“Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.”—Osayi Osar-Emokpae.
“Quitting is the easiest thing to do.”—Robert Kiyosaki.
It’s an experience most people dream of but not many people get the chance to do, whether from fear or opportunity: Walking off the job. It can be a great feeling, to simply walk right out of a job, either in a blaze of glory or in silence, but it can also be horrible to be the one who is providing the job and an employee simply leaves without notice. Here are some of the best stories people had to share about walking off the job.
42. Getting the Message Across
My boss wouldn’t let me go to the bathroom to throw up, so I puked on her, told her I quit, puked next to her, then left.
41. Cutting the Two Weeks Short
I put my two weeks in. My boss came in and started being a jerk and making sexist comments toward me. In front of all of our customers, I told him his behavior was why he was on his second divorce and that he could finish my shift, and I left right there.
My regulars loved me for it and some even said I could work for them. It was pretty sweet.
40. Setting the Trap
I had a boss who ate everybody’s lunch out of the fridge. When I quit, I brought in a beautiful cheesecake, professionally sliced. Took out one slice, brought it to his boss, expressed my gratitude for the opportunities that I had there, and that I was leaving.
I said that out of appreciation, I was giving her (the big boss) a full cheesecake, and just brought in a slice so she could enjoy it, the rest was in the employee fridge, waiting for her to take home.
Long story short, she caught my boss eating HER cheesecake. I doubt that he ever stole lunch again.
39. Mornings Aren’t For Everyone
I used to manage a grocery store. We had to come in at 6 AM to start throwing the loads and getting the store ready for the day. Had a new hire come in five minutes late on her first day, at 6:05, just to give me her locker key and tell me she has never woken up this early in her life and that she can’t do the job.
38. Just Going for Some Cigarettes
Hired a delivery driver to work with construction materials. First day, he had a 26-foot box truck and three stops in the Frederick, MD market, about two hours from our warehouse. He leaves at 7:00 AM and is back at 11:30 AM.
I see him and say “Wow, that was really fast.” He says he’s going to get some cigarettes and will be right back in. Gets in his car and leaves, and we open the truck and everything is still there, exactly as loaded. He doesn’t answer his phone and never comes back. We never found out what happened.
For the next six months, anytime anyone in the warehouse was having a bad day, they’d say “I’m going to get some cigarettes.”
37. Turning Herself In
I worked at a prison. We had a woman come in and get hired. The first day on the job is when we start the fingerprint scan to upload data to the feds, and also when new hires do their physical and TB tests.
She had gone down and not come back after three or four hours, so we called down to see what was up, Turns out she was wanted two states over for identity theft, and was now being housed at intake.
36. An Eight-Month Distraction
The fastest was the one who was a no-show their first day. It’s all good, about eight months later they contacted us to say they were ready to come to work.
35. Don’t Mess With My Uncle
My uncle retired and, after some time had gone by, he decided to get a part-time job at a bait store for some extra spending money.
The afternoon boss told him to be there at 8 am, but when he showed up at 7:45 am and knocked on the door to be let in, the morning boss told him that he was 15 minutes late. The guy started to get in his case about how he was expected to be there a half hour before his shift to straighten up and restock shelves.
My uncle told him he could take his job and shove it up his butt. He was back on the road by 7:48.
34. Running for the Dream Job
I was the quitter, sorry.
I went to an interview at my dream job, came home crying because I thought I had BOMBED the interview. Called up the grocery store that had offered me a job “as soon as you get into town.” The next morning, I go in and do the training exercises and start learning to scan groceries.
The HR person who was in charge of my paperwork and training went home without telling me, So after a while of “What do I do next? Do I have a boss? I’ve been here six hours… Am I supposed to take a lunch?” I got a phone call from the museum I had wanted to work at in the first place saying I had got the dream job.
I rushed out of there so fast, I had to hang the grocery store apron on the cart return because I accidentally took it with me.
33. Me Dijo Una Mentira
The first day. I worked at a phone store in a very Hispanic neighborhood. He claimed to be fluent in Spanish in the interview—I probably should have verified that.
He learned pretty quickly that he’d really need the Spanish, so he got super stressed and stormed off. I later found out he took a $900 Galaxy S5 with him when he left.
32. Nightmare Intern
I worked at a place where I didn’t get to hire the interns, but had to manage them. My VP just hired pretty women.
There were great interns and terrible ones, but Beth took the cake.
She came in 30 minutes late. I started to take her through how our business worked, what our industry was like and what she’d be working on. She was on her phone and got pissed when I told her to put it away. She refused to take notes while I took her through all this.
