Sometimes, no matter how terrible the employment market might be, you come to the end of your rope and just have to say goodbye to a job you cannot stand. And while most people simply give notice and head off into the sunset, every so often the boss or the job itself is so bad that you’ve just got to get inventive in the process of quitting. Read on for some very creative ways to quit a job; but remember, burning bridges isn’t always an ideal way to move on. But sometimes it just feels so good!
If I never see another ice-cream cone it will be to soon. I once worked at a Cold Stone Creamery in sunny southern Utah. During the summers there the parched desert is transformed into a sweltering Hades not fit for human habitation. Hot, dusty patrons descend on the shop in droves, creating a startling scene that George Romero would be proud of. These “assaults” would send our Cold Stone team into a panicked frenzy. I can still smell the banana ice cream and hear the screaming toddlers in my nightmares.
Let me pause to point out that I consider myself a hard worker, and I do enjoy the feeling of a task accomplished. But this particular job was grueling. At Cold Stone they don’t give you ice-cream scoops. Instead you are provided with two instruments called spades, which are flat and have rounded edges. I don’t understand the logic, but trying to maneuver through hard, frozen ice cream gets old fast!
On top of that we had a lazy manager. Her name was Deena, which I thought sounded like a dinosaur. Although she acted more like a pig. As soon as her shift started she was out the door. “Oh, I need to go Costco to get more Kit Kats,” you might hear her say, or “I’m just going to run over to Starbucks, be right back.” Then she would disappear for the whole night, shirking her responsibilities off on us. At the end of the night she would cheerfully reappear and instantly begin barking orders. Needless to say she was not popular.
Most of the team was comprised of high-school students who didn’t desperately need their jobs. Instead they tended to view the gig as a source of spending money. Looking back I can’t remember what Deena did to make us all so angry on that summer night, but angry we were.
Jesse L., who was on waffle-cone duty, announced loudly, “I quit,” and was gone with the wind. That left only two of us on the floor, myself and a Goth girl (that I was terrified of), who asked that everyone call her Tru. No, not True, but “Tru.”
I was considered the quiet one of the bunch, so I just watched as Tru grabbed all the cash from the tip jar. I was unsure of what my next move should be.
“We don’t have to put up with this,” she said, but peppered with more obscenities. “What are we supposed to do when the rush starts?”
We both knew we couldn’t call Deena. I knew she was right, two people could never handle the onslaught that 5PM brought. So now I was angry, too.
Over the next 15 minutes Tru, who by now I had decided was pretty cool, hatched a plan to go out with a bang. We had no customers at the time, so we locked the door and flipped the “Open” sign to “Closed.”
The first squeeze out of the strawberry syrup bottle and onto the floor set something off in us. We went crazy, throwing ice cream all over, burning waffle cones and writing “WE QUIT” in various condiments on the floor. And then we left, door locked and closed to the public.
I can only imagine Deena’s reaction when she returned. Though, interestingly, there wasn’t much fallout. I didn’t receive so much as a phone call in regards to the incident. I never received my last check, either.
Yes, we’ve all had terrible jobs, and at times have felt like bashing our heads into the brand-new company purchased monitors that enslave us. At 16, I could afford to make such a grandiose statement. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. I have never applied at an ice-cream establishment since, but I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be hired if I tried. Even in the ice-cream community, word gets around. So the moral of my story is this: if you’re going to quit, why not get creative?
— Cody M. Ham
The flying burrito goodbye
Tijuana Flats is a higher-end, fast-food Mexican restaurant. Upon arrival, guests are cheerfully greeted by employees and provided with vibrant menus. Once they’ve made their selections, they make their way to the register to place their order. Seating is open and their food is brought to them by a server when it’s ready.
