Greg Smiith, a former executive with Goldman Sachs, became a hero yesterday to workers worldwide, as well as to everyone fed up with fat-cat bankers.

His resignation, published in an op-ed in the New York Times, explained that he was leaving the banking giant after nearly 12 years because it lost its way in a big way:

“I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.

When the history books are written about Goldman Sachs, they may reflect that the current chief executive officer, Lloyd C. Blankfein, and the president, Gary D. Cohn, lost hold of the firm’s culture on their watch. I truly believe that this decline in the firm’s moral fiber represents the single most serious threat to its long-run survival.”

But John Challenger, chief executive of the outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, advises against such a public thrashing of an ex-employer by therest of us “average” workers.

Challenger says:

“The number of people quitting their jobs is on the rise, with nearly 1.9 million workers doing so in January.  While many might be emboldened by Mr. Smith’s public outing of his former employer to exit in a similar fashion, it is important to remember that most workers do not have the benefit of Smith’s former high-level position and salary.

"For most workers, it is best to exit quietly and not burn any bridges. New employers may need to contact your former boss for references, and loose talk may be the difference between a new job and continued unemployment.  Even a rant about a former employer on Facebook can become an obstacle to new employment.”