What do you think about people who quit without giving notice?

I am the manager of a very small store and on my shift I only have two people working with me. One of those people abruptly quit right now. She actually didn’t even tell me (I’m at home, not at work right now). She told my boss that she’d found a better job and he relayed the message to me. I told her I’d received a message that she’d quit and asked her if she’d just found out at this very moment that she was offered a position (it’s 8 PM here and she’s supposed to be at work at 9 AM tomorrow- this is very short notice) and all she said was “Yeah” and nothing else.

On the one hand, her position is a low paying one (just above minimum wage) and is at the bottom of the rung. She was also denied a raise a few months ago. On the other hand, she would call out a lot and requested that her hours be reduced which certainly did not help her position in the eyes of those above me (despite being the manager I am not in control of wages. All I can do is offer input on performance. I did not say anything negative about her performance to anyone above me however and approved all time off).

I think in her eyes she was telling my boss to shove it. However, I think it’s juvenile to walk out on a job no matter how crappy and low paying unless there is something SERIOUSLY bad or abusive about the environment which is not the case here. She’s not hurting my boss by quitting and she’s not really even hurting me since until we find a suitable replacement I’ll be getting overtime doing both of our work (which is a tiny bit stressful, but manageable).

Do you think it’s ever OK to quit with no notice? Are there any grey areas? Am I being harsh for thinking you should give 2 weeks even if it’s a minimum wage position?

I haven’t quit a job in nearly 3 years, but when I did I gave formal written notice and they asked me to stay a few days past the two weeks which I agreed to. I’m glad she found something that presumably pays better, but I am upset that she did not tell me sooner (or at all even).

I could see quitting a minimum-wage job without notice if it was a hostile work environment. I’ve seen jobs before where staying the customary two-weeks would have been hell, as some employers feel the need to punish employees who are on their way out. Trying to give your shifts away first would at least be a nice gesture.

I have only done that once in my life. At my one-year review , the boss told me he did not like me, he did not like my work, he did not like anything about me or my work, and that “perhaps your writing was appropriate for an *entertainment *magazine” [dripping with contempt], it was hardly good enough for a *business *magazine.

He didn’t actually fire me, but I knew there was no coming back from that. Without a word, I just got up, took whatever was mine at my desk and walked out. Ever since then, yearly employee reviews send me into panic attacks.

I see you’ve changed your response- but regarding the original one, that situation would have been ok because you were honest about the situation. And I understand what you mean about a hostile work environment. I really don’t think the environment’s like that though aside from the fact that she wasn’t paid very well. However if she’d been willing to plead her case to my boss he probably would have said yes to a raise, the rest of us have gotten raises that way.

It’s the fact that she didn’t tell me that annoys me, because I wouldn’t have gotten upset and she should know that from working with me for a year.

ETA: My response was to Captain_C. That sounds like an awful situation though, Eve****. This is a really laid back environment though. Maybe that’s why she thought it was ok to just up and leave?

I personally don’t think there is anything wrong morally with quitting without notice. How many companies give you notice before firing your ass vs. how many have security there to watch you pack everything up and get the hell out never to return the moment they fire you?

A job isn’t your family and the good of the company is only your concern when you’re being paid to make it your concern. While you’re working there it’s normally true you want to give good performance and do right by the employer because that is to your benefit in terms of advancing there and on a more theoretical level the better you are at your job the better the business does and the more secure your employment is. But once you’ve found another job, none of that at the previous employer is your concern any longer. Both at large and small companies owners / management can and do decide to get rid of you on a whim, I don’t know why people feel they owe anything more in return when it comes to deciding how to end employment.

