As I have pointed out in “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever!, as well as in numerous other forums (including previous blogs on this site), when the time comes to leave your current job, for whatever reason(s), there clearly is a right way to resign, i.e., with a great deal of “class” and a high degree of professionalism. There is also a wrong way to resign, which usually is characterized by engaging in what I refer to as “spewing venom” on the way out the door.
Two TV newscasters in Bangor, Maine, clearly and unmistakably demonstrated the latter approach when they resigned, together, “on-air” two days before Thanksgiving. Without question, it would be difficult to come up with a more classic example of how NOT to resign!
The two co-anchors, Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio, announced to their audience that they both were quitting at the end of Tuesday’s (November 20) 6 p.m. newscast. They reportedly told no one else of their plans before making their “bombshell” on-air announcement. (This story received wide play across the Internet and in other mass media, so you may have seen or heard it, but in the event you haven’t, here is the link to the story on CBSNews.com: http://tinyurl.com/aj6pec7)
While they didn’t cite specific reasons on the air for their decision to resign, they soon thereafter said it was primarily due to their frustration with station owners and management, whom they characterized as consistently displaying a “lack of knowledge” regarding how a newsroom ought to be run. On air they simply said their resignations were the result of “some recent developments,” and that they both felt that departing together was the best alternative they could take.
“I couldn’t do everything I wanted to as a news director,” Michaels, the station news director for the last six years, was later quoted as saying. “There was a regular undoing of decisions.”
She told Bangor Daily News that she and Consiglio thought that, if they had resigned off air, they would not have been allowed to say goodbye to their (emphasis mine) viewers. (Maybe they “overlooked” the fact that the station owners probably spent a little time, effort and money promoting the TV station, in order to generate viewers in the first place?)
“There was a constant disrespecting and belittling of staff,” Michaels added.
What the Resigning Pair ‘Gained’
OK, let’s stop here and take a deep, deep breath and briefly analyze the “wisdom” of the approach that these two newscasters took when they decided to resign. What did they actually accomplish? Did they actually gain anything?
Well, they certainly had the opportunity to thoroughly “vent their spleens” against their bosses, didn’t they? That probably felt really great, too, and gave them a chance to release literally years of built-up anger and frustration to a large group of people (the viewing audience) who could be expected to be quite sympathetic to their cause, at least initially. (I explain momentarily why I added the qualifier “at least initially” here.)
They also got the chance to “show—and tell!—the ‘world’” how really, really inept, uncaring and insensitive the people they worked for were, how “unfairly” they (the broadcasters) as employees were treated.
They definitely got the chance to “get even” with those people who were their superiors in the workplace, by holding them up for public ridicule and exposing them for what the two broadcasters apparently see them as being—ogres!
What the Resigning Pair Lost
But what can be expected to happen once “the smoke clears”? What, ultimately, will the decision to take this approach to resignation do for this pair’s professional brand and future career prospects? Will they be remembered as two very good, highly professional TV broadcasters (if in fact they were) who, primarily because of “principles,” chose to take “the high road,” resign with class and then simply move on to bigger and better career opportunities? Despite the fact that they chose to make their “announcement” on the air, had they limited their remarks to those rather innocuous ones made on air, i.e., that they were resigning because of “recent developments,” they might actually have been able to salvage such an image, such a professional brand, going forward. Now, that is extremely doubtful.
Rather, this pair more likely will be remembered as two professionals for potential future employers to strictly avoid! Why? Because most employers will view the pair as “trouble-makers,” “malcontents,” who could—and most certainly would!—“spew venom” on them and their companies, if they were not kept completely satisfied, completely content.
In today’s job market there are plenty of highly qualified professionals to be considered for most positions. Therefore, most employers—and just coincidentally, this is especially true in a profession as highly competitive as TV broadcasting!–will not even consider someone who has branded himself/herself as potentially “volatile” and unpredictable.
Sympathy from Duo’s TV Audience to be Short-Lived
Now, let me briefly explain why I said that the pair’s viewing audience would probably be sympathetic to their “plight” at least initially. Remember the last time you may have complained to a friend or colleague (or even your spouse) about how “awful” you had (or have) it at your job? How ‘unfair” your boss is, how you’re not allowed to perform your job in the manner you would like, ad nauseam? Maybe, just maybe, you were shown at least a little sympathy for a moment or two, but that’s about it, right? Why? Because, chances are, the person you complained to, if he or she is also employed, could certainly equal—and perhaps even top!—your complaints with his or her own!
I would fully expect that these two broadcasters will soon experience the same “ho-hum” attitude from their erstwhile TV audience. They will get (and probably already got) a little sympathy—“Oh, that’s really too bad,” etc.—and then their audience will rather quickly refocus their attention on their own challenging lives and careers! Hey, there is a reason why recent surveys indicate a relatively high degree of dissatisfaction among currently employed men and women!
In the past I have had occasion to resign from various positions I have held and probably so have some of you reading this blog. To be truthful about it, sometimes I had what I believed, at least at the time, were some legitimate reasons (“gripes”) that I felt sorely tempted to “air,” but I instinctively knew that the real “loser” in that situation would only be me! I hope you will feel—and act–the same way if and when you should resign a position. Certainly, you definitely do NOT want to take the approach these two broadcasters did!
Skip Freeman is the author of “Headhunter” Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed . . . Forever! and is the President and Chief Executive Officer of The HTW Group (Hire to Win), an Atlanta, GA, Metropolitan Area Executive Search Firm. Specializing in the placement of sales, engineering, manufacturing and R&D professionals, he has developed powerful techniques that help companies hire the best and help the best get hired.