Quitting Your Job Shouldn't Be Fun

by Vault Careers | December 02, 2011

USA Today recently ran an article on how frustrated workers have been quitting their jobs in the most inventive ways. 

It’s every person’s fantasy to walk into their boss’ office, flip over their desk and say, “I Quit,” but no one expects people to act on these fantasies.  The USA Today article discussed some recent events where people actually did. 

The article touched upon Joey DeFrancesco and how he snuck in members of his marching band into Providence Hotel so they could play him out as he announced he was quitting to his boss.  We actually ran the video that was shot of the incident in a recent blog discussing the proper ways to quit.  We considered the marching band incident to shine a poor example on how to leave one’s place of employment, even if it was highly entertaining. 

The article also touches on Joe Sale, who quit his job at the daily-deal coupon company LivingSocial by sending his business cards, marketing material and promotional items back to the company in a white trash bag with a note attached that stated, “Treat your sales force like trash and see how bad your company starts to 'stink.'”  He posted an image of the package he was sending on Facebook, letting all his friends know his intentions – many of whom worked for the company he was leaving. 

The article goes on to discuss ways in which employees quit via Twitter or in the case of TechCrunch columnist Paul Carr, in his actual column, complete with boss bashing.  And we all know how Steven Slater slid down the emergency chute of a JetBlue plane, complete with beer in hand, as he had just about enough of dealing with a passenger. 

Today, as more people feel entitled to better pay, a better work-life balance, and better treatment, while growing up in a world where we publicize our next bathroom break via Twitter and hope to be the next Snooki through YouTube videos, quitting in a highly transparent manner has not only become an attractive option; it might also become an increasing trend.  It’s a trend that should stop before it starts. 

The main reason is easy – when you quit publicly and in a brash manner, it becomes memorable and therefore hurts your chances at finding employment elsewhere.  What happens during a background check?  Who are you going to use as referrals?  People talk and the world is smaller than you realize.  Unless you are looking to get out of an industry completely, the chances of Joey DeFrancesco and Steven Slater finding work involved in customer care are rather slim. 

When you realize it is time to quit your job, take a deep breath before taking action.  There is a lot to think about.  First, you don’t want to burn any bridges.  I still freelance with several companies I have worked for in the past.  Not only is it financially rewarding for me, but it is nice to catch up with the people you did care about at your previous job.  While you may be completely frustrated at work now and hate your job, you never know what the future holds, so control the impulses. 

Second, by publically shining a negative light on a company you work for, you are damaging that company’s reputation.  You may not care, because you’re leaving anyway, but you should think about your coworkers.  In addition to bringing morale down, who knows what the repercussions of your actions could be in the long run. 

Finally, be selfish for a moment.  You may hate your job now, but that job might be beneficial to your future.   What good does it do to publically attack a company that might help you get a job in the future?  You should want a company to succeed, because it helps provide jobs to others, and because it helps with your resume radiance.  If you worked for a successful company, it betters your odds when conducting your job search. 

Fantasies are great, but when they are actually realized, they are often disappointing.  Quitting in style might seem like a good idea and you might feel good when you add a little spice to your resignation, but when you think of the long-term repercussions, take the more difficult road – look for a new job, give your two weeks’ notice and say goodbye the correct way.  It will be more rewarding in the end. 

For more details on those who have quit in style, check out USA Today’s article here.

--Jon Minners, Vault.com

Filed Under: Job Search | Workplace Issues


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