Television news reporter Charlo Greene quit her job at a CBS affiliate in Anchorage, Alaska during a live broadcast Sunday evening, telling viewers she was leaving to concentrate on her medicinal marijuana group and the push to legalise cannabis for recreational use in Alaska.
The video, in which Greene declares, “F— it, I quit,” before walking off and leaving the show’s anchor flustered, went viral Monday morning.
But while Greene got plenty of publicity for her group, the Alaska Cannabis Club, and a website she made to raise funds for marijuana activism, quitting in the fashion she did could hurt her career prospects moving forward.
We spoke with two careers experts who told us that by dropping the f-bomb on television and publicly embarrassing her employer, Greene presented herself to be untrustworthy and unprofessional to anyone who might want to hire her in the future.
“It gives her 15 seconds of fame that people are going to talk about, but when that flame goes out, it really hurts her reputation,” says Barbara Pachter, a business communications expert and the author of “The Essentials of Business Etiquette.”
Pachter says that even if Greene has no intention of returning to television, her actions were so brazen that even employers in other industries could be scared off by the behaviour that actively embarrassed the TV station she worked for.
“Would you trust that she would ever be able to be professional in her job when things go difficult for her or she’s having a bad day?” Pachter asks. “I wouldn’t take that risk in my business.”
Career coach Michael Kerr acknowledges that Greene’s stunt has generated a great deal of publicity — her fundraising site has raised $US3,159 of its $US5,000 goal in less than one day — but says he worries that her message about the injustice of anti-marijuana laws will be lost in the chatter about her remarkable final broadcast.
“You’re mixing the two issues,” says Kerr, the author of “You Can’t Be Serious! Putting Humour To Work.” “Will the conversation be about what she wants it to be, which is her issue, or will it be centered around the outrageously unprofessional way she resigned?”
Though he doesn’t fault Greene for leaving to pursue something she is passionate about, Kerr thinks she would have been better served by expressing her feelings to her employer in private.
And if she did feel the need to use her platform as a reporter to tell the public about her cause, Kerr thinks she just as well could have calmly explained her reasons for leaving without swearing or putting her coworkers in an awkward position.
That tactic might not have generated as much publicity, but Kerr says it would have allowed the people who initially saw the broadcast to think more about her underlying message.
And even if you’re not on live television, Kerr says it’s best not to shove your new job in your old company’s face. While it’s totally natural to be upset with a crummy job or a nasty boss, it’s best to schedule an exit interview where you can explain your frustrations in a positive, respectful way.
“If you’re moving on to another job, it’s going to help you if you leave with your head held high and your dignity,” Kerr says. “Remember that the best revenge, if that’s what you’re after, is to be happy with your life and to leave that past experience behind you.”
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