Now that being said, practically I’d always advise anyone quitting a job to give notice. I know I just said I don’t think you owe it, and I don’t, but for whatever reason most people have bought into this weird concept that it’s “immoral” and makes you a “bad person” to leave a job without notice. They’ve bought into the concept that even though the employer will drop you without notice the employee owes above and beyond in regards to the employer. So that being said, leaving without notice could theoretically come back to haunt you. You never know what might get discovered in a reference check or even sometimes someone from your previous job may some day end up somewhere up the food chain at another place you want to work…and when your name comes across their desk they’ll remember your past behavior. So practically, you should always give notice. But I don’t personally think any less of someone who quits without notice, they’re giving the employer the exact same treatment the employer would give them if it suited their needs.

Employees and employers should only work together as long as both feel they’re getting a fair deal. I know that’s an ideal situation that doesn’t translate well into real life, but in my experience an employer will not give notice to an employee they no longer feel they need - they just fire them. Employers deserve no better treatment than what they give.

My current employer goes to extreme lengths to treat their employees well. I would never consider quitting without notice, because if I ever leave the company I want it to be on the most amicable terms possible.

I actually do agree with a lot of this although I certainly don’t think anyone who quits without notice is “bad” or “immoral.” And you’re right, it is a double standard to expect an employee to give notice when leaving when the employer does not do the same. My degree is business related however and in school they drilled it into our heads that we should never burn bridges (except in extreme circumstances I guess) and that gaps on our resumes/lack of good references would be career death.

The closest circumstance I’ve ever been to this is in college I was doing an internship with someone who’s sort of well known in certain circles in New York and as it turned out he was a cocaine addict who would fly into these crazy rages. My internship counselor instructed me not to communicate with him at all except to send in a notice that I was quitting (they told me to say I was quitting because I’d fulfilled my internship requirements). I was told to not say a word to anyone though about what had happened because they told me there was no way to know who I may meet in the future who knows him.

So maybe my feelings are colored by my past experiences with this. It’s also the lack of honesty that bothers me since I really don’t think I am an awful boss who would have given her a hard time over this. And as I said before, I was very lenient with her regarding time off, etc. and tried to help her get a raise.

Yeah, in hindsight I thought the first version came out as a bit confusing in a ‘you had to be there’.

I thought it made sense. I guess I’m letting my personal feelings get in the way, because my response would have been the same as your boss’s, but instead she chose to do it this way. Of course I don’t think she “owes” me anything, I just always go out of my way to be friendly and accommodating at work, and I’ve done her job for her numerous times in the past when she didn’t want to come in. I guess it’s just a little hurtful to be completely blown off, but she was an employee, not a friend, so I know I shouldn’t take it personally. I also wonder if she just wouldn’t have shown up tomorrow without telling anyone. My boss was at the store because of something unrelated and the girl who quit likes to hang out at a bar across the street, so I think she just happened to run into him.

It goes both ways. I had a great job I really liked when I was younger. I decided I wanted to pack up and see what life was like in another state for a while. I told the boss an entire month in advance and made it very clear I loved the job and would be happy to train my replacement or float to other locations or do whatever would be most helpful until I left and I didn’t want to burn any bridges because I’d likely be back in about a year and would be happy to have employment lined up. I didn’t think we had problems, I had been around for a little over a year and never missed a day and always made my numbers. The very next day I showed up for work and some guy I’d never met was there with the boss. “I hired your replacement. Give me back your keys.”
Ever since then I’ve been hesitant to show my hand.

That really sucks. Maybe she had an experience like that and was worried about it happening again. I was mistaken when I said above that I’ve only quit one job- I also had to leave the job I had in high school when I moved to go to college and they were very nice about the whole thing like my college job was when I quit. So maybe I am just naive about the ways of evil employers.

ETA: I know it sounds odd that I’m speculating to you guys about her motives, but I’m assuming she won’t tell me, since all she said was “Yeah.” After the “Yeah.” I said “Well, that’s cool that you found a new position,” and didn’t get a response.

The thing I would say is that with low wage jobs, if they tell you you have to start tomorrow you do it, you don’t have a choice. If job #2 pays $1.50 more an hour or fits with my schedule better or is in any way more desirable to me, and they say “start tomorrow,” I’ll say," “sir yes sir” – not “oh I have give two weeks at Old Navy.” Because they will laugh at me.

Is burning bridges hell on your career? Yes. But face it, this employee doesn’t have a career, she’s in low-wage retail hell and has to protect her own interests.

Quitting without notice is not only perfectly acceptable when you’re dealing with a hostile environment, it’s a really good idea.

While it can feel good knowing that you’ve put in your notice and you won’t have to be there much longer, it can also ramp up the stress and pain as you try to drag yourself into Hell each and every day trying to complete your term. Moreso if you have to worry about what kind of bullshit your boss is going to throw at you just because they were already huge assholes and now they’re angry with you.

This is how I felt when I left my internship. I’d be very hurt though if she felt this way about me. The situation is complicated by the fact that everybody’s “friends.” I have my own social circle and generally don’t hang out at the bar with my other co-workers who are VERY heavy drinkers (which I am not), but we’re all “friends” on Facebook and this girl and I are also Twitter “friends.” I had actually just tweeted her before I knew she’d quit. I don’t think anyone’s too offended that I don’t go to the bar with them since we’re friendly otherwise and that would be absurd to be upset by something like that.

I don’t care a fig. Companies don’t provide 2 weeks’ notice before layoffs. And a lot of larger companies will escort employees to the door the moment they provide 2 weeks’ notice anyway. There is no advantage in providing notice unless you’re contractually-obligated to do so, or the employee needs a reference or wants to be eligible for rehire at your company (and it doesn’t sound like the job is worth that). If your company wanted their employees to provide notice badly enough, they’d require their employees sign a contract to that effect, and provide them with a living wage in exchange for it.

They didn’t care much about her, so why should she care much about them?

In the almost 4 years I’ve worked at my present employer ( a huge multi-national corporation), I’ve seen about 75% of the employees who give notice not had it honored. Security has been called and told to pack their things and leave.

Since I can’t afford to sit around for an planned week or two without pay, I don’t plan on giving notice on my intentions to leave.

Several posts above have pointed out that employers have no compunction about firing or laying off employees without notice and escorting them straight out the door. But nobody has mentioned the tradition of employers paying two weeks of “severance pay” for that.

In this modern 1890’s-era-style day of robber-baron employer practices, where “at will” employment rules seem to prevail, do many companies still give severance pay? Or it that a mostly defunct archaic anachronism now?

I know that some people–especially white-collar workers–still get severance pay, but minimum-wage workers and interns sure don’t.

I’m a call center employee in a white collar industry (insurance). We are guaranteed 2 weeks of severance after a layoff, with an additional week for every year of service. So I’d get 6 weeks if I were laid off. I doubt there is severance pay when being fired, although I’ve never known anyone who got fired so I’m not 100% sure on that. Severance is not typical of retail-level or part-time blue collar jobs, though. It is considered part of my benefits package.

My coworkers who’ve given 2 weeks’ notice have also been allowed to work out the full notice period. Recently, they even notified specific people being targeted by an imminent layoff in my department, 2 weeks before it happened. They let them keep working those 2 weeks, then gave them full severance afterward.

We’re not unionized, but my employer has a *great *HR department.

When you deny a raise to a minimum wage employee, you’re making it clear that anybody could do the job and there’s nothing special about her. She got the message, and found a place where (maybe) they’re happier to have her on board. I know that you weren’t the person who denied the raise, but I doubt that matters to her. You (the company, not you personally) didn’t treat her as a valued employee, so she didn’t treat you as a valued employer.

It sounds like you’re taking it personally because you’re “friends” with this girl. It’s hard (not to say impossible) to be an effective manager and a friend at the same time, especially with people in low pay, low responsibility positions. If you want to be her friend, then support her in her new job. If she was just someone who reported to you, then move on to finding and training a replacement. Either way, there’s no sense in worrying about the notice unless it really throws a wrench into your plans.