There was something about the condescending and patronising way in which the passenger in row 52 on flight 17 finally brought Steven to his final decision. It was time to go. Time to leave this god-forsaken dead-end job once and for all. It was time to play out that resignation fantasy…
What a way to go!
No more petty arguments over luggage with ignorant people who gave him little or no respect and made him feel bad – now was the time. All that anger came bubbling to the top as a foul-mouthed rebuke of a passenger followed. Without thinking he took the plane intercom and calmly said “To those who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for the great ride” then he grabbed himself a cold beer from the in-flight trolley and, after activating the inflatable slide departed from his old life to find a new career in what appeared to be fantastic style.
A fantasy way to quit your job but it comes at a cost…
For all of us putting up with a job we hate on a daily basis, the idea of quitting your job in such a cool and dramatic way can all seem a little bit of a dream. But Steven’s tale is no made up story – it actually happened1. And Steven Slater may well have left to a large round of applause from his admiring down-trodden colleagues, but the fact of the matter is, his actions not only caused extra problems in his personal life, it probably made prospects of getting a new job, let alone a career pretty slim. For starters, in court the judge ordered Steven to pay the company he worked for $10,000 for a replacement slide and even sentenced him to a year’s probation.
Don’t burn your bridges when quitting your job
Most of all, he may well have burnt a lot of bridges as far as his career was concerned. Was he likely to get a good reference? Was there a chance he could go for a job with the dame company or associate company in the future? He may well have shown enormous skills in his chosen profession and gathered great experience but in a micro-second he destroyed it all. For a whole host of reasons, that fantasy of ducking your boss’s head down the toilet on the day you cut the chains to that old desk job is just going to have to remain a fantasy.
So, when the time comes along to say goodbye to the boss you have grown to love so well, think twice before you start acting out retribution now your dream job appears to have come along. A little bit of extra patience, discipline and kow-towing may leave a little bit of a bad taste in your mouth, but those extra few days just may make a whole difference to making sure your employment future at least, doesn’t take a nose dive. Not only that, but the way you behave as you leave may well actually boost your career prospects.
Leave in a way that will add shine to your future career:
- 1. What if your boss wants you to stay?
Your employer may not want you to leave. Your talents, skills and experience may well be missed or it may be a great deal cheaper and logistically more effective for the company to hang onto the experienced staff they have. You may therefore get a counter offer. Preparing for this (i.e. what would you need to change to stay?) begins with a dignified exit.
- 2. It’s not all about you
Continue to consider your company’s needs until you walk out the door. They will need time to go through the interview process and engage a new employee with as little disruption to your department as well. You need to be thinking about leaving your online and offline workplace orderly to offer a good impression to the new starter (and your old boss).
- 3. Give constructive feedback
There may well be an exit interview and you may well want to kick into getting-your-own-back mode. Professionally, you need to see it as a way to enable the company to build on any perceived failings. So be negative if you wish, but always ensure it is constructive criticism.
- 4. Stay on target
Once you know you are leaving it is very easy to become laid back and let all your tasks go to the wall. After all you can’t be sacked, can you? Stop just there. Your last impression can be as important as the first. Keep focus and keep in line with doing as much as you can in your final weeks.
- 5. Help with the transition
Helping as much as you can with the on-boarding of your new replacement shows commitment and dedication to the company.
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