectful. She says mean things and thinks that no one hears her. Her attitude sucks and she’s a hypocrite! I also don’t like the way she talks to people. She constantly disrespected me. I had no… Read more »
I think, barring health, bereavement or medical emergencies, it’s rude, disrespectful and immature to leave a position with no notice. Now that I manage hiring and scheduling, it irks me to no end when someone quits by leaving a voicemail or sending me an email. I go out of my way to accommodate scheduling requests, and I am very transparent about the maximum number of hours allowed per week–as well as pay–and I encourage feedback and suggestions from employees. The problem I have is that some employees say whatever it takes to get the job (“sure, 25 hours per week… Read more »
I resigned today without notice. I have never done this before but wanted to get some feedback from others. First off my employer announced the facility was closing the doors in 5 weeks, and I would be layed off( no severance except for being ably to work until the doors are closed). This sounded good until I spoke with new prospective employers who asked about my no-compete clause. At this point I asked my current employer to provide a letter making the no-compete null and void. My employer refused to do this and told me that this would be covered… Read more »
@Maggie 17 Nov Maggie, I understand where you are coming from. Unfortunately, it is a matter of poor judgment expecting that since “we go out of our way” to accommodate others, they should exchange the favor. No matter how rude you find it, it is important to understand that “people are free”, that “at will” goes both way (thank the Lord for it going both ways), and I personally believe it to be selfish and arrogant to use a double standard to judge employees differently from employers when enforcing their “at will” right. Aside from the fact that in some… Read more »
So, i owned a small company. We all close to each other. We went out to eat together, we celebrate birthday. Just like family. I pay their hospital bills, i bought them ticket for them to see their family back home, I bought those who took 2hours by bus to reach workplace a motorbike etc. Till there is this young girl who are very polite, but she couldnt do any of our standart work and yet she keep on asking for executive salary. I told her, she just work for 1 month, do it good first proof she can do… Read more »

It’s just as well you quit “without notice”, no secret your unhappy. You’ve complained, have you not? No matter how important you are and no matter how good you are – you’ll be replaced and forgotten about in no time. Besides, giving a notice is kinda rubbing nose in the fact you leaving. Any wonder so many people comment on how disrespected they felt after giving notice? The two week notice thing is as dead as an objective statement on a resume. Leave it out!

There are two opinions here : Those in personnel and management believe it’s rude for an employee to exercise their “at will” option Those employees who felt that was a way to be heard. Like “firing” your boss. Sadly, the “at will” job offering is a lack of faith started by employers. So who is being disrespectful from day one? There was a time when employees were given a 90 period of time to demonstrate their potential. Now the same (or longer period) has become a way to delay any promised benefits. Who is demonstrating bad faith. Show us what… Read more »
Hotel Hell
If an employee quits without notice, chances are that the job and the management suck. I worked for an economy motel near Disneyland, and the management treated everyone like dirt. No surprise, since the motto there was “The customer is always right.” (If you absolutey believe that mantra, you’re either a terrible manager who inspires deep-seeded resentment among your staff, or a nightmare customer who the staff would rather not have return.) The long-term staff there had long since gone off the deep end; the only things you could count on from them were lies, gossip, and vindictiveness. The customers… Read more »

my problem is not the “no notice” as much as negative notice to quit, they just stop showing up for work and I have to figure it out.
I know, bad employers deserve this sometimes, but, really, I am one of the good ones who pays well and treats people well, so it’s very frustrating to see me get treated this way.
I’m old with a good memory, I don’t remember ever seeing this decades ago – interesting.

Sam Ramphele
There can be multiple reasons why employee tender immediate resignations. The employer can be good in all instances but only to find that the work itself sucks. Employees might be having new better offers elsewhere difficult to resist. In all manners it will be difficult for the employer to cope. The question is, since immediate resignation is bad for production, is the issue of withholding payments from such employee good for the organisation. This is just an act of retaliation not the remedy to the problem at hand. The law needs to expand and deal with this matter sufficiently. It… Read more »

The lost of a pension. That ‘s why!

