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Monday, October 7, 2013

Viral Video Star On Life After ‘I Quit’

Marina Shifrin quit her job with a YouTube video, by dancing to Kanye West’s “Gone,” and airing her grievances in subtitles.

The video has been watched more than 14 million times. Here & Now catches up with Shifrin to see how she’s doing, and find out whether she’s taken any job offers.

Interview Highlights: Marina Shifrin

Did you take the job offer from Queen Latifah?

“I have not given a response yet. I thought I would let the dust settle a little bit before I made my decision. And luckily they’ve been so amazing over there — they’re like, ‘Yes, why don’t you sleep and eat and figure it out.’”

How are people responding?

“I’m really lucky because I have this network of protectors. I haven’t been on the Internet much because I’m just too sensitive. You know, if I read anything negative, I’m going to cry — like, they’re job is done, they got to me. So I’ve been avoiding the Internet like a plague. And then I have so many emails that are so supportive, and I was telling my friend how lucky I am that everyone has been so kind via email, and then I found out — I gave her my password to help me organize — and I found out she’s been looking through it and deleting anything I don’t need to read.”

What has the negative feedback been?

“From what I’ve seen … it’s this whole millennial argument. Because I am 25, I’m young, and the video — I can see where it comes off as disrespectful. But at the same time, people don’t understand my relationship with the company and don’t understand my sense of humor. Everything I do is just for a laugh and to make other people laugh. And I knew I needed to make this drastic decision and basically make myself not hireable so I can pursue a creative career in writing and comedy and just force myself to go that route.”


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  • Rick Evans

    Since she won’t be reading this I’ll be blunt.

    Dear please pull your face out of your navel.

    And Robin take your enabling palm off the back of her head so she can pull her face out of her navel.

    • you must be old


      • Robin Y

        Rick, even when I disagree with what you say, you have such a great way of saying it!

    • Marina V. Shifrin

      Hi Rick,

      I have read it. Please don’t be mean to Robin she was kind and it was nice interview. In the meantime I promise to work on pulling my face out of my navel.



  • guest

    I always like listening to Robin’s interviews but BOY was this a waste of time. I watched the video and I can’t figure out what the big deal is. It doesn’t seem that imaginative. Maybe mildly humorous. Comparisons to Tina Fey?!

  • John In New Hampshire

    What a nice, self-absorber, self interested young lady. She might acknowledge that, post video, she’s got her 15 minutes—and more. Now, it would be nice if she declared she was, and is, motovated by self interest. ‘Nothing wrong with that, but she seems to see herself in some sort of “lonely warrior” role.

  • A longtime Here & Now listener

    Robin Young was and is great. But if this is what we get in place of Neil Conan, the new plain ain’t workin’. Here and Now, like so many other programs, lost some of its lustre when it expanded.

  • barbara christopher

    Wow. Good luck to all of you trying to connect with a different generation. It seems like you all are the self absorbed ones.

  • Jeni

    I disagree, it’s great to see someone stand up for what they want and not just follow the status quo. Evidently it worked. She took a chance, which so many of us won’t do, and it worked! Bravo! Why be unhappy? No one benefits from that.

  • http://www.avclub.com/users/incurable-ennui,70820/ Incurable Ennui

    I think some of the complaints here are missing the context of the job she was quitting and why she quit. It was a company that makes online videos. She’s been working hard (according to her) but is frustrated that the videos emphasize a result (hits) over quality. The way in which she tendered her resignation was also a statement that she knew something her boss didn’t – about putting an emphasis on the quality of videos, versus simply pushing for quantity. To the extent that the video has gone as far as it has helped validate her argument.

    I also suspect that is she hypothetically didn’t make this video, and hadn’t quite, but instead was interviewed about her frustrations with the job, the same people that are harrumphing about this video not meeting their high standards for short form online videos, would instead be harrumphing that “if she doesn’t like her job, then quit.”

    I’ll also address the self-absorbed argument. This is the internet. It’s petabytes upon petabytes of blogs, vlogs, and other personal statements. It’s like unearthing your grandmother’s lifetime of diaries and journals, and saying “geesh… what a self-absorbed jerk.” The difference with the internet, and the culture that follows it, is that people understand, and are willing to engage in a voluntary sharing of personal information. If you don’t get that, that’s fine – but it also means you don’t get one of the largest prevailing currents that drive the internet.

    The fact that it has gone viral proves the video succeeds in connecting with others. It’s not going viral because people think it’s a waste of time. The fact that people complain that even the conversation is not worthy of having, yet engage in said conversation only to grouse about it, is hypocritical and suggests that the grouser’s time is not as valuable as the grouser might think.

    • Listener

      “The fact that people complain that even the conversation is not worthy
      of having, yet engage in said conversation only to grouse about it, is
      hypocritical and suggests that the grouser’s time is not as valuable as
      the grouser might think.”

      H&N is engaging in a conversation about this woman and her video. We are grousing about H&N choices about what they put on their show. That is not hypocritical. H&N asks for comments about their stories. How else do you register a complaint about the show (and try to make the show better) without commenting about it?

      • http://www.avclub.com/users/incurable-ennui,70820/ Incurable Ennui

        The idea that people either – A: listened to the show, and then took the time to go to the hearandnow section of the wbur site to lodge a complaint, or B: started the youtube video, had a reaction that it was a “time-waster,” yet continued to watch a very repetitive video, and then lodged a complaint – indicates to me that their time is not so precious as they might seem. It is the specific complaint “waste of time” I am taking issue with. People tooling around on social media – myself included – have a surplus of free time. “You wasted the free time I volunteered to intake this media” is an argument I don’t have much sympathy for. It’s like eating a meal, leaving a single bite, and then asking to complain to the chef that it wasn’t worth paying for. Obviously you feel differently, and the time spent motoring around comment boards is precious. There are many advertisers (and probably this woman’s former employer) who would whole-heartedly agree with your assessment.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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