Are you unhappy with your job? Have you ever planned to get up from your desk and quit one day, Jerry McGuire-style? These days, more and more people are choosing to air their grievances about their companies in public. Their very public resignation tweets, letters, videos, and even pastries give them instant attention, but not always in the ways they were hoping.

This has become so commonplace that when the Spike television network was recently shut down (to turn into the Paramount network), their Twitter feed became host to an inventive publicity stunt. As the channel focused on men in their 20s and 30s, they released a series of tweets that sounded as if they were crafted by someone in that range--with the twist that this person had just found out he'd lost his job. (Spoiler alert: He wasn't happy about it.)

In tweet after tweet, this "disgruntled employee" bashed his coworkers, his bosses, the programming on the network--nothing was off limits. It was a perfect send-up of all the "I Quit" memes you've seen, all wrapped in one snarky package.

But what if this twitter had been a real person, and not a made-up character?

The more spectacular the resignation, the harder it may be to step out of the spotlight. There are a few different ways people choose to say "bye Felicia!" to their workplace--which ones work out, and which have lasting consequences? 

Well -- it depends. Here are three things to keep in mind if you're considering leaving.

1. Never burn a bridge.

Greg Smith sent a letter to The New York Times, titled "Why I'm Leaving Goldman Sachs", calling the company "toxic and destructive." He said that people were so little valued, that clients were referred to as "muppets."

I understand--trust me, we all do. You have moral and ethical issues with your employer. You have an urge to share with the world all the wrongs that have been done to you, in the hopes that society will be bettered by your disclosure.

While it may endear you to the public, it doesn't generally bode well for your employment prospects if you've shown that you're going to speak publicly about a former employer. 

2. Be aware of the consequences.

Sometimes, the day doesn't end up the way you expect. You may not have planned to resign, but it just turned out that way.

Steven Slater was once a Jetblue flight attendant. After a flyer repeatedly refused to follow instructions, Slater grabbed a beer, then the PA, and announced "I quit!" to a full flight before pulling the emergency exit and sliding off into the sunset.

What this comes down to is, "How well do you handle stress?" In Slater's case, the answer is "Not very well." It cost him probation, massive legal fees, and a life where he is trying to stay out of the spotlight.

3. Tell your coworkers personally.

Often, it isn't that you don't like where you are--but that you'll be happier doing something else. In those cases, some pretty amazing resignation letters happen.

Take Chris Holmes, otherwise known as Mr. Cake. On the resignation cake he presented to his boss and fellow coworkers at Stansted Airport, he explained that while he loved working with them, he simply wanted to spend more time with family and do what he loved -- baking.

His "letter" went viral, and he's been happily baking cakes ever since.

In the long-term, choosing a public resignation is often not worth the personal, professional and potential financial costs - especially if it is rooted in anger.

However, if you resign with a positive attitude and humility, you may end up more successful in the long run. After all, you never know who or what is going to be the key to your next big thing.

Published on: Jan 22, 2018
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