These are some of the most dedicated employees out there, so it takes some truly disturbing behavior to get them to drop everything and quit. Seriously, if everyone knew what sort of dark shenanigans went on in these companies, they would be run into the ground immediately. Be very, very careful when it comes to those job descriptions! Content has been edited for clarity.
What Really Goes On At Google?
“Believe it or not, I ragequit Google. I joined Google as one of its first engineers in 2008, with the sole purpose of using my software engineering skills to help alleviate the suffering of the poorest people in the world. This was my dream job, nd I was thrilled to land it straight out of grad school. In January of 2010, an earthquake killed over 100,000 people in Haiti, so I started a project to help displaced survivors reconnect with their loved ones. It took three days for us to launch the official Google Person Finder. My collaborators and I realized that we wanted to keep building tools like Google Person Finder and making them available to help people in disasters, so later on that year, we lobbied our superiors and convinced them to let us form the Google Crisis Response team. Over the next five years, our team grew, and we created several other external and internal tools, including Google Crisis Map and Google Public Alerts. We activated the team for the tsunami that caused the Fukushima nuclear disaster, for Hurricane Sandy, for earthquakes in New Zealand and Nepal, for storms and floods in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Pakistan, the Boston Marathon bombing, the 2014 Ebola epidemic, and many other incidents. We prided ourselves on having a special mission at Google: we didn’t launch products to make money or harvest data for ad targeting, or hook users into the Google ecosystem. We were the one and only team whose overriding priority was to create technology to help the most vulnerable people in the world, and the fact of our existence became something that people all across the company loved and were proud of.
As anyone with experience in non-profits knows, it can be hard to maintain a consistent direction when you don’t have something as concrete and quantitative as profit to guide you. There are many different ways to do good in the world, and deciding which are the most impactful ways to apply your resources and skills is a matter of complex debate. As a ragtag team in the corner of an enormous corporation, my team got reorganized frequently. Almost every year, our leadership changed and attempted to steer us on a new course, and every time that happened, it disrupted what we were working on. Projects in flight would get cancelled, and brilliant subject matter experts would get laid off when we decided to switch from one sector to another. Some of my teammates got tired of this and eventually left or moved to other Google teams. The work wasn’t easy. It was stressful to be driven by unpredictable emergencies. On any given day, I might hear about a disaster on the news and it would mean cancelling all my plans for the next few weeks as we threw ourselves into a flat-out sprint. But it was incredibly rewarding to be able to deploy the privilege and power of Google to provide humanitarian assistance for people in need, and that kept us committed to the work. In late 2014, yet another reorganization was looming ahead. There were rumors that we might get split up this time and rearranged into different parts of Google. Several of us were worried that we would lose our precious ability to prioritize our humanitarian mission, and we voiced those concerns to management. We were reassured that, no matter what happened, humanitarian needs would remain our first priority, even if we were working with other Google product teams. But I didn’t have much capacity to lobby for us then, because Ebola was exploding in West Africa. At the request of Doctors Without Borders, I launched a project to help with their response efforts. At the time, the outbreak seemed terrifying, and I quickly decided to drop everything in my life and move to London to lead a software team working on the epidemic. It was the hardest, most exciting, and most personally costly work I had ever done. I stayed there for five months, away from my friends with nothing to do but work day and night under intense pressure, and it took a toll on me mentally and emotionally. When I landed back home in 2015, I was exhausted and deeply depressed.
I returned to the Google office to find the feared reorganization underway. We asked our superiors for more visibility into what was going on, and requested that we be able to give input into the process that was to decide the fate of our team. They asked us to be patient, promising that there would be a meeting where we could share our thoughts, where they would listen to us and work with us to plan the steps ahead. With morale lowered by uncertainty about our future, the weeks dragged on, until finally they announced that the meeting was scheduled. Some of us discussed what we wanted to ask for and prepared what we wanted to say. We all gathered in a big conference room, with our questions and proposals in mind. A Google VP walked in and opened the meeting by immediately announcing that we would be split up, some projects would be shut down, and the surviving projects would be scattered across the company, all moved under commercial divisions. No one asked for our opinions. I raised my hand and asked the big question: would we continue putting our humanitarian mission first? The answer was no, we would all be reporting to other product teams now, and those would determine our top priorities. If it just so happened that we could do our work in a way that would also help people, we could do that, but the business priorities came first. The next morning I announced my resignation. Journalists never reported on this because there was no official public announcement. We would still donate money to good causes, but any company can give out money. What I helped to grow and develop used Google’s unique strengths and massive leverage for the benefit of the least privileged, at least it used to.”
