The people who say “quitting is for losers” obviously never worked a demoralizing job. The epic ways in which people are quitting their less than desirable employment, viral media style, are solidifying Eternal Winning Status on the internet. These brave and foolhardy individuals are stickin’ it to the man in ways many have often dreamed of. Despite the difficulties in pinning down employment these days, people are quitting their jobs and making career changes surprisingly often. An average of two million people in the US quit their jobs every month, and gone are the days of a formal resignation letter. Today, if you don’t like your job, perhaps you’ll take a page from those who decided being professional doesn’t feel half as good as burning bridges to the ground.
Take former flight attendant Steven Slater, who told everyone to go stick it where the sun don’t shine and with a couple bottles of booze in hand deployed the bouncy airplane slide to freedom. While employees quitting with relish in outlandish ways has been seen in the media before Slater’s 2011 stunt, it does seem to have raised the bar on creativity. Perhaps fed up employees hope to make lasting, impactful statements to substandard employers. Or, in some cases, they might just be looking for the fifteen minutes of fame they need to break into their new careers. From mariachi bands and banana suits to interpretive dance and a jaw-dropping Super Bowl commercial, these people have stepped up and delivered unforgettable “I quit” home runs that the rest of us can vicariously appreciate.
10. Naked Star Wars
This dude quit his job Star Wars scroll style, with a very formal French-accented narrator explaining the thought process behind his ideas for quitting. One being that he considered having sex with everyone in the office as a way to say goodbye but that his wife likely wouldn’t be happy about other people getting to touch his awesome body. The video then cuts to a photoshopped Mr. Mysterious in his office butt naked, with a smiley face keeping everything SFW. Dorky, but creative. And likely effective; it’s safe to say he’s not working there anymore.
9. The Headbanger
This guy gets a mention simply because he headbanged to Queen as part of his exit strategy, which will make even shrivelled, jaded hearts grow at least one size. Starting out with the Star Wars theme song, obviously a popular intro for epic job quitters, he made his way to the front of his workplace with his boombox, before ripping his shirt off to reveal “I quit” on his chest. The music segues into Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” as he headbangs his way out the door, to the lyrics, “So you think you can stop me and spit in my eye..” All that was missing was a high-kick.
8. El Supreme Platano
What isn’t awesome about renting a banana suit and dancing through your cubicles, while being filmed, as your final goodbye? This banana man was fed up with the insurance agency he worked for, summing the experience up with: “it sucked,” so he put on his yellow mascot outfit and hired a mariachi band. Together with violins, horns and guitars, the six-piece band and banana startled co-workers out of their post-lunch comas as “El Supreme Platano,” made his way through the maze of florescent lights before dancing off out the door and into the distant parking lot.
7. Ice Ice Baby
This guy was ahead of his time, quitting his managerial food industry job with a choreographed banister dance above the tables. The facts that the video quality looks like something from the days of VCRs, the dance is set to Vanilla Ice, and the quitter is working a sweet pair of dad jeans, suggests this video is dated. So perhaps this one was a pioneer in the epic on-screen job quit?
6. The Baby Boomer
Even old people are using the internet to tell their bosses where to go! Grade 2 teacher Stephen Round had enough of standardized teaching, after his school district told him to stop his creative ways of helping students read. Tutoring students after school using his unique methods for addressing dyslexia, Round was helping kids on his own dime. But this didn’t fly with his administration, who advised him to stop his methods and stick to curriculum. “I’m responsible for these kids that are failing,” he said, “But I can’t do what I know will help them.” So, in his six and a half minute verbal resignation on YouTube, Round spoke directly to his employer ending with a final, and firm, “I would rather leave my secure, $75,000 job with benefits and tutor in Connecticut for free, than be part of a system that is diametrically opposed to everything I believe education should be.” Snap!
5. Barbershop Sextet
Sick of slinging ultra-low-fat no-foam extra-hot double mochaccino lattes, Phil the barista went out in full Barbershop Quartet style, hiring a slick and stylish fivesome in matching orange jackets as backup to shoop-doo him out the door. The lyrics tell a charming story of his climb to the top that starts with closing the door on his gig at the coffee shop. In black tie, and offering some fairly rhythmic harmonies himself, Phil not only got applause from the patrons in the cafe but even his bosses, who clearly knew better than to try and hold this guy back. The video was enough to get him on the Steve Harvey show so things are only looking up for this brave barista.
4. The Marching Band
One of the more well-known viral ‘I quit’ videos comes from Joey DeFrancesco, the former Renaissance Providence hotel worker who hired a marching band to accompany him to the boss’ office. With drums, horns, saxophones, a tuba and cymbals he waited in a downstairs hallway until his boss was in sight. Seeing the group, his boss flips out and points to the door but this doesn’t stop Joey from handing over the resignation letter. At which point the band counts off a quick four beats and bursts into celebratory musical revelry. Joey, waving his arms in the air victoriously, leads the band back outside. Ever since his departure, it seems Joey has been active in helping workers at the hotel gain a voice and improve their conditions. The employees have called for a boycott on the hotel until their voices are heard. In November of last year, the Regional Director of the National Labor Relations Board authorized a federal government complaint against the hotel for multiple unfair labor practices.
3. RT News Anchor
RT America anchor Liz Wahl spectacularly quit on-air. In 2013, RT (formerly known as Russia Today) became the first TV news channel in history to reach 1 billion views on YouTube but Liz, a Washington-based correspondent, wasn’t having any more of it, and told viewers why. Veering off script, she said she was done covering President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
In her resignation speech, she says: “I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin. I’m proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth, and that is why, after this newscast, I’m resigning.” Liz goes on to opine that the Russian intervention is wrong and creates moral and ethical obstacles that she doesn’t have any interest in overcoming. As the daughter of a veteran and wife of a military physician, she doesn’t feel comfortable with reporting skewed facts and overlooking the journalistic integrity that should always be about disseminating the truth. “And that,” she sums up, “is why after this newscast I am resigning.”
2. “I Quit” Girl
Quite possibly the most creative DIY video out there comes from what has been dubbed by many as “I Quit Girl,” otherwise known as Marina Shifrin. Her 4:30am office interpretive dance for her boss is set to Kanye West’s “I’m gone.” With jazz hands and a bit of twerking, Shifrin dances her way through the office with a storyline about her boss’ lack of integrity. In a company that creates news videos, Her boss believes in quantity and views over quality of content. Mariana’s fundamental opposition to this led her to the creation of her “I quit” video – for which she continued to focus on quality. It has since garnered over 18,000,000 views and gotten her a job offer from the Queen Latifa show. Oh, sweet, sweet ironic revenge, that is how it’s done!
1. GoDaddy Super Bowl Ad
In arguably the most public and coolest stunt to date, a woman quit her job this year in a Super Bowl commercial. GoDaddy, an internet domain registrar and web hosting company, put out a blind marketing query to find who might be interested in partnering up. Gwen Dean, a former machine engineer from New York, agreed to their idea, which was unveiled during a 30 second Super Bowl spot. In the commercial, a GoDaddy spokesman introduces her as someone who chooses to pursue her dreams and start her own business. He tells over 110 million people watching what Gwen has to say to her boss, Ted, who is likely watching the game also. “I quit!” she says happily. Afterwards, behind the scenes, GoDaddy has worked with Gwen to get her puppet-based business website off the ground.