Innovation

Interpretive dance resignation video takes internet by storm – but trying it yourself is probably a bad idea, and here’s why

Patrick Stafford /

Every so often, the internet becomes a platform for disgruntled employees to tell their bosses to get stuffed.

The latest in this series of brave corporate departures features a 20-something woman from the United States, who has created a resignation video featuring herself performing an interpretive dance with subtitles.

Over the course of the video, she explains how her job doesn’t feel creatively satisfying and despite having the ability to perform good quality work, she isn’t given enough opportunity – so she quits.

Yesterday, the video had 38,000 views. Now, it has had over one million – and plenty of coverage worldwide. The employee in question, Marina Shifrin, has the entire attention of the internet at her disposal – she’s gained several thousand Twitter followers overnight, in part due to her savvy ability in responding to people and keeping the conversation going.

But what do employers think about this sort of stunt?

While there’s no question this is an impressive video, it’s not a strategy suited to everyone. James Griffin, head of the online reputation management agency SR7, told SmartCompany this morning the “employee justice” method raises “quite a lot of questions”.

“Clearly, this shows the power of the individual in being a publisher,” he says. “If someone has good and compelling content they can publish and create, then it does have the ability to go extremely far and have a significant reach.

“But from the perspective of employment, while this does showcase her skills, there are still question marks as to whether this is an appropriate way to resign from work.”

These types of stories gain popularity quickly because they tap into the fantasy every disgruntled employee has – to show their boss some poetic justice.

But Griffin questions whether the next employer will see it that way.

“It’s interesting to watch and share. It just maybe doesn’t create the best CV.”

Others agree. Steve Shepherd, group director at Randstad, says burning bridges often comes back to bite past employees, so videos such as this carry a risk.

“From my perspective, you have those issues as an employee,” he says.

“But from the employer’s perspective, it starts long before that, making sure you’ve got a long process before this even happens of being open and communicative prior to terminating someone or them resigning.

“What happens on YouTube stays on YouTube – future employers can find this sort of thing very easily.”

However, Shepherd says it’s not all bad. Given the amount of work Shifrin has put into building her personal brand, though creating a solid social media profile and a snappy portfolio website, she’ll most likely do okay and attract employers who applaud her type of creativity.

Shifrin has kept the conversation going by assisting with news articles as well.

“It works for her because of her background, and what she’s done,” Shepherd says.

For everyone else? Not so much – not if you’re not prepared to do the work beforehand and actually gain a reputation for being a creator of solid, interesting work.

“For 99% of the community, it’s just not a good idea. When you do these things, you’ve got to think very carefully.”

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Patrick Stafford

Patrick Stafford is a freelance journalist and a former deputy editor of SmartCompany.

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