How to quit in front of an audience of 11 million

There must be 50 ways to leave your bad job and 50 millennials preparing to exit publicly and plaintively on social media.

The latest danced her way onto YouTube to the Kayne West song “Gone.” Marina Shrifin, who worked for Taiwanese animator Next Media Animation, explained via captions that she had sacrificed “my relationships, time and energy.” Her “I quit!” dance video has been seen more than 11.2 million times and is featured in a growing number of articles and blogs.

She joins a growing list of workers who quit publicly, using social media or email, bound to go viral. Groupon co-founder’s Andrew Mason announced his firing in a candid cheeky memo that he posted online, an agency social media manager wrote “F this job” on her client’s Facebook page, and a worker in Toronto sent a long resignation letter to every Whole Foods staffer calling the place a “faux hippy Wal-Mart.”

“I see more millennials doing these antics because they are frustrated with corporate America and feel stuck in their jobs,” said Dan Schawbel, a 20-something expert and author of the new book Promote Yourself.

“It happens across various platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook,” Schawbel said. He immediately added, “The short term fame isn’t worth the long term elimination of job prospects.”

That’s not necessarily true for the Shifrin, who describes herself as a struggling comic/babysitter/novelist on Twitter. “Does anyone want to help read 3,000 emails?” she asked her followers, which she received following her public exit. Earlier she tweeted, “Maybe I can get a job AND A MAN out of this video.”

Dozens of others also have posted their “I quit” messages on YouTube. Most draw a few hundred or a few thousand views, but the video titled “Joey Quits” of a hotel worker handing in his resignation has over 4 million views. After sneaking in and throwing a resignation letter at his manager, Joey and his “bandmates” break into song.

“They [millennials] know how to use technology and they know how to broadcast technology. And they’re more likely to take a risk” than someone who’s 45 and has a mortgage and two children, said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s career expert and author of career books.

The problem for those staging dramatic endings: Your future boss likely will consider you a “loose cannon” or someone who could easily quit loudly again, said Williams.

“Because the platform is so mass, you’re telling the world at large that this company sucks,” she said. Yet, you’re also changing the perception of yourself based on what you post or dance. It’s likely some will see you as a bad-mouther, or as disrespectful and unprofessional. A future boss will think, ‘Why would I take a risk on this person…who is acting unprofessionally?'”

Another problem, Williams noted: “The second and third and the fourth video have to be even more dramatic to garner some attention.”

“The more people try and make these videos, the less press the videos will get because they won’t be newsworthy,” added Schawbel.

And depending on your farewell message, you could get sued or even arrested. Or maybe your boss will just create his own video showing the world the swimming pool and the happy people who still work at the video animation shop where you were once was employed.

To be sure, a few farewell stunts may pay off. A border agent in London wrote his farewell on a cake to pursue his dream job: running a cake business called Mr. Cake. His brother’s tweet went viral and drew attention to his new business.

Williams thinks the Shifrin, who hopes to land in Brooklyn, may attract a certain type of employer. If she’s seeking a creative position in a fun atmosphere, “She’ll get a job out of this.”

Follow Vickie on Twitter @WorkingKind. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search