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“I QUIT!!!” There’s an app for that too!?!

Funny thing, technology. And by the way, this post is going to be proof positive that I am getting too old to be writing a blog post about technology.  But years ago, and I mean YEARS ago, when my local gas station went to automatic pumps I distinctly remember having a conversation with the cashier about never having to talk to another person again. Think about where we have landed in the last 20 years. You can bank from your desk at home in your jammies.  You can check yourself out at the grocery store without ever talking to a human. You can get gas in your car with no personal interaction whatsoever. You can even be “social” without ever leaving your house. No wonder they are making TV shows and movies about people who fall in love with their cell phone operating systems. There are probably days when that is the only voice some people hear.

So, what’s next? What new modern, wonderful tool will make sure that we never have to talk to another person again? How about an app that lets you quit your job by sending a text message for you?  It even gives you some reasons to pick from so you don’t have to be creative enough to come up with an explanation for why you are quitting.  Then according to BuzzFeed the app  “sends a well-constructed and thoughtful message.”  I think BuzzFeed and I might have a different definition of thoughtful.  When I resigned to myself, the text I got said “I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing in my life.  Specifically, a big pile of money in my bank account. . . . So I quit my job and am volunteering full time so I can get in as many hours between naps as possible.”  Then you get a link to a headhunter’s website.  Funny.

According to Reuters, the app is supposed to be “humorous.” But maybe not. “Although the new iPhone app is meant to be funny, its creators are hoping it will take off and people will use it to leave jobs.” Really?  Why would they hope that and just who are the creators? A company called TheLadders, which advertises itself as “the most comprehensive job-matching service for career-driven professionals.” The CEO of TheLadders, a guy named Alex Douzet, is quoted by Reuters as saying: “There’s a lot of anxiety around the resignation process, so we used technology to ease the pain in that moment and make it seamless to breakup with your boss.” Also according to Reuters, “Quit Your Job was inspired by another app called BreakupText. Its designers teamed up with the TheLadders to create the new app.” Give me a break.

So what is this really? Is it, despite what Mr. Douzet says, just a cute little gimmick to help TheLadders get press? After all, the App Store on iTunes lists it under the category “entertainment.” And if that is all it is, great, it’s working. Reuters wrote about it and so did the New York Daily News and BuzzFeed and a bunch of other places including me. But if this was meant to actually be used as the Reuter’s article suggests, well shame on them.

And what does all of this mean for employers and employees?

Let’s say you are the boss – what are you going to do when someone uses this thing? Do you accept the resignation? Even one that says the employee is quitting to marry rich?  Well you sure can. Why wouldn’t you?  Just because it is supposed to be a joke does not mean you can’t take it seriously. When you get a text message at 3 a.m. from that constantly disgruntled employee saying they are “sick of the corporate world,” (that is one of the choices the app offers as an excuse for quitting) you get to accept that resignation. And “it was only a joke” doesn’t get that employee off the hook. And that might just be the end of you having to deal with that problem employee.  Then the employee can explain to the ALJ at the unemployment agency that they didn’t really quit.  Not so bad for the employer now is it?

If you are an employee reading this and you want to quit your job, go ahead and do it. But It’s not a joke.  Have some guts and do it the right way. Type a letter of resignation and sign it. You are much less likely to do that at 3 a.m. after a night at the local pub. Or better yet, walk in and see your boss face to face. Tell him or her you are leaving and tell him why. And be polite. Nothing good ever comes from being a jerk in a situation like this. Believe it or not, you can do some things in life without your supposedly smart phone.  Then again, if you are the kind of person who has an app called “BreakupText” on your phone, go ahead and quit via text message. Your boss probably didn’t expect anything more from you anyway.