Immediate Resignation: Guide & Sample Letter


immediate resignation

There could be a variety of reasons that you might feel like you need to submit an immediate resignation. 

Maybe you had a family emergency or life event pop up that you need to tend to. Maybe you had an unexpected job opportunity come up. Or you might simply feel like you want to quit everyday, and finally have had enough.

Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking about submitting an immediate resignation, this article is for you.

Within this article, we’ll answer common questions around immediate resignations, provide a sample immediate resignation letter, and offer a recommendation on whether or not it’s a good idea.

Let’s dive in.

Can You Resign From a Job Immediately?

thinking person

If you’re an at-will employee in the United States then, generally, yes, you can resign from a job immediately.

At-will employment means that you or your employer can terminate the employment relationship for any time and for any reason, other than for protected causes like race, gender, etc.

And with that being the case, if you’re at at-will employee, you can generally resign from a job at any time and for any reason.

Now, a couple of caveats to that.

First, you’ll want to be sure that you are, in fact, an at-will employee. In the United States, about 74% of employees are considered at-will employees so it’s likely that you are at-will if you’re working in the U.S. Common exceptions are public sector jobs, unionized jobs, and contract jobs.

Secondly, assuming that you are at-will, it’s generally a good idea to check the employment documentation that you signed with your employer when you first started, such as your employee handbook, to make sure there’s not any unexpected language in the document around notice periods. Generally, there is not, but it’s always a good idea just to make sure.

What Happens When You Resign Effective Immediately?

thinking person

The process of what happens when you submit an immediate resignation is similar to if you resigned with a typical two-week notice period.

On your termination date, which, in this case, is the same day that you submitted your resignation, you’ll need to turn in your laptop and all of your equipment. Access to your communication and software tools like Slack will be shut off. And you’ll likely lose access to the office building.

Additionally, assuming that you’re at at will-employee, you should expect to be paid out any remaining unpaid income that you’ve earned, but likely at the time of your next normal paycheck.

What Are The Disadvantages of Resigning With Immediate Effect?

There are a variety of disadvantages to submitting an immediate resignation. A list of some of the primary disadvantages of resigning with immediate effect are below. Note that the list is focused on disadvantages for U.S.-based at-will employees. There are a variety of others that are likely more significant if you resign with immediate effect as a contract employee.

1. You Risk Burning a Bridge

how to decline a job offer without burning a bridge

The traditional way of resigning is by providing a two-weeks notice period from your resignation date. That timeline enables your employer to plan for your exit, request transition documentation for you, and ensure that your responsibilities are resourced in the short term.

By submitting an immediate resignation, you put them into a scramble for figuring out how to resource your work and they’re in a much tougher spot.

With that being the case, without providing tradition notice, you risk burning a bridge with your boss, colleagues, and previous employer in general.

2. You May Lose Potential References

what is a job reference

Building on the first point of building a bridge, a secondary effect of that may be that you lose potential job references.

Typically, old bosses and colleagues are the best people to ask to be a job references. However, if you put them in a tough spot by submitting an immediate resignation, you jeopardize your ability to ask them to be a reference for you in the future.

3. You Make Life More Difficult For Your Old Team

work team

Anytime somebody resigns, whether it’s with traditional notice or not, it’s going to make things harder on the rest of the team until a replacement is found.

And their life only gets harder when they have little to no time to plan on for your departure. So, the more time that you give them, the easier that it will be for your team to address your departure.

4. You Don’t Get Paid for As Long


When you resign with a traditional two week notice, you are still paid for those two weeks. When you resign with immediate effect, your last day of being paid is your termination date.

So by resigning right away, you lose out on the potential earnings of your transition period.

5. You Could Make It Harder to Get a Future Job

waiting for interviewer to call

Building on a couple of the ideas already presenting in this list, immediate resignation could make it harder for you to get a future job.

Losing out on potential references certainly could make it harder for you to get a job. And burning a bridge with your old company could make life more challenging for you as well. As an example, managers often perform informal reference checks where they reach out to folks that are in their network that they see know you via LinkedIn. If you’ve burned a bridge, there’s a chance that may come back to bite you via an informal network.

Lastly, companies frequently ask how and why you left your previous job as an interview question, and leaving without notice could be a potential red flag in an answer.

Will You Get Paid If You Resign With Immediate Effect?

Assuming that you’re a U.S.-based at-will employee then, yes, you should expect to get paid the services that you provided up to your termination date, even if you resign with immediate effect.

What Is The Best Reason to Resign Immediately?

thinking person

In general, I believe that it’s best to provide a standard notice period and avoid resigning immediately whenever you can. However, if you do need to resign immediately, the best reason to resign immediately is generally one that is related to serving an immediate and high priority need.

Here are examples of what I mean when I say an immediate and high priority need:

  • Taking care of family
  • Taking care of a physical health issue

People tend to be accepting of reasons that are service oriented, such as serving someone in your family or community. Reasons that are related to your physical health are also ones that people are almost always going to understand.

Reasons that are more likely to burn a bridge are when you resign immediately due to feeling stressed, overworked, not liking your boss, or something related to your environment. Now, those are all perfectly valid reasons to resign. But submitting an immediate resignation amplifies that same burden you were feeling on others in the company, which makes life difficult on others, and could increase feelings of resentment about the way that you handled your departure.

Additionally, if you really are feeling so overwhelmed that you want to quit, a better step is often to take those feelings and concerns to your manager. They may be able to come up with a solution to improve the working environment and they would almost always prefer that to entirely losing a good employee.

Immediate Resignation Sample Letter


As mentioned in our how to put in your two weeks notice article, a typical resignation letter contains the following elements:

  • A statement of resignation
  • A proposed departure date
  • A thank you for your time with the company
  • An offer to help in the transition

However, in the case of an immediate resignation later, some of those elements are going to need to be removed or modified. For example, in this case, you wouldn’t be proposing a departure date, you would just be saying that your departure is immediate. You also probably won’t be able to help much in the transition, as you’re leaving immediately.

Here is a sample immediate resignation letter that addresses all of the points above:

Dear {Manager Name},


Please accept this letter as my resignation from {company name}, effective as of {date of departure}. I apologize for not being able to provide notice, but due to {reason for departure}, I’ve made the decision that it’s best for me to resign immediately.


Please advise the best way for me to collect my final paycheck and remaining balance.


I am grateful for the opportunity and appreciate all of your support during my time here.


Warm regards,


{First Name}

A couple of other points to make with regards to an immediate resignation letter:

Still Tell Your Manager In Person

relieved from job

One of the most essential rules to resigning professionally is to tell your manager first and via a conversation.

I would strongly encourage you to communicate your immediate resignation to your manager via a conversation first and not to just send them your resignation letter via an email.

While it may be more uncomfortable to have a conversation with them, it shows a greater level of respect. It also gives your manager more of an opportunity to understand your situation and see if they can do anything to address or support the reasons for your immediate resignation.

A Resignation Letter May Be Optional

two weeks notice letter

In most cases, resignation letters are not technically required for at-will jobs in the private sector. Now, it certainly doesn’t hurt to send one for documentation purposes, and you’ll want to consult with your employee handbook to double check if it’s required, but you’re often ok just telling your manager that you’re resigning and not submitting a formal letter.

Note that it’s different in the public sector and that generally does require a resignation letter.

Either way, confirm with your employee handbook. You can also just ask your manager if they need one after you tell them via a conversation which, as previously stated, you should be doing anyway.

Should I Resign Immediately?

feel like quitting my job everyday

In general, I would recommend against resigning immediately. Ultimately, it makes things more difficult on your manager and your team and potentially burns a bridge that could come back to bite you later in your career.

Now, I do acknowledge that there are instances like urgent family matters that do require immediate resignation. And my perspective is that you should always prioritize family over work. However, even in cases like that, a company will often work to be flexible to accommodate unique situations.

So, my recommendation is to resign with a two week notice whenever possible. And if it’s truly extenuating circumstances, try and work with your employer to find a solution that does not involve immediate resignation.


Hopefully, this article has been helpful in sharing recommendations and best practices around a potential immediate resignation.

If you’re in a situation where you’re considering an immediate resignation, good luck to you as your sort through the best next steps for you and your family.

About the author

Dan Slocum

Dan is the founder of Best Fit Work and is a business professional with over 10 years of experience. He has been a hiring and people manager on multiple occasions, and has also gone through the hiring process himself at a variety of different companies. Dan writes to share content, tools, and resources to help people discover and thrive in their own best fit work.

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