Wednesday 21 March 2018

It's good to be a quitter sometimes...

Wouldn't you love to just throw in the towel and change your life forever? It's a fantasy that few have the means or courage to follow through

I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Okay, I may have borrowed that from Peter Finch's satirical film Network (find it if you haven't seen it), but I'd bet my last euro (which I suspect is in my pocket already) that most of us have wanted to shout something similar at some stage during our working lives.

Quitting in dramatic fashion; we've all fantasised about it. Walking into the boss's office and telling him or her to shove their job where the sun doesn't shine, and, while you have their attention, no, you didn't really think their idea last month was any good, you thought it was possibly the worst idea since Alexander Graham Bell wasted years of his potential on creating a six-nippled sheep (it didn't work).


Then you would turn on your heel, grab your coat and strut out of that office/bar/ school with your head held high to the sound of cheers from your now ex-colleagues, the envy and admiration obvious in their eyes. While we're in fantasy mode, let's throw in Richard Gere in his naval uniform carrying us out the door.

In the real world, that sort of valedictory salute rarely happens, but every so often a story emerges that gives us a vicarious insight into where acting on our own impulses might lead.

A fortnight ago, Greg Smith, a banker with Goldman Sachs, wrote an open letter to the New York Times, listing all of the unsavoury practices going on behind the closed hardwood doors at the renowned financial institution.

Were we surprised to hear wealthy investment bankers had little to no respect for their clients? Were we aghast to hear they often refer to their customers as 'muppets'?

Not at all; I'd be surprised if there weren't worse insults flying around the hallowed corridors of Goldman's. But that's not what made us sit up and take note; it was the two fingers Smith was giving to his (now former) employers that made our hearts leap.

It was imagining doing the same, albeit relatively -- be it hitting that 'to entire address book' button in our email, or commandeering the public address system in the supermarket to let everyone know what's really going on with hygiene at the deli counter.

Of course, presumably Smith's dramatic resignation was made easier by the fact that he was probably earning a six-figure sum plus those banker bonuses we're now all too aware of.

Having a safety net makes such grand gestures a little easier. Like the Corby bus driver who last week found out that his syndicate had won the Euromillions Lottery, promptly stopped his bus, announced that he had won the lottery, and told everyone to get off because he was going home.


He had probably dreamt about his 'I'm not going to take this anymore!' moment for years, and finally it had arrived. Presumably, all the passengers who had to walk home in the rain weren't cheering their support, and the fact that other syndicate members were also bus drivers in the area means that the saying 'a needle in a haystack'

will soon be replaced with 'like finding an operational bus in Corby'.

But what about stories of those who had enough, without a windfall or savings to fall back on? Last year, JetBlue air steward Steven Slater saw red for the last time when a passenger swore at him and hit him in the face with her cabin luggage.

He launched a four-letter-word riddled tirade at passengers over the PA system, grabbed a couple of beers, and activated the emergency evacuation chute and slid away to emancipation; and unemployment.

Slater's story went viral, and he become a hero for down-trodden workers everywhere who dream of telling the world they've had enough. What many people didn't know was that Slater was charged with reckless endangerment. Since then, he has been sentenced to one year on probation, but has announced he is moving to California to write his memoirs, which he will dedicate to over-worked and oft-abused flight attendants everywhere. I for one hope it works out for him.

It may seem a little insensitive to talk about dramatic resignations at a time when work is thinner than ever on the ground, but feeling under pressure to hold on to a job can sometimes only heighten the desire to chuck it in -- in an unforgettable manner. But there's no harm in a little daydreaming (like imagining your boss in the nip) or at least realising that plenty of people feel the same.

It's all about knowing when it's just a bad day and that tomorrow will be better; but for anyone who really is mad as hell and can't take it anymore, they're looking for bus drivers in Corby.

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