“I quit.” Two little words that pack a punch. But some young guns are going a lot further than that. Typically, when people hand in their notice, they take their boss aside for a quiet word, send an email to everyone in the company detailing their favorite moments and — if they’re lucky — receive an Amazon gift card for their trouble. But increasingly, departing employees want to make a bigger splash.
Earlier this month, when Michael Peggs, 28, quit his job as a strategic partner of development at Google after four years and seven months, he harnessed the power of social media to market his new role as a self-employed “chief branding officer.” He made a video of himself roaming Google’s New York offices as Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background. “The point of the Internet is that everyone is now a brand,” he says.
He’s not the only one to go out with a bang. Last month, a news reporter at KTVA-TV in Anchorage, Charlo Greene, quit on-air. (Warning: She uses profanity in her signoff.) Greene was reporting on the Alaska Cannabis Club, a medical marijuana company that, as she revealed on the air, she actually owns. Now, she campaigns for the legalization of marijuana.
And last year, as her swan song, Marina Shifrin created an interpretive dance set to Kanye West’s “Gone” at the animation company where she worked in Taiwan. Her performance at the company’s empty offices has clocked over 18 million hits on YouTube. One of her subtitles read: “For almost two years I’ve sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job.” (Shifrin subsequently appeared on “The Queen Latifah Show” and is now a contributing writer for the Huffington Post.)
Peggs and Shifrin picked a good time to become self-employed. This may be the best time to quit your job in years, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data. There were 4.8 million job openings on the last business day of August, up from 4.6 million the month before. That’s equivalent to 3.4 percent of total employment on the last day of August and up from 2.8 percent for the same day last year, the Labor Department reported, and it represents the highest level of job openings since January 2001.
Young-adult employment has also improved in recent months. Employment among 25-to-34- year-olds was at 75.9 percent in September, just slightly below its post recession high of 76 percent, set earlier this year.
But is quitting online (to say nothing of on television) the best way to go?