O'BRIEN: Fame, not fortune, awaits those who want to tell their boss where to go

Posted: May. 12, 2014 5:12 pm Updated: Aug. 5, 2014 8:15 am

We've all thought about going out in a blaze of glory. What better way to tell your boss that you're outta here than by making like 1970s country crooner Johnny Paycheck and telling him or her to "Take this job and shove it. I ain't working here no more."

How liberating would that be?

Unfortunately, most of us do what is expected. We give our two weeks' notice to our current employer and quietly exit stage right once that time is done. If you're lucky, maybe your co-workers take you out for lunch or something on your last day. Your departure barely causes a ripple in the overall scheme of life. When the next Monday rolls around, you're a mere footnote in office lore.

This being the era of social media, some people aren't leaving the office quietly. According to a poll sponsored by Shoutly, a social commerce tool that just launched in the U.S., 52 percent of the 500 people who responded planned to quit their jobs and do it in a way that they can share it with their friends. Maybe they'll take a selfie with their boss in the background after they turn in their resignation.

More likely they'll use their camera phones to videotape a special message to their boss that they're hitting the road. Seven percent of the people polled said they would film their resignation and post it online. Marina Shifrin, a 25-year-old from Chicago who was working at a video editing company in Taiwan, went this route last fall. Tired of working overnights and wanting to get back to the U.S., Shifrin made a 105-second video of her dancing around her office to a Kanye West tune called "Gone."

Shifrin used subtitles to tell her bosses why she was leaving. Her modern-day answer to leaving her job went viral. As of Monday afternoon, nearly 18 million people had watched the video. Shifrin hit the talk-show circuit after that and became a bit of an Internet celebrity.

Shifrin isn't the first person to go to YouTube to quit and she won't be the last. There are plenty of videos uploaded to YouTube of people telling their boss that they're through. People have told their bosses they're quitting by holding up signs that they've videotaped. A guy in Rhode Island even quit his job at a Providence hotel by bringing a band with him to play while he tossed his resignation letter at his boss, all of it caught on tape.

If you do something goofy enough on your way out the door, the cameras will find you. Take the case of flight attendant Steven Slater. In August 2010, Slater said he had been assaulted by a passenger at the end of a flight into JFK International Airport in New York. He announced over the plane's intercom system that he was quitting. He grabbed two beers, deployed the plane's evacuation slide and slid down it.

Of course, Slater got in a mountain of trouble for his actions. He was charged with three felonies and ultimately pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and was placed on probation. While he may have been done with JetBlue, they weren't done with him. He had to pay them $10,000 in fines for his act. In addition to being front-page fodder for the New York tabloids, Slater's tale was told on the morning and late-night talk shows.

If you're looking for 15 minutes of fame, it's out there. Just don't expect getting another job to be easy.


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