When Marna Shifrin decided to quit her job by posting an on-line video that quickly went viral, it brought her instant fame and possibly infamy. So was it a good idea? The answer is, it depends. For Marna, it probably made sense and seems like it will work out okay, after all, Queen Latifah offered her a job almost immediately. So why was it a good move for her?
First, she had a number of things working for her: first mover status, she worked in a highly creative field and her video showcased her talent. Perhaps most importantly, she didn’t trash her employer in the video. While she loved her work, she couldn’t deal with the wake the demands of her job left in her personal life. Had she worked in investment banking, it definitely would have been a bad idea. And it still might be.
The internet is a domain where you have no control once you share content. This video is out there forever and might hurt her a few jobs from now if a future employer Googles her. Can you remember anything positive said about Greg Smith, the former Goldman Sachs investment banker who famously wrote a scathing Op Ed in the New York Times? Twitter was abuzz about him several months later and all of it was negative. While it might feel good to quit in a highly public way, it is definitely not cool.
So, what to learn from all this? First, listen to the signs that you might be reaching a breaking point in your job. Next, start working on your next move before you crash and burn. Lastly, leave your current job, gracefully, and well before you are so burnt out that you make a rash decision. A decision that you might not only regret, but that could live on ad infinitum on the internet. When your next employer calls to check on your work history, you don’t want the only thing anyone remembers about your tenure to be the spectacular way that you quit.