Quitting Is The New Mission Statement
"Take this job and shove it" just doesn't cut it any more. At a time when jobs are scarce, it takes spectacular courage to quit one. Maybe that's why we've seen a recent trend of people leaving their jobs with a grand flourish. Today it was now-former Goldman Sachs exec Greg Smith, who scorched the firm on his way out the door with a New York Times op-ed titled, "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." Yes, the new, smart way to resign now involves grabbing some attention from would-be next employers or patrons to your new startup, all while making the ex-boss think hard about the culture or direction of his business. That probably sounds about right to Generation Flux. And that's why quitting is the new mission statement.

[Image: Flickr user Alejandro Groenewold]

Greg Smith: Goldman Sachs
• Quitter: Greg Smith resigned today after a 12-year stint at Goldman Sachs, a career he began as a fresh-faced, open-laced, bathroom hunting intern from Stanford. He's been in Goldman recruiting videos and ran the intern program in 2006.

• Why the fuss: Smith is now quitting because of the company's changing priorities. "I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it," Smith explained in a New York Times op-ed. "Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence."

• What happened next: Goldman Sachs has quickly responded. "We disagree with the views expressed, which we don’t think reflect the way we run our business," a spokesperson told the Times. No axe murderers, we promise.

Read more here.

[ Image: Flickr user Luismontanez ]

Stewart Butterfield: Yahoo
• Quitter: Stewart Butterfield and Caterina Fake founded Flickr in 2003 and joined Yahoo when the photo-sharing site was bought in 2005. In 2008, Butterfield and Fake left after sending out a deliciously Onion-esque letter thanking Yahoo exec Brad Garlinghouse for the 87 years of tin-smithing service he'd enjoyed at Yahoo since 1921.

• Why the fuss: "Nary a sheet of tin has rolled of our own production lines in over 30 years!" Butterfield laments.

• What happened next: Butterfield signed off saying he'd get on with tending his "small but growing alpaca herd" and get back to "working with tin, my first love." Of course, wife Fake has been busy founding two other startups, Hunch and Pinwheel, as Yahoo sets out to sue Facebook.

[ Image: Flickr user Kris Krüg ]

Don Draper: Tobacco
• Quitter: Don Draper, creative director, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, took out a full page ad in the Times titled "Why I Am Quitting Tobacco" after his firm lost their biggest client, cigarette company Lucky Strike, leaving the young firm in precarious financial footing.

• Why the fuss: The ad is hugely unpopular in the office, but Draper and creative team player Peggy Olson are secretly pleased at the attention (and potential new clients) the ad is getting for the firm.

• What happens next: Draper fires almost everyone. The shrunken staff gets creative on the new work that starts trickling in.

Darth Vader: The Empire
• Quitter: Darth Vader has had it with the Empire. Perhaps inspired by the gutsy missive Goldman exec Greg Smith penned in the Times, Darth decides to give vent to his own gripes about the Empire. "To put the problem in the simplest terms, throttling people with your mind continues to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making people dead." We feel your pain, Darth.

• Why the fuss: Somewhere along the line, the Empire lost its way. "The Empire today has become too much about shortcuts and not enough about remote strangulation. It just doesn’t feel right to me anymore."

• What happens next: Darth includes a handy list for reform at the bottom of his letter: "Make killing people in terrifying and unstoppable ways the focal point of your business again. Without it you will not exist." For its own sake, we hope the Empire takes heed.

[ Image: Flickr user Nathan Rupert ]

Eleanor Roosevelt: Daughters Of The American Revolution
• Quitter: Eleanor Roosevelt, member of Daughters of the American Revolution, wrote the group a short, strongly worded letter in 1939 tendering her resignation.

• Why the fuss: The group would refuse to let famous opera singer Marian Anderson, who'd given performances all over Europe, perform at the Washington D.C. Constitution Hall because she was black. Roosevelt called it a failure to "lead in an enlightened way."

• What happened next: The Roosevelts arranged a concert for Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial weeks later to an audience of 75,000. Anderson returned to Constitution Hall in 1943 at the DAR's invitation, going on to become the first black American opera singer to appear at New York's Metropolitan Opera, in January 1955.

Jake DeSantis: AIG
• Quitter: AIG executive Jake DeSantis wrote a public resignation letter printed in the Times and addressed to chairman Edward Liddy in March 2009.

• Why the fuss: The downturn was upon the U.S. and DeSantis was irked that AIG had promised Congress it would no longer be giving execs bonuses as had been promised. After all, he argued, most AIG financial services had not been involved in loss-making activities that pulled down the firm. He'd rather quit and donate his full bonus to people affected by the downturn.

• What happened next: Jake DeSantis now gives loans to small U.S. businesses via his Little Engine Foundation.

[ Image: Flickr user Mindy Georges ]

Disgruntled Employee: Whole Foods Market
▪ Quitter: An anonymous Whole Foods employee quit a Toronto store in a huff after firing off a letter criticizing store policies, and calling out individual employees on their bad behavior.

▪ Why the fuss: This employee, speaking for several coworkers, who later wrote too, objected to the "complete and utter bullshit" that made up the company's "core values."

▪ What happened next: The employee left on vacation to South Korea, but the letter inspired other disgruntled Whole Fooders to write in with their own grievances.

[ Image: Flickr user Peter Dutton ]

Steven Slater: JetBlue
▪ Quitter: Aspiring stuntman and JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater took flight with true showmanship in August 2008.

▪ Why the fuss: He cursed a passenger, opened up the emergency hatch on the aircraft and was off--but only after pausing to snatch up two Blue Moon beers. He drove home in his car, but was picked up by the police later, charged with with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and criminal trespass.

▪ What happened next: Slater landed himself a spot on Larry King, became the subject of at least two ballads and the subject of a healthy dose of YouTube love.

[ Image: Flickr user Matt Hintsa ]

Joey DeFrancesco: Providence, Rhode Island Hotel
▪ The Quitter: Joey DeFrancesco took his entire brass band to the hotel he worked at for three years--video camera and resignation in hand.

▪ Why the fuss?: Problems began when the workers unionized, further straining relations with the management.

▪ What happened next: DeFrancesco uploaded his video to YouTube, where it's gotten over 3 million hits, and his experience has inspired the Tumblr JoeyQuits. DeFrancesco told media at the time that he'd found replacement employment, but he wouldn't say where.

Joey DeFrancesco: Providence, Rhode Island Hotel
If you've got other notorious quitters to add, or want to share an audacious resignation story, hit us up in the comments below.

[Image: Flickr user Flee]

Quitting Is The New Mission Statement

"Take this job and shove it" just doesn't cut it any more. At a time when jobs are scarce, it takes spectacular courage to quit one. Maybe that's why we've seen a recent trend of people leaving their jobs with a grand flourish. Today it was now-former Goldman Sachs exec Greg Smith, who scorched the firm on his way out the door with a New York Times op-ed titled, "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs." Yes, the new, smart way to resign now involves grabbing some attention from would-be next employers or patrons to your new startup while making the ex-boss think hard about the culture or direction of his business. That's why quitting is the new mission statement.

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