Quitting your job in a huff

Amy Lindgren owns Prototype Career Service, a career consulting firm in St. Paul, Minn. She can be reached at alindgren@prototypecareerservice.com or at 626 Armstrong Ave., St. Paul, MN 55102.

What is it about nice weather that makes people want to quit their jobs? It’s not scientific, but I swear I see a pattern. The sun comes out, the coats go into storage, and beleaguered workers declare they cannot stand their jobs one … more … minute.

And so another country-western song is born. Except these days the preferred method of self-expression seems to be YouTube videos. Which is unfortunate, since terrible songs tend to fade away without being published, while YouTube, as future historians are bound to discover, is forever.

I started thinking about this when a bulletin landed in my email box noting that Shoutly (a Web-based company focused on promotion and self-promotion) has recently sponsored a survey of 500 people regarding social media preferences. For any number of reasons — too small of a sampling, not really interested — I declined to track down the survey and study it. But one statistic does fall within my bailiwick: Apparently 52 percent of the 500 respondents say they plan to quit their jobs in a way that they can share on social media.

Processes these folks intend to use reportedly range from filming a video resignation to sending pornography out on the employer's Twitter account. If you're interested in more on this, you can catch a short article by blogger Chris Matyszczyk on CNET (www.cnet.com/news/52-percent-want-quitting-their-job-to-be-viral-event-survey-says/).

Matyszczyk has helpfully included in his blog a YouTube video by Marina Shifrin, who used a Kanye soundtrack to enhance her dancing resignation notice from her job. If you follow the lead to Shifrin’s popular video, you can click at will on a myriad of other YouTube videos illustrating people quitting their jobs without notice.

After sampling a broad variety of these likely eternal postings, here’s my conclusion: A lot of these folks are really good dancers. Which is lucky, because they’ll need a skill to fall back on once potential employers view them leaving past jobs in a self-righteous huff.

In the age of selfies and YouTube, there’s no point telling attention-hungry people not to give an “artistic” resignation. But perhaps my tips will at least help these folks make a better job of their leave-taking.

1. Think outside the video. Yes, this is the most instantly viral medium, likely to give you the most attention. But have you considered alternate creative outlets? I’d like to suggest a nice animation film, or a one-person play, or perhaps a heartfelt poem in long form, along the lines of Dante’s “Inferno.”

2. If you must have a video, make a script. Sorry, but off-the-cuff taping only works for naturally charismatic people. The rest of us need a bit of storyboarding and narrative to hold the viewer’s attention. And if you’re going to use your own band, for heaven’s sake, rehearse before hitting the record button.

3. Get the best help you can. At a minimum, hire the services of a good editor, whether you’re working in sound, video or print.

4. Don’t count on your luck to go viral. Rather than leaving things to chance, why not create a Web optimization plan to ensure your message hits the broadest possible audience? There’s nothing more deflating than putting on a show and having no one see it.

5. Don’t let your rotten employer rush you. You’re already losing your soul to your job — why should you take shortcuts with your quit-without-notice resignation? Take the time you need to get this right, even if it means going to school at night to learn better production techniques, or working a second job so you can afford the best team possible.

If you really want to make your company crazy, just keep going to the job you hate and doing your best, so you can have the satisfaction of really leaving them in a lurch when you finally do storm out of there. And remember: It will be all the sweeter if you leave with a new degree in hand, and tenure at that second job. Hah! I wouldn’t waste the resignation opus on them after all. They don’t deserve to see your genius.