Tag Archives: Quitting

You can’t fire me; I quit

Whenever I’m having a really bad day at work, waiting tables, a server, a servant, I always have this fantasy of what I’d do if I were to snap, totally lose it, right in the middle of dinner service. For some disgruntled employees, I’m sure nothing would be more satisfying than to tell off the boss and storm out, a big, “I quit!” leaving everybody to try and piece together whatever it was they were in the middle of doing.

But that’s all too pedestrian for me. If I were to ever leave right in the middle of a shift, I’d make such a scene, cause so much chaos and mayhem, that the restaurant wouldn’t have any choice but to close for the rest of the night.

First I’d go right up to the kitchen window. I’d push the expediter out of the way. For those not in the biz, the expediter is the person who makes sure that all of the food is coming out on time, that all orders are leaving the kitchen complete. I’d start picking up food with my hands, whole steaks, fistfuls of potatoes and vegetables, and I’d start taking huge bites, like an animal, some here, a bite over there, making sure to take at least a small piece out of everything, throwing the rest on the ground.

And that would only be the opening act. I’d have to act quickly, because once I get started, it would immediately set off some alarms. At least one or two managers would rush over to see what all the commotion was about. The rest of my plan would have to be executed in such a way as to exact maximum destruction in the limited time before somebody calls the police. I’d rip the phone off the wall, not that it would really do me any good, because everybody has a cell phone, but still, it would be a nice added touch.

Next I’d reach my arms as far as they can extend out to my sides, balling my hands into fists. I’d spin around in a cyclone, picture the Tasmanian Devil, and I’d chart a course through the kitchen. Everything’s in such close quarters that I’m guaranteed to knock over the majority of the kitchenware, all of the dry goods, all of the jars and cans. There’s barely any space when people are just going about their normal routines. Nothing’s going to stand a chance once I turn into the human tornado.

I figure I’ll only have about one and a half minutes left. I’d save the best for last. The liquor room. If I could just make it before anybody with any power to stop me arrives, my final act would be glorious. One by one I’d take each bottle of booze off of the shelves and drop them to the floor. Crash. Shatter. Everywhere. Maybe the head manager would have finally caught up to me, and he’d be standing in the entryway, mouth agape, hands on his cheeks, the definitive expression of shock. And I’d be untouchable. I’d be going so fast, moving with such fury, that nobody would dare risk coming too close, not with all of the annihilation I’ve already unleashed.

And I figure that’s where I’d stay until the cops finally show up to drag me out of there. And it would have to be a full dragging, like one police officer for every limb, me thrashing the whole time, kicking and screaming on my way out to the paddy wagon.

So whenever I’m really in the weeds at work, whenever I feel like I’m just doing a terrible job, like my customers hate me, like my managers hate me, I just kind of stop and run through that little daydream, and it makes things a little better, makes me feel like I maintain at least some control over my present situation. Because while, yes, it’s totally unthinkable that I’d ever actually commit, it’s not impossible. Everything that I’ve spelled out is totally within my abilities to make happen. Just knowing that provides me the tiniest morsel of comfort.

Can you imagine, after I lost that job, what my next interview would be like? “So, tell us why you left your last job?”

That’s enough. I’m done.

That’s it, no more, I’m not going to work today. I’m going to wake up nice and early, take a shower, go downstairs, I’ll make my coffee like I always do, and while the coffee is brewing I’m going to take my dog Steve for a little walk, and then I’ll come back, drink my coffee, I’ll eat my breakfast, and then I’ll just sit there and wait.

And finally my phone’s going to ring, I’ll pick it up, “Hello?” “Rob, it’s your boss. Where are you? It’s eleven thirty. You’re fifteen minutes late. Lunch service is going to start soon. I want you in here now.” And I’m just going to say, “Sorry boss, but the answer is no.” Click.

And maybe he’ll try calling me back, I don’t know, maybe he won’t. I’ll still answer it. I’m not rude like that. Everybody’s always texting anyway, and so I’m always interested in hearing another person’s voice, even if it’s only my boss, calling just to make sure that he heard me correctly the first time. “That’s right boss,” I’ll confirm that he did hear me correctly, “I’m done.”

