If you’re employed, you’ve almost certainly thought about walking out the door without a backwards glance at least once.
But some people put more thought into it and have turned their resignation into an artform worthy of global celebration.
Social media has helped turn these people into unlikely heroes, for a few minutes at a time. Bear in mind, though, that the price for this fleeting moment of Internet glory is an online trail that will follow them all the way to the next job interview and beyond.
So if you’re going to quit in style, make sure you have something else lined up, or alternatively you’ve got a lottery win in the bag.
If you’re determined to go out with a bang though, take some inspiration from these stunning resignations from around the world.
1. The viral video
Marina Shifrin used to produce viral videos for Next Media Animation in Taiwan, but one day, at 4:30am to be precise, it all got a bit too much for her.
Shifrin quit her job using a video she produced, dancing round the office to the tones of Kanye West’s ‘Gone’ and criticising her boss’s lack of vision and obsession with simple numbers, rather than quality.
That video went viral, and at the time of writing has more than 18 million views on Youtube. You can see it in all its glory here:
The company tried a retort, which was somewhat less successful than Shifirn’s, and yet still became one of the company’s most viewed videos. Overall, both videos generated a huge amount of PR for the firm, not all of it good though.
As for Shifrin, she now describes herself on her own website as a ‘writer, comedian and waitress.’ Read into that what you will.
2. The National Newspaper Column
Most employers prefer to receive a short and succinct resignation letter in a sealed envelope. After all this is private business and there’s nothing worse than dirty laundry billowing in the wind.
Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith clearly didn’t consider his boss’s feelings though, when he penned an article for the New York Times that ripped into the company he had spent 12 years working for.
Calling Goldman Sachs toxic and destructive, Smith personally attacked the CEO and President of the company for promoting morally bankrupt employees to positions of power.
Read his scathing indictment, which remains online to this day.
3. The Border Force Cake
There is something satisfyingly British about the way Border Force employee Chris Holmes left his job.
Feeling unappreciated and unfulfilled, Holmes decided to pursue his dream of running his own cake business. Presenting his resignation letter on a perfectly iced cake was, well, the icing on the cake.
It was also a huge PR boost for his new business, as his Twitter post was shared around the world.
4. The rant
Most of us have thought about telling our boss what we really think of them on our way out of the door.
But a sense of decency, humility and self-control stop us. Famous football hardman Roy Keane was always a little different, though.
When he quit his role as Captain of the Republic of Ireland team before the 2002 World Cup, he let Manager Mick McCarthy have it with both barrels. A damning interview with a national newspaper led to a dressing room showdown between the two.
Keane, who isn’t famous for holding his tongue, let rip with a 10-minute string of expletives and was officially ‘sent home’ by the Manager the same day.
Now known simply as the ‘Saipan Incident‘, the exchange has gone down in football folklore and is also a textbook example of how to really tell your boss to stick their job.
Keane, of course, had a better paid position at Manchester United to return to, which is always worth bearing in mind.
5. The Police Chase
Remember the time when a customer said the wrong thing at the wrong time and it took several deep breaths to regain your composure?
Air steward Steven Slater didn’t take them.
Instead he announced his resignation with immediate effect over the intercom in a swearing tirade,grabbed a few beers, set off the plane’s inflatable emergency exit chute and escaped in his car.
He was arrested by a SWAT team delivered by helicopter shortly afterwards and his humiliation was broadcast around the world. That leaves his future as an airline steward in any country with television, or internet access, in considerable doubt.
6. Do it Live on TV
Live television news brings its own dangers, especially when the presenter has a sudden onset of rage against their job.
Alaska’s KTVA endured one such on-screen meltdown, when reporter Charlo Greene was covering a story on medical marijuana, which had not been legalised in Alaska at that point.
Greene seemingly wrestled with her conscience before admitting that she owned the Alaskan Cannabis Club she was discussing on air.
She ended the segment with the classic line: ‘F*ck it, I quit.’
The station issued a groveling apology through social media channels, but almost certainly hit peak viewing figures as Greene’s resignation resounded around the world.
7. Pan Your Product
It wasn’t intended as a resignation speech, but Gerald Ratner’s comment in a talk to the IOD that his jewelery stores sold ‘total crap’ in 1991, led to his departure and the swift decline of Ratner’s as a business.
It was an utter, complete and instant fall from grace for the jewelery magnate and within six months he was flat broke as the share value plummeted. If you’ve got 25 mins to spare, you can watch the speech in its entirety here.
He has worked his way back in the jewelery trade, although that speech remains as a cautionary tale.
To this day, executives caught making disparaging remarks about their own product are said to have ‘done a Ratner’.
8. Go Stark Raving Mad
It’s not like American actor Shia LaBeouf had to turn up to the steel mill every day for a 12-hour shift. His career as a Disney star turned Transformers franchise star seemed like a good way to make a living.
But like many of us, LaBeouf longed for something more, he wanted to find true meaning in his work. So alongside his acting he set out on a much darker and more bizarre path with his ‘performance art’.
Unfortunately this ended with a series of allegations of plagiarism, which in turn led to an even weirder turn, with LaBeouf arriving at a film premiere with a brown paper bag on his head emblazoned with the phrase: ‘I am not famous anymore.’
The #IAMSORRY exhibition followed, which involved the Hollywood star silently weeping while visitors were invited to ‘do anything’ to LaBeouf and choose their weapon from a Transformers toy, an Indiana Jones whip, a bottle of Jack Daniels, a pair of pliers, a ukelele a bowl of hateful tweets and more.
LaBeouf could come back to acting, but there is genuine concern for his mental state and this ‘performance art’ could in fact be a protracted breakdown. Either way, it’s a pretty special way to quit a job most people would be happy to take.
It’s a time-trodden path for movie stars: Joaquin Phoenix took a break to become a bearded rapper in 2009 and his rambling and incoherent appearance on the David Letterman show is now the stuff of legend.
There you go. 8 pretty incredible ways to quit your job – take heed though, if you’re thinking of quitting yours, make sure you do so in a way that doesn’t burn any bridges. You’ve no idea when you might need the person you’re just about to annoy.- James Ball