But that’s C-level stuff, and things aren’t quite always so diplomatic at the lower, or less corporate, rungs of the enterprise ladder…
Five of the brightest
(1) Conan O’Brien, TV host, The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien
In the entertainment world, difficulties on set – and marriages – are usually put down to creative or irreconcilable differences.
However, TV host and comedian Conan O’Brien was significantly more transparent about the woes he was encountering at NBC as the presenter of The Tonight Show – a programme he had always aspired to host.
The funny man released a press statement in January 2010 that revealed NBC wanted to move his show’s slot from the classic time of 11.35pm, after the news, to 12.05am in order to accomodate Jay Leno.
He said: “Six years ago, I signed a contract with NBC to take over ‘The Tonight Show’ in June of 2009. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2004, I have spent literally hundreds of hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future.
“It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessor [Leno], I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of ratings support from the prime-time schedule. Building a lasting audience at 11:30pm is impossible without both. But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only seven months, with my ‘Tonight Show’ in its infancy, NBC has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime time by making a change in their long-established late night schedule.
“My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard, and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of ‘The Tonight Show.’ But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is its destruction.”
Thousands of the host’s fans voice their support online and negotiations between O’Brien’s camp and NBC continued for two weeks, but the comedian was paid off with $45m, $12m of which was for his staff, after an agreement couldn’t be met.
O’Brien returned to the air in November 2010 to host Conan for Time Warner-owned TBS and his contract currently extends as far as 2018.
(2) Marina Shifrin, comedy writer, NextMedia Animation
How would someone exposed to comedy for a living resign from their job, you might wonder.
Cream pie in the face, perhaps?
For Marina Shifrin, a comedy writer for Taiwanese news video production firm Next Media Animation, YouTube was her way out.
Using her multimedia experience and wit she created a video set to the theme of Kanye West’s Gone, revealing that the job had resulted in sacrificing relationships, time and energy, which is why she decided she needed to be, er, gone.
The video has been viewed almost 20m times since it was published in September 2013 and Shifrin possesses 15,000 subscribers on YouTube.
She moved back to the US and secured an interview with actress and TV host Queen Latifah, and found herself offered a job. The celebrity said: “I’m a boss and bosses can hire. This girl was so creative! I had to offer this internet sensation a job.”
Seemingly the opportunity was passed up, as Shifrin’s LinkedIn reveals she’s now working at the home of humour – Comedy Central.
(3) Chris Holmes, border enforcer, Stansted Airport
This particular method of handing in notice is rather sweet. Quite literally.
Indeed, Chris Holmes chose to hand his duty manager a cake with the details of his resignation written in icing back in 2013.
The reason for Holmes’ decision, however, wasn’t a result of a midlife crisis or shrewd poisoning attempt, but a bid to focus on his baking business Mr Cake. He had been steadily building in the background around his full-time post at Stansted Airport, where he worked for seven years in border control.
Awareness of Mr Cake was certainly off to a good start. Media publications globally covered the light-hearted and warm resignation, helping an image of the baked document spread across the internet. In fact, Holmes received an award for Best Use of Marketing in 2013.
At the time of his departure, Holmes said: “I thought it was a good natured resignation and hopefully left a nice taste in their mouths. ‘I’d been planning it for six-months but kept it to myself because I wasn’t sure when I would be leaving. I decided that my passion lies with food and wanted to spend more time at home with my son Ben.”
Check out Holmes’ heartwarming story in the video below.
(4) Jarrad “Farbs” Woods, developer, 2K Australia
In 2009, having honed his art at console and PC games studio 2K Australia, Jarrad Woods had decided it was time to move on to pastures new.
But with creativity and a playful nature firmly installed, he couldn’t bring himself to resign with an old fashioned pen and paper. Instead, he spent the night coding something more memorable for his peers.
With lovable plumbing icon Mario at the heart, a simple game was created, displaying the flashing words “I QUIT!” upon level one completion, while level two revealed Farbs had actually resigned the previous week.
When the game is over, Farbs offered a more detailed and heartfelt message to his colleagues and bosses, that said: “Thank you 2K Australia! You gave me a paycheck, an incredible project, and a world-class team to learn from. But my princess is in another castle. My last day is June 5th, so I can probably still sign of with… GO TEAM!”
Farbs left the company to focus on becoming an indie developer, but his resignation game is still available to play on his website.
(5) Charlo Greene, news reporter, KVTA
The debate of legalising marijuana continues around the world, especially in the US where it’s legal in certain states for medicinal purposes. Indeed, pot-loving rapper Snoop Dogg was part of a $10m investment in weed delivery startup Eaze.
Back in September 2014, during a routine report on the issue, however, Charlo Greene seized her opportunity to do the unthinkable – resign on air.
The KTVA reporter was discussing the Alaska Cannabis Club, which was pushing for legalisation of the drug across the state ahead of a November vote on the matter. The timing of her resignation was no mere coincidence though, as Greene used the opportunity to out herself as the founder of the ACC to then hand in her notice in expletive fashion.
While this was undoubtedly brash, the video clip went viral and has secured more than 13m views on YouTube, working wonders for brand exposure.
In case you’re wondering, the vote to legalise marijuana was approved and the ACC was ready and waiting for business when the decision was made.
Check out the brash, but bright, video below.
Keep reading to find out how resignations don’t always go to plan.