Exactly one year after working at the Worst Job I Ever Had, I took my one week paid vacation. I hated that job so much I couldn’t even wait a couple of days to plan a trip. I snatched at the vacation time the millisecond it was offered to me and I intended to spend the week lounging around my apartment doing anything but going there.
On Saturday, I woke up and thought: 9 days before I have to go back there.
On Sunday, I thought: 8 days before I have to go back.
Monday through the following Saturday went similarly until Sunday came around and I started a countdown: 12 hours before I have go back there. I couldn’t even sleep that night. Instead, I just kept ticking off the hours before I had to go back to work, the minutes, the seconds. I couldn’t think about anything else. My alarm went off at 4am on Monday morning and I slapped at the button with a heavy sigh.
It was time to go back.
With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I pulled myself out of bed, showered, dressed, and filled my thermos with coffee. I grabbed my car keys and I was behind the wheel by 5am. Work was exactly 12 miles a way and during my entire commute, my eyes would periodically glance at the odometer. I thought: 9 miles before I’m there.
Desperately, I tried to think of something else. At 5am, the streets are deserted and the sun is slowly starting to make itself visible on the horizon. The birds wake up and minus the sounds of traffic and noisy families bellowing at each other, you can finally hear them sing. I tried to force myself to focus on the birds.
Instead, I thought: 2 miles before I’m there.
It was at that point I slammed on my brakes. I couldn’t go another mile. I just couldn’t. I clutched my steering wheel for a few minutes and willed myself to ease up off the brake and gently press the gas. But I just couldn’t.
Finally, I did ease off the brake and press on the gas; but only to make an illegal U-turn and go home. I told myself that I would call off today. But deep down, I knew I would never go back there.
I went home, stripped naked, and crawled back into bed. I pulled a pillow over my head and waited for the phone calls. When they came, I couldn’t force myself to answer.
My husband said, “Are you going to get that?”
“I don’t want to talk to them!” I hysterically cried.
Back then, my husband and I weren’t as financially well off as we are now. So quitting my job without another one lined up was going to put a damper on our standard of living. Friday was my payday and the paycheck from my vacation was waiting for me, but still, STILL, I couldn’t go back there. Not even a cash incentive was enough convince me to walk through those doors again. I sent my husband to pick up my money.
When he got back, he gave me a message. My employers apparently thought the way I had quit my job was pretty shitty.
There wasn’t a single thing wrong with the way I quit my job. Those people treated me like crap, all day, every day, for an entire year. Frankly, I’m getting sick and tired of companies expecting that their employees give them better treatment than they’re willing to dole out. They tend to do this in 3 major ways.
They Demand Respect While Simultaneously Treating You Like a Child
When you excel at your job, companies have a tendency to reward you with meaningless symbols of merit. Every company I have worked for has had some sort of employee recognition program set up. A job well done might earn you the title ‘Employee of the Month.’ You might get a plaque with your name on it. Or a pre-printed ‘Thank You’ letter from your boss. You might even earn the privilege of wearing a special pin or you may simply get a pat on the back.
You know who else is rewarded like this for good behavior? My 9 year old stepdaughter. After she completes a ballet class, she earns a pat on the head and a sticker for her jacket. This, of course, thrills her.
But it’s pretty fucking degrading if you’re a grown ass adult.
Face it, if your employer really respected you and valued the work that you did, he’d reward you with money. He’d cut you in on the profit. You’d get a slice of the pie.
He wouldn’t draw a little smiley face on a slip of paper and expect you to proudly display it on your refrigerator like you’re a 6 year old child.
They Make it Taboo to Steal
Your job steals 40+ hours of your life a week. They steal your weekends. They steal your dignity. Your soul. Your self respect.
How dare they begrudge you a box of fucking paper clips?
They Demand a Two Weeks Notice Before You Quit
Yet, very rarely, do they give you notice before they fire you. Unless you work for a company that offers a severance package after terminating your employment, fuck them and their notice.
A lot of people give notice before they quit a job not out of respect for their employer, but because they fear their employer will give them a bad reference. Most of the time, this is a baseless fear. Large companies fear slander lawsuits too much and will refrain from saying anything bad about a past employee…no matter how much they hated him. Most places even make a policy out of confirming dates of employment and saying nothing else when asked for a reference. This is so common practice now that your new employer won’t even bother to ask your old employer what he thought of you because he knows damned well he’ll hit a brick wall.
If you like your employer and feel that the company treated you well, by all means, give them a bit of notice before you quit. Otherwise, fuck them. They would do the same thing to you, given half the chance.
Honestly, a lot of big companies could stand to review the Golden Rule and start applying it to how they treat their employees. If they are unwilling to treat the people who make them rich with an ounce of dignity or respect, then they have no right to get upset if we just turn our cars around one morning and go home.
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