We’ve all had fantasies about various ways of quitting our jobs. In fact, some of you out there may even have turned freelance because you just couldn’t take the permanent life any more – either because of your boss or the work itself. Certainly I’ve very nearly reached for the power-off key on my computer in the past. And if you’ve been in that position but decided against it, it may be because the words “mortgage” and/or “economic uncertainty” have put you off.
So when we hear about someone making the leap and quitting their job for whatever reason, some of us feel a mixture of things that might include admiration and envy. Jealousy, even.
Of course, sometimes that leap is ill advised; if the “quitter” (in the nicest possible way) has dependants, for instance. It all depends on the circumstances. On the positive side of the spectrum, I know of a highly respected engineer who quit his job to spend the year travelling around the world with his family, during which time he and his wife tutored their two children. What an amazing educational experience that must have been – and not just for the children.
At the less rational end of the scale, last year we heard about Steven Slater, a flight attendant on US-based airline JetBlue. After being whacked on the head by a woman’s case falling out of an overhead locker (for which she refused to apologise), he opened the plane’s door while it was taxiing to the runway and made his escape via the emergency slide. Slater was later arrested for his actions.
Extreme resignations aside, sometimes if you’re young enough (and confident enough) and you’re perhaps without any of the other hindrances which stop other people from jacking it in, then taking the not-so-literal leap to quit for reasons of sanity and self worth might arguably be a good move.
Such was the case with Marina Shifrin - a writer who worked at Next Media Animation, a Taiwanese animation company that produces news videos. The reason for her quitting was that her boss was apparently only concerned with the number of hits the news videos got, rather than the quality. So she decided to make her own video, “to focus on the content instead of worry about the views.” It features her dancing her way through her office at 4:30am to the soundtrack of Kanye West’s song Gone.
Sort of ironically, the video went viral. At the last count, it had over 15.8 million views. I wonder if she put the same effort into her work as she did into this?
People have been going wild about the video. Personally, I’m not going overly wild about it. For a start, although I don’t know the details beyond what she’s said in her video, her complaint doesn’t seem to be that bad. So to publicly slate her boss isn’t really good form. Perhaps he was forced to tow the line, for a start, forced to hit his targets “or else”. So to make it all about him was perhaps a bit unfair. Certainly a future employer might question her loyalty based on that.
And we’ve all sacrificed our private lives for work. No, it’s not great when we have to – but that’s life, isn’t it? If you want to leave all that behind you – fine. Good luck.
Shifrin has now acquired some sort of celebrity status. She was recently interviewed on Queen Latifah’s show, during which she offered a rather hackneyed insight into the reasons for her actions:
“Sometimes I think that you need to forcefully close one door in order for the other one to open a little easier.”
[Audience whoops as only American audiences can]
“I think that’s cool,” says Queen Latifah, deeply…before offering her a job.
See what you think of Shifrin’s video exit here. It’s subtitled, so remember to close the advertising banner at the bottom of the screen when it appears.
If you can’t, here’s the transcript:
“It’s 4.30 am and I am at work.
I work for an awesome company that produces news videos.
For almost two years I’ve sacrificed my relationships, time and energy for this job.
And my boss only cares...
About quantity and how many views each video gets.
So I figured...
I’d make ONE video of my own.
To focus on the content instead of worry about the views.
Oh, and to let my boss know
Ashley is a copywriter, editor and blogger
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