By Arjun Juneja

The door has scuff marks by now. It’s not being pushed or held open for executives, but is being kicked open by those leaving. Displeasure associated with resigning or exiting from a position is no longer kept under wraps. Unemployment is not often celebrated. But now, a few are upending the status quo.

Gracious exits may become a feature of the past as truthful tell-alls replace the innocuous farewell mail. Soon, companies may include and/or enforce a clause disallowing exiting employees from badmouthing their employers. For now, resignation letters of executives from companies as diverse as Google and Goldman Sachs are a matter of concern.

Their impact is not just limited to more page views for the hosting site or blog but may even ward of investors and shareholders alike. While the Google resignation letter was hosted on a blog {Why I left Google} by James Whittaker, Greg Smith’s farewell was presented as an op-ed {Why I am leaving Goldman Sachs} in the NYT. Both were vitriolic but more importantly, did not promote the individuals behind them. Conscience was cited, passion was emphasized and not job skills.

Such a step would be considered tantamount to professional suicide. And in uncertain economic times like now, even more so. Time will tell, of the impact of the relatively high-profile exits by these two men. But their resignations just may have spurred people to realize the merits of great work. While online debates persist as to the wisdom behind such decisions, Smith’s exit sought to remind people of the inspirational Jerry Maguire flick. In explaining his rationale for resignation, Whittaker seems to have drawn praise for his honesty rather than brickbats for breaking an unspoken code of conduct.

In a world becoming ever more open by social networks and the fence-free nature of the internet, such resignations are not the first and will not be the last. The ability to broadcast one’s thoughts through available media has never been more pronounced. With such openness, come problems of verification like Mike Daisey’s exaggerated account of working conditions in Foxconn plants in China. It is argued that his message had merit but it is undeniable that the message was strewn with lies.

Ravers and ranters along with Greg Smiths’ will have their day{s} online but their veracity remains questionable. What is set in stone however, is that passion for meaningful work is still nurtured. The goals of the best and highest paying employers may not always coincide with their employees. Demands for better work may not be met but voices now have an outlet. Out of frustration, discontent or a pang of guilty conscience, honesty may still prevail for a place in the mainstream.

These resignation letters may not be remembered. Employers may view them as disparagements to be suppressed by PR people. The letters will be consigned to the archives of the internet. Life will go on and so will the business of these firms. But hopefully, ideals will not bear to be that fickle. Ambitions can be nurtured outside of the dim pub lighting and free expression can exist in practice. But it will take time. These things always do. Sadly.


About the Author | Arjun Juneja writes about anything and everything- from technology to politics, cultures and everything in between. He started BLAH, an online magazine which features his work along with a bunch of young writers. But his interests don’t just stop at writing, he’s played state level tennis as well! What does he love about Delhi? Everyday you get to meet somebody different, doing something incredible. We’re glad to have your work on Little Black Book, Delhi!

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About The Author


The former events manager, and PR and Marketing executive decided to give up the good life, to take on something greater- running her own start-up. Give her a non-fiction book, some place in the outdoors, running shoes, Bombay Bicycle Club and Jay Z, and you've got a happy camper.

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