Photo: Rich Sharp via YouTube
No matter how bad the economy is, some workers will always be so fed up they feel they have no choice but to storm off and quit their job.But it seemed that 2012 brought a wave of workers who staged high-profile resignations and cited ethical reasons for quitting. A few were blasted as self-serving, but some were rewarded — with praise, Internet fame and perhaps even a book deal. Take a look, and then let us know how you have quit your job — or how you’re planning to quit the next one.
1. A Public Kiss-Off In The New York Times
One of the year’s most high-profile resignations was when investment banker Greg Smith penned a devastating op-ed in The New York Times, headlined, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.”
Smith used the piece, published in March, to describe his disgust over the work culture at the Goldman Sachs, where he had worked for a dozen years, including the height of the financial crisis. “The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money,” he wrote. The company’s stock price dropped 3.4 per cent on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index immediately after the op-ed appeared.Many (including Goldman colleagues) slammed Smith’s resignation as “opportunistic,” saying that his career had reached a dead end. Though a vice president, Smith had not been invited to become a partner, which was “a red flag of sorts suggesting his days there were numbered,” according to Forbes. Smith’s subsequent book, for which he reportedly was paid $1.5 million, was roundly panned.
2. Quitting On Live TV
Ethics was also the stated issue for a pair of television news anchors in Bangor, Maine, who quit their jobs on live TV in November. Without warning their bosses, anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced on the air that they were resigning. “It’s a little complicated,” Michaels said after the fact, “but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general.”
The station’s vice president and general manager, Mike Palmer, denied intervening in daily news production, but back in 2006, he’d reportedly warned staff against coverage of global warming, equating the subject with the Y2K and “killer bee” scares — meaning much hysteria over nothing. But no big payday awaited the anchors on the other side of the exit; Michaels announced plans to work on a novel and his painting.
3. Scribbling A Resignation On A Price Tag
When a Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. employee decided he no longer wanted to work for his “P****K” of a boss, he chose a rather quiet way to announce his decision: He wrote a message on a price tag of a store item, the Nuwave Pro Infrared Oven. (The kitchen item is a multi-purpose cooker with the ability to broil, roast, bake, barbecue, steam and dehydrate food, for the cost of $119.99.)
It was on that price tag that he scribbled the putdown of his manager. He also slammed the oven itself, or at least its users, saying “THIS IS FOR FAT F***S.” And then the final pronouncement: “I’M QUITTING TODAY.” So the worker probably was a bit surprised when a photo of the price tag was posted on the anonymous online forum, Reddit. Since having been posted on Dec. 6, the post has generated some 45,000 votes of approval or disapproval.
4. Telling People In the Workplace, “You’re Going To Hell”
It’s not clear Dorothy Bond, principal of Haywood High School, in western Tenn., set out to resign amid a homophobic tirade. But during a school assembly in February, she allegedly told students “if you’re gay, you’re going to hell” and gay students are “not on God’s path” and are “ruining their lives.”
Outraged, some students immediately contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, which in turn wrote a letter warning the school system to let lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students know they have a constitutional right to identify as gay. The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT civil rights organisation, also launched a petition against Bond’s remarks, which garnered 5,000 signatures in four hours. In short order, Bond soon resigned.
5. Resigning Via Song
There’s quitting with style, and then there’s announcing your decision in song. That was the path chosen by barista Phil Sipka as he resigned from his job at the trendy Robust Coffee Lounge in Chicago in October was backed up a group known as The Voices.
His announcement, which was aired earlier this month on the “Steve Harvey Show,” felt more like a rehearsed tribute to the band, Boyz II Men, than an indignant kiss off. “You know I said I am going, yeah,” intoned the five back-up singers.
And not everyone who watched the clip was convinced the quitting was authentic. After it was posted to Reddit, commenter amobi25 wrote: “Obviously its fake … Its just showing you HOW TO QUIT.”
So How Should You Quit Your Job Next Year?
It’s best for discontent workers to talk to their manager about their concerns before they reach a “boiling point,” career coach Deborah Brown-Volkman said. And don’t think that leaving in a huff on principle is necessarily going to endear you to colleagues. As Penelope Trunk, the founder of Career Brazenist, noted when asked about Smith’s quitting from Goldman Sachs: “Does this guy think we are morons that we don’t know Goldman Sachs is about making money? It’s not OK to trash everyone around you for your change of heart.”
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