Those with generally good experiences in the workplace occasionally have bad days, and rare is the person who hasn’t imagined pulling a Steven Slater — letting fly a string of explatives over the intercom, grabbing a beer, and popping an escape slide for a dramatic job exodus.
People who work in IT have a lot of responsibilities and a lot of pressure. Sometimes those pressures cross a line and cause workers to quit their jobs in ways that don’t strictly conform to the written two-week notice policy. Here are 5 examples.
1. The Special Power of the Lone Person Who Knows How to Use the Software
Being one of a tiny handful of workers who knows how to use critical company software comes in handy, as it did for aprogrammer working for a regional television station. After months dealing with a toxic workplace, he decided to quit on his own terms. So it was very convenient that this programmer was assigned to be the only one working over a long Fourth of July weekend while both other programmers were out of town. Imagine: You’re the only worker and you have total access to the station’s weekend programming. What do you do? If you’re this guy, you program an entire weekend of dead air and commercials. “What was usually their highest-rated weekend was now nothing but dead air and commercials, and the two other people who knew how to work the programming software were out of town.” Needless to say, this type of scorched-earth approach doesn’t require coming in the next week to be formally fired.
2. Don’t Try This if the Dot Com Bubble Has Burst (Which It Has)
Remember when you could hop from one dot com startup to another, with every new salary and benefits package outshining the one before? Well, neither do we, but apparently it happened to some people, like this guy, who made a bridge-burning exit on the way from one dot com job to the next. “After queuing up Free Bird on my desk PC, I placed my phone on building intercom, placed next to my speakers, hit play and exited my office, locking the door of which I had the only key. My understanding was it was pretty awesome, the CEO at the time called me shortly after my departure to congratulate me on one of the best exits he had ever witnessed.” Real or myth? You be the judge.
3. Don’t Anger the Person You’ve Ordered to Engineer Your Big Presentation
This one isn’t so much about quitting in style as it is about making getting fired totally worth it. When you’re the IT tech newbie, coworkers with a reputation for general bossiness and Making Work Awful can really pile on, because they’ve already alienated everyone else. The weekend before the Big Presentation, it’s always a good idea to tell Ms. New Tech Worker she’ll be sorry if she doesn’t get it all shipshape by Monday morning, right? She would never fill your Big Presentation for an audience of 200 with nonstop porn, would she? It took a week for this particular IT grunt to be fired, but that week was most likely laced with the sweet taste of revenge.
4. Success Is the Best Revenge
You’ve put in decades overseeing software projects and earning great reviews every year. You understand when you and your colleagues must forego raises due to “tough economic times.” But when you return from a truncated vacation to discover that a less educated, less experienced person has been hired from outside to take over your team and will be out-earning you by a cool $80K, you might be forgiven for drawing a line in the sand: “I quit on the spot and called my husband, who left work with our car to help me pack up my desk. There was nothing better than walking boxes back and forth to my car, glowering husband helping, while the HR director walked along looking completely befuddled … He offered to undo their decision, offered the pay raise that had failed to materialize for years. I started a new job less than two weeks later making $25,000/year more.”
5. Quitting The Nonexistent Job, Because It’s Fun to Mess With People’s Minds
Some people think that IT workers are readily identifiable — a topic that’s fraught with potential for hurt feelings. Occasionally, however, a stranger correctly identifies the tech worker, only in the wrong context. This is where it can get fun. “One day I was at Costco in the computer [a]isle, and for whatever reason (The white shirt that day?) someone looking at a computer asked me for help. Then another. As I walked away, a woman with an attitude told me I couldn’t leave until I answered her questions. I told her I was sorry, I had to go. She shouted that she’d have me fired, so I turned around and told her to tell the boss I quit. It felt good.”
Quitting in style is something that most people imagine, but rarely carry out due to … well … needing to earn a living. But sometimes the standard resignation letter doesn’t do justice to the occasion. Feel free to share your own “I quit” stories in the comments section below. We won’t tell your boss. We promise.