I then sat her down at 10:30 and asked her to clean a list of potential clients in Excel. She laughed and said she was getting a coffee which I assumed was from our office. 45 minutes later, she shows up again with a Starbucks, and 20 minutes after that she says she’s going on lunch.
I told her she used her lunch up to get that coffee—she needed to get some work done. She laughed again and left. Didn’t come back the rest of the day. I sent a note to her professor about this.
The next morning I got a call from her professor apologizing for her behavior and letting me know she would be failing her internship.
My VP was pissed because “Beth seemed like just the kind of person we need around here.”
31. He Had Fair Warning
Employee here. Had a guy get hired, was sent to get his drug test, and never came back. We tell them about the drug test when they fill out an application and also when they interview.
I was told that he was called and asked why he wasn’t back from going to get the drug test and he replied “’Cause I didn’t go do the drug test,” and when asked if he was going to, the answer was apparently a firm, concise “Nope.” So that was that.
30. I’d Have Been Fired Within an Hour
I was hired to work in a stockroom once. I didn’t need a job at the time but fancied a bit of extra money. Second shift I got threatened with the sack ‘cause I went to the toilet three times in an eight-hour shift, apparently, I should’ve told them I had a bladder problem on my application.
The boss was a generally enormous jerk in a few other ways too, but when I didn’t need the job and was getting brought into her room to watch CCTV footage of me heading to the bathroom every few hours, I was like yeah… no.
29. Day One Bump
I was a supervisor at a grocery store a few years back. A guy I knew from high school got a job at my store and at a fast food restaurant at the same time. He told me that at the end of the month he would quit the job he liked less. The next day he quit my store.
I asked him why he wasn’t waiting a month as he planned. Turns out, on his first day at the fast food place, all of the other people on his shift including the manager went out back to smoke and left him running the whole store alone for a couple of hours during the lunch rush.
The owner found out, and fired everyone except him, and promoted him to the manager. On his first day. He decided he didn’t want to bag groceries after that. I didn’t blame him.
28. It’s Too Damn Hot for a Penguin
The quickest that someone ever quit was 15 minutes. I hired someone to work in a manufacturing plant. We did a tour of how hot the floor would be during the interview. No problem.
The first day at work, he walked out after 15 minutes of work because it was “too hot.”
27. Taking the Janitor Job, Minus the Duties
We had a guy show up his first day—after tons of testing, and a paid flight—just to refuse to clean toilets. He said he would clean everything else but not the toilets. He was a janitor. They bought him a ticket back home.
26. Not Putting Up with Harassment
Once I worked a temp job at a salmon canning factory for a week or two. We got a couple of new temps one day, a girl in her early 20s and a creepy guy who could’ve been 25 or 40.
The guy spends all day trying to hit on this girl, asking her if she will be his girlfriend within a couple of hours. He then begged her to go on a date with him on our lunch break.
I guess he followed her to her car at lunch and started harassing her. She drove off and never came back. There are some really awful people out there and I feel terrible that women have to put up with people like that.
25. A Battle of Wills
How about a story about the opposite? An employee refusing to be fired?
I wasn’t there when this happened but I shared an office with this legend for a couple of years. It was a governmental agency and they had hired a new supervisor. This particular employee and the new supervisor just DID NOT GET ALONG. It was like oil and water. Cats and dogs. Constant, constant friction between them. For no reason and for every reason.
He got wind that she was planning to fire him in a day or two. So he stopped going to work. Figured that if she couldn’t find him, she couldn’t fire him. He refused to answer his phone. He refused to return messages. This was before email was widespread but I’m sure he would have ignored that too.
And then a miracle happened. The supervisor got fired a couple of weeks after he stopped coming into work. The new acting supervisor called this guy and told him it was safe to come back to work. So he did.
BTW, this acting supervisor was a great guy. After I had been there less than a year, and consequently didn’t have much leave built up, I had a very serious health issue. It kept me out of work for an entire month. After my vacation and sick leave ran out, he just started marking me as being present with the understanding that I would work every extra shift possible when I got back to pay back the time. It was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.
I left that job years and year ago, but saw on Facebook a couple of years ago that the legend retired.
With a full pension.
24. Leaving the Scum Behind
I worked four hours as a cold-calling telemarketer. Never went back, never picked up my check for the work. The managers were the scummiest people I ever met and I was literally the only person on shift who was sober. Everyone else, managers included, was on something.
