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Unless Goldman Sachs GS -2.28% executive Greg Smith is shopping a book proposal, the scathing opinion piece he wrote announcing his resignation in Wednesday's New York Times is a lesson in how not to quit, career experts say.
The piece, titled "Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs," accused the banking behemoth of fostering a toxic culture where profits come before client interests. In the piece, Mr. Smith criticized senior management and aspiring leaders for hewing primarily to the goal of making money.
The right way to quit is to "just resign and move on, and keep it quiet," says Laura Hill, president of Careers in Motion LLC, a career-coaching firm in New York City.
Mr. Smith may have sought sympathy or catharsis, but airing grievances about superiors in a letter, whether private or public, is unlikely to amount to much, she adds. "It's not going to change the organization," she says.
Still, Mr. Smith's piece dominated chatter among Wall Street workers on Wednesday and set off a social-media firestorm. Online commenters' views ran the gamut of emotion, from disgust to wistful admiration for Mr. Smith. On one point, however, nearly all agreed: Mr. Smith is unlikely to find work in finance.
Ms. Hill concurs: "What he did generally renders you unemployable in your industry" and makes him unlikely to be seen as trustworthy by many other firms.
Mr. Smith didn't respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday.
However harmful Mr. Smith's letter may be for his future prospects, crisis-management experts say the episode should spur Goldman to think deeply about how and why one employee's discontent could fester and spill over so publicly.
Employees generally become disgruntled when they feel like they aren't being heard by management, says Davia Temin, chief executive of Temin and Company, a New York crisis- and reputation-management firm. Frustrations can grow when employees escalate concerns to higher...