Open Letter to HPOA Girl, JetBlue's Mad Flight Attendant, Other Meme-tastic Quitters

Dear Melodramatic Job Quitters,
First off, congratulations. Everyone dreams of launching a smear campaign against a sexist former employer. Or emailing an office listserv about that overbearing manager who spends 19.7 hours a week playing Farmville. Or screaming "f—k you" to a loudmouthed customer, grabbing two beers, and then escaping the whole situation via giant inflatable slide.

But you—you actually did it. You stuck it to the man. Your story is emblematic of everything that sucks about working in America. (Our own Greg Lindsay has penned a pretty thoughtful piece on you.) You’re the lead story on Google News, and the top trending topic on Twitter. Legitimate publications are calling you a "folk hero." You’re famous! And also, screwed.

See, here’s the thing about quitting your job in the most ridiculous way possible: People will find out—via Twitter, Facebook, traditional media, etc.—that you quit your job in the most ridiculous way possible. They’ll have a great laugh or two at your expense. Because, come on—lambasting the boss who called you a "Hot Piece of Ass"? Using a series of deadpan whiteboard messages? This is the stuff of workplace legend. (UPDATE: according to All Things D, the HPOA girl may be a literal legend — the prankster brothers behind, where her story and photos appeared, won't confirm her existence.)
But even if you are for real, your 15 minutes of fame will soon expire. When they do, you’ll have to convince employers—most of whom know you as a moderately famous asshole—that you’re a legitimate job contender. And chances are they’ll respond like this: "There are plenty of great people out there," says Nick Corcodilos of "Why would I waste time on someone who’d promote their own brand at the expense of an employer?"
Good luck! And thanks for the meme-ories.

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  • Nick Corcodilos

    Corporate profits are up. The recovery really is jobless -- companies are not hiring heavily in spite of the upturn. And I don't see this changing. The recent economic upheaval forced companies to reassess their operations and their assumptions. They've learned they can do more with fewer employees. This is a sea change and the sea's not going to rise back up to its former levels.

    Behaving like an ass in a very public way does not give you an edge when supply is high and demand is low. Counting on other asses to hire you and on the "You go, Grrrl!" exortations of impressed bystanders might feel good, but lotsa luck.

  • Sheena Medina

    I think Pip is making an interesting analysis on discriminatory hiring practices. Studies have shown that attractiveness, as well as height, and overall physical appearance do have a direct relationship to employment and compensation. Yes, she is attractive and a lot younger and therefore probably more likely to secure future employment over the Jet Blue guy. However I'm more interested to know if creating a melodramatic job exit at the expense of an employer, will truly ruin your future chances of employment, and if so, for how long? I'm not sure I'm fully convinced (if she is even real, though most likely not) that her future is doomed and that she is screwed forever. As XSportSeeker points out below, I think she does have future employment opportunities, but it all depends on what kind of job you are looking for after that. Her chances with an ad agency or obscure up-and-coming Internet start up might be pretty high.

  • Pip Pomegranate

    Sadly, you are conflating two types of quitters, and your conclusion is wrong to boot. What they have in common--that they are disgruntled, openly derisive of their employers and meme-tastic to boot--is entirely irrelevant to their future employment potential. The only thing that matters is that one is a HPOA and the other is a PMAM (pudgy middle-aged man).

    HPOA is never in danger of finding future work. HPOA is as good a hiring credential as CPA, MD, or PhD. She just needs to chance upon your typical, hot-blooded, male hiring manager who will overlook all past work history for the promise (however slight or unlikely) of a future history with her, who seeks to increase his harem by one, who simply wants to screw her (for gender reversal purposes, replace "screw" with "fix" and the meaning should translate). She may encounter the same workplace experience as before, but she will be gainfully employed for as long as she remains a HPOA.

    PMAM, on the other hand, is a credential that has more in common with DOA and FUBAR. True, he may have a more limited repertoire of workplaces, but he won't be without work for long so long as he's willing to endure the frequent gigs at such hyphenated meccas as gas-n-go, port-a-john, and wal-mart.

    Everyone comes out a winner here. Don't be hatin'.

  • XSportSeeker

    I believe you have just been trolled... story is fake it seems (I see you also noted that).
    But I'll agree with making a scandal while quitting a job is kinda foolish, DEPENDING on why you are quitting, and what kind of job you are looking for after that.
    I must have seen at least half a dozen cases where quitting a job while making a little internet drama about it rendered better jobs, specially when the previous employer deserved it all.

  • Sean

    Bah. Granted, it's a decent argument, but I really don't imagine that all potential, decent employers could be so obliquely stick-in-the-mud. I mean, do we cease being people when we put our business clothes on, after all?

  • Andrew Soep

    Totally agree with you. Most employers are looking for employees who will come to work and not rock the boat. Why would they hire someone who could create a huge scene if they encounter a situation that they don't like? There's 9 million people who are voraciously looking for work, employers are in the cat seat.

    Maybe Fox News could hire her as a Carrie Prejean replacement?