23. You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit!
My dad was fired from a construction job in the late ‘70s on his first day.
His employer did property restoration after natural disasters. The supervisor told him and another kid to go into the basement and fortify the foundation or the structural beams without proper safety precautions. Dad told him no. Supervisor threatened a firing. Dad took the firing.
22. Too Much Working for Work
Not a manager but work in an office. This was a few years ago when I was still interning while in college. We had a kid start fresh after graduating college and he was gone three days later.
He had never worked a job before except being a camp counselor at a hockey camp. He complained that “All everyone ever does here is work” and that “Everyone was super old.”
Yes… we do work during our job. And the average age of his department was like 25.
21. Fun with Nail Guns
My first day on a carpentry job, a 20-year-old kid—I was 22 at the time—shot me with a nail gun from about 20 feet away. He thought it was hilarious and so did everyone else, including the company owner. I got right the heck out of there.
20. Taking a Sword to the Face
I delivered pizza in college. After a crappy summer working in a room that is 80% oven, walking through temps that hit 109 into a car with no AC, I was ready to go.
Then I came back from a run to see the Manager and Asst. Manager LARP-ing in front of the door. As I tried to get through one of them hit me in the face with a “sword.” Hey, PVC still hurts, even when it’s wrapped in a pool noodle.
I yelled “Forget this! I quit! ”
I then threw my hat on the ground, took the sign off my car and set it in the parking lot, and drove off. I went back for my last cheque a week later, picked it up without saying a word, and drove off again.
19. Done Collecting Debt
I worked for a debt collection agency for a very short time. I talked an elderly woman into spending her Christmas savings to pay off the credit card bill that her deadbeat son had racked up. The very next call, a guy in Philadelphia screamed in my ear for interrupting him “While he was busy chillin’.”
Took my headset up to my supervisor, told her I was done. She asked if I was quitting. I said yes. She said “That’s cool. We’ll mail you your cheque.” Went home and got drunk.
18. Acting Like We’re Quitting
I did landscaping and the owner of the company was a complete jerk. I worked with two other guys about my age—20 at the time.
We were at a job site where they wanted trees planted, but the area they wanted us to start digging was covered in asphalt and all we had were a couple spade shovels. Went to go ask the owner who happened to be at this location if he had a pickaxe.
He told us to “Get the hell out of my face, go back over there and act like you’re doing something.” All three of us got in the work truck, drove over to the office down the road, and told the office ladies we were quitting.
17. Who Needs Time for the SAT?
I worked at a small store in high school. I needed to take the SAT across the state at 8 am and as you know, it’s a long test. In advance, I requested the day off. The day the schedule was released I was scheduled. I brought it up to my boss, and he said, “Why do you need the day off?” I told him and he said, “Why should I let you have time off for that?”
I was also denied a nickel raise—big deal—when I worked every weekend and covered everyone’s shift… but someone’s nephew got a quarter raise and literally only worked three months out of the year.
I threw my till at him, and said, “I quit.” He asked me “When?” I said, “NOW!”
He was enormously flabbergasted and I stormed out. Best feeling ever.
16. Future You Says “Thanks For Looking Out”
I wanted something part-time when I was in university, so I applied for at the local cinema chain, and got an interview. It was one of those high turn over places. If you got an interview there was a 95% chance you got the job.
The guy working the box office radioed to his manager when I got there and was told to take me to room 7. We got to room 7 and wait. And wait. And wait. About 25 minutes pass before to manager starts screaming abuse over the radio because we were not in room 2.
So off to room 2 we go, on the other side of the building—it was a 15 screen cinema. The manager starts trying to turn on the charm, and I basically say, “If that’s how you treat your employees in front of a job candidate, there is no way I am ever working for you” and asked the other guy to show me out.
I’m sure it made no difference for his behavior, but it saved me a lot a potential abuse.
15. Getting Corporate Involved
I was 19 and started to work at an oil change shop.
The manager was a 24-year-old guy who, within the first hour of me working there, bragged about hanging around the trails near a local high school and beating up 14- and 15-year-olds for their money.
He also said that if I’m cleaning out a car and I find money or if I see pills, to take them and give it to him. He had a racket where he would steal illegal things from people’s cars and threaten to call the cops if they didn’t let him keep it.
Left at the end of my shift, called the corporate number and quit, telling them everything this guy was doing.
Drove by there the next morning and a cop was questioning him. The place closed a few months later.
