Back To Career News

The 5 Worst Things Employees Have Done Right Before They Quit

Topics: Work Culture
Fe Illya/Flickr

If you’re invested enough in your career to read career advice, chances are good that you know how to quit a job without burning your bridges. You give two weeks’ notice, provide a written resignation letter, extend an offer to help your soon-to-be former boss train your replacement or find coverage and so on.

All of that is just as it should be. It’s the smart move both in terms of networking and being a good person. But man, what would you give for one do-over day, so that you could quit your job with some style?

You can’t have that, but you can have this: five tales of last-day bad behavior that will reshape your facial expression into a wow emoji … and ultimately, maybe make you glad that you know better than to make an awesome exit.

Deleting the President’s Twitter Account

Last week, President Trump’s Twitter account went down for 11 minutes. The company later confirmed that the account was deleted by a customer support representative on their last day of work.

Reactions were mixed. Some pointed to the deletion as yet another worrying sign of tech companies’ power and lack of oversight. Others found brief banning hilarious, brushing off their best GIFs for the occasion.

Either way, we’d all love to know what happened to the former employee, but so far, no one is talking. Presumably severance is out of the question, so maybe we’ll learn more when he or she lands a book deal (or winds up dealing with a public lawsuit).

Activating an Inflatable Escape

Probably the most referenced quitting story in the wake of the Twitter incident was that of Steven Slater, the former JetBlue flight attendant. After dealing with one irate customer too many, Slater quit his job in epic fashion in 2010 by announcing it over the plane’s PA system, grabbing two beers, and activating the inflatable emergency slide.

“In some respects, it was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m doing this,’” Slater recently told The Washington Post. “And then the next thing I know, I was on the tarmac. ‘What the hell? What did I just do?’ I remember standing on the tarmac on the sun and it was just so warm. I thought, ‘Ahh, I can exhale. But how did this happen?’”

Slater acknowledges that he might have quit in a “more professional manner,” and says that being recognized as “the JetBlue guy” by hiring managers has probably cost him some jobs. Still, he has no regrets … but he does have advice for the former Twitter employee:

“Don’t second-guess. It is what it is. Be present and you’ll be fine … And I would say I’d like to buy this guy two beers.”

Straight-Up Embezzling

This guy makes two beers and the cost of deflating a slide look like chump change. New York magazine rounded up a bunch of horrifying quit stories, but the winner has to be this one, from an old Gawker post’s comments section:

“I knew they were going to fire me, so I embezzled $100k before they did. Never got caught. This is not a lie.”

Making a Big Career Change

BuzzFeed user SkyPieSauce’s brother quit his DirectTV job to move on to a better opportunity: Defense of the Dark Arts Professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry:

Via BuzzFeed

Of course, it’s likely to be a short-term gig.

Publishing a Resignation Letter in the Op-Ed Section

When Greg Smith decided to resign his position at Goldman Sachs in 2012, he didn’t hide his feelings about his soon-to-be former employer. Instead, he published his resignation letter in The New York Times.

This kind of exit, like the others on this list, is rarely advisable. In Smith’s case, however, it worked out: for his next job, he landed a million-dollar book deal writing about his experiences at the company.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have an amazing quitting story? We want to hear from you. Share your tale in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

Leave a Reply

2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
Greg ColvinBonnie Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

After high school I worked at a late night fast food chain. One evening, there was supposed to be 3 on shift; one called out and the other sat outside w his girlfriend saying he quit. So it was just me. I closed the dining area early and pushed thru the drive thru on my own. I tried calling the manager and district manager and no one answered. It became too hard to handle alone, so I counted the money,… Read more »

Greg Colvin
Greg Colvin

My exit interview for a job I was resigning had the company founder reviling my work and skills and advising me strongly to take up a different career. This from a man who had inadvertently lost track of a million dollars and put the future of his company at extreme risk. His exit interviews were notoriously abusive, so I responded with a letter to all of the remaining employees and board members responding to his critique of my character point… Read more »

What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.