In late September, after revealing on air that she owns a medical marijuana business and planned to support efforts to legalize recreational use in her state, according to the Washington Post, television reporter Charlo Greene left her KTVA gig with a dramatic flourish — proclaiming “F— it, I quit,” on live TV. (Click here to watch the uncensored video.)
Greene’s departure wasn’t the first highly publicized rage-quitting incident. In 2010, JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater grabbed a beer from the plane galley, deployed the plane’s inflatable emergency chute and promptly slid away and abruptly quit his job after arguing with a passenger (and giving a swear-filled sign-off to the rest of the plane), according to ABC News.
Slater was later charged with criminal mischief, reckless endangerment and criminal trespass; in 2011, he was sentenced to a year’s probation, and as of that date, still owed JetBlue $10,000 in restitution for chute costs, according to the New York Daily News.
(For a look at some other live job-quitting meltdowns, check out the Washington Post’s video compilation.)
Telling coworkers, bosses and other associates off may seem like the ultimate release for unhappy employees; but it’s really not the best career move.
Employees sometimes decide it’s time to look for a new job; that’s an unavoidable fact of workplace life. Hopefully, before making any moves, they’ll ask themselves if they’re still learning and challenged in the position, and if they’re adding value to their organization—which Courteney Monroe, chief executive of National Geographic Channels U.S., who previously worked in marketing at HBO for more than a decade, recently told The Wall Street Journal she suggests doing approximately every 5 years.
However, if any of your employees decide to begin the job search process, their first step hopefully won’t be to storm out of the office.
For employers, the key to avoiding employee meltdowns starts with job satisfaction and a strong focus on talent retention.
Losing workers can negatively affect a business in several ways, according to Inc. magazine, including additional training costs and decreased productivity. On the flip side, high employee satisfaction levels can have a significantly positive effect on a company.
Job satisfaction is a driving force—more so, even, than pay—for employees staying put, according to American Psychological Association research. The association’s Workforce Retention Survey found that 67 percent of employees said they remained at a company because their position fit well with other aspects of their life.
If your organization doesn’t have a thorough retention plan in place, you may benefit from adding monetary or non-monetary employee incentives and devising ways to measure employee satisfaction, such as an annual or quarterly survey. (For tips on creating an employee retention plan, check out this Wall Street Journal guide.)
Investing in ways to gauge and improve employee satisfaction and retention may take time (and capital)—but it’s a worthwhile endeavor.
Just as rage-quitters may later experience a hefty career hangover, their sudden exit can cause serious headaches for employers. Take, for instance, the Chipotle location near Pennsylvania State University that Bloomberg reported briefly closed in September after a number of employees abruptly left. Customers who came for a burrito (or other item) were instead met with an angry sign, which was photographed and posted on Twitter, that employees had put on the door.
Suddenly finding yourself without a staff may be an extreme example; however, losing even one employee, in a dramatic or relatively calm way, can also prove problematic.
In addition to potential profit loss, replacing employees can be an expensive undertaking. For most positions, excluding skill-specific executives and physicians, the median turnover cost is 21 percent of an employee’s annual salary, according to research from the Center for American Progress—providing even more incentive to avoid employee rage-quitting incidents before they have an effect on your bottom line.