Why You Shouldn’t Walk Off Assignments

We know assignments get abandoned. You could be severely homesick. Maybe the situation on your first day didn’t match exactly what was described during the interview process. You just can’t see yourself completing your contract. You’re a traveler, and they’d never see your name or face again anyway. Right?

For all the stories of someone having no repercussions of cancelling an assignment, there are equally as many who have a different experience. Before you walk off the job, analyze what is actually happening, and consider the following:


Walk off an assignment and you risk burning bridges with your current travel agency. Is it worth losing access to an entire company and/or recruiter who knows you, where your paperwork is all completed, and who can help find your next job?

You also have to think larger than the current contract you are in. Was this a vendor-managed situation? What if that company is just one of many smaller companies under the umbrella of a huge MSP or parent company? Walking off this one assignment could blacklist you from an entire network of intertwined businesses.


Consider how far the damage could reach with the client. Is it an individually operated healthcare facility? Or part of a health network? You may think you’re leaving a single hospital, but the client could in fact own hospitals all across a state or multiple states. Even if it is a single facility – the building won’t move, but people do. That hiring manager may pop up later in your career at a completely different healthcare facility.


Depending on when and why you decide to walk off an assignment, a travel agency could ask for money back to cover costs they incurred getting you ready for the job, including licensing and credentialing fees, housing deposits, etc. These amounts could be taken directly out of your last paycheck.


Don’t hurt your chances of future employment. If things at work are so bad that you feel the need to walk off the job with no notice, pause and call your recruiter. Communicate what you are feeling and experiencing. Is it valid? Can you hold out those two final weeks? Most of the time these are solvable problems, and it’s part of a recruiter’s job to help find workable situations.

If it’s determined that the situation is putting your license in jeopardy, your recruiter would absolutely support ending the assignment–with proper notice. It may not be what you want to hear, but it’s really never acceptable to walk off a job. It’s not fair to the patients, fellow staff or the client. Proper notice of one week is sufficient and keeps your exit professional to avoid long-term career barriers.

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