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Lessons learned from Joey quitting

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December 6, 2011

By now you’ve probably caught the viral video of the year depicting Joey DeFrancesco using his marching band The What Cheer? Brigade to back up his dramatic exit from an unsavory job at a Providence, RI hotel. We got to see a preview of the video when Joey and his bandmates visited SPACE in September.

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In a recent article for Business Week, Liz Ryan commends Joey for making a bold decision about what was right for him, leaving behind a position that didn’t utilize his talents. She writes, “Instead of getting his musical friends organized to stage a mini quitting concert, Joey might have been using his creative energies to come up with good ideas for the hotel and its patrons. One of my chief complaints about work in most big companies is that they make tasks and assignments so compartmentalized that bright people get squeezed into tiny boxes that waste their brainpower.”

Isn’t this the heart of what the creative economy is about? We need creative and innovative problem solvers at work, and it’s the best companies or organizations that skip the tiny boxes in favor of letting their workers reach their potential.

Unfortunately Ryan misses an opportunity to highlight the real purpose of the video, which was to bring attention to the injustices Joey experienced in his workplace. She should have noted that the Joey Quits “brand” extends to a new website which “serves to expose the abuses against workers that happen everyday in the hotel industry.”

We applaud Joey and company for being opportunistic with the attention they’ve received. Only a truly creative mind would think to turn a crappy hotel job into a workers’ rights movement.


SPACE’s 2020 Kindling Fund grant application process has just opened, applications for our project grants of up to $5000 for Maine artists are due on Sunday, October 20th at 11:59pm.