Liz Wahl, an American anchor for the Kremlin-funded news outlet Russia Today, is the toast of social media this week after leaving her position live on the air. Wahl said she could no longer justify working for a propaganda outfit during the crisis in the Ukraine.
"I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth," Wahl said, "and that is why, after this newscast, I'm resigning."
While they might not have reasons so geopolitical, the idea of quitting a day job is hardly foreign to entrepreneurs. I reached out to members of the Young Entrepreneur Council and Entrepreneurs' Organization for stories of their "I quit" moments before they took to running their businesses full time. The following are their lightly edited responses. The breakups range from angry to amicable to laugh-out-loud funny.
Craig Fluty, Pinnacle Recruiting and Staffing
Prior to starting my first staffing firm, I was working for one of the nation’s giants. I got together with one of the other guys in my office and we decided to start our own firm. We talked two of our other friends into joining us, set up an LLC, and we were off.
However, I didn’t quit then. I stayed on with the company while we got the other business going. After a few months we built up enough contracts to move into our first office space, but I still didn’t quit. I managed to pull off the double dip because the nature of my position had me out in the field meeting with clients all day. So I could still hit my numbers at my first company and work with my partners to grow our new company.
One afternoon while I was sitting in my new office with my new partners reviewing a contract we were about to close, there was a knock at the office door. And in walks one of the other reps from my other company, along with our area director, doing a cold call on our new business.
There I sat caught red-handed and we all just kind of stared at each other trying to figure out what was going on. If I was smooth I would have said that I was doing a cold call when I ran into our old colleague and had stayed to talk. Unfortunately, I was not that smooth. All I could think to do was blurt out, "Ummm hi...I quit!"
Ralph Dise, Dise & Company
I started up a new division for my employer. They were paying me on a heavily commissions-based plan. Once the business got up and running and I was making significant commissions, they changed my comp to a base plus a bonus that I was to share with three other people who had never sold a thing in their lives.
I was heartbroken. Before joining them, I’d worked for a similar company on straight commission for two years, so I felt that I’d sacrificed a lot to get to where I was at their firm. My wife encouraged me and threatened me to start my own business--or else. Our family calls that the "ultimate ultimatum."
Gerard Murphy, Mosaic Storage Systems
The last time I quit my job was after launching my company. I had been running my startup for a couple months while being fully employed. The balancing act was getting harder to keep up. My company was growing and needed my attention, and it was affecting my day job. I was torn. I was honestly scared to make the leap to run my business full time but didn't like the idea of being distracted at work. So I walked into the CEO's office and told him.
I thought there was a 50/50 chance that he would politely walk me to the exit and mail me my personal items. But luckily, after he got over the initial shock, he said that I should work part time for him for as long as I could. He wanted me around and the part-time salary would certainly ease the transition to running my own startup.
Turns out my boss's old boss did the same for him when he started his company. It certainly helped that I broke the news to him personally as opposed to letting him hear it from someone else. Also, our companies were not competitive. He still checks in on me and I count him as one of my mentors.
How did you leave your last job before launching your company? Tell us in the comments.