How to quit your job with panache

I often wonder, while walking with puppy Shadow in the mornings, how many “employees” I see through office windows staring at computer screens are actually emailing their friends, or on Facebook, instead of “working.” Their way of getting back at their “employers”? Their way of staying sane/insane? Their way of “killing time”? So much wasted human energy! So many creative souls who have yet to ignite their own fire!

It may be that the first step you have to take in order to begin to fulfill what your conscience demands is to quit your soulless job. If so, here’s a great resignation letter to inspire you and make you laugh.

How to Quit Your Job Like Sherwood Anderson: The Best Resignation Letter Ever Written

July 25, 2013

by via Rhonda

“He is a nice fellow. We will let him down easy but let’s can him.”

Like a number of celebrated creators — including Dr. Seuss, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Wendy MacNaughtonSherwood Andersonstarted out in advertising to make ends meet, first as an advertising solicitor, then as an ad salesman and copywriter for farming equipment, and eventually as a copywriter in Chicago-based advertising agency Taylor Critchfield Co. until he became a successful novelist at the age of 41. Though he was man oftimeless, profound insight on the creative lifeand the originator of some of history’s finest fatherly advice, he was also a man of masterful humor and remarkable wit. In 1918, when the time came to free himself from the shackles of the corporate world and plunge wholeheartedly into his craft, Anderson wrote what’s possibly the best letter of resignation ever penned, found in the altogether delightful Funny Letters from Famous People (public library):

Dear Barton:

You have a man in your employ that I have thought for a long time should be fired. I refer to Sherwood Anderson. He is a fellow of a good deal of ability, but for a long time I have been convinced that his heart is not in his work.

There is no question but that this man Anderson has in some ways been an ornament to our organization. His hair, for one thing, being long and messy gives an artistic carelessness to his personal appearance that somewhat impresses such men as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mr. Curtiniez of Kalamazoo when they come into the office.

But Anderson is not really productive. As I have said his heart is not in his work. I think he should be fired and if you will not do the job I should like permission to fire him myself. I therefore suggest that Anderson be asked to sever his connections with the company on [the first of next week]. He is a nice fellow. We will let him down easy but let’s can him.

Respectfully submitted,

Sherwood Anderson

Portrait by Alfred Stieglitz courtesy the New York Public Library; thanks, Kaye

About Ann Kreilkamp

PhD Philosophy, 1972. Rogue philosopher ever since.
This entry was posted in 2013, local action, unity consciousness, Uranus square Pluto, visions of the future, waking up, wild new ideas, zone zero zero. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to quit your job with panache

  1. John Cowan says:

    Ann, this is by far the funniest resignation I have ever read. I do agree that most people working in jobs are not as productive as they might appear. This reflection reminds me of some lines from the movie Office Space:
    “Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
    Bob Porter: Don’t… don’t care?
    Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime; so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.
    Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
    Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.
    Bob Slydell: Eight?
    Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled; that, and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired. ”
    In summary most people work just hard enough to not get fired.

    Here is another quote from the same movie that I think is relevant:
    Bob Slydell: You see, what we’re trying to do is get a feeling for how people spend their time at work so if you would, would you walk us through a typical day, for you?
    Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door – that way my boss can’t see me, heh – after that I sorta space out for an hour.
    Bob Porter: Uhhh. Space out?
    Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I’d say in a given week I probably only do about 15 minutes of real, actual, work.

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