Greg Smith’s very public, and indeed scathing, resignation from Goldman Sachs has certainly garnered a lot of attention in the past few days. But, I would suggest that attention will quickly fade and Mr. Smith’s decision to go out with a bang will do little good. Certainly not to himself, and doubtfully to his former colleagues at Goldman or their customers.
While he has pointed out potential (and I’d agree highly likely) flaws in his previous employer’s business practices, it’s seems to me that he may have damaged his own brand reputation more than that of Goldman’s. By attaching his criticisms to his resignation, his credibility instantly becomes a target.
We’ve all likely thought about how to leave a firm – and perhaps are tempted to offer our own two cents. Publicly or otherwise. I’ve been asked this question constantly as a recruiter: “How do I leave?” The answer: “Quietly. And with respect.”
A resignation is not the time to be a martyr. It may provide an immediate sense of satisfaction to your emotional side, but that upside is about as effective for your long-term career health as a sugar high.
Don’t damage your own brand in a heroic attempt to salvage another.