The Resignation Heard ‘Round the World

By now, you’ve probably read or at least heard about the flaming public exit of Greg Smith from Goldman Sachs last week. On the off chance you haven’t, this former VP used a NY Times Op-Ed piece to tenure his resignation from the investment firm while railing on the lack of integrity and the decline in morality and corporate culture during his 12 years there.

As I read the article, I was struck by a couple of things. This hasn’t been the first negative piece written about the culture and focus of Goldman in recent months, so the powers that be who are in charge of corporate culture (if there’s anyone there who focuses on that) had to be aware that there were people who felt this way, right? But, on the other hand, I didn’t see anywhere in Smith’s piece where he mentioned avenues that he took to facilitate change. If he’d been there for so long, and had been so happy to work there that he was one of only 10 employees to appear in a recruiting video for them, did he take any steps to mend what he saw as broken?

While I’m all for leaving a company because you don’t fundamentally agree with their culture, I don’t agree with his approach.  If you’re as invested in an organization as he seemed to be, why wouldn’t you at least try to fix it? I’m sure that’s a daunting task in a company the size of Goldman, but then you could leave with a clear conscious instead of going out with guns blazing. While he wasn’t saying anything that hadn’t been said before, I question his method of talking instead of possibly acting.

What do you think? Should he have done more to change it from the inside, or was he justified in his more incendiary departure?

Editors Note: Candace Nicolls is the Principal Recruiter for Product, Engineering, and Marketing at Snagajob. When she’s not sourcing and interviewing, she’s baking for her coworkers or spreading the word about Snag through networking and community partnerships. Snagajob was awarded Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Small Company to Work for in America in 2011.

About Marisa

Marisa Keegan is a leadership coach, trainer, and HR consultant for quickly growing organizations who are passionate about strengthening their employees, their brand, and their culture. She has helped lead the HR, culture, and engagement initiatives at two nationally recognized great places to work; Rackspace as Culture Maven and Modea as Talent Manger. She is an author at Fistful of Talent and Culture Fanatics. Marisa has her Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology and currently lives with her husband and twin boys in Richmond, Virginia.
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