Are There Any Disadvantages To Resigning With Immediate Effect?

Media would often have us believe that storming from an office after a dramatic “I quit!” moment can be life-changingly good, but in real life, that kind of resignation can have disastrous consequences.

Resigning with immediate effect is often better than being fired and can be useful in getting out of unpleasant work situations, but can also mean losing access to important employer benefits and can impact your future job prospects as well. Whether it is the right decision for you depends largely on your unique situation, contract and how prepared you are to handle the effects of the resignation.

Here’s what you need to know about resigning with immediate effect, from what it really means to when it might be appropriate and what you need to prepare for should you go this route.

What is resigning with immediate effect?

It is standard, when resigning, to give your employer some kind of advance warning, known as ‘giving notice’. The usual amount of notice is two working weeks, so about 10 business days with your last day at work then called your effective termination date.

Resignation with immediate effect is leaving a position without giving any advance warning to your employer. You may choose to finish your last remaining workday or simply leave immediately, in media res.

Why might you resign with immediate effect?

You might choose to resign immediately if there is some sort of workplace conflict or policy that you disagree with on a personal or moral level to a degree that can’t be mediated, such as if a new policy or practice violates your religious beliefs and you have been expressly told that you will not be allowed an exemption.

You may choose to resign immediately for more benign reasons, as well, such as if you have been offered a more attractive position at another company but are required to begin work immediately, or if you have some personal issue that requires your full attention immediately.

You may also choose to resign immediately if you are at risk of being fired, either with or without cause. For instance, you may choose to quit if your employer is looking to downsize your department, you have had a particularly poor performance review, or you have become involved in some irresolvable scandal or conflict.

It is usually best to avoid being terminated, as this can reflect poorly on your future career options. Whatever the case may be, you should explain your reason for leaving as politely and effectively as possible.

What are the disadvantages of resigning with immediate effect?

While leaving a job with no notice period might be beneficial in some very specific circumstances – such as the ones listed above – there are a few key disadvantages to resigning with immediate effect that you should consider before you attempt it.

To begin with, resigning from a position means, in most cases, that you are not eligible for unemployment benefits through the federal and local government. It also means that you are likely ineligible to pursue legal action against your former employer as you might take in the case of wrongful termination.

You will also lose any benefits you associate with that position. While the obvious inclusion here is your salary, this might also include your health, vision, and/or dental insurance, your 401k or other retirement plans, and any other savings or investment accounts associated with your company. You will lose access to any memberships, hardware, and software that your company provided as well.

In terms of future job prospects, resigning immediately often means that you will lose a valuable reference. It can also be seen as an act of disloyalty, which may make it more difficult to do well in interviews should they ask why you left that particular position.

It’s also possible that resigning immediately will leave you without work for weeks or even months at a time, which not only means you are making no money – which can affect your quality of life negatively – but also means that, when you are eventually hired again, there will be a gap in your employment history that you will need to explain to any future interviewers.

Closing notes

While there are situations in which it is perfectly acceptable to leave a position with no advance notice, it’s important to understand what the repercussions of those actions may be for you and your future career prospects.

As long as you are prepared to handle the loss of benefits and job references, as well as addressing the resignation in future interviews, if you believe it may be beneficial to you in the long run, then resigning with immediate effect might hold only minor disadvantages.

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