Ghosting: Is a two-week notice really necessary when you leave your job?

Thinking about ghosting? HR Director, Colin Thompson, has details about why you shouldn’t ghost your employer and provides tips for writing a two-weeks’ notice or letter of resignation. Watch the video to learn more!

When you’re fed up with your job, do you give two weeks’ notice or simply stop showing up to work? For most people, there’s really no choice; you talk with your manager and resign by giving your two weeks’ notice. After all, communicating about your intentions is the ethical thing to do.

But lately, there’s been a growing incidence of ghosting.

For the uninitiated, “ghosting” is when you just don’t show up again for work. Ever. You don’t tell anyone or make an effort to explain your impending, forever absence from work or another activity – like dating. In other words, you make like a ghost and disappear.

Although silent exits are on the rise, ghosting isn’t a best practice – particularly if you ever plan to hold a job again. Here’s why ghosting an employer can come back to haunt you:


While ghosting isn’t a best practice, there may be situations that arise that require you to leave sooner than two weeks.

  1. Ghosting may be illegal in your state. Some states, where employment is contractual rather than at-will, may require employees to give two weeks’ notice. If you fail to do so, you may be in violation of your employment contract, lose any post-employment benefits, and face other repercussions.
  2. You leave everyone in a bind. When you stop showing up for work without notice, you leave the company no time to find and train a replacement for you. So even if you like the idea of your supervisor finally seeing first-hand what you’ve been going through, you’re more likely to be leaving fellow employees (with whom you may be friends) picking up the slack.
  3. You may need a reference from the company for a future job. Odds are good this won’t be the last job you have. If you ghost this employer, your abrupt departure may mean you’re labeled “ineligible for rehire,” which is information that can be shared via employment verification and reference calls. That may cause a future employer to say, “No thanks,” no matter how perfect you are for their job.
  4. News may reach the wrong person now or in the future. We live in a very social age where we connect on social media all the time. So what happens when a future employer or other person you’d like to wow is friends with your former employer? They may mention to their friend that they’re thinking of hiring you, which could trigger a conversation that leaves you labeled as “risky,” even a decade or two down the road.

While occasionally situations arise where an employee may want to or need to leave a job without completing the notice period due to safety concerns, conflict with another co-worker or manager, or where the environment has become toxic or unbearable, these are rare circumstances. My advice for anyone considering leaving a job is to stick to best practices and give your employer two-weeks’ notice before you leave. This may also give you an opportunity to explain why you’re leaving and ensure you don’t accidentally burn an influential bridge that you’ll cross in the future.

As for employers who want to deter ghosting, make an effort to build meaningful relationships with employees so that they feel engaged and less likely to ghost without any warning.

For more information about ghosting or any other HR topic, please contact our experts at

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    Colin Thompson, Vice President - Human Resources

    Author Colin Thompson, Vice President - Human Resources

    Colin is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and manages internal human resources, in addition to servicing clients and overseeing our HR team. In his free time, you’ll find Colin at one of his four son’s ballgames or eating sushi.

    More posts by Colin Thompson, Vice President - Human Resources