Beyond JetBlue: The Pop Culture Guide to Quitting Your Job


>America doesn't normally love a quitter...unless they do it in style.

People have been buzzing over the epic departure of JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who quit his job in a dramatic fashion often reserved for movies and daydreams; just after his flight landed in New York City, he unleashed an expletive-laden tirade over the plane's public address system. He then deployed the inflatable emergency-exit ramp and left for his home in Queens (where he was promptly arrested—oh well).

Slater isn't the only disgruntled employee to quit with aplomb this week. tells the story of Jenny, an aspiring broker who quit her job through 33 whiteboard messages to her coworkers, distributed via email to her office, lambasting her boss (and revealing his penchant for FarmVille). The entire series of images—accompanied by Jenny's quirky facial expressions—are certainly worth viewing. UPDATE: This quitting story has been revealed to be a fake. Fine. Still worth clicking on, if only as a model for how to leave a job in style.

With economic recovery still stalled, quitting any job requires some serious intestinal fortitude, But the sheer audacity of Slater and Jenny's departures from their jobs might serve as a shining example for those tired of being abused or misused in the workplace. However, simply swearing your way out of the office lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. With the "I Quit" scene a pop culture favorite , here's a general guide to quitting in style.

Rule #1: Keep Your Remarks Short

An extended rant describing your frustration with the poor quality of coffee in the breakroom will ruin your chance of future sympathy and support from your soon-to-be ex-coworkers (assuming that's a priority). Take a hint from Scarface (played by Guillermo Diaz) in "Half Baked"; say what you need to say, and get out:

Rule #2: Make Your Reasons For Leaving Clear

Scarface kept his comments brief, but they were fairly substanceless. Give your bosses something to think about so they don't drive away another valuable employee in the future. If it's the flair you hate (like Jennifer Aniston in Office Space), make it clear:

Rule #3: Have A Plan

Kevin Spacey lays out his complaints about his job in American Beauty more formally than Jennifer Aniston, but his major victory involves having a plan. No, we aren't condoning blackmail whatsoever since it's remarkably uncouth (and illegal), but Spacey had some foresight concerning his impending unemployment and took what he could from his job before leaving. If you're going to quit, at least know what's coming next.

Rule #4: Make An Impression

Sure, Tom Cruise was forced out in "Jerry Maguire," but we believe he'd mentally quit in the midst of his mission-statement inspired psychic awakening. Jerry didn't fume and fuss; he made an inspirational exist, at least enough to get Renee Zellweger (and his fish) to join him. No swearing, no tantrums, no throwing of meat products: Jerry exited in style, and his exit was one that will probably live on in his coworkers' minds forever.

Rule #5: Get Closure

If there's some way to make your departure more real in your mind, make it so. Don't dwell on your decisions. You're gone. Now move on:

Do you have a good quitting story? Or did we miss a major pop culture quitting moment? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Jared Keller is a former associate editor for The Atlantic and The Atlantic Wire and has also written for Lapham's Quarterly's Deja Vu blog, National Journal's The Hotline, Boston's Weekly Dig, and Preservation magazine. 

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