You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit!

They say you should never quit a job in anger. On the contrary, I can’t recommend it highly enough. It was truly one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done in my life.

I had been at this place for awhile, and I had a lot of fun there, but I knew it was time to go. I was becoming increasingly frustrated by what I perceived as a lack of caring by one of the principals. It felt like he had checked out. For example, there was an important photo shoot, and he was the art director. We found out he left the shoot as soon as he got there, and left an AE in charge. Where did he go? Took his son to go play an out-of-town soccer game.

Our team would be working on a new business pitch till 2 a.m., but he would be nowhere to be found. He would leave at 5 or 6 p.m., and leave it to everyone else.

I could go on and on, but the point was, I was ready to go. So I started putting my book (portfolio) together over a period of a couple of months. It was almost done. And then we had one of our weekly production meetings.

It started out fine. These things are routine. But then we started discussing a job the client wasn’t happy about. The principal started explaining why he executed it the way he did. We started explaining why they weren’t happy with it. He kept trying to explain himself. I tried to explain that he may be right and may have had good reasons, but he had to change it.

It started getting heated. He kept insisting that he wasn’t going to change it because there was nothing wrong with it, and I kept insisting that he had to change it because the client didn’t like it. It kept escalating, until finally he exploded and yelled, “Well, I don’t care what the client thinks!”

I exploded back. I yelled, “Then maybe I’m at the wrong place!” I stood up and thrust out two fingers (no, not middle fingers, I mean two fingers like a peace sign) and yelled, “Two weeks!” and I got up and stormed out.

Also in the meeting was a girl who had been helping me pull my book together. She knew I was leaving, but didn’t want me to leave just yet. She was sitting there with everyone else, listening to it escalate, and was thinking, “Don’t do it…don’t do it…dang! He did it.”

I was so pissed, I went and grabbed my car keys and just left. Went out to lunch to cool down. I finally came back around 3 or so.

The other principal came hesitantly into my office and said, “Wow, that was fun.” I laughed. She said, “You’re not really going to leave, though, are you?”

I said, “Yeah, I think it’s time.”

Her eyes got big and she tried to talk me out of it. The other principal came in and apologized. We talked it out calmly, and I told him it wasn’t because of that one comment. It was everything. I laid it all out. In the end, I agreed to stay if I saw things were changing in the next two weeks.

They didn’t, so I left.

Yes, I admit, you shouldn’t decide to quit a job on the spot if you get angry. And yes, River Kwai-ing a bridge on the way out isn’t necessarily the best career move. But if you’ve already decided you’re leaving and just need that little extra push to encourage you to actually take the plunge into the great unknown…well then, by all means, you may as well do it in as soul-satisfying a way as possible.

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