Is it ever OK to act out when leaving a company?

by Staff - Original publish date: December 5, 2011

Dear Annette,

I know you're not supposed to burn bridges, but I'm so tempted to tell my former employer what they can do with their pink slip. Is it ever OK to act out when leaving a company?

Disgusted in Dallas

Dear Dallas,

On a hot California day, down by my private beach, I love to have my People hire an upcoming international design sensation to build split-level sandcastles with marvelous feng shui while I sip something bitter and refreshing from the Far East, hoping my straw hat doesn't blow away. Invariably, as my dog Dickie supervises the construction crew, my thoughts turn to the 1957 classic Bridge on the River Kwai, an entire film about sweaty soldiers in soiled linen shirts building something elaborate only to destroy it as soon as it's constructed. I love men.

I love men even though sometimes it's time to say goodbye. And sometimes, when I'm in touch with my inner Shiva the Destroyer, I contemplate having one of my People orchestrate some clanging symbols to accompany my departure from a formerly cherished one. But then I think, what if I left something in the house? What if there's more he can do for my approval ratings? What if he's got a beautiful, single friend? If I sink the rowboat, how will I ever get back to his private island if I should ever have second thoughts?

Remember, once the dynamite goes off, the movie is over. After all, I've never seen a sequel to Bridge on the River Kwai...except perhaps The Making of "Bridge on the River Kwai."

Instead of ruining perfectly good office space, consider ways to channel your destructive energies into artistic outlets. But to be publicly considered art instead of crime, your work needs among other things an audience: friends but not coworkers - after all they're perfectly useful when you're not furious with them - and certainly no journalists.

Sending your boss a computer virus or publishing your company's payroll information is not art. Neither is bodily harm, and there are far better ways to get on the news. Nearly art is attaching a giant magnet to a lasso and swinging it around and around overhead in your company's server farm while you dance naked to "O Fortuna" from Carmina Burana and capture the performance on digital tape to post on the company's website which, in advance, you redirected to your own. Not that I've ever done that. But I assure you that if it's been a while since your rodeo days, this oeuvre could have results as disastrous for you as for your employer's core data. Besides, it's so boring having to spend all that time at the police station waiting for your People to come and fill out all those forms while you hold an ice pack to your forehead.

Consider instead the Closure Party, at which you feed your closest friends a food effigy of what you've left behind, a nutritious incarnation of your Closure Passion. You might roast this Closure Phoenix on a spit over an open pit in your backyard, so that it genuinely appears to rise from its own ashes.

If you have no yard or prefer to follow pesky local ordinances about open flames, a dining room will do. A young, rising lifestyle editor I once knew - who does this remind you of - served a delicious egg salad-and-tapenade representation of the shiny-pated accountant who had put her on a layoff list. A little sign on a toothpick stuck into the mock scalp signaled, "Egghead Special: Everyone Must Go." Soon, it too was gone.

Mmm. Closure never tasted so good.

Stay fabulous,