I work in a retail company where we have cashiers, assistant managers, and a store manager. We are suppose to have 3 or 4 assistant managers to help run the store better. Now, I’m one of those assistant managers. We had hired a new assistant manager about a month ago and he was great! Very nice, very respectful! He did his job, we could talk, laugh and joke, and work together. All of a sudden my store manager goes on vacation, and I had to work with him one night. I walked by and asked how things were going and… Read more »
I ended up quitting without notice recently for a call center that took orders from a large pizza chain. I worked there less than a week– thought it was going to be a decent job since it was full-time/ eight hours a day. On my fullblown first shift, I asked if I could go on break since the calls were slowing down. Floor manager told me no, if there’s no scheduled break on my timesheet, then I wouldn’t have a break. This wouldn’t seem like an issue but we’re not allowed to eat at our computers and I was already… Read more »
I need to know what is the worst that can happen to me. I put in my resignation with immediate effect and that I am not returning to work at all. You need to understand that who I work for is horrible, I cannot explain the conditions that I work in everyday. I am unable to work in these conditions, they are horrible to the staff and bad mouth the staff and has no respect for the people that work for them. I practically go home crying everyday,hence the fact I resigned and not going back. What is the worst… Read more »
Jeremy Scott
I have left at least 5 or 6 jobs on a weeks notice. And probably will give a weeks notice if or when I feel ready to leave my current job. I would say that you should tailor your resignation for how the company treats you. If they treat you with respect and kindness give them the required two weeks notice, if they are going to cause you problems leaving then give them a weeks notice or sometimes none at all. In fact it is against the law for any employer to give any person a bad reference for fear… Read more »
I was unhappy at my prior job, which I held for almost 5yrs, gained 25lbs and was very depressed. I was the best performing employee as a matter of fact, regardless of how unhappy I was. So, found a new job and gave two-week notice but did only one week. I didn’t feel like finishing out the second week because of the mental abuse and harassment I got from the owner. I stayed at that stupid job for many years and suffered mentally because I needed the money and have bills to pay. Yes, the two-week notice should be abolished… Read more »
I was unhappy at my prior job, which I held for almost 5yrs, gained 25lbs and was very depressed. I was the best performing employee as a matter of fact, regardless of how unhappy I was. So, found a new job and gave two-week notice but did only one week. I didn’t feel like finishing out the second week because of the mental abuse and harassment I got from the owner. I stayed at that stupid job for many years and suffered mentally because I needed the money and have bills to pay. Yes, the two-week notice should be abolished… Read more »
Today is my last day. I will.quit tomorrow. I now earn minimum wage doing security and my boss ( the company owner) has been taking my lunch pay from me but charging the customer. I am willing to work 8.5 hours for 8 hours pay, but he won’t do it. I only get paid 7.5 hours but am on the job 8. I am so poor, just making ends meet that I need the $100 a month my employer is stealing from me and the customer. So, I found a better paying job closer to home. (Saving gas money too!)… Read more »
I am going to quit my job tomorrow. My current boss/ owner continuously yells and belittles his employees. I am having panic attacks and had to go on anti anxiety meds. Yesterday, I overheard the bookkeeper telling him there is not enough money to make payroll this month. He in turn screamed at her “find it”! She then spent the afternoon calling banks to see if they could get additional loans. I am seeing red flags everywhere and my gut instinct is to let it go and walk away before things get even more ugly. In the past seven weeks… Read more »
Keep in mind that even if you give 2 weeks notice, you may find yourself being walked out within 2 minutes. This happened to me after 4 years with a company. Of course, they were going to fire me anyway for not meeting the new goals they set for me (after taking away my good accounts to make sure I couldn’t meet the goals). Also had a hard time getting my earned vacation pay, called HR and was told that I wouldn’t get it because I was “terminated with cause”. This was not the case. I had to fight and… Read more »
I worked for a certain company for 6 months. I was constancy reminded of how slow I was even though I’ve made real progress on my speeds since I’ve started. Almost everything I had learned was in my own. When I approached my boss with a question about where something goes or what is a better way (faster way) to find something in the store. I would be told where it was but never a great and faster way of doing it. It wasn’t until I had enough and up and quit on a day before I went in before… Read more »
Maggie said there’s no reason to not give notice? She must not work in healthcare. The ONLY thing that compels you to give notice are the pts. If they arent a factor? Run. I gave a one day notice via text. Why? 2 nurses passing meds/triage for an entire jail in 5 hrs. They also wanted to push nurses into the clinic and infirmary with no training. There were other things but that’s the gist. Anyway, after seeing how people are fired? People bleat this “quitting w/o notice is rude, unprofessional,etc..” nonsense like its going out of style. I think… Read more »
i worked as a General Manager of a Hotel Resort for 6 years, well i can say that i learn a lot from my old bosses though they also learn a lot from me for sure, at first i was really happy with my job although its stressful & takes a lot of your time,. sad thing is maybe after 5 years they wont let me see any sales report, they don’t give me any commission anyways, i know its unfair but i’m okey with it. and as time goes by my bosses attitude gets grumpy maybe because of his… Read more »

This article is total bs. lol the employee is a”user” Who wrote this someone born in 1920? Lol This story seems way 1-sided which is not neutral. In any at will situation you can fire and the employee can quit. I’ve been on both sides. Especially when I was younger, still trying to figure it out. It does not negatively affect you otherwise, it would not be called at will.. unless, you live in a small town.