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#1 Best Excuse to Quit a Job Without Notice (+8 Other Options)

Sometimes you need to leave. For better or for worse, there may be a time when you need to get the heck out of a job.

And chances are, there are some concerns that cross your mind:

  • What if I burn this bridge and can’t get a reference?
  • What if they bad-mouth me to my next employer?
  • What if I get a reputation as someone who’s not trustworthy?

All of these are legitimate concerns. And in the heat of the moment, as tempting as it might be to scream “I quit” and leave, you might need to mitigate the damage a little bit.

In this article, we will give you the best excuse to quit a job without notice, plus 8 other options you could consider.

We do need to say that it’s also your right to quit a job without notice. Especially if the job itself is making you unsafe or unwell. Although it can be difficult to explain to your next employer, you don’t need to push through two weeks…

Ultimately, do what you got to do. But hopefully, these excuses to quit your job without notice help you manage what happens after.

1. Unspecified health crisis

I’m not telling you to lie, but there are times when it’s for our own good. And the number one best excuse to quit a job without notice is an unspecified health crisis.

A health crisis is perfect because it can’t be checked. Nobody’s going to look at your medical records after.

However, if you are going to go this route, don’t get caught at the bar the next day. Don’t tell your friends you’re doing it. Don’t let anybody know you are going to another job (if you are).

Hide in your room. Don’t post about it on the internet. Heck, stay offline altogether.

2. The truth

I don’t know how to put this on this list, but you might consider the truth.

Bosses are humans too. I’ve worked for people and I have had people work for me.

If you landed a fantastic job and need to start tomorrow, I’m not going to lose too much sleep over it.

If you want to go with the truth, write a heartfelt letter expressing thanks to your boss for the opportunity, all the things you’ve learned, and for their leadership. Make any arrangements you can for your work to get handed over to other people. If you can organize some sort of transfer or go the extra mile to make it easier for your colleagues to pick up the pieces, you’ll go down in history as a nice person as opposed to a jerk.

It’s not exactly an excuse to quit a job without notice. But the truth can work.

If the truth is that your boss is such a jerk that you can’t bear to go in one more day and you are crying in the subway on the way to work, don’t use this. Use one of the other excuses.

3. Unsafe work

You have the right to a workplace that makes you feel safe. Most places even have some sort of law on the books giving you the right to refuse unsafe work. 

The US government actually recommends refusing the work but staying onsite unless ordered to leave. More info here

If you are in a work environment where you fear for your safety, you can quit without notice.

Acknowledge in your letter that you don’t feel safe working there. And if it ever comes up in an interview, be ready to explain to a future employer why you did it.

4. Mental health crisis

Mental health is a serious business. I quit several jobs because they were bad for my mental health. That’s totally fair game.

Not every boss will respect this excuse, but they can’t really argue with it. And more and more, our workplaces are recognizing how important mental health is.

Saying that you are having a serious mental health crisis that no longer allows you to come to the office, all well-being polite and apologizing profusely, should let you off the hook.

If you’re going to make up an excuse, physical health is probably better.

5. Family emergency 

Family is important. Most of us have families. And most human beings care when things happen to their family.

That makes a family emergency a really good excuse.

Keep it light in the specifics. It’s not a boss’s business anyway. But keep in mind that it would have to be a family emergency that will be long enough to keep you away from work for a few months.

And if your boss says, “That’s okay, just let us know when you’re ready to come back…” you might be in trouble.

6. You were lied to about the job.

I once landed a job as a traveling salesman. I was supposed to work with another guy, he had the car.

The problem was, I realized on the first day that the job posting was a lie. It wasn’t an “exciting and rewarding sales position.” It was a bait and switch.

We only got paid for what we sold, which was almost nothing that day. The top-selling spots were adult bookstores, strip clubs, and even an illegal massage parlor that I can’t unsee to this day.

I gave no notice. I didn’t call them. I just disappeared.

And that company deserved it. Because they lied about what the job was. 

If you want to create a paper trail when you quit, you can put in your message that you were misled about the job.

7. Toxic work environment

Many of us will quit work because of an unsafe or unhealthy work environment. Many of us will make up other excuses to cover for that reason. And that’s totally fine.

But some people choose to go to war. Maybe your boss is harassing you and you want to see them face repercussions. Maybe you want to speak out for the good of everyone else.

In this case, you can be honest. Write a professional letter calling out the things you’ve seen that make it impossible for you to continue in the work environment.

If your company is big enough, contact HR first to see if you have any avenues. Heck, you might not even quit your job.

But otherwise, you might also choose to include HR or your boss’s bosses in BCC. 

Who knows, you might help fix a toxic workplace for others.

But a warning…be prepared for nothing to happen. Be warned that some workplaces throw workers under the bus for this stuff. And be prepared to lose that boss as a reference (although check this list to see if there’s someone there you could still use).

8. You don’t have transportation.

I put this further down the list, because it’s not one of my favorites. How have you been showing up for work on a regular basis? It might look silly to all of a sudden say that you don’t have transportation to get there.

However, transportation can be a real deal breaker. And if you all of a sudden can’t get a ride anymore to a job that is not served by a bus line, this becomes a real concern.

But do consider the downfalls here too. What if an employer calls your bluff? What if they offer to pick you up? This excuse can blow up in your face pretty quickly.

9. Not getting paid

Sometimes companies can’t make payroll. There are different reasons for this, some legitimate and some sketchy.

If you are working for a company that isn’t paying you, you don’t owe them notice. Tell them that you refuse to work without being paid, and stop going.

You might choose to contact a lawyer to try to get back lost earnings or report them to the better business bureau.

But do recognize there is a chance you will never see that money. When I work for a sketchy company that didn’t pay me, I worked for a whole extra two weeks after the alleged payroll was supposed to happen.

I quit and never went back. And no, they never did pay me.

Bad excuses to quit your job without notice

  • You just weren’t feeling it. Don’t say that.
  • Your pet died. It’s sad, but not everyone will get it. And most employers would expect you to be able to come back to work after.
  • Your X life drama. Keep the personal drama out of this.


If you need to go, I hope you found the best excuse to quit your job without notice. There are a lot of different options on this list, but chances are there are one or two that will work for you.

Good luck. Hold your head high, there’s no shame in it. Remember that in most places giving notice is a courtesy, not a requirement.

And good luck!

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