After being a burrito-running slave for a few months at the Tijuana Flats location in Coconut Creek, Fla., I can easily say that becoming flustered in the fast-paced food service industry can happen at the drop of a hat. The essential job tasks, in-and-of themselves, are not that difficult. There is nothing complicated about carrying trays of food to happy customers for hours on end — until you come across an angry customer, of course. One such angry customer began a chain of events that represented the beginning of my last day.
Some days the kitchen would get backed up, but on the day in question, everything was running smoothly. The guys on the food preparation line were so proud of how quickly they were moving, that they began to lose focus. This led to them dousing a gentleman’s burrito with the incorrect topping. The ticket clearly stated that he wanted queso (melted cheese) on top, but instead they used the verde (tangy green) sauce . When I delivered the burrito, he was furious and naturally took it out on me. This led to me stepping back into the kitchen to express the man’s anger to the guys, which resulted in a full-blown viscious cycle of anger!
I should mention that the past week of work had been clouded by a constant swirl of annoying rumors and gossip. “So-and-so slept together… she told this lie to the new girl” — you know how it goes. And then the cooks decided it would be funny to start messing with the food I would order for myself while on break. This particular evening, I was already aggravated and beyond hungry. I put in a burrito order for myself under a different name. I guess that they somehow knew it was mine though, because I was in the habit of ordering the same thing every afternoon.
When the burrito came out, I gave it one look and said to my co-worker, “You watch. There will be jalapenos or tomatoes in this burrito.” Those were the two ingredients I couldn’t stand. I cut into the center and, sure enough, it was filled with jalapenos.
I stood up, marched into the kitchen and asked who made it. Each cook was in denial, and each had a smirk spread across his face. Finally, Justin (a guy whom I was not on the best of terms with), spoke up and took the blame.
I proceeded to pick up the burrito and chuck it directly at his head, leaving a swarm of warm re-fried beans dripping down his face.
They all stood in shocked silence, and I announced loudly that “I quit!”
As I headed for the door, I suddenly did a complete turnaround, went back into the kitchen and picked up the entire huge box of cookie dough that was used to make the popular dessert called “cookie-dough flautas.” I carried it out of the restaurant and took it home as my own reward.
Looking back, this is one of those memorable and humorous events in my 18-year-old life. However, I do not recommend that anybody else actually try this as a way to quit. It is difficult to put the company on job applications, due to the high possibility that their comments will not be so polite. But regardless of circumstances, Tijuana Flats is still one of my favorite restaurants — but I never go to that branch any more. Who knows what I would find in my burrito?
— Jennifer Peach
Attention shoppers – and my boss
I was working as a maintenance technician at a local western-wear retail store. The job entailed sorting hangers, vacuuming the floors, cleaning windows and making sure the store looked presentable to customers. After an employment of about three months I decided that my desires lay elsewhere, as I figured if I was handling this much degradation, I should be doing it for a much larger paycheck.
The job itself was not degrading; rather the degradation came in the way I was treated by co-workers and management, who constantly acted like I was their slave, not worthy of any respect. When I politely informed my supervisor that I would be putting in my two-weeks notice, he informed me that the company policy dictated a month’s notice to be eligible for rehire. Rehire? Why would I want to come back to work at this dump?
I accepted his words and went on my way. After completing my day’s work I slipped unnoticed, as usual, out the front door. The next morning I arrived as scheduled, went straight to the equipment closet and grabbed the foam carpet cleaner I had become so attached to over the last few months.
I walk right up to the window of my boss’s office and in big foam letters wrote: I QUIT. The look on Mr. Manager’s face was priceless, to say the least.
I then walked straight out the front door, but I sincerely wanted to be a fly on the wall of that store for the rest of that day.
The impact of my resolute decision to forgo a career as a maintenance technician in a western-wear store is the prestigious status of being ineligible for rehire at the company. After quitting, I made one phone call to the HR department and asked that they send me my final paycheck, which they did, and that was the end of my contact with corporate western wear.
