When You Just Can’t Take it Anymore

I found this story while surfing the web today about a girl who quit her job via photo’s and text on a white board. She exposed her boss as having halitosis and playing Farmville most of the day. I’m not sure which is worse. Shortly after I found this article and named this girl my personal hero, I found out that the story was a hoax. Even though it was completely untrue, it got me thinking about some jobs that I have had, the circumstances that would have caused me to quit and the fantasies I had about how I would walk out and leave it all behind.

When I was in university I worked for a faceless corporate restaurant chain. You know the one with the Muskoka decor, 40 different types of burgers and buffalo style chicken in many different forms. For the most part I didn’t mind my job. I made decent tips, I worked with some of my closest friends, including my boyfriend at the time, and it was flexible enough to allow me to get my degree. Still, if you have worked in customer service of any type you know that there are days were you could kill someone. The days when your customer tells you that you need to earn your tip or you get nothing. The day when you get yelled at for almost dropping a plate after a kid that has been running full tilt around the restaurant trips you. The day when you are walking upstairs to the office to hand in your cash-out and your boss, who is behind you on the stairs comments on how he is “enjoying the view”. Those were the days that my fantasies about quitting were the most vivid.

Usually these fantasies would take on a similar form. It usually involved me, in the restaurant on a busy Friday night with a full house, hour-long wait for a table, and my section is absolutely full. Someone would say something that would piss me off and push me to my breaking point. I would calmly walk over to a computer terminal, order the most expensive steak on the menu for each guest at every one of my tables, wait for the orders to come up, then when the food was being run to the tables, and the orders were incorrect I would hand in my apron and walk out, letting the manager deal with hundreds of dollars in misordered food and about 30 customers waiting for their meals. In my mind it was the best way for me to screw over each and every person in the restaurant with minimal effort and outburst. The kitchen would be behind after making so many steaks, the tables would be angry because they have no food, so their meals would be given to them for free, the manager would have to deal with comping all the food that was misordered as well as the food for the angry customers and the restaurant itself would be out hundreds of dollars in waste.

I never did this. First I didn’t have it in me to really screw people over that badly, and I couldn’t figure out anyway to do that and not leave the other servers, mostly my friends, holding the bag. Still, whenever I would get upset after a customer was rude to me, or a manager sexually harassed me, I would go to my happy place, a restaurant full of chaos caused by me. When it actually was time for me to quit the story was far less dramatic. I marched into the office, told my manager I was quitting effective immediately. He asked me why and I told him (a reason whose details do not need to be told here but might relate just a bit to this) He asked me if I would be working the shift that I was scheduled that night and when I said no he told me that quitting without giving any notice would make it very difficult for him to take me back if I ever wanted to return to the restaurant. Dramatically, I told him, “Rob, let me make this very clear; there is absolutely no threat of me ever wanting to return to this place” and I turned around and walked out the door. It maybe wasn’t as over the top as my previous fantasy, but the result was just as satisfying.

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