April 17, 2013 at 9:57 AM ET
Some people yell when they quit their jobs. Other people cry. But that’s just not how Chris Holmes rolls.
In what might be the sweetest resignation story ever told, Holmes, 31, quit his secure airport job in England with a cake.
Holmes’ journey toward a life less ordinary began when he and his wife welcomed their first child in March. That miracle inspired him to make another big leap — leaving his U.K. Border Force position at Stansted Airport outside London to pursue his passion of owning and operating his own cake-decorating business.
He decided to have some fun when he announced his departure, creating a cake with his resignation note written on the top in chocolate icing.
“Today is my 31st birthday, and having recently become a father I now realise how precious life is and how important it is to spend my time doing something that makes me, and other people, happy,” Holmes wrote neatly atop the cake.
“As a laugh,” Holmes told TODAY.com, “I also put [the picture of the cake] on my personal Facebook page.” Before he knew it, a friend had posted the photo on the image-sharing website Imgur, and then it became a sensation on Twitter. Suddenly, Holmes’ fledgling business had gone viral.
Holmes has always loved food, but a past job working as a chef in London restaurants had left him burned out. Since becoming a dad, he wanted a way to follow his passion but also spend more time at home with his son. Mr. Cake, the cake-decorating business he runs from his home in the English village of Sawston, about 8 miles south of Cambridge, seemed like the perfect solution.
“It’s a combination of being artistic with food,” Holmes said. “It was something I could do from home. It had been a goal for me to do that ever since I started up the cake company, but it’s only been recently that I can now manage on this income.”
But what about Mrs. Cake? Holmes said his wife, who works in an office, has been “just brilliant” about her husband’s unorthodox business idea.
“If I was in her position I’d be very nervous about leaving secure employment to set out on my own with the economy the way it is,” Holmes said. “But she sees how passionate I am about this work and the effect it has on me and that it makes me happy. My wife has been amazing.”
Although his “resignation cake” has earned him new fans and potential clients from places as far away as Japan, Italy and Australia, Holmes said he can’t really take credit for his brilliant PR move. In fact, his www.mrcake.co.uk website crashed yesterday from all the unexpected traffic, but he has already gotten emails from people offering to help him get it back online for free.
He’s also received “Congratulations” and “Best of luck” comments on Twitter and Facebook, as well as notes from people wondering whether he eats any of the cakes he makes himself. (“When I do get to eat cake —I do get a bit sick of it, because I make so much — my favorite is coffee and walnut,” Holmes revealed.)
In the meantime, he said he’s thrilled that the cake that began as a funny office joke might turn out to be the best move of his whole career.