In the recent years, we have heard in the news some pretty creative "Take This Job and Shove It" stories. Joey quit his job with the support of a marching band and posted the event on YouTube. A Jetblue flight attendant quit his job, grabbed a beer and then slid down the emergency chute of the plane he was on. But, in probably the most significant public resignation of 2012 thus far, Greg Smith, a former Goldman Sachs vice president, wrote a personal manifesto of the company's faults. It landed in the New York Times, garnering national attention and even online parodies.
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Smith has been lauded by various groups as a “folk hero” for speaking out against Goldman. For 143 years, Goldman Sachs was a trusted financial institution, but the company has been in the news with more bad press than good for over a decade. For many of us, a creative public resignation may sound like fun and you think it will make you feel better by getting in the last word. You may have the best intentions and envision how your words and actions will positively change the organization or maybe the entire industry, and you imagine how others will benefit from your courage.
However, the truth is that the repercussions of your actions are more likely to be career-limiting for you than they are to ever result in change within the organization. Resignation for any reason, general dissatisfaction or genuine cause, is a serious career decision, and a personal one. Publicly bad-mouthing your employer is one of the worst things you can ever do to your career -- even if you think it's justified. That being said, instead of debating whether or not Smith’s quitting tactics were a career-ender, let’s go over what Smith said are valid considerations if you ever decide to quit your job.
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1. Your Values Do Not Align With The Company’s Values
“…I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it [Goldman Sachs] stands for.”
It is stressful to be in a situation when you are asked to carry out practices that contradict a company's written policies or stated values, or that conflict with your own personal values. The cognitive dissonance alone can drive an employee up the wall.
You may decide that the reasons for leaving are mainly because your personal values do not fit with an organization's values (even if at one time they were aligned), or you may decide to leave because an organization does not even live up to its own values and contradicts its own written rules of professional conduct. Figure out what values are most important to you and what brings you job satisfaction.
2. You No Longer Enjoy Your Job
“I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.”
If you really have to force yourself to be happy at work, then it is time to move on. Unhappiness at work, or dreading even going to work, is a sign of some underlying problem. The problem doesn’t have to be with the company either. Perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed in your role, or your job is no longer challenging.
If your job is not personally and professionally fulfilling, and there is no way to achieve that satisfaction where you are currently employed, then maybe it's time to consider a change of employment. You only pass this way in life one time, so choose your path well and do what makes you happy.
3. You’re Surrounded By Irresponsible Behavior
“I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them.”
Leadership, by its very nature, must be able to create vision and influence others to achieve that vision. Smith blamed leadership for many of the negative behaviors that Goldman allegedly practices towards its clients. He believed that Goldman Sachs leadership was not practicing the values of the organization and lacked personal integrity.
No matter if the behavior is unethical or downright senseless for the longevity of the company - it’s logical, and justifiable, to leave a toxic work environment.
If You Want to Quit, Then Quit
Quitting your job in this economy may not be the wisest decision you can make. But, when you have considered all of the alternatives and you know there is only one thing left to do, being able to see the writing on the wall can make it easier to make the right choice for you and your career. As for how to quit -- it is always best to keep that just between you and your employer.
What do you think? What are some other good reasons for quitting? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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This story originally published on Mashable here.