The White Board Resignation: Would You Hire ‘Jenny’?

Update, 7 a.m.: We learned this morning that the white board resignation was, indeed, a hoax. But because the viral campaign has some actual discussion value, I'm going to leave this post as I wrote it.

You may have seen the series of photos yesterday of "Jenny" quitting her job via white board and email. If not, take some time to scroll through the whole thing.

We might find this an attempt at Internet celebrity. I'm running on the assumption it's not (see note above: it is). I'm also running on the assumption that she'll be out there looking for jobs, and that she's recognizable and Google-able. So. If her resume came across your desk, would you hire her? Some things stand out to me on both sides of the argument.

Pro: Creativity. That's the obvious one. Not only is it a creative resignation, she put some time into it, which bodes well in a project-focused environment.

Con: Self-awareness. My guess is, without knowing the office situation, anybody who's worked with Spencer for several years and has seen his assistants come and go, probably knows there was a pattern of chauvinism, and may have warned her subtly. Either way, she made it two years before she knew where she really stood in her boss's eyes.

Pro: Willingness to learn from the bottom up. Jenny wanted to be a broker, so she came on as a broker's assistant to learn the business. She wasn't so arrogant in her job search to try to start higher than her abilities, and she apparently determined the path she would need to take to get where she wanted to be.

Con: Willingness to let the behavior cycle without her. Rather than go to HR with a harassment claim, Jenny called Spencer out in such a way that she probably can't file a claim now. Which means that anyone who hasn't seen her resignation or who doesn't connect it to her company, or who doesn't necessarily believe a clearly disgruntled employee, will sign on as Spencer's next assistant, and the cycle of chauvinism will continue. Her boss was doing something potentially illegal that will likely affect other people in the future – if she had gone through the proper reporting procedure, she would help others who might work for Spencer. There's a selfishness there I'm not crazy about as a potential employer.

Pro: Strong use of available tools. Spencer put monitoring software on the network. Jenny used it in a way not prescribed by her boss. Two thumbs up.

Con: The wardrobe change. I get that it's the throwing off of the business casual and the throwing on of the casual – the change from from the worker to the customer. Very artsy. But there's something about Jenny shucking the glasses and coming out from behind the white board on the first shot that screams to me, "I'm gonna do the talk show circuit for this!" Not crazy about the move.

I'm glad Jenny got out of a bad situation. I'm also glad that she recognized there were no bridges she needed to worry about burning, so it didn't matter how she did it. Whether or not I'd want her on my team in a work environment would strongly depend on what business I was in and what dynamics I hoped for within my team.


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