Record numbers of Americans continue to quit month after month, but some workers aren’t just satisfied with turning in the standard two-week notice. They’re going viral instead.
Screenshots of “last straw” conversations between managers and workers are racking up views on platforms like and . They start with a manager asking a worker to come in for a last-minute shift or denying their holiday PTO request and typically end with a declaration from the worker that they can’t take it anymore and are quitting.
Some workers have taken it to the next level. A twenty-something Chicago Target employee his 45-second, expletive-filled resignation speech across the store PA system, posted it on TikTok, and has since garnered 8.2 million views and counting.
You can probably blame every David versus Goliath plot line in films and television for the incredibly satisfying experience of watching a worker finally stand up to “the man.” As satisfying as it may be, however, here’s what to consider before you quit publicly:
Prioritize your mental health first
For workers to get so upset to the point where they publicly quit, there were probably many times when they felt frustrated by work in the past. We have a responsibility as adults to take care of our mental health in our own ways, and there are resources out there like traditional talk therapy or mentorship programs that can provide a safe space to vent about work issues, especially if you don’t trust internal channels like HR.
It can help to have outside hobbies or activities to remind yourself that work isn’t everything and to reserve time for things that bring you joy. Even making time for freelance work or projects that bring you additional income can help you feel more at ease with day-to-day stressors at work because you know you always have a fallback plan if you decide to quit.
Set boundaries at work
With limitless ways to contact one another these days, it’s all too easy to blur the lines between work and personal lives. You’ve got to establish boundaries if you want to maintain a healthy relationship with work.
Tell your boss you won’t respond to email or text messages after a certain time in the evening, for example. Be open and honest about your work style and the type of management you respond well to. If you find your manager is, in turn, dismissive of these boundaries or feedback, then it could be time to start looking for a new job.
Don’t feel obligated to fix systemic problems at your company
I personally don’t think most employees have any sort of obligation to help their companies improve by reporting bad managers and fixing broken systems that lead to burnout and disgruntled workers. There are high-paid executives with entire teams at their behest who should bear that burden and responsibility. You can provide critical feedback when asked but don’t go above and beyond that.
Seek out management roles yourself
As worker bees, it can be incredibly frustrating to witness poor systems and management day after day. Rather than bottle up your frustration and take it out on management in a tweet or TikTok, keep your eye on your long-term career goals.
Think of how you would manage things better and look for roles that give you that ability to have a hand in strategy and operations. I think some of the best managers out there are people who were mismanaged in their careers and wanted to do things differently.
Focus on your next opportunity
If you’re planning to quit, it’s typically wiser to wait until you’ve got your next gig before turning in your notice. That could be another 9-to-5 or it could be a business you start yourself.
I don’t blame some workers who keep their grievances to themselves until they’ve have a new opportunity lined up and feel safe enough to speak out. I would rather you preserve your energy for job hunting and interviewing, so you can get out of your current situation.
Pad your savings fund
I always encourage workers to save at least a few months’ worth of cash in case they lose their job or have to leave unexpectedly. When you’ve got cash in the bank, you don’t just have a financial safety net — you’ve got the power to walk away from a bad work environment anytime you choose.
Weigh the pros and cons of broadcasting your resignation
As satisfying as it may be to receive millions of views and comments on social media, it could hurt your chances of lining up another job if a prospective employer runs a search of your name and finds you publicly shamed a former employer online. This is especially true in corporate jobs where recruiters have the resources and tools available to vet candidates’ online presence. Not only does it make them worry that you might do the same thing to them one day, but it also doesn’t bode well for how you’d handle the inevitable, routine conflicts that might arise on any job.
Companies reap what they sow
I have a lot of empathy for workers who feel disrespected by managers who demand that they work grueling schedules and show up with a smile on their faces each day. There are, frankly, too many poorly trained managers out there and companies more focused on their bottom lines than worker’s wellbeing. I’m sure these are among the many reasons we’re seeing so many people quit.
Workers might fear retaliation if they bring issues with their manager to human resources or higher-ups at the company. So they keep their frustrations bottled up, until they reach a boiling point and — wait you know the rest. Companies should do a better job tracking employee engagement and satisfaction and put systems in place to support workers dealing with conflicts with management.