I often fantasize about the day when I will quit my job. In this fantasy, I’m standing on my desk tossing the shredded pieces of my last performance review in the air while screaming, “Sayonara, suckers!” Then I smash my computer with a sledgehammer and run away, cackling wildly, at which point the entire building spontaneously combusts because my sweat and hard labor were the only things holding it together.
This is probably not the way I will go out, but a girl can dream.
One of my co-workers recently celebrated his last day, and his departure got me thinking about the proper way to leave a company. It was no secret that he had been unhappy and we were all glad that he had found a job that seemed to suit him better. But he committed what I feel is the cardinal sin of job-quitting (aside from giving less than two weeks notice) – phoning it in on your last day.
We’re all guilty of slacking off when the end is in sight. I once had a professor who held the last day of class AFTER the final exam, and was surprised when no one showed up. But the stakes are higher when you quit a job because the people you leave behind could be useful to you in the future as contacts, job referrals, or references. It’s absolutely senseless to flush away the months or years that it took to build those relationships because you’re just itching to run out onto that sidewalk, throw your fists in the air, and let out a victory howl.
So when my last day comes at last, I plan to sit at my desk all day, very calmly answering emails and getting my affairs in order. Then I will politely shake some hands, look my co-workers in the eye, and lie to them that I will come back and visit all the time. At 6:01 on the nose I will step out onto the sidewalk, look back at the company logo on the door, and shed a single tear as I walk away toward my new life.
Then, when I’m at a safe distance, I’ll scream, “Sayonara, suckers!” and take off running.