Despite the satisfaction of my departure, I would not recommend a creative exit to any job. The reason being that potential employers often contact previous employers and a creative exit could lead to long-term unemployment. If I could go back and do it over again, I would have worked with my manager, instead of against him, so we could mutually benefit from my departure.
— Brooks Anderson
My job-quitting fantasy
I once worked at a bookstore. Mostly, I worked as a cashier and stock boy, putting volumes of books on the shelves to replace those I had sold to people, in an endless and monotonous circle of boredom. I worked there for two years. I’m surprised I made it that long. I was looking for a way out, and also wanted to play a practical joke on my boss, who was rather nasty, uptight and always taking things too seriously. So I typed up a little insert to be put into the science books in the store. I began to insert it into the volumes before I stocked the shelves with them. I would skip some intentionally, to make conversation at the checkout counter.
“Oh, ‘A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.’ You’re quite the avid science reader, huh? Did your volume come with the new insert?”
“Insert? I don’t know,” the patron would reply.
“Oh, no problem, let me check for you,” I would say, as I flipped to a certain page.
“What’s the insert?” the patron would usually ask.
As I pulled it out of my secret stash under the counter, I would deadpan, “A Brief History of Time by Jesus.”
It took every ounce of strength I had not to crack a smile as I observed the patron’s reaction.
“What?” the patron would say. “What does that have to do with Stephen Hawking’s book?”
“Oh, it’s just the other side of the argument,” I would answer. “Creationism versus evolution. Ah, the eternal debate, n’est-ce pas?”
The patron would look at me oddly, then say one of two things, either “That’s OK, I don’t need the insert,” or “Oh, OK, sure.”
If the person chose the former (as I always hoped he or she would), I would counter with, “Oh, of course, no one needs the insert. No one needs or wants to hear the other side.” I would gradually raise my voice. “No one cares about creationism. Everyone just thinks it’s fiction, made up by religious nuts or something like that, but let me tell you something: Stephen Hawking talks about intelligent design, and that means God, which means Jesus, depending on your beliefs, so you should have a little more respect!”
Sometimes, this would lead to a philosophical debate right there at the checkout counter, which would usually end with the person storming off angrily.
When I got to the point where I desperately wanted to leave my job, I made sure I gave my boss a really good reason to stop what he was doing and come over to chastise me. I did so by becoming as loud and animated as possible, even standing on the counter at one point and pretending to preach like Jesus to the crowd of shoppers.
My boss stormed out of his office and over to me. “Ryan, what are you doing? Get down right now!”
I reluctantly complied, and he continued, “What is the matter with you? You’re acting like a crazy person. You’re yelling, and you can’t climb up on top of the counter — what’s the matter with you?”
I contemplated this for a moment and then replied, “Oh, I see. I’m the crazy one because I’m defending creationism. So people who believe in creationism are crazy, is that what you’re saying?” I asked, accusingly.
“That’s not at all what I’m saying,” he began to protest.
“Because it certainly seems like that’s what you’re saying!” I interrupted. “And I don’t like it one bit. If you’re not going to show respect for me and my beliefs, I am not going to continue working here and taking this abuse! What’s it gonna be, man?”
“Listen, Ryan, we need to have a serious talk,” he said.
“About what, evolution? Primates? Darwin? No, thank you. I think I’ll stick with Jesus on this one. I’d tell you what to do with your natural selection, but I don’t want to offend the faint of heart here in this establishment. So, I bid you good day! And I shall not return! I hope you can live with that.”
And with that, I took my things and left. Naturally, I did not ask him for a recommendation, nor did I suggest that any future employers contact him or the company. I cited a difference of opinion about what was fair and respectful in the workplace as my reason for leaving. I never heard from the company again, and fortunately, the incident has had no negative effects on my ability to acquire or maintain employment since. For that reason, I would not change a thing about the way I quit the job. I would, however, advise others in similar situations to strongly consider whether or not they are going to desire recommendations from their bosses in the future; if one is going to go bold, one must realize that there is often no going back.
— Ryan Zanoni