Watch Me Quit: The Best Viral Quitting Videos Ever
Remember Marina Shifrin? Yes? No? Okay, here's a reminder: she was that employee at a news video company who became a brief (but bright-burning) viral star after announcing that she was quitting her job in a video where she danced to a song by Kanye West. 18 million views later she's writing for Glamour and tweeting about orange juice, but her legacy as a career agitator has clearly resonated with the disgruntled workers of America--52 percent of whom, according to a Shoutly poll, would like to quit their jobs in similarly viral fashion.
It makes sense. Quitting a job is already one of those moments that, in the keyed-up world of the quitter's mind, takes on larger-than-life properties: when I quit, the sky will split open, angels will sing, and the Beatles will reunite. Of course, reality rarely lives up to expectations, but the mass exposure of viral fame is one way to turn an act that's inherently alone into something seemingly less so.
Whether that's motivated solely by attention-seeking or something sadder, weirder, and more complicated, I'll leave for another post. For now, let's look back at (and rate) some of the best "I quit!" videos floating around the internet. WARNING: some videos contain coarse language and/or mariachi music.
1. The Kanye
Description: This is Marina Shifrin's instant smash, the bar against which all other quitting videos are judged. But is it really the best ever? For one thing, we don't even see Shifrin dealing with her boss in person--she spends the whole video dancing around her empty office at 4:00 a.m., with the clip itself serving as her official notice. That's ballsy, but it removes immediate, human-to-human accountability from the equation.
Rating: 3 resume gaps
2. The Banana
Description: A dude shows up to work in a banana outfit. For some reason, he's accompanied by a mariachi band, who follow him as he roams around the office, his fellow workers looking on with an equal mixture of puzzlement and fear. The actual quitting takes place off-camera, before the banana guy emerges for a victory lap. He must've hired the mariachi band by the hour, because the last two minutes of the video are just them standing around playing "La Bamba" in the parking lot.
Rating: 3.5 resume gaps
3. The Marching Band
Description: Of all the videos here, perhaps this one comes closest to approximating the Dionysian glory all quitters imagine for themselves when they picture the big moment. The sky doesn't quite open up, but the brass band hired by the star (a former hotel worker) to play him out is sublimely annoying. Best moment: when one of the musicians sets the hotel's insulting "Days Without A Lost Time Accident" board at zero.
Rating: 4.5 resume gaps
4. The Lip Synch
Description: Between the horror movie-shaky camerawork and the guy ripping off his shirt to expose the words "I Quit" angrily scrawled on his chest, somehow the extended lip-synch to "Bohemian Rhapsody" is the least compelling thing about this clip. When you see the subject pick up that chair to the warning strains of "Also Sprach Zarathustra", you just know that something terrible is about to happen.
Rating: 3.5 resume gaps
5. The Barbershop Quintet
Description: Hiring a barbershop group to ring in your newfound unemployment is a great idea on paper, but no one's going to buy that this clip, filmed for the Steve Harvey Show, actually depicts someone quitting their job. This is a TV stunt, bound by camera crews and appearance releases, so even if this guy actually did quit his job at some point, he definitely didn't do it here.
Rating: 2 resume gaps
6. The Live Broadcast
Description: There is, however, one exception to the TV rule, and it's this video. After years of alleged salary and management issues, two news anchors announced that they'd be leaving their show live on-air, reportedly keeping it a secret until the broadcast. There are no marching bands, banana suits, or artfully deployed Kanye songs; just two people going out on their own terms.
Rating: 4 resume gaps
Videos via YouTube