'I Quit': Beware The Viral Resignation
By Alison Griswold
Why exit your job the traditional way when you could go out with a bang?
Marina Shifrin, a former employee at Next Media Animation, made headlines recently when she resigned in a video of herself dancing in the office to Kanye West's "Gone." Within days of posting the video on YouTube, Shifrin appeared on the "Queen Latifah Show" and received a job offer from the Queen herself. Other offers have followed.
Can quitting in the public eye actually be a smart career move?
Probably not, says Barbara Pachter, author of "The Essentials of Business Etiquette" and president of business communications training company Pachter & Associates. "You have to be, it would seem, a very outgoing creative person, and we're not all that," she says.
Pachter sees three different reasons for why people might choose to quit in public: they want the publicity; they want to be creative; or they want to openly bad-mouth the boss and company. While Pachter says the first two reasons are understandable -- if you're in marketing, for example, quitting via a creative slideshow that earns attention might make you more visible and attractive to future employers -- the third reason is unacceptable.
"There's a difference between putting your company down publicly and announcing that you're quitting publicly," Pachter says. "The first one I would never endorse."
The key to quitting a job publicly, she explains, is to follow the rules of standard etiquette: no cursing, no obscenity, nothing X-rated. What's more, if you plan on telling the whole world that you're leaving your post, it's important to give the reasons why. Explain your thinking in a "celebratory way," as opposed to through a negative lens, Pachter suggests. You've got nothing to gain with future employers by putting down your previous boss.
Finally, Pachter notes that public exits like Shifrin's can be interpreted as creative now because so few people have done them before. Yet if quitting in a YouTube video becomes a new trend, the creative capital of doing so will diminish quickly.
Shifrin's timing was just right. The now-viral video, which she narrates with short subtitles at the bottom of the screen, has received more than 15 million views.