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I am currently studying in university full time while working at a fast food joint part time on the weekends. I really dislike the toxic environment in this place and am leaning strongly towards quitting without notice and excluding the job from my resume altogether.

I have done the same job I am doing now in multiple other locations, so I have some experience under my belt.This job is not that important to me and doesn't really contribute anything new to my resume.It is just pocket money. I also feel that I could justify the gap in my employment as "just focusing on school".

Is there any reason why I should not do this? Could a potential employer find out about this gap?

*Edit: I am in Canada, employed at will. There is no contract.

  • 13
    Once, at a a job interview, I was asked "When can you start?" and answered "Immediately." When they asked whether my previous employer (a major chain grocery store where I was working to get through school) needed two weeks notice, I laughed. I did not get the job. – Tin Man Mar 13 '17 at 22:27
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    If there is no contract, where are the notice requirement and the length of the notice period stated ? Also, is it more like one week notice or more like three months ? – SantiBailors Mar 14 '17 at 10:04
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    Don't burn bridges unnecessarily. Whether or not you work in that place again, you may cross paths with those people again. So be professional. – Strawberry Mar 14 '17 at 12:32
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    Quitting abruptly will always be viewed in one way, negatively. Giving a 2-week notice is standard and will always be respected and future employers will view you as someone that has your act together rather than someone that flees at the sight of trouble. – MonkeyZeus Mar 14 '17 at 13:42
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    I say give them the standard 2-week notice. If they're ok with it, you've left professionally. If they fuss about it, you leave anyway. Either way, you're covered, and all it cost you was two more weeks at a place you hate. The worst that can happen is you give notice, then they get angry and fire you. In that case, at least you know you tried and you leave it off your resume like you were planning. – Omegacron Mar 14 '17 at 13:57

11 Answers 11

104

Even if the job does not seem important, it is still a little risky to quit unprofessionally, and I don't think those risks are worth it to you.

  • Your fast food work may still be a useful signal to high-tech employers that you can show up to a job and act responsibly. Quitting abruptly will negate this.
  • You may, likely enough, need part time work (fast food, restaurant, etc.) in the future, and it is likely that you will need your current reference.
  • Quitting abruptly is rude and unprofessional, and you are training to act like a professional. Consider it psychological practice (or "character building") if nothing else. In other words, you probably can afford the 2 weeks notice. Really, do not underestimate this: I know it is cliche to refer to your character development but I do recall quite distinctly the moments I simply stopped caring about following through with a commitment that would not be important in the future, and these are still my biggest life regrets.

If you gave me a more exciting situation, like you have an offer to tour the world for 4 weeks starting in 3 days, then this could be a real decision. But it sounds like you just want out a little quicker and want to think through if there's any good reason not to bolt. I think it is better not to bolt.

A side note though:

I also feel that I could justify the gap in my employment as "just focusing on school".

Being in school is not a gap in employment in the first place! There's nothing to "justify" and it's not "just focusing on school," it's simply "was in school."

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    Your first two points are partially invalidated by his statement "I have done the same job I am doing now in multiple other locations". – pipe Mar 12 '17 at 11:39
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    The last point is partially invalidated by the fact that countless employers in many countries will provide you with zero notice when terminating your employment. I'm not sure why so many people expect students working fast food jobs to be held to a higher standard than international corporations. – Rob P. Mar 12 '17 at 17:07
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    @RobP. The difference is that it's customary (if not legally required) for them to provide severance pay when a termination is given without notice. The effect to the employee is the same as if they had been given notice, except that they don't have to work for the severance period to get the pay. – reirab Mar 13 '17 at 4:04
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    @djechlin Honestly the community is making the right choice by upvoting your answer. OP's job is a good opportunity to do things right professional wise and the job being a fast food job is no excuse. OP should hand over their notice and move on the head high. – Pierre Arlaud Mar 13 '17 at 8:42
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    @reirab - While it might be a legal requirement in some locations, it's certainly not a legal requirement in all locations, and certainly not where I live. I've been employed at companies during layoffs and during bankruptcy and I promise you, there is no guarantee of notice or severance. I'm now, and always have been an at-will and my employment can be terminated at any time, by either party. That was true when I worked fast food, and it's true now 15 years later. An employee should be expected to comply with the law. Nothing more. – Rob P. Mar 13 '17 at 13:13
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It's a part time casual job. People quit them all the time without repercussions.

In theory all sorts of things can happen, but in practice no one cares. I've left a couple of jobs with no notice waving a finger at all and sundry. One I just stopped showing up.

These sorts of jobs don't have the same sort of connotations as leaving full time professional employment without notice. No one cares.