His One Chance To Fight Back
“I worked at produce market when I was in college. I really, really needed the job. I literally had empty cabinets and only one shelf of food in the fridge on a regular basis. I had been working weekday evenings only for a couple of months, but I picked up a Saturday shift. I was helping a customer when the owner walked up and interrupted our conversation, asking me if that was my yellow car in the parking lot. I said yes, and the owner snidely replied, ‘On weekends, our parking lot is reserved for customers only. If you value your job, you will go punch out, move your car to the lot across the street, and never park in the lot again!’
I was so astonished. I had been working full-time every summer since I was fifteen, and I had never been talked to like this by any coworker or boss before. It was especially worse in front of a customer. I told her that I was not aware of the parking rules, since I always worked on weekdays. I removed my apron, handed it to her, and said that I would be punching out and not punching back in. I totally quit right then and there. I told the customer I was sorry that I was not able to finish helping him, and I just walked out. I really needed that job, but I was so ticked off that I couldn’t stand the idea of working there. My supervisor called me later on that afternoon and tried to get me to come back, but I just couldn’t. No one had ever told me the rules, and the owner treated me like a second-class citizen. At my previous jobs, those employers truly valued my contributions. This woman was obviously used to being abusive and condescending. This was not the first hint of the owner’s management style I had since I had been there. It just never was directed at me. Sometimes you just have to walk away. This is the only job I ever quit on the spot. I am actually quite a tolerant person and pretty laid back.
Things did work out for me though. I got a job at the mall a few weeks later and eventually got a roommate that worked at a deli. I ate a lot of sandwiches as a result. The following year I changed schools, and I went back to work for the company I had worked at through high school and the first couple summers of college. My pay was nearly triple what I was making at the mall. I graduated debt free and started my career. It’s all good!”
One Way Ticket To Retail Purgatory
“I was in my mid-twenties, working myself to absolute death in a small-town office supply store. I mean that the amount of work I was doing as a department specialist was staggering. I was basically working and running half the store myself, so the store manager didn’t have to. This happened while the assistant manager above me was doing nothing but taking a paycheck, stealing digital cameras, and lying about being a trained ninja. Staff was kept to a minimum to make store numbers look better. I was just straight-up in retail purgatory. It’s also important to note that my store manager was an arrogant, incapable monster two steps from heart failure, who had been shunted to that small-town store just to get him out of the way twice. They would had to remove him for a while based on employee and customer complaints, some of them in the vein of physical harassment. I don’t know how he managed to keep his job. Anyway, one day, he comes up to me. He’s concerned about my attitude. He says, ‘Customers love you. You know what you’re doing, and you do great work. But as soon as you’re not talking to a customer, your whole attitude changes. You never speak to me with respect or enthusiasm. I can see on your face that you don’t want to be here. I mean, look at me! If you just improved your attitude and wanted to be here, you could be me in a couple years! Think about it!’
So I did. And that night, I went home, applied to go back to school, and I quit my job the next day.”
Massive Red Flag
“I had a senior software engineering role at a leading telecom company in the U.S. There were issues that came up every night that would take a while to repair. I had huge pressure to work a 60+ hour week with completely unrealistic goals. After a few months, I realized that this wouldn’t just be a crunch period of adjustment, this was how it would be all of the time. After giving my notice, my manager set me down and told a story of how I would have to decide what was important and take life seriously. His example was getting a call to come back to the office for an emergency, so he handed his two year old daughter off to a neighbor he didn’t know, just so he could come work all night. Yeah uh that’s a huge nope from me. Then on my last day, the vice-president pulls the team together and absolutely rips into this one guy for taking twenty minutes to support an issue, since he was still driving home at the time of the issue and couldn’t log in immediately when called. I put in my two-week notice, but the director took some time to return with a counter offer. The counter was that I should stay and work through any issues that I was having. I told him no thanks, and he started to legitimately threaten me. He wanted me to stay an extra week at the company, but I already had another start date lined up at another place. I immediately went to HR, who fully supported my two week notice. Since leaving that awful place, I have been with the same company now for fourteen years. I get to do some challenging work with fun and intelligent people who I consider my friends. I also have plenty of time for my kids and my hobbies.”
“During the financial crisis of 2008, the car dealership where I was a salesman sold out to a competitor. We were given the opportunity to hire on with the new ownership if we wanted. The dealer who bought us had kind of a shady reputation, but I didn’t want my years of experience with our models to go to waste, and I figured my customers would be better served by me than some other shady guy. From the start, the new management treated the staff who transferred from previous ownership like red-headed step children. I was already considering quitting. Then came the final straw. A young woman came to the dealership driving a car that was simply not safe to have on the road. She was a single mother of three and knew she couldn’t continue to transport her children in this deathtrap. After chatting with her for a few minutes, it was obvious that she would not be able to secure financing from a lender. I had been in the business long enough to know when it just wasn’t possible. I brought the customer inside to get her the contact info of a dealer who sells older cars who could probably help her. My manager insisted that our ‘special finance department’ could make a deal happen. I had serious doubts, but when the boss says, ‘show some cars,’ I show some cars. I was shocked when, after the woman spent a couple of hours in the finance office, I was told to get the car prepped for delivery. Financing had been secured and the customer was taking her brand new car home.
Two weeks later, I returned to the dealership after my lunch break to find that customer standing outside the showroom in tears. When I asked what the problem was, she told me that our ‘special finance department’ called her and told her that she would need nearly ten thousand dollars as a down payment. Before, they told her (and me) that it was a done deal with zero down. They also said that they had already sold her trade in, so if she couldn’t come up with $10k that day, they would have to take her new car and leave her with no transportation.They had NOT sold her trade in. I knew right where it was on the back lot. After confirming the situation with my manager, I was so disgusted with their tactics that I got the keys to her old car, drove it around front, and rode with the woman to a nearby used car lot that does financing in-house. I had to burn a favor with the owner of that lot, but he got the woman in a safe car at a price she could afford. I never even went back to clean out my desk.”
One Cherry On Top Of A Putrid Sundae
“I worked at the local hospital as a supervisor. Basically, I ran the department while the manager attended meetings all day. The manager ended up getting a promotion and wanted me to apply for his position, so I did. Unfortunately, the manager’s boss wanted his son-in-law in that position, but the SIL was a moron. His application was so bad that HR wouldn’t even give him an interview. I knocked my interview out of the park, and the big wig was pretty ticked off. He continued to drag his feet on the process, throwing additional nonsense in my way. I ended up waiting nine months and going through three interviews in total, including one with the Vice-President, and all of them I excelled at. The big wig kept wanting to wait for ‘someone with better qualifications’. No one else was applying, so eventually the big-wig started to talk to me about offers and salaries. One morning, he pulls me into his office and tells me they reposted the position with different requirements, so I needed to reapply. Needless to say I’m livid and went straight to HR. HR brushes me off for a month and end up bucking the complaint back down to manager and big wig. So I have a meeting with them to go over it, and I bring up my side about how I did everything they asked and continued to ask. What does manager say? Nothing, there is no support there. The crickets in that room were silent from the cringe at that point. The big wig basically says too bad.
I was seething mad. I had been jumping through their nonsense hoops and doing my job and my manager’s job for years now, and my manager couldn’t be bothered to help me. I went to my manager, chewed up him, threw my keys and badge on his desk, and I left. I didn’t even bother to clean out any of my stuff. It has been nine months now, and I still talk to some of my former coworkers from there. The idiot SIL actually got the job. The manager was running ragged because the SIL had no idea what to do, and my former position couldn’t find anyone qualified in our small town. The cherry on top of all of this? My former manager called me about four months ago, begging me to come back. I just laughed and hung up on him.”
Book Store Bashing
“I worked in a bookstore and was about to get a monthly-hour contract instead of just a call-up contract. Everything seemed to go fine, and I even called up one of the higher ups to confirm stuff was in order, after some discussion about the amount of hours i should be working. But I noticed that my paychecks seemed oddly low for the amount of hours that I had been working. I didn’t think much of it until covid hit, and I wasn’t able to work anymore due to regulations. I had been sending mail every week about my remaining paychecks, but I never got a response. Finally, I got a notice that there was an accident due to a ‘confusion over my contract’. I quickly wrote a letter to the higher ups about the payment policy due to an inability to work, as well as the lack of communication I was experiencing. I expected a faster reply, but I got nothing. Eventually I was able to go back to work in the store, when one of the high-ups came and found me. I was in the middle of helping a customer, but he stormed over and demanded to know what my problems were. Shaking and angry, I quickly listed my issues, ut he dismissed all of them. I was totally flabbergasted and felt so isolated in that moment. My manager was willing to help, but she was scared to speak up to this guy, out of fear of losing her job. I took matters into my own hands, and I called up a public lawyer to help me out. A month later, I get a letter from that executive, still claiming that everything was correct and he would pay me a small amount of money to stay quiet about the entire thing. I was fuming at this point, and I certainly would not give in. Two weeks later, I got another letter from this guy agreeing to pay my wages correctly for that time period. It added up to about 1500 euros. I had already written my resignation letter at this point, but boy did it feel good to have won that encounter!”
It Got More And More Sinister Every Second
“I was unemployed and had a job interview for a cable installer position. The position advertised for $20 an hour, 40+ hours a week, and it included benefits, so it seemed like a pretty good deal. I get to the interview and find out it actually consists of two interviews: a group interview followed by 1-on-1 interviews with the hiring manager. In the group interview, the hiring manager explains that the position was actually minimum wage and based on commission. He also explains that we need to supply our own tools. He then tells us how they assign jobs, and we have no choice over which ones we get. Right before the end of the group interview, one of the other guys asks if there were any other expenses we were responsible for. The hiring manager tells us that we had to pay for our own gas, tires, and repairs on our assigned company van. I look out in the parking lot and saw that all the vans looked like twenty year old pieces of junk. As soon as the hiring manager went back to his office, I just left. This was a few years ago, and afterwards I found a job that I have been at ever since. That job wasn’t a total scam! The whole thing sounded exceptionally sketchy, but I was young and naive at the time, and I didn’t even think to report this to anyone.”
They Deserved So Much Better Than What They Got
“I recently quit my job as a call center worker after four very long years. For background, I worked in customer services for a popular retailer in the UK. During lock down, when their stores were closed, we had increased online sales, which also means we got increased call volumes. I busted my butt to ensure that customers were happy with their purchases and resolved any issues they had to the best I could. One day, we got an email from our CEO saying that even though we had the highest volume of online sales, we still would not be able to get a bonus due to corona ‘affecting’ the business as a whole. I only ever had a bonus once when I was working there, even though we were supposed to occasionally receive them based on good work. What made me really ticked off was that we got absolutely nothing in return for this massive increase in call volume. There was not a pay increase, no extra holidays, not a token of gratitude, and not even a thank you letter for all the hard work. We also found out a couple days later via the mainstream news that the big wigs at my company all got a pay rise. At this point, myself and a few other people went ballistic, and we all handed in our badges at reception and left. I got a new job a weeks later without any problem, and I feel so much happier and more positive nowadays. This was the first time ever in my life I walked out of a job in anger.”
The Best Way To Get Back At A Wicked Bos
“I got injured on the job, to the point where I needed time off to recover while receiving my physical therapy. I went into the therapy one day, just in time to hear my HR calling my physical therapist and telling her that they had canceled my insurance. My physical therapist, to her credit, put the phone on speaker to let me hear what was going on. I had worked for this organization for sixteen years. i had pulled numerous all-nighters for them, sacrificed family and holiday events for them, given up vacation time for them, and I had put up with tons of nonsense from my wicked boss and her cronies. According to them, I was often the most incompetent, lazy, and terrible person at the company. I put up with that workplace for way too long, just because I loved the clients I worked with and I truly believed in what i was working on. But that day when I heard what my HR was doing was when I completely lost it. I cussed out HR over the phone, and I ended up never setting foot in that company’s office ever again. I still had one more paycheck, but it was for a measly ten dollars I earned from working part-time one day. It wasn’t worth it. I have zero regrets, except that I should have quit sooner. It is definitely not worth giving 200%, when all you ever get back is the kinf od criticism and backstabbing that would bring you to tears.
Life is so much better now. I have gone on to much bigger and better things. A few years back, my old boss reached out to me with a really slimy begging message about how it was all water under the bridge, what a good employee and friend I’d been, and blah blah blah. I toyed for a week with sending her a response back, but I finally just ignored her. One of her biggest pet peeves in life was people not answering her back, and I could tell she wanted something bad if she was desperate enough to contact me again. I later heard from someone still connected to the organization how it really upset her that I had the nerve to ignore her. Classic narcissistic behavior, which I’m pretty sure she possessed, although I couldn’t say if that’s a clinical diagnosis or not. She definitely had serious issues. I still chuckle about that sometimes, since I’m only human. Anyways I’m doing much better now. Have hope readers!”