Going Out With a Splat

If you’ve worked more than a day in your life, chances are you’ve had a bad day at work at some point. If you have more bad days than good on that job, chances are you grew to hate that job. If you were economically stable enough to do so, chances are you quit said hated job.

In some cases, economics has little influence over the decision. I myself have quit many of job without the promise of a new one to replace it, but that was back in the early 2000’s, when a man or a woman could give her employer the sack and find new employment on the way home. I could afford to be selective and dismissive, and quit my position without having to give that dreaded two weeks’ notice. It is said that people do not leave bad companies: they flee bad management. In cases when an employee is on the cusp of quitting, it is those managers’ main desire to make those last 2 weeks as unbearable as possible. I surmise that it’s all in an effort to ensure that that individual never returns to that position ever again.

Have you ever found yourself in such a situation, Reader? Have you ever had the misfortune of being trapped in a position that was so unbearable, you cursed the sunrise because it meant that you had to go into work to face another day of guaranteed and perpetual hell? Have you and other co-workers ever sat around the lunch table or around the water cooler and discussed what you would do when you finally attained the means to quit that awful job?

“Girl, the day I quit Im’ma set this building on FIRE!”

“I’m gonna pour paint all over the hood of Theresa’s car. I can’t stand her @$$!”

“Me? I’m going to download a virus and infect the whole company’s mainframe.” (I actually worked with a guy in IT who did just that. While I admired his dedication and gall, it made my job very difficult until the rest of the team could fix the problem.)

I think it is every employee’s dream to go out in a blaze of glory, once the decision the leave has been made or made for them. I heard one such tale that shook me to my very core.

We have a new employee at DSW who joined the company about 2 months ago. His name is Rick. He’s a tale, very attractive man who relocated to Atlanta from Brooklyn a little under 3 years ago. He has caramel colored skin, wavy hair, a tattoo of the ace of hearts on his right forearm, and has the wit of Voltaire. He is, in a word: perfect.

When he came down here he began bartending at Bahama Breeze because he enjoyed it. Within weeks, he discovered that he had made a regrettable mistake by accepting the position. The management team was consistently on his case, nitpicking about any little infraction, real or perceived. All the same, he stuck it out for two years. One day at work, the entire team was informed of a new policy. There were to be no more cell phones allowed in the restaurant while they were working. To be caught with a cell phone would be grounds for termination.

The next night, Rick showed up for work on time as always. He went to his station and prepared to serve. To his shock, an alarm on his cell phone went it. He had turned the ringer off, but had forgotten to power down the entire phone or to leave it in his locker altogether. Unfortunately for him, a manager was standing right behind him when the offending alarm sounded. She made eye contact but said nothing.

That night, as the restaurant was closing and the crew was cleaning up, they called Rick into the kitchen.

“Rick, as we told you and everyone else yesterday, having a cell phone in the restaurant is grounds for dismissal. We’re going to have to let you go —“

Rick cut the pair off.

“You know what? You guys have been on my case since the day I started here. I’ve put up with you bulls— for long enough! F— you, and f— you!”

As he shouted obscenities at the managers, he took the broad expanse of his left arm and used it to knock down a row of cleaning supplies. In the background his fellow co-workers cheered him on.

“Go Rick, go!”

The managers sat silently watching the embers of this small rebellion slowly grow into a roaring flame. As his co-workers cheered and his managers sat red-faced, he turned to make a dramatic exit, promising to leave that very night! As he did so, his massive size 12 foot caught one of the buckets and he slipped, heels-over-head.

The remaining cleaning supplies fell from above, only adding to his shame.

“Ooooooooo!!!” his co-workers moaned in compassion. Some of them turned away, unable to bear the sight of the tragic end of something that began so gloriously.

Stunned, Rick lay there for a moment until he could make sense of what had just happened. Finally, he grunted and gathered himself. He took his coat out his locker and left Bahama Breeze, never to return again.

As he recounted this tale, I had to hold my belly to contain my laughter. To let the guffaw that was waiting to explode within me escape would have meant a reprimand for both of us. Tears streamed down my face as I begged for him to tell me no more.

“Yeah,” he said in conclusion. “If you’re ever having a bad day, just think of THAT.”

Have you ever known anyone to leave their job in such disgrace? Have you ever been so disgraced yourself? Come, come – do tell. I’ll wait.