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Job Resignation Stunts – Are They Worth The Risk?

By Amy @BubbleJobs

Five years ago, the only real way to quit your job was to jump on Word* (*note: other word processors are available!), type out a simple resignation letter and hand it to your boss away from the prying eyes and ears of your colleagues. Subtlety and privacy was the name of the game – and the idea that your letter could be made public was the stuff of nightmares.

Fast forward to 2014 and that’s all changed.

These days, quitting your job in a very public and alternative way definitely seems to be name of the game – and in fact, the more publicity and attention the employee gets, the more successful they’re deemed to be.

Granted, not everyone chooses to quit their job in such a dramatic and attention-seeking way, but we’re definitely starting to see this more and more – and I’ve got a feeling it’s only set to continue.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Well, I’ve got plenty of examples for you. First up there was the guy who quit his job at Stansted Airport via the medium of cake. Yep, you read that right – cake. Now, this one’s not actually as random as it seems. You see, Chris Holmes was actually quitting his job at the airport to concentrate on his cake-baking business and family – so it does make sense. Aside from the fact the letter was printed on a piece of food, the best thing about this example is that the letter was actually pretty sweet – and he rather cheekily plugged his new cake-baking business – nice!

Then there was the girl who quit her job by putting together an interpretative dance video to a Kanye West tune. Now, I don’t want to go into this one in too much detail because Lauren covered it in a previous blog, but needless to say it was different and definitely caught everyone’s attention…

And who could forget the Goldman Sachs Executive Director who quit his job in 2012 by writing a pretty powerful opinion piece in The New York Times, calling the company’s environment, among other things, “toxic and destructive”… Ouch!

Other famous examples of employees quitting their job in style include a guy who quit his job at a hotel with the help of a brass band and a flight attendant who quit his job with an airline by making an announcement on the intercom, releasing the emergency evacuation shoot and sliding down it – but not before grabbing a beer from the beverage cart.

OK, so these examples do sound pretty funny – and they’ve definitely caught the world’s attention – but you do have to question whether they’re actually worth it. Yes, everyone in the examples above received their 15 minutes of fame – but what effect did it have on their career in the long-term? For the dancing girl and the cake-maker, I’m sure they’ve benefited – but what about the flight attendant? I’m pretty sure no airline would be willing to take him on now…

The thing is; once someone pulls a stunt like this once, there’s always a chance they’ll do it again – and that always has to be in the back of a potential employer’s mind. OK, so in the case of Stansted Airport, they didn’t necessarily get bad publicity – but in the case of the others, they definitely did – and what brand would want to take the risk?

Just like job-hunting stunts, when it comes to the question of whether job resignation stunts are worth it, it all comes down to personal circumstances and what you want to get out of it. If you just want to have your 15 minutes of fame and have some kind of career back-up plan in place, then that’s fine – but if not, I’d really urge you to think twice.

It might seem like a good idea now – but what about in 5 years’, 10 years’ and even 20 years’ time? Thanks to the internet, there’s a real possibility it could come back to haunt you – and do you still want to be defending your decision 20 years into your career? Definitely something to consider…

As ever, I’m keen to hear your thoughts on this one. Have you ever been tempted by a job resignation stunt? Do you think they’re worth the risk? Leave me a comment below or tweet us @BubbleJobs

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