My wife’s going to get so pissed. “You just quit your job? What’s wrong with you? How are we going to pay any of the bills?” and I’ll just take it all in stride, enjoying my coffee, thinking about all of the free time I’m about to have, to really just sit back and enjoy, and I’ll tell this to my wife, I’ll say, “Honey, think about all of the time we’ll have now to spend with each other, you should do it too, just stop showing up for work and do the same thing.”

So she’ll calm down eventually and when she does, she’s going to definitely see it my way. Maybe her job won’t call her up for a few days. Maybe they’ll just say to themselves, “Huh, this isn’t like her at all. I’m sure she has a perfectly good explanation as to why she hasn’t shown up for work all week.” And she will. The explanation being, “My husband and I aren’t playing this game anymore. Done. Done-zo. No more work. Find somebody else to transfer line two to accounts payable. We’re done.”

And the bills might pile up, sure, and eventually the cell phone service is going to get cut off, and, yeah, it’ll take a while, but the city will eventually file all of that paperwork and that judge will order the marshals to forcibly evict us from our home and, whatever, that’ll take some time. Maybe something lucky will happen before we get the boot. Maybe we’ll open our arms to the universe and the universe will open its arms right back, that warm universal embrace you always see people posting about on Facebook.

Sure, we’d run out of food, eventually, but again, that wouldn’t be for a long while, because we have so many cans of tuna, so many packets of dried pasta and beans. One time I read about this lady who survived a whole winter trapped in some house only eating an apple a day. She went crazy and didn’t make it out alive, but I don’t think it was the hunger that did her in, that’s the point I was trying to make.

Actually, that’s a little morbid, maybe, we’ll run away before they kick us out, before the credit cards get cut off, we’ll find some commune somewhere, something a little culty but just slightly, nothing dangerous, none of that weird group ritual stuff like you see on TV, just something in the middle of nowhere where everybody farms and maybe gets together at night around a big communal campfire and they sing songs and pass around some old guitar that one of the older members brought from when he left his life back behind, and maybe there won’t be a B string, but we’ll make due, humming and singing along to stripped down bare-bones versions of all of our favorite nineties alt-rock hits.

And whoever winds up moving into our abandoned home, back here, back in our future-old life, or our current life, they’ll still get notices from all of the credit card companies and cell phone providers and cable companies all with variations of the same message, “Pay up.” And you know how bill collectors are. They try to collect a bill. They can or they can’t. If they can’t, they sell it to somebody else for a little less, somebody who might be a little better at collecting. The more times it gets sold, the better the collector, but also the more dangerous, the crazier, the ones really willing to take those extra risks to collect. And so these new tenants will get all sorts of threatening letters, knocks on the door in the middle of the night, “Pay up you deadbeats!” written on a note wrapped around a brick and left outside the front door, the message here being, next time maybe we’ll throw this through the window. Or maybe we won’t, but the next level of debt collectors that we’ll be forced to sell your debt to, they’re definitely going to throw it through your window, and maybe it’ll be on fire.

Enough of that harassment, enough bills, enough of this modern world, it’s all enough to make anybody want to skip town for a while, to get away, to go live on some commune somewhere, whatever, I’ll even take a crazy cult commune, even though I said I’d prefer something a little on the normal side, it’s not like these communes advertise on the Internet, and so if you’re looking for one, you just take it, because what are your chances that you’ll find another one any time soon, before your supply of tuna runs out, and those dried beans, you didn’t really think about eating them on the road, how hard it would be to find a stove, somewhere to boil them for a long enough time to where they’re tender, palatable, and so, yeah, you probably should have bought canned beans. But canned tuna, canned beans, do you know how demoralizing that can be, eating everything out of a can, every day, meal after meal, regardless of what’s inside, it always has a touch of that can taste, like something metal, like something that’s been in there for a long time.