LinkedIn's Top Stories of the Week: The New Trend of Career Torching

March 16, 2012

What a phenomenal week in bridge burning! At arguably the two biggest companies in their industries, an employee walked out the door lighting a torch behind him. First up was James Whittaker, a former engineering director from Google (here's his LinkedIn profile) who took to his new employer's blogging site — Microsoft — to detail the corrosion in culture he saw at Google. A few days later, a Goldman Sachs vice president used a slightly bigger platform — the New York Times — to explain the same thing. Even more amazing: his op-ed served as a resignation letter. They say two makes a trend. If so, are we in for a riot of Why I Quit testimonials? There are reasons to think so.

Top 5 most-shared articles by LinkedIn members (March 8, 2012 — March 15, 2012) Follow @LinkedInToday

  1. Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs (NYT)
  2. The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time (HBR)
  3. How To Be Creative (WSJ)
  4. Low-Cost Ways To Show Employees They're Highly Valued  (Fast Company)
  5. Why I left Google (Microsoft Blog)

Perhaps the biggest sign that points to a wave of "Dear CEO John" letters is that, in a social age, the idea of keeping quiet seems practically archaic. Two is that if you are looking for a big audience, there doesn't appear to be a bigger way to get one. The Goldman story was the top-shared story of the week in the industries you'd expect: financial services and banking, for example,. But it crossed over into the wider professional world, too. Here are a few other industries where it was No. 1: broadcast media, computer games, software, consumer goods, defense and space, environmental services,food and beverage, government administration and there's still the rest of the alphabet worth of industries to plow through. But what about the argument that your chances of getting another job are limited; that it's not just the bridge that gets burned, but everything around you? The fact that Whittacker is still at Microsoft is one sign that that belief might be fading. And the New York media world is waiting on the Goldman quitter, Greg Smith, to sign a six- or seven-figure book deal. Forbes career columnist Susan Adams asked if Smith had committed "career suicide". But that assumes Smith wanted to stay in his career. At a time when people switch positions and companies regularly — voluntarily or not — and industries are going through massive change, there are fewer rigid reasons to avoid going public. Which is a good reason why if you own a company or manage a staff, now might be a good time to go read Fast Company's top story of the week: "Low-Cost Ways To Show Employees They're Highly Valued." A few of those tips might have kept both Smith and Whittaker not just at their old employers, but away from their word processors.

Here are the most-shared stories by professionals in the following industries: