A person can only put up with shoddy work environments, crazy coworkers, and belligerent bosses for so long until they can't take it anymore and scream, "I QUIT!" These stories show what made these workers not even bother with their 2 weeks notice before they walked out. Content has been edited for clarity.
All Because Of His Hair
“I had been saving up cash for about 18 months with the intent of either traveling or moving. I hadn’t decided which, or where for that matter, only that I’d need cash to do it.
My employer was a prick, but I enjoyed the work so I stayed longer than I probably should have. Anyway, I was in a position that I could afford to quit and not lose everything.
When the day came that I actually quit, it was a rash decision no doubt, but in hindsight, it was the right decision, as well as the coolest thing I had ever done.
I had dreadlocks at the time. My boss hated them.
My boss: ‘Jerami, look, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come to the conference. The owner will be there. He’s very conservative and I don’t want us all looking bad. He’ll judge you on your hair.’ (As if he wasn’t judging me himself). ‘You need to stay here and help Alonzo clean out the shop.’
I was the Branch Manager. This was MY branch. This was my supervisor, the Regional Director, and he was telling me not to attend the conference. This wasn’t just some business meeting. It was a celebratory weekend conference in Honolulu, HI. We were only going to the freaking thing because of the fantastic job I did all year long reaching goal after goal he set for me.
I was the reason my branch was performing well. I made changes, we made money. The company was treating us for the year we just had…but I was told to stay behind and clean out the shop.
ME. THE BRANCH MANAGER.
Not the other members of management beneath me.
Because of my hair.
I took this as an insult, especially considering my efforts all year long. I’m pretty sure it’s straight up discrimination, but I didn’t know my rights or how to handle it at the time.
I just knew I was offended and this was seeming like the best time in the world to say ‘Forget this’ and quit without notice.
But I didn’t just quit. I kept my mouth shut and agreed with my supervisor. Then I made arrangements for all the crews to come into work over the next weekend, during the conference, and work OT cleaning up the shop.
‘Everybody that wants overtime hours, come in Saturday and Sunday to help.’
33 employees showed up to sweep out the shop for two 10-hour days of OT. I was going to quit, I had decided, so why not go out with a bang and force my employer to pay an outrageous amount of money on my guys, since they weren’t paying for me to go to the conference.
Guess who made it to the conference anyway? That’s right. ME. Dreadlocks and all.
My supervisor’s jaw dropped to the floor. Clearly he never expected it, and why would he? I used a credit card for the plane ticket and I never even bothered renting a room. I stayed with my team. They totally supported the idea.
When I walked up to the owner and introduced myself, he looked at Nate (my supervisor) and said something like, ‘Who’s cleaning up the shop then? I’m joking, son, I’m glad you made it. Nate has told me so little about you, but you’ve made us a lot of money this year.’
I just stared at Nate.
Then I told them both that because I was not invited to the conference, in which I felt I had earned, I paid my own way. The owner looked confused, obviously I had been invited, but he didn’t know the whole truth about Nate. Turns out Nate told him I declined the conference and volunteered to clean up the shop with Alonzo.
I straightened that out right away, explaining the real reason Nate directed me to stay behind. I politely excused myself from the table just then to leave the two of them to talk about what just happened.
I enjoyed my stay and flew back home two days later. I did not attend the conference anymore. I emailed the owner directly to inform him of my decision to quit AND why.
I also emailed Nate that the entire rest of the team had been working OT to clean up the shop BOTH days that weekend.
And as for traveling to Hawaii and back, I had decided where I was going to move. Once back home, I began selling off everything I owned in preparation for the move…but that’s another story in itself.
The owner was a nice-enough guy, the company reimbursed my plane ticket and expenses for the weekend. He even offered me a severance package in light of the discrimination.
I declined the money, instead asking to be considered for the Hawaii branch next time a spot opened up.
I was given a job as Operations Manager about 7 weeks later and continued to work for the company another 2 years.
Nate was let go about 6 months after the incident for something unrelated. The OT my crews had worked that weekend did cost an awful lot, and I’m sure it ticked off some people above me, but no one ever said a word about it.”
“The Women Clean The Bathrooms”
“I was an accountant, so I would usually go to a temp agency and work a couple of jobs until one came along I liked.
I went for a short interview for temp to perm in the Milwaukee area. The manager interviewed me in the conference room and asked me if I would object to straightening up the conference room on Friday afternoons. I thought it was a bit odd since they had lower level positions, but it wasn’t far from my house so I said sure.
Friday comes along and people start leaving around 3:00 p.m. The girl who was training me comes by and says she is going to show me what I needed to clean on Friday’s. I was a bit puzzled, thinking I didn’t need to be shown how to pick up a conference room. She then takes me to a janitor closet, pulls out a vacuum, mops, bathroom cleaners, etc. She tells me I’m to clean all the bathrooms, empty the trash, vacuum all the offices, including mine and the conference room. I told her I thought there was a mistake and she said, no all the new woman employees did this job until a new one came along. Then she left. I tried to call the man who hired me, but he didn’t answer. I actually started to vacuum a couple of offices, but I was getting madder and madder.
I looked in the bathrooms and said to myself ‘oh heck no’. Apparently they were only cleaned on Fridays. Mind you I have on a suit, nylons and high heels. I tried calling the manager again and when there was no answer, I picked up my things and walked out. I went straight to the temporary agency. She was on the phone with him, because one of the employees called her and said I left all the cleaning material out and walked out the door. This was an agency for professional people. I told her my story. Had we had cell phones then I would have taken lots of pictures. She called him back with me sitting there and asked him if they had indeed asked me to spend the last two hours of the day cleaning bathrooms, etc. He said all the other WOMAN had done it, it was like an initiation thing. She asked him if men had to do this. He said no. She said so you expect my highly qualified client to do janitorial work in a suit? He said, well I don’t want that woman to come back, she just walked off leaving the office uncleaned and the supplies out, send me someone new. The agency lady told him, I didn’t plan on coming back and to please lose her number, she was not sending qualified accountants out there to clean his office.
This was in the early 90’s. In retrospect, I should have gone after them for discrimination, but just let it go. That was the one time I walked off a job!”
“He Told Me I Was Going To Burn”
“I was working for a company who ended up hiring one of the Westboro Baptist Church people (the ones who picket soldier and gay funerals) as senior manager for my department. We knew who he was when they gave us his name and we Googled him. First pic of him was him getting kicked out of a city council meeting. Second was of him holding those awful signs on street corners. He was very narcissistic and pick his favorites and found reasons to do away with the jobs of those he found distasteful. Once he knew we knew who he was he decided to keep me after work almost every day and tell me all the reasons I was going to burn in the afterlife. He took pride in it. Said I should divorce my husband immediately because a second marriage was an abomination and I was going to burn if I didn’t. Among so many other reasons I was unacceptable to God.
So, I documented everything and started blasting out resumes. I hated this guy. I’m an artist so I was preparing for a local show and finally had gotten a job offer on a Friday evening. I accepted, and planned on a 2 week notice.
Went to my art show and this prick showed up with his family. I had taken some vacation days to finish a couple of my projects. He had the balls to ask me if I was going to be better at my job now that this show was almost over. Knowing I was giving my notice on Monday, I said absolutely.
On Monday I went to HR with all my documentation to give my notice. Needless to say the President of the company came in and asked if I was going to sue. Hindsight now tells me I should have. I just wanted out badly. They told me to give them an hour so they could consult with corporate. After the meeting, the prick called me in his office and demanded I tell him what I was in HR so long for. I told him it was none of his business and went back to my desk. Three more times he did this with the same answer. He started screaming at me. Narcissists don’t like to be exposed. I finally started screaming back at him that he was a prick and I wasn’t working for him anymore. And if he looked at me cross-eyed on the street I’d dot his eye for him.
HR came running out with the President and took him to one side of the building, me back to HR where I got 2 weeks of Vacation and 2 weeks severance and got to pack my desk and tell everyone goodbye. He was still employed for a few years after that. Never been so glad to see the back end of a place in my life.”
“You Do It, I Don’t Have Time”
“About 4 years ago, I took a part-time cashier position at the local Dollar Tree. I work full time but wanted some extra income and made this very clear in the interview process because the store manager seemed perplexed by my over-qualifications. I have spent the majority of my career in customer service with a few years of retail management, too, but I wasn’t looking for a career change, just a temporary income boost close to home.
I asked for 2-3 short shifts per week, explaining that I worked 9-5 Monday through Friday. I said I could do 1 or 2 weeknights and alternating Saturdays and Sundays. Instead, I was scheduled for 7 hour shifts for every Saturday and Sunday and no weeknights. Ok, I could deal with working 7 days a week straight, if that was all, just to make a little extra money for a short time. But that wasn’t all…
I quickly learned that Dollar Tree employees are paid minimum wage and treated like dirt. I would be scheduled with only 1 other employee at a time, who was either the store manager or assistant manager that I would only see for 5 minutes at the beginning of my shift. I would be checked in, given the till drawer with only $20 in change in it, then directed to an under stocked register and given a list of tasks to accomplish, usually including a pallet or 2 of stock. The manager would vanish, only to make brief reappearances when summoned and berate me for summoning her.
I’m no stranger to retail— I knew I wouldn’t be idly sitting behind the register. But working at the dollar store was awful. And the clientele was a motley crew too. Every shift, I was left to deal with an overflowing line of cranky customers, helium balloon orders, unruly children, angry seniors, and demands for personal shopping assistance all alone.
It was a never-ending madhouse (& a shoplifter’s dream). Customers would yell out in line about waiting, asking why aren’t there any other registers open. These same people would then pay with slowly counted out change, or checks that required 2 forms of ID, or declined credit cards (always MY fault), or demand I wrap their glasses and dishes in newspaper and cardboard like it was fine porcelain. If two people paid with a 20 dollar bill within the first 10 minutes of my shift, I was cleaned out of change (you wouldn’t believe how many people whip out a 20 or a 50 for a $2 sale).
We had resident crazies like the old man who called us all Yankees and waxed poetic in the aisles about how he missed living in Savannah, and the Diet Pepsi man (2 bottles every day, exact change, must get bag & receipt); regulars who came in just to use the bathroom; people who never made it to the bathroom but shopped anyway; weekly shopping trips from the nearby group home; local business owners haggling over bulk items they bought there just to mark up at their own stores; angry parents buying last minute school project supplies; people in formal wear buying cards on their way to an event; cheapskates trying to get refunds because the $1 toy made in China broke after 15 minutes; little kids crying as they learn for the first time about sales tax when that toy costs $1.07 …
There was nothing more I could do than try to move everyone along as fast as humanly possible. I was filling up helium balloons with one hand, scanning items with the other, running from aisle to register to balloon center and back to the register. Meanwhile, the manager would be off in an aisle stocking shelves or hiding in the storage room or chain-smoking out in the parking lot. If anyone asked her for help, she’d send them up to the register for me to deal with.
When I would page my manager for help if I had a line to the door or a 50 dollar bill or I ran out of change, she would take her time coming through multiple pages, then alternately tell me I should have called her sooner or not at all. And with every appearance, I would be reprimanded in front of the customers for not stocking enough product, double bagging canned items and running out of bags, accepting too many 20s, paging her too often /not enough, not kicking the shoplifting teenagers out, not walking someone over to the toilet paper display, not knowing if we sold out of a product (because I never knew what we had since I couldn’t leave the register), you name it… I would come home feeling like I had run a marathon.
Memorial Day weekend, I went in for my regular hectic Saturday shift, and saw the upcoming schedule taking away my entire holiday weekend and the next 2 weekends, again. I grabbed a sharpie and wrote a note on my task checklist asking to be removed from the schedule permanently. Next to each task, I wrote stuff like, ‘nope’ and ‘are you crazy?’ or ‘you do it, I don’t have time.’ At the end of my shift, I turned that in with my receipts and left. I didn’t show up the following day and never called to make sure anyone read it.”
“They Are Like Pigeons”
“In 2002, I had a part-time job at a Burger King in Flagstaff, Arizona. As was typical for me on or around payday, I would buy the hamburgers in bulk from work, usually spending around 20 dollars which would net me roughly 40 burgers. I would sit outside during lunch and share all the burgers with the local homeless population at the outdoor Burger King tables and we would all eat together, telling stories and just having a meal together.
Well one day my chumped-up General Manager pulled me aside and said, ‘You can not feed the homeless outside our store. They are like pigeons and make the store look bad hanging around outside.’ Now, I was freaking ticked off but I didn’t say anything and went about my normal shift.
Within a few days I came into work and found that everyone else had called in sick or could not make it in on their day off, leaving only the General Manager and myself to run the entire place. I waited until the middle of the lunch rush and walked out of the kitchen, took off my hat, put on my coat, as it was in December and proceeded to walk up to the front counter. The manager at this point was irate because I had left the kitchen. I told him in no uncertain terms I quit, he was horrible for the way he treated the local homeless, and then said I wanted to order food. I proceeded to order about 20 dollars worth of burgers, at which point I thought he was going to kick me out of the store, but he just took my money and went about making the food, albeit very slowly as he was swamped and alone in the Restaurant.
Once I had my burgers I went outside and found several homeless people hanging out in the little area between the Burger King and a convenience store in the next lot over. I showed them my bags and they knew it was time to eat. We all sat in the burger king outdoor seating area and proceeded to feast on hamburgers, while sharing a laugh about the jack-hole manager who was inside busting his butt alone.
This was by far the most satisfying way I have quit a horrible employer. He was a scumbag for a variety of reasons, but treating the homeless like animals and being mad at me for helping them was unforgivable in my book. That place and that manager in particular can still go pound sand 18 years later!”
“I Was Shaking”
“I was working at a restaurant making salads. The general manager scheduled me to work a double on a holiday. I was never asked to do it, I was told I would. That didn’t sit well with me. I told the manager on duty that I could work one shift or the other, but not both.
The MOD said it was no problem; this was at least 2 weeks before the date in question. He asked me to remind him to find a replacement, which I did, every single shift leading up to the holiday. He assured me that it would be fine.
That day came, and I showed up for my shift, and the general manager met me at the door. He said, “I hear you’re not going to work your whole shift, today.”
I told him I was going to work my whole shift, but I wasn’t available to work the second one, and that his assistant said he’d find someone else.
He said, ‘If you don’t work your entire scheduled shift, you’ll basically be firing yourself!’
I stuck out my hand to shake his and said, ‘Well, it was nice working with you, Chuck.’
He refused to shake my hand and stomped inside. I was shaking. I was young, I had never quit a job, before. I had no other job lined up, and had no idea what I was going to tell my folks. In a daze, I was walking back to my car when Chuck ran outside to scream and yell at me. That just strengthened my resolve that I had done the right thing.”
She Deserved To Be Treated Like A Human
“I took off my apron, and hung it where I had taken it down four hours earlier.
‘If that’s the way you feel, then I guess this is it.’ I said, my teeth clenched together, restraining my anger.
‘I guess so. Good luck finding another job.’ She said passive-aggressively.
‘Good luck to you, too.’ I said, trying to be the better person and not adding ‘finding someone to put up with your bullying, belittling, and violating OSHA laws.’
The story begins like so many others here. I had finally landed a job I felt excited to have a few months before this incident, working at a local pet supply store, helping people get what they needed to make their pets happy. I had helped people put harnesses on their dogs, recommended the best foods and treats nutritionally, and talked about pets with them. Those were the parts of the job I loved. I felt so happy to finally have a job I felt passionate about.
But there was a dark and creeping downside that quickly went from ‘red flags’ to full blown employee abuse.
The lady owned the pet supply store completely, and was the only worker. Someone had worked with her for years and finally left. I was the replacement, one of her three final candidates. I felt honored to be there, and put my all into the job. But I had just had bronchitis and was struggling to fight it off myself. I coughed almost all the time. She made jokes about it, somewhat nagged me about it, but didn’t seem concerned at all (red flag one).
Reg flag two occurred when she was training me how to repackage the dog biscuits she bought and resold at a very high profit margin by placing them in printed cellophane and putting ribbon around the closure. I grew up very poor, and never had the money to wrap presents. When I asked her how to curl a ribbon, she laughed at me, ‘didn’t you have to do this growing up for Christmas presents and birthday presents?’ She acted like I was disabled for not knowing how to do this. I quietly said I didn’t have the opportunity, but she didn’t stop laughing.
The disrespect of me as a person and my needs grew more and more each day. I pushed myself at that job, especially as I was still so sick. Her goal was to, as quickly as possible, train me to watch the shop, so she could finally have ‘free time’ not married to the shop. She trained me to do offloads, to replace her in every way.
Around week 6 of the job, I became increasingly concerned about the persisting cough, and hadn’t been to the doctor or had any treatment. At this point, I felt I was really pushing it to continue to vacuum, offload huge shipments, and do all the stuff she didn’t like with the business, while she talked to customers and made merry with her daughter. I did not resent her for this, however— I was happy to help a hardworking woman get more out of life, as it was obvious she had worked so hard for so long without relief.
I went to a psych doc appointment and the woman was concerned with the cough I still had and was also concerned when I told her I was having issues sleeping, because I was nervous about the next day’s work. She gave me a prescription for vistaril— a cousin of benadryl, that helps with sleep and hopefully, my cough as well. I took it that night before I went to bed.
I wake up groggily to a phone call from my boss. I had been doing openings for a while now, and she had grown used to coming in an hour or so later than opening. She is saying no one is answering at the shop, and she had called to tell me to do some something or another. It’s pretty obvious I had been asleep. ‘DO YOU MEAN THAT NO ONE HAS BEEN AT THE SHOP FOR THE PAST 20 MINUTES. THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE!’ she yells at me, before hanging up. She then calls back. I answer again, she tells me to get there as soon as possible, and I run to get there within 5 minutes. I’m sorry. I accept the abuse, but I felt I deserved it. I haven’t taken vistaril again to this day. But from that moment onward, the issues escalated. I take responsibility for my part in this, but it was my first mistake.
I had not been taking lunch breaks, as many people answering this question mention. I wasn’t given breaks, or would be expected to eat within 5 minutes and get back to work, and some days she worked past her official closing, leaving the shop open for stray people to walk in, and we wouldn’t close to 6pm, sometimes even 7pm. I was working overtime technically, and not being compensated for it, much less given breaks.
She started to turn the shop over to me, despite this issue, more and more. Another day she was gone and someone brought their dog in while I’m alone unloading shipments. I stop, talk to her, talk to her dog, and ask if I can help. She’s just browsing. A minute later and she’s leaving without a word, and in a hurry. The stench of dog poop smacks my nose. The dog had pooped on a rug. I call my boss to ask what to do next, and follow her instructions. She’s very upset— as if it’s my fault the lady’s dog took a poop on her rug, when she allows pets in the building normally (having 4–5 dogs in the shop of her own). Her instructions are very meticulous as she’s admitted she’s a bit phobic of germs, but again, I take responsibility for what has happened, and work hard to resolve the issue just as she asks. She made it clear when she’s there next I did not fix the issue to her standards, with some more snippy statements that suggest I wasn’t raised properly and am not whole as a person. The rug was clean and drying from the steam treatment she had me give it. Despite her complaints, she does nothing more to it.
Finally, my family suggests I make a doctor appointment to figure out why I’m still not getting better. I make the appointment and tell her the next day at work that it will be during work hours, because that’s all they could offer. She hesitantly agrees to it, and I even put it on her personal calendar for her.
The week until the appointment goes by quickly, as I’m almost completely alone in the shop most of the time, as she flutters off to do the things she’s missed in life because of work. A recent dog at the animal shelter has gotten her eye, and she decides to go take off to look at the dog one day. I remind her again my appointment is that day. She’s visibly upset, and says I can’t go, as I must watch the shop.
‘But you told me last week the appointment date and time were fine.’
‘That was a week ago. I didn’t know this was going to come up.’
‘I’ve been coughing the entire time I’ve worked here. Don’t you think that upsets the customers? Don’t you think they notice?’
‘I don’t think anyone cares.’ She curtly snipped back, perhaps not noticing the implications of her words.
I took off my apron, and hung it where I had taken it down four hours earlier. It was stained and second-hand— tied in knots I didn’t make. The last employee had left it that way.
‘If that’s the way you feel, then I guess this is it.’ I said, my teeth clenched together, restraining my anger. I didn’t even have any lunch bags or other belongings to take home, as I’d stopped even trying to eat at work. It wasn’t worth the conflict and it took a tole on my nerves, watching her get upset when a customer would come in during my break.
I was scared even as I walked out the door. I knew she was right— I’d need luck to find another job. But that didn’t mean she owned me. That didn’t mean I didn’t deserve food breaks, healthcare, or to be treated human. I wish she’d treated me just a fraction as well as she treated her dogs.”