Human Resources News & Insights

A field guide to the weirdest ways employees quit their jobs

If anybody understands how bizarre human behavior can be, it’s HR pros. So for your entertainment, here’s a compilation of head-scratchers from the “I Quit” archives.  

Make no mistake, there’s a price to pay for quitting a job in a disruptive way, according to a recent OfficeTeam survey.

OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service, put this question to HR managers: “In your opinion, how does the manner in which someone quits a job affect that person’s future career opportunities?” Nearly nine of 10 (86%) said it either “greatly” or “somewhat” affected the departing employee’s future prospects.

Apparently, there’s a group of workers (perhaps they’re now former workers) who didn’t care about possible consequences. The researchers asked the HR managers to recount the most unusual way they’ve heard of someone quitting. Some of their responses:

  • “An employee baked a cake with her resignation letter written on top.”
  • “A marching band accompanied one guy in his announcement.”
  • “The worker threw a brick through the window with the words ‘I quit’ written on it.”
  • “An employee left a sticky note explaining he was quitting.”
  • “The individual sent an email blast to all staff.”
  • “A worker threw a cup of coffee and walked out.”
  • “One employee bragged to his colleagues that it was his last day, but failed to let the HR manager or his boss know.”

Some workers went high-tech with their resignations:

  • “One woman created a music video to explain she was leaving.”
  • “A worker sent his boss a text message.”
  • “One person quit via Facebook.”
  • “The employee submitted a message through the company website.”
  • “Someone resigned on a video conference call.”

A few employees had someone else do their dirty work:

  • “One person made his wife call to say he was not coming back.”
  • “The worker sent a text to his colleague and asked her to forward it to management.”
  • “An employee’s parents let the company know their son was resigning.”

Others did a disappearing act:

  • “A person went to the bathroom and didn’t return.”
  • “One worker packed up her belongings and walked out without a word.”
  • “Someone left for lunch and never came back.”
  • “A worker stormed out in the middle of a meeting without explanation.”
  • “The employee said she was stepping out to buy new boots, but was never seen again.”

And one worker took a more direct approach: “He just stood up and said, ‘I quit.'”

OK, your turn: Send us the strangest ways you’ve seen workers exit your employ.

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  1. We had one newly hired sales person leave for lunch and not return. We had one admin do the same and then quit via text. We had one woman just stop showing up. I called her mother (from her emergency contacts) who told me that her daughter was nto coming back. Her mother was extremely ashamed by her daughter’s actions. We had another woman who stopped showing up. We tried to call her and then moved on to her emergency contacts. Her mother informed us that her daughter told her she was fired. She had told us that she had pink eye once, but stopped responding to us. It turned out she was just trying to spend time with her boyfriend. When I was 20, I actually quit a job on the spot. I was working in a retail store and the manager had given me my hours over the phone on Friday night. On the following Tuesday, I showed up in the store because we had some new hats that I thought my friends would want to buy. I was informed that I was late for work. The manager walked me into the back room (shouting at me the whole way) and directed me to the schedule. I told him that when we spoke the prior Friday, he had not mentioned that I was supposed to work that day. When I looked at the schedule, he had manually changed the schedule to add me in that time slot. When I pointed that out, he told me that I should have called in to find out the change when he made it. This was the final straw for me. I have never done anything like this before or since. This was a part time job and I was treated very poorly. When I told my friends that I was going to quit, they asked me if they should stay in the store because they thought he was going to attack me based on what they had witnessed.

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