Monday 5 May 2014


Forget the dull resignation letter and consider the hotel worker who employed a marching band, or the air steward who exited a plane – and his job – via the emergency chute

Well, that's one way to tell your boss you're going. Photograph: Dan Chung for the Guardian

In a difficult job market, the pressure is greater than ever on workers to keep their heads down, accept poor terms and conditions, and serve and flip those burgers with a winning smile for their boss and a kind word for the most irritating customers. Sometimes, though, a tiny voice of frustration breaks through. This month it was reported that one troubled, alcoholic court stenographer in New York had made his feelings known with surprising directness – instead of typing up court transcripts, it is alleged, he simply typed "I HATE MY JOB" over and over and over again.

If you are contemplating the moment when you finally light that torch and set every bridge ablaze, here are some other sources of inspiration.

1 Stuff your food
The epic screed that denounced Whole Foods philosophies as "complete and utter bullshit" has to be among the greatest of resignation letters. The anonymous Toronto employee went on to say the shop's "sandwiches are the stuff of nightmares". Then the writer took apart their most-hated colleagues. They suspected one of being a sociopath, another of being a chauvinist. One unlucky colleague was simply advised: "We get it, we get it. You go to the gym. Nobody is impressed. In fact we all just laugh at your inferiority complex." Years of frustration, perfectly vented.

2 And the band played on
Joey DeFrancesco, a 23-year-old room service worker at a hotel in Rhode Island, delivered his resignation letter in 2011 – along with his very own marching band. During more than three years at the hotel, he had supported a drive to unionise employees, and his relationship with management had grown rocky. The video of him handing the letter to his angry manager, while the band strikes up a fanfare, has now been viewed almost 4.5m times on YouTube. And it led to the website Joey Quits, where hotel and restaurant workers write about their experiences and organise for better terms and conditions.

3 Prepare for a bumpy landing
Few stories rank higher in the annals of aplomb than that of air steward Steven Slater. In 2010, he claimed a passenger had been rude to him, launched into a stream of expletives over the public address system, grabbed his bags and a couple of beers from the galley, activated the inflatable slide, and headed out of the plane – and out of a job. The incident led to serious legal repercussions for Slater, who apologised for his actions, but provided a vicarious thrill for millions of disgruntled workers.

4 Making a song and dance
Which office worker hasn't looked out over a sea of desks, a warren of cubicles, and dreamed of roaring, dancing or screaming their frustration? Marina Shifrin went ahead, and made a video last year, set to Kanye West's song Gone, in which she danced all over the office, at 4.30am, to announce she was quitting her job creating film content. Her main complaint was that her boss cared only about page views; presumably the 17.5m YouTube hits on her video made him feel pretty queasy.

5 It's not cricket, but …
Of course, sometimes, however open you are about your feelings, you just can't shake that pesky job. In 2003, Scott Murray started a cricket match report on the Guardian website: "WHAT SORT OF LIFE IS THIS AND WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING BOARDING A TRAIN FOR MOORGATE AT 6.30 IN THE MORNING", and continued in that vein, prompting a rolling conversation among readers about the existential despair of the modern workplace. He still writes for us regularly.

• Have you ever resigned with a dramatic flourish - or dreamed of doing so? Tell us about it.

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