“Take this job and shove it” just doesn’t cut it any more. At a time when jobs are scarce, it takes spectacular courage to quit one. Maybe that’s why we’ve seen a recent trend of people leaving their jobs with a grand flourish. Today it was now-former Goldman Sachs exec Greg Smith, who scorched the firm on his way out the door with a New York Times op-ed titled, “Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs.” Yes, the new, smart way to resign now involves grabbing some attention from would-be next employers or patrons to your new startup, all while making the ex-boss think hard about the culture or direction of his business. That probably sounds about right to Generation Flux. And that’s why quitting is the new mission statement.
Yes. Greg Smith’s op-ed is not just a ‘screw you’ to Goldman, it’s also a (very) public act of dissent taken in order to inspire change in the firm. If Smith had his way, Goldman would start operating according to the instructions laid out in his final paragraph. His mission statement:
- Make the client the focal point of your business again.
- Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm.
- Get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons.
Quitting has always been viewed as the ‘active’ and ‘destructive’ method to show dissent in the workplace as opposed to the ‘active’ and ‘constructive’ method: complaining. Perhaps FastCompany is on to something here. Quitting, in some cases, can be ‘active’ and ‘constructive’ too.
I’m sure Goldman would have preferred the complaint route, but something tells me that Smith didn’t think that option would have done much good.