14. “Forgetting” to Pay You
I was young, broke, and desperate for a paycheque so I took a job cold calling. The job itself was awful, but the worst part was in order to get paid you had to submit your hours, your supervisor had to approve and then submit the hours. Well, the supervisor was in the process of getting promoted and she “kept forgetting” to submit our hours.
I worked for almost two weeks with no pay—when it was promised weekly—before I simply walked out.
Now that I am older, I would never let that happen to me again
13. Not Risking His Life
I was a cable puller for three days for a telecom company, and we were doing some pulling on a building under construction. Me and the tech were on the 56th or 60th floor. There were no windows or guard rails… nothing.
I went into one room and felt so unsafe. The wind was swirling, I could barely see because of the high winds. I asked the Tech if it was safe and he said: “We do this all the time.” I got right the heck outta there, told the union what was going on, told HR what was going on, and quit that day.
12. A Clean Getaway
I walked away from a secondary job in my early 20s. I worked full time in an agricultural factory and worked nights as a line cook at a small regional chain restaurant. I hated the job, hated my boss, etc. I was on break, smoking a cigarette in my car, and thought to myself “Why are you working here? They screw you on hours, screw you on pay, and the GM does nothing but scream at staff.”
So I drove away. Never talked to anyone, never went in for my last paycheque, nothing. Never heard from them and they never heard from me again.
11. Making the Right Decision
Not me, but a friend. He went in to tell his manager that he might need time off due to his dad’s cancer being terminal, and that he only had a few months to live. His boss, who was an old senior who treated his workforce terribly, said: “You need to make a decision about what actually matters: your job here or your father!”
My friend didn’t even bother saying another word, he got up and left the company. He emailed HR saying he quit, citing his manager’s comment.
10. The Modern Way to Get Free Work
“I won’t pay you to design that logo, but when my friends ask who did it I’ll tell them and you’ll get more work that way.”
9. The Tyrant’s Tantrum
I worked in an accessories store for one day. At the end of the shift, the manager asked me to put a bucket load of tiny earring packages back on the walls. A few hours later, I finish and apparently misplaced a few of them so she threw all of them to the floor and said to do it again. NOPE.
8. No Desire to Get Used to It
When I was 16, I had an interview at a local pizza place in a not-so-good part of town. I was hired, and as I was walking out, two guys came in and robbed the place.
The manager gave them the money in the register and they ran out. I looked at him and he said: “You get used to it.” I never went back.
7. No Empathy
Mine had to be when I was 18 and working at a video rental store. I was helping the manager during the before-open shift, getting new items stocked on the shelves that had come in that morning.
My mom called me and told me that my dad was having a heart attack and she was panicking while waiting for the ambulance. Why did she call me at work to tell me this? The store I worked at was in a strip mall type area behind my cul-de-sac—my house and the store were separated by a small alley and a three-minute walk.
I told my manager what was happening and asked if I could leave to help my mom while they waited for the ambulance. She said no. I just stood there looking at her, thinking she couldn’t be serious. I would be gone for all of ten minutes and would be back to help her if needed.
She stressed how important it was to get the things done that needed to be done and I could only leave if I called around to the other workers and found someone to come in and cover for me while I was gone. I took off my name tag slammed it on the counter and walked out. I never went back for any reason. For any who might wonder—my dad came out fine, he was only in the hospital for a few days.
6. The Stereo Cons
I once saw a Craigslist ad for a stereo salesman. I showed up to a warehouse where a bunch of dudes got into a minivan. The owner told me to go on a run and see how it is and then talk about the job.
Turns out all these guys did was lie to and con people. They would go up to strangers and say “Hey man, my cousin got this stereo but he just got arrested and I don’t need it. It’s worth $500 but I’ll gladly sell it for $200,” then use pushy tactics to get people to go to the ATM and give them money.
The system was a piece of junk, off the brand unit and I overheard the owner saying in bulk that they only cost him $20 to buy.
Yeah… I got out of that pretty quickly. I also called the police.
5. Cockroach Surprise
I worked in a bakery. It was my first day so I get there in the morning to meet everyone. Then, they have me grease up baking trays for the others to fill… I lift up the first tray and like 10-15 cockroaches just scatter everywhere out from under the tray. I tell the guy showing me the work that there were cockroaches and he just shrugged…
This was all in the back of the store, the customers were about 10 feet away.
So I tell the guy that I’m not feeling too well after about an hour of doing that, and I head to the bathroom.
When I came out I told him I couldn’t do that job and he told me to get a real job then, so I left and got myself a proper job.
4. What Goes Around Comes Around
On my second day at a clothