5 Most Outrageous Employee Resignations In 2012

By Dan Fastenberg

With just two weeks to go in the year, the number of job cuts announced by U.S. employers is behind last year's pace, though it's still staggering high -- with 490,806 job cuts this year (as of November).

No matter how bad the economy is, some workers will always be so fed up they feel they have no choice but to storm off and quit their job.

But it seemed that 2012 brought a wave of workers who staged high-profile resignations and cited ethical reasons for quitting. A few were blasted as self-serving, but some were rewarded -- with praise, Internet fame and perhaps even a book deal. Take a look, and then let us know how you have quit your job -- or how you're planning to quit the next one.

A Public Kiss-Off In The New York Times

One of the year's most high-profile resignations was when investment banker Greg Smith penned a devastating op-ed in The New York Times, headlined, "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs."

Smith used the piece, published in March, to describe his disgust over the work culture at the Goldman Sachs, where he had worked for a dozen years, including the height of the financial crisis. "The interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money," he wrote. The company's stock price dropped 3.4 percent on the Standard & Poor's 500 Financials Index immediately after the op-ed appeared.

Many (including Goldman colleagues) slammed Smith's resignation as "opportunistic," saying that his career had reached a dead end. Though a vice president, Smith had not been invited to become a partner, which was "a red flag of sorts suggesting his days there were numbered," according to Forbes. Smith's subsequent book, for which he reportedly was paid $1.5 million, was roundly panned.

Quitting On Live TV

Ethics was also the stated issue for a pair of television news anchors in Bangor, Maine, who quit their jobs on live TV in November. Without warning their bosses, anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced on the air that they were resigning. "It's a little complicated," Michaels said after the fact, "but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general."

The station's vice president and general manager, Mike Palmer, denied intervening in daily news production, but back in 2006, he'd reportedly warned staff against coverage of global warming, equating the subject with the Y2K and "killer bee" scares -- meaning much hysteria over nothing. But no big payday awaited the anchors on the other side of the exit; Michaels announced plans to work on a novel and his painting.