I’m Mad As H#%* and I’m Not Going To Take This Any More!

Aug 11, 2010

Do you remember the 1976 film Network? The movie produced a very famous scene in which Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch) has a breakdown (some would argue an epiphany!) on live television (PG-13 clip of course!)

Seems a little too timely, doesn’t it! Over the last couple of days, two news stories have surfaced of individuals who decided they were “mad as hell, and were not going to take this anymore” with their jobs. They quit in style.

Quitter #1: a Jet Blue flight attendant essentially quit his job when he fled his plane via the emergency slide — beer in hand — after getting into a fight with a passenger and then cursing out the entire cabin over a loudspeaker. The short story is that a passenger stood up to retrieve his luggage while the plane was taxiing to its gate after landing and the seatbelt sign was still lit. The flight attendant asked the passenger to sit back down and was ignored. As the flight attendant approached the passenger, the luggage fell from the overhead compartment, hitting the flight attendant on the head. When he asked for an apology, the passenger cursed at him. Apparently, this was the last straw for the flight attendant, who proceeded to get on the loud speaker, tell those aboard to “go f*** themselves,” grab a beer from the galley, deploy the chute and run into the terminal. His car was parked at an employee lot and he drove home, where he was later arrested.

Quitter #2: a brokerage firm assistant quit her job via whiteboard messages. A young woman employed as an assistant discovered her boss referred to as a Hot Piece Of A**, and that was the last straw for her. She took 33 photos of a progressive message detailing why she was quitting and emailed them to her 20 co-workers, including her boss. In the photo messages, she revealed things like how her boss had bad halitosis and even disclosed that he spent nearly 20 hours per week playing Farmville at work. You can view all of the photos here. (UPDATE: this story was revealed to be a prank… thoughts of Mercury Theatre on the Air and the 1938 H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds broadcast come to mind…)

So what is the significance of these stories to you? While these stories are certainly humorous, and I’m sure at some point in each of our careers we would have loved to perform similar grandiose exits, these behaviors won’t win any brownie points for future employment. And even though one of these situations has turned out to be a fake, it’s still not completely out of the realm of possibility for a real-life situation. As search professionals, part of your job is coaching candidates on appropriate ways in which to resign their jobs. The goal in almost every case is to not burn any bridges, because one never knows what the future may hold. We may view these types of individuals as ‘heroes’ for a moment, but how would you put them in front of your client for a new opportunity after their recent actions?

What are some of the coaching techniques you use with your candidates to help them resign with tact and dignity? Share your thoughts in the comments below.