By now, you’ve probably seen the “I Quit” viral video of a young Millennial who literally danced her way out of her job. But do you know the whole story?

What happened?
At 4:30am local time in Taiwan after her coworkers had left for the night, 25 year old Marina Shifrin, took 10 minutes to shoot a simple yet creative video (shown above) telling her current employer…”I quit” while dancing to Kayne West’s “Gone.” She had not planned to post the video until her parents and friends saw it, loved it and convinced her to post it to YouTube. She posted it, went to bed and was surprised to see the video getting global attention when she awoke. The video gained 15 million views (and counting) since it’s original posting on Sept 28.

Lesson Learned: 
Anything posted to the Internet can be one’s greatest catalyst or hindrance.
Why did it go viral?
Contrary to the 6 Secret Ingredients To Make Your Next Video Go Viral, I believe this video went viral for one simple reason. Millennials could relate to the urge to say “I quit” to a micro-managing boss and suffocating work environment. The leadership and communication gaps that exist across generations, leave many Millennials wanting to retreat to less hierarchal and more flexible organizations. 

Lesson Learned: 
Evolve your leadership in order to limit creativity and talent leaks within your organization.
How did the company respond?
While Shifrin didn’t mention nor intend to “diss” her previous employer in the video, it didn’t take long for the media and others to found her LinkedIn profile where she listed her former employer, Next Media Animation. To save face and capitalize on the buzz, Next Media Animation, fired back by creating a tongue-in-cheek parody video (shown below) where they wish Marina well and let everyone know that…”We’re hiring!” They nailed it! Well played.

Lesson Learned:
 Don’t take your business to seriously. And it’s crucial to address “bad press” immediately in today’s 24/7 connected culture.

Now what?
Sharing a video such as this would have been career suicide years ago, but today for Shifrin it demonstrated creativity and courage. Within days of the video posting, Shifrin had an inbox full of questions from journalists, numerous wedding proposals via Twitter and new job offers. An offer to become the digital content producer came while appearing on the Queen Latifah show. Another offer came via a parody video by an Israeli branch of the media company Y&R (shown below). Regardless of which opportunity she will choose, Shifrin said she will return to the U.S. to pursue comedy. She has a great start with her new global platform.

Lesson Learned:
 If handled appropriately, social media can be an enormous catalyst to career success.

Moral of the Story: Don’t expect Millennials to keep their career frustrations to themselves. Strive for consistent open communication to turn disgruntled, anxious young workers into brand evangelists.
Question: What are your general reactions to this story?

About the Author

Ryan Jenkins

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Internationally recognized speaker and trainer who helps organizations better lead, engage, and market to Millennials and Generation Z. He also shares his top-ranked generational and future of work insights as an columnist.

Comments 4

  1. I guess my initial reaction is, why did it have to come to this for Shifrin? Over time, did she not communicate her dissatisfaction with her job to her boss? Or, did the boss / organization intentionally ignore her pleas?

    I’m always mystified when good people leave an organization, assuming she was “good people”. The cost of good people attrition is sky high, especially for creative firms.

    1. Post

      The cost of attrition is sky high indeed – to the tune of $24,000. We don’t have the level of detail to tell what the tipping point was for Shifrin. I prefer to use the example as a warning or a reminder to any leaders of Millennials to ensure their communication is tight.
      Thx for reading Scott!

  2. Great post, Ryan! Like Scott, I’m always curious when good people leave an organization. I feel that the most common reason that people leave is a poor work environment – they aren’t engaged (I know, I know – that’s a buzzword and I should leave it alone, but I think it fits). When good people no linger feel like they are wanted or that they are important as a person, they choose to “fire” the organization and leave.

    I saw an appropriate quote the other day on a friend’s Facebook page: “Never push a loyal person to the point where the no longer care.” (I paraphrased, but the meaning is the same).

    1. Post

      Hey Mark! Work environment (aka culture) is uber crucial for Millennial retention. That is why the company featured their rooftop pool in the parody video. But much of the culture is driven by the leaders. All relative I guess.
      Thx for reading!

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