The Most Epic Job Quitting Story Ever
In addition to being an author, I do have a proper day job. I’ve been very happily working in my current day job for the last five years. But my job satisfaction has not always been the case. I’ve left many jobs in my career, for one reason or another. I’ve always done it right and left notice, sometimes a month’s notice, just to be sure that my tasks would be adequately covered after I departed. There was one job in my history that was not the case. I am not completely proud of how I left that job, because I was the only one who knew how to perform the duties I was responsible for. (I did set up training sessions to teach others, however they weren’t supported by the management and the sessions ultimately were not taken seriously. So, I did try!)
I was at that job for three years and three months before I decided I was fed up. It was a Friday. My direct supervisor was stretched quite thin, so she had left me to my own devices. In all the time I reported to that particular supervisor, six months, we never had a status meeting. We would go days without even speaking to each other. I did my job. I was also stretched thin, as I was the only one who knew how to do my job. I had a line of people telling me to do stuff extending outside my cubicle on a daily basis, that I joked about putting up one of those take-a-number thingies like they have at the deli counter at the supermarket. My boss turned a blind eye and let me handle it.
Inevitably I made mistakes. I handled them and corrected them the best I could. My boss never mentioned it. Never asked about it. Never anything about it. Until that one Friday. She called me into a meeting. It was at that point where I started reporting to another boss, because she was too busy to manage me. Which was fine. I was in desperate need of some structure. So my new boss was in there, and then a few other people where there-I don’t know why they were there. But whatever.
She stood up at the end of the room. She listed out the mistakes I’d made, that she never addressed with me when they happened. She slammed her fist on the table. I defended myself. She yelled. My new boss laughed at her tantrum. He stepped in to defend me. She yelled at him too. It was an ugly ugly scene. I left the meeting with fresh bile rushing toward my throat. It was almost lunch time, I couldn’t fathom eating.
Todd and I were meeting for lunch. He was heading out for Vegas that afternoon to attend a conference. I sat down across from him and burst into tears. This was new for me, I’d never burst into tears before over my job.
I told him what happened, and how I was *thisclose* to telling her where to go.
“Then why don’t you?” he asked.
“Because if I quit I am going to screw a lot of people, I am the only one who knows how to do this stuff.”
“And whose fault is that? Nobody at work should treat you that way. They deserve for you to quit.”
I went into the ladies’ room to collect myself. I swear the partitions on the stalls started to slant inward. I sat down and placed my head between my knees and tried to slow my breathing and my racing heart. I got back to the table and pushed my food around on my plate. He followed me back to the office.
“I am going to wait out here. Go in there and quit this awful job,” Todd said.
I got into my office. My boss and former boss were out to lunch. I didn’t have anyone to quit to. Todd called my extension. “Did you do it yet?”
“Beej come on, you can do this.”
“No, I literally can’t. I have no one to quit to. They’re out to lunch.”
“OK, I have to get to the airport. Make sure you do it. Don’t chicken out. Danielle is booking you a flight for tomorrow morning so you can come play with me in Vegas.”
I sat in my cube. I didn’t bother to read my emails. What was the point. I started to clean off my desk, only casually. I didn’t want to attract attention. They got back. I got them to join me in the conference room.
“OK, here’s the deal,” I began. My right cheek started to twitch. “After that meeting this morning, I don’t want to work here anymore. My resignation is effective immediately.”
“What do you mean immediately?” new boss asked.
“I’m leaving this room, packing up my shit, and I am gone,” I deadpanned. Cheek twitching even quicker.
“Oh, that immediately,” he puffed his cheeks.
“FINE” old boss stood up and stormed out.
New boss went into the back room and got me some boxes. “Old boss wants you to come back after hours to clean out your desk, so it’s not a disruption. I told her that’s a dumb idea. Just do it now and be cool. Here’s a thumb drive, do you have any personal files on your computer?” he handed it to me. He stood outside of my cube while I cleaned and sorted.
I took down my pictures. I had lots of them. I emptied out my “pharmacy drawer” and hoped he didn’t see my tampons. Everyone in the office had come to count on my drawer for floss, bandaids, mouthwash, tweezers. Some even made contributions to make the pharmacy drawer a more karmic experience. I’ll miss that.
“So, does Todd know what happened today?” new boss asked.
“Of course. We don’t make decisions like this without each other.”
“What does he think?”
“Well, his assistant is booking me on a flight to Vegas as we speak,” I deadpanned. This is the part that makes this epic. That meeting was downright traumatic and standing there chatting to him as I packed up my desk was just so bizarre. Being able to say “Yeah, I am going to Vegas tomorrow, so long suckas” was so liberating.
“Are you serious?” he asked.
“That really is very cool,” he replied. “When do you leave?”
“Where are you staying?”
“Again, no idea. I will figure all that out when I leave here.”
“Wow, that’s really supportive of him,” he fidgeted. “You know, I don’t blame you. We did a lousy job supporting you in this role.”
I pointed out the calendar I organized to track everything I was doing and when it had to be done. “Don’t forget that this client’s incentive campaign is ending next week. You guys have to run reports and make sure it’s turned off,” I warned him.
He got one of the guys out back to take my boxes down to the car. “Go say your goodbyes. Remember, be cool.”
And then I drove away. I resisted the urge to lay rubber in the parking lot. I got home, and paced through the house, not knowing what to do with myself. I checked my email and got my flight time. I had to put the dogs into kennel. Hurricane Irene was approaching, I had to prepare the house for that too. I had to pack.
I just quit my job. On the spot. I felt my neck muscles tighten and my stomach lurch. Todd was in the air, I couldn’t call him and freak out. Instead I called a friend who worked for the vendor at work that I was was constantly working with and I told her what happened—so she’d know that I wouldn’t be there anymore. She gasped and then laughed when I told her I was going to Vegas the next day.
I was numb. I drove the dogs to kennel. Met a few friends for a beer to “celebrate.” I went home and put away all the furniture on our deck and plugged the generator in. I called a few friends and said “If you lose power in the storm, come to our house. I left instructions for running the generator on the counter.” I left the house unlocked. While we were gone, some friends stayed in our house for several days as their house lost power in the storm. Ours did not. They took the generator back to their house and returned it when their power came back on.
In the morning I drove to the airport, it was still dark. Todd met me at baggage claim in Vegas. I hadn’t slept. My jaw ached from clenching it. My shoulders were smooshed up by my ears as I internalized the stress and took it out on my body.
It took a solid three days to uncoil from that job and the experience of leaving it. I’ve been remembering those days as I was in Vegas with Todd last week, almost five years to the day that all that had happened.
It’s a distant shadow in my rear view mirror now.
added on 09.06.16