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    Following this advice to ignore contractual law obligations is immature, might get you in serious trouble if somebody does care (someone always does so the answer is wrongfully generalizing) and if a future employer finds out for some this might be a red flag. And all that to skip working 2 more paid weekends? Why is this answer on top? – DonQuiKong Mar 12 '17 at 10:05
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    @DonQuiKong If someone is going out of their way to ask whether they could skip giving notice in a toxic environment, then probably it's fairly bad. Now, I can't judge how bad it is, but I think an honest answer 'you're very very very likely not going to get in any trouble over it' isn't that bad, although I would only upvote if it also include 'but only do it if you have seriously good reason to'. – David Mulder Mar 12 '17 at 14:12
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    @DonQuiKong - Why are you assuming there is a contract? The OP didn't say where they live. If they don't do job contracts for fast-food joints and/or part time jobs where they live then there's no reason to think someone's going to find out that they've left a job off their resume. – BSMP Mar 12 '17 at 15:54
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    @DonQuiKong - I wasn't talking about whether the contract was written or verbal, I was talking about whether there's any obligation regarding quitting. If the OP's employment is at-will then there's no legal requirement to give notice and they cannot get in trouble for it. – BSMP Mar 12 '17 at 16:33
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    hahahaha my man! came hear for Kilisi, not disappointed! – Koray Tugay Mar 13 '17 at 5:15
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The phrase "what comes around goes around" springs to mind. Treat employers the way you'd like to be treated and you will rarely tarnish your personal brand. The world is small and alienating anyone in the workforce is not worth it. If you run into any of these folks in the future, you'll be the guy who walked off the job. Take care of your reputation as though it was your best asset.

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    If you run into any of these folks in the future... this happens a lot! – closetnoc Mar 12 '17 at 18:23
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    "Take care of your reputation as though it was your best asset." If you take care of it, it will be. +1 – jpmc26 Mar 13 '17 at 3:34
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Yes you can probably quit without notice without repercussions, but why not give notice anyway? They will not ask you to serve your notice unless they are desperate to fill a shift - they would rather give them to those who are staying.

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    "but why not give notice anyway?" - Yes, exactly. Particularly since the OP is already giving it considerable thought by asking the question here. Unless the OP has already decided not to return...? – MrWhite Mar 12 '17 at 10:39
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    This is an interesting point. The OP might even be able find out ahead of time if someone could cover those hours before giving notice if there are co-workers who don't contribute to the toxic environment. – BSMP Mar 12 '17 at 16:03
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    To temper this answer, I would only say that there are sometimes reasons not to give notice. The OP didn't specify what is "toxic" about the work environment, but if their coworkers are being threatening or abusive then that would be a sufficient reason to quit without notice (though they should probably still inform the manager of why they are quitting) – Kevin Wells Mar 13 '17 at 20:41
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You don't specify what the toxic environment is, but if you feel that you are physically in danger, then, yes, quit immediately.

However if the environment you speak of is just a bad boss and/or annoying coworkers, then consider that running away when faced with a challenge is usually a poor choice. Do it a couple of times and it becomes habit. You don't want to become a person who professionally runs away every time that things are not perfect. It likely won't be the last time in your life you have a bad boss, you need to learn coping skills instead of running away.

A two week notice period is nothing, it is good practice on behaving like a professional and dealing with an uncomfortable environment. You might be glad you have those skills when you are 30 with a child and can't afford to quit that job if you want to pay rent.

In some ways it is also a matter of self-esteem. If you learn to cope no matter what, then you will be better prepared for life and work and you can be proud of yourself that you acted ethically even when those around you did not.

You know that giving notice is the right thing to do, even if you don't want to (or frankly you wouldn't even be asking this question). Being able to phase you out of the work schedule gracefully will make life more pleasant for those who are still there. Quitting with no notice likely means someone will have to give up his or her day off with no notice to cover your next shift. If you wouldn't want someone to do that to you, then follow the golden rule and don't do it to them.

6

If you consider quitting without notice, have you considered that instead you could complain to your supervisor about the toxic environment and what / who makes it toxic? Or to your supervisor's manager if the supervisor is the problem? I mean what is the worst that can happen: That you get fired. What is the best that can happen: That you complain to someone who never heard about these problems and does something about it.

  • I think the worst case scenario would actually be the OP facing retaliation for complaining but not resulting in a firing. – BSMP Mar 12 '17 at 16:28
  • @BSMP: He's ready to quit without notice. They can't really retaliate. – Joshua Mar 12 '17 at 16:32
  • @Joshua - Well they can until they actually quit, which they aren't sure they can do without notice. If they decide they can & will then this doesn't matter. So I suppose what's the worst case scenario depends on what the OP decides is the correct answer. – BSMP Mar 12 '17 at 16:40
  • @BSMP Even then, assuming a two week notice, the worst that can happen is someone yells at them a few days out of the next two weeks. And maybe puts them on bathroom duty. – jpmc26 Mar 13 '17 at 3:36
  • @jpmc26 Or the toxicity of the environment that is leading them to quit is dialed up significantly. These people are getting under the OPs skin already without a target painted on their back. – Myles Mar 13 '17 at 18:10
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Is there any reason why I should not do this? Could a potential employer find out about this gap?

Some government employers (I'm thinking of security services) do background checks to extreme depth. They will have access to whatever tax agency exists in your country. Assuming you're registered and paying tax for this part-time job, they will be able to find out about it. And any lies they discover on your CV would mean you wouldn't get the job - they only employ people they can trust 100%.

But if you're not planning on ever working for the security services, only for normal private companies, then your tax agency probably won't release this info. (I say probably because I have no idea what country you're in and therefore what data protection laws might exist.) So the probability is that you'll be fine not declaring this job on your CV.

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    Where I am from, a CV is to show an employer of what value you can be of them, for example, by listing relevant work experience. If you're fresh out of school, it's not uncommon to put your paper delivery and fast-food joint experience on them, but for your second job you don't even really do that anymore. If a security company says "why did you not put on your cv that you fried burgers for 3 months" I would think that "The header of that section says 'Relevant Work Experience'" covers it all. YM (as in, country) MV though. – CompuChip Mar 12 '17 at 12:03
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    This answer is bothersome; and not because he deliberately omitted something from his resume. I would hold it improper for them to expect all applicants to fill in all jobs they ever had. – Joshua Mar 12 '17 at 16:34
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    The only possible situation in which this would remotely be applicable is if OP joined the US military and filed an SF86 for a clearance. And then OP will need to list basically everything from the last seven years. And the US government doesn't care if you left a stupid, toxic, burger-flipping job without putting in your notice. They only care if you're telling the truth. – L0j1k Mar 12 '17 at 22:41
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    @Joshua - For a normal job, I would agree with you. Hence my last paragraph. For a government job with security clearance they want your complete history of everything. – AndyT Mar 13 '17 at 9:21
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    This answer if badly flawed. Your resume and what you put onto the security clearance forms do not have to be identical. There are plenty of good reasons for misalignment. I would argue that if you apply for a high clearance job, your fast food experience doesn't belong on your resume at all unless it somehow relates to the position you are aiming for. – Myles Mar 13 '17 at 18:15
3

First, consider the law.

In Canada, there are sometimes legal obligations to give notice on part of employees (with exceptions). In Alberta, the required notice period for a short term employee is 1 week. https://www.canlii.org/en/ab/laws/stat/rsa-2000-c-e-9/113833/rsa-2000-c-e-9.html

There is also a "reasonable notice" requirement which may be on top of that.

However if you have not worked there 3 months, there is a zero week notice period.

The consequences of breaking such law are something you should talk to a lawyer over.

However, if you do give such notice, and they do terminate you summarially, it is possible they will owe you layoff pay as large as the notice you are providing or the pay they'd owe you if they terminated you for no cause. In Alberta, this is 0 weeks if less than 3 months, but if more than 4 years this amount can be greater than the minimium notice you have to give them.

However, section 56/58 states " the employee is employed under an agreement by which the employee may elect either to work or not to work for a temporary period when requested to work by the employer" it means no notice is required of either party. Are you free to turn down shifts (under your contract?); if so, neither of you have a legal obligation of notice.

Again, this is something you'd want to consult a lawyer about.

Examine the labor law where you work. See what your obligations are under the law. Determine if there are customary different obligations (some of which may have the force of common law).

However, if your employer is both legally free to let you go with 0 notice for no cause, and your employer does this, your ethical obligations to the employer seem relatively low to give notice.

If your legal obligations are also missing, and you are seriously doing this because you have tried and failed to fix the unprofessional conduct at the workplace, and practically there will be no hole in your resume to explain, and you are willing to explain honestly what was going on to someone who explicitly asks you about it in the future.

But society works by being at least marginally more professional and decent than the people who you interact with. Examine the costs of being more decent to your employer than they are to you, and see if you can stomach it.

1

I've had a similar situation myself (Albeit I'm from the UK). It was my first part time job, at the local village shop, not a busy place, a few regulars and some passersby really.

Anyway, I was working for a particularly horrible boss. Constantly changing his mind on how to do things, refusing to accept the blame for things and just pinning all mistakes on other people, or me in particular as I was admin-trained.

Anyway, one day I was working on the till at the end of a 4 hour shift, which finished 12:00 noon. The boss came to let me know I could go, so I took the opportunity to tell him I thought I'd made a mistake with the way I key'd in a non-barcoded item.

There was a queue of 3 customers who he had just started serving. He stopped, looked at me and just shouted non-stop for 3/4 minutes straight in front of the customers. Explaining that, although this was something he'd changed his mind on about 4 times in the last 3 months, I should be perfect and not make the odd mistake here and there (Which was easily correctable - The cutomer was my best friends mum who lives 3 doors away from me).

Anyway, I left the shop the go home and on the walk home was furious at how he had been treating me and had shown me up in front of the customers.

I was scheduled to work 12-6 the next day, but instead I text him that same night saying I wouldn't be going in for that shift or anymore (Along with reasoning) and that was that. He replied simply, "Good luck.. !".

To this day, although my brother works there and family regularly go in, I've not seen or made contact with him.

However - I do still include the experience on my CV, without mentioned how it ended/why.

I'm now in my 9th month as a software developer and before that had a bar-tending job - Neither employer found out about what happened or asked for a reference from the previous job.

Long story short; If you do it, include the experience on your CV/resume, but ideally give notice, unless in an exceptional circumstance. I certainly don't regret quitting with no notice, but it is generally best to just cover all basis - And with no contract, you don't have to give a set time period notice. A few days will be enough.

0

To clarify a bit, and answer your primary question - you definitely could. Unless you have a contract (and I believe at-will means you have the right to leave at any time, but I'm not a lawyer so do not take this as legal advice) you are free to leave a job at any time without penalty. And if your workplace is as toxic as you say it is, it's unlikely you'll receive any type of positive referral for your next job in any case.

The question is - should you leave abruptly?

Leaving an employer, even one that has given you every reason to, without proper notice is a show of bad faith to the employer, and could adversely impact your ability to be hired in the future. Even if you leave the job off of your resume (which you could, as you're currently a student and therefore have an 'occupation' other than that job) a dutiful employer may still find out about this job, and would still want to know why you quit so abruptly.

If possible, you should provide the employer 2 weeks notice, at the very least so that you can report to any future employer with a clean conscience about how you handled your termination at your last job. And since I'm not a lawyer and you shouldn't take my advice, you should follow due diligence anyway, in case you or I are misinterpreting the law - the last thing you want on your record is unlawful termination of employment.

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Solution: first thing tomorrow deliver two documents to your manager: 1. a letter stating that you have started your annual two week unpaid vacation and will be unavailable to work, effective immediately, until two weeks from today, and; 2. a letter giving your employer two weeks notice of your impending resignation. Problem solved.

btw, is that guy kidding? an employment contract for a fast-food industry worker? just be happy if they spell your name right on your name-tag!

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    A contract exists in all employment relationships, whether it's in a written form is down to local custom and law, many countries mandate a written contract with required provisions in some cases. -1 for ignorant and irrelevant commentary, and for making a suggestion that at best does not solve the issue, much more likely makes it worse. – user53718 Mar 13 '17 at 6:52
  • No, you should give yourself a -1 for ignorance. did you read the original source? "Presumably you have a contract? Not honouring a contract is considered pretty serious by many, even though it's not "important" to you right now." Clearly this was a reference to a formalized contract, which I am well aware can be either written or verbal. However, for a contract to be legally enforceable it must be documented, and if it is purely verbal, as it almost certainly would be for a fast food worker, proving what was agreed on will be require more effort than it can possibly be worth. UOMe 1pt. – i YAM GzORM Mar 13 '17 at 7:06
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    I've read that commentary, and had done so prior to your answer. The latter suggests that there is no contract at all because of the nature of the job in question, which is totally non sequitur, and then goes to assume something which would only be provided by such a contract or a fact not stated at all, which is that the employee has any annual leave to use or that it can be unilaterally announced and taken (almost certainly not true). – user53718 Mar 13 '17 at 7:17
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    Formal commencement of a position prior to actual work is not at all comparable to continuation of the position once work has begun. Letting someone do the job is prima facie evidence of consent to the contract, and doing the job is evidence of accepting the same contract. You would do better to comprehend context than make silly scorelines that only you will care about. – user53718 Mar 13 '17 at 7:31
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    I have been working this job part-time for less than a year. I do not believe I am entitled to an "annual unpaid vacation". I am not sure what the point of that would be? – Hillary.S Mar 14 '17 at 18:45

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