From "epic" interpretive dance videos to brilliantly snarky farewell emails, quitting a job with a prank full of dramatic flair feels like such a good idea -- at the time, anyway.
If you plan on pulling an epic prank when quitting your job, keep these legal tips in mind:
- Don't be a jerk. When you pull a lame exit prank that ends up making life miserable for your colleagues -- like trashing the office -- is not only bad Juju. It could also destroy your goodwill and pool of viable references. Remember, former employers and coworkers can generally be candid about your time with the company.
- Don't commit a crime. Remember JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater's famous career-ending escape via a plane's emergency slide? Now that was hilarious and epic. But alas, the joke was ultimately on Slater when he was arrested for criminal mischief. Remember, the point of the prank is for you to get the last laugh.
- Don't forget to dance. OK, so not every prank needs smooth moves. But one gal's interpretive dance video that's gone completely viral was pretty endearing, entertaining -- and on balance, harmless. After all, can a shimmy ever hurt? Of course, that video will now remain on the Internet f.o.r.e.v.e.r. and could potentially come back to haunt her professional reputation further down the road. The lesson: Own the shimmy for eternity or don't do it.
- Use a traditional format. To avoid leaving a permanent public mark like the dance video, opt for a private email -- with a boatload of snark. Take one disgruntled ex-Whole Foods employee's email, for example. As Gawker puts it, it's a "point-by-point evisceration of the grocery chain's carefully calibrated image as an earth-and-body-friendly, organic foods paradise." There's something extra special (and legally safer) about snark in traditional letter form.
- Have fun with it. A relatively benign exit prank can be emotionally cathartic and even an effective way to diffuse a tense situation. Just don't pull a prank that you may end up regretting. That includes going the "Office Space" Milton route and burning the building down...
Fateful words: "Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler."
- Your Rights when Losing or Leaving a Job (FindLaw)
- Do You Need to Give 2 Weeks' Notice to Quit a Job? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- I Quit. When Do I Get My Final Paycheck (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
- The FindLaw Guide to Job Loss (FindLaw - Free Download)