Q&A: MU grad Marina Shifrin, whose resignation video went viral, ponders her next move

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 | 6:44 p.m. CDT; updated 11:20 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, October 9, 2013

COLUMBIA — This month, 25-year-old Marina Shifrin publicly quit her job at Next Media Animation in a YouTube video that went viral.


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Shifrin, who graduated with an emphasis in strategic communication from the Missouri School of Journalism in 2010, doesn't know her next move but has been fielding serious job offers from film, advertising and marketing industries.

She was walking through the East Side of Manhattan when she was interviewed by phone by the Columbia Missourian. Here are excerpts from that interview:

Q: Have you seen any trends in the responses since you made the "I Quit" video?

A: The people who like the video completely understand where I'm coming from, and the people who don't like the video and just some of the comments they make about me aren't true. ... I've had people like, "She's a 22-year-old, rude entitled brat." And I'm like, "First off, I'm 25, thank you ... I've been working since I was 13, and I paid for half of college." ... Nothing's ever been handed to me.

Q: What kind of comments have you received from your friends and family?

A: They're all very supportive. They've all known from day one that I've wanted to be a writer-performer. A lot of them have pushed me towards a more creative career as opposed to a more stable career in the media business. Frankie Minor, who was the director of residential life when I was there — I think he still is the director — he's been a really, really big support. He has kind of defended my honor, and he's said some nice stuff.

Q: What kind of comments did you get from your boss after he saw the video?

A: The head of the company emailed me and was like, "Marina, this is brilliant."... I actually gave him notice after I posted the video but before anyone had seen it. ... They were all so very supportive. And then my direct boss wasn't too thrilled with it, but I think, in a few years, we will be able to get a drink together and laugh about this whole thing.

Q: What changes in your social media have you seen since the video?

A: Yeah, I went from 600 Twitter followers to 10,700. On Facebook, I had about 1,500 friend requests, so I actually had to disable it. 

Q: What is the most surreal moment that you've had since this has all started with that video?

A: It was very, very strange to meet Carson Daly. I used to watch him when I was in high school, and he interviewed me on the "Today" show. He was so kind and so interested in what I had to say. He made me feel pretty special.

Q: Was the job offer from Queen Latifah last week a serious offer?

A: It was a real offer. The next day I met with the producers ... and they are all very serious, and they all want me to work there. It's such a great opportunity, and I definitely am interested. 

Q: Would you ever consider becoming a journalist again?

A: I don't think so. Not because I think journalism is a bad profession; it's just not right for me. A proper journalist isn't biased — they research the facts. I like to infuse too much of my personality into my writing and jokes, which doesn't lend itself well to journalism.

Q: If you could do anything — your dream job — what would it be?

A: I think it would be kind of like Tina Fey, where you write for a comedy show and then you get to perform parts every now and then. So comedy writing.

Q: Do you have a background in comedy?

A: I started doing standup at Mizzou. ... Once I got the job in Taiwan, I started performing there. ... I became confident as a standup comedian there, so I thought it's time I move back and really try. This is my last-ditch effort to try and become a comic.

Q: Do you think MU prepared you for the job market you are facing now?

A: Yes. I absolutely had no issue getting a job out of college. I applied to 100 jobs and heard back from two. One was an unpaid internship. It wasn't the best situation, but that unpaid internship turned into a job. ... Just having the University of Missouri on my resume has caught a lot of people's attention.

Q: Do you think a high-school-aged Marina envisioned what you are like now?

A: I think I really fantasized about being a comic. ... I did not think at all that it could be a reality and that I would have so many amazing opportunities. I didn't think Queen Latifah would be offering me a job on her show.

Q: Would you make a viral video again about quitting your job?

A: Definitely not, definitely not. ... I want to go out on a high and move on to conquer the next medium.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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Skip Yates October 9, 2013 | 3:13 p.m.

Cool video, and it may get her a better job. But, she doesn't like her boss because he looks at what he is supposed to be involved in, that is profit.

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