Most Workers Should Avoid Goldman-Esque Resignation

Yesterday, Greg Smith, Goldman Sachs executive director and head of equities derivatives in Europe, the Middle East, and Africavery publically resigned from his position with an opinion piece to the New York Times detailing the firm’s loss of moral fiber. Smith alleged management was more focused on earning profits and fleecing customers than actually helping clients make sound financial decisions, with leaders’ attitudes influencing new analysts. He even went as far as calling out current CEO Lloyd Blankfein and President Gary Cohn for losing “the firm’s culture on their watch.” “Smith’s approach, while commendable for tackling a very real issue of profits versus people, should not serve as a model for the average worker on how to leave his or her position,” warned John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas. “The number of people quitting their jobs is on the rise, with nearly 1.9 million workers doing so in January.  While many might be emboldened by Mr. Smith’s public outing of his former employer to exit in a similar fashion, it is important to remember that most workers do not have the benefit of Smith’s former high-level position and salary. For most workers, it is best to exit quietly and not burn any bridges. New employers may need to contact your former boss for references, and loose talk may be the difference between a new job and continued unemployment.  Even a rant about a former employer on Facebook can become an obstacle to new employment.” What are best practices for leaving an employer? How should workers handle issues of corporate culture with management? How might managers communicate more effectively with their employees to foster an ethical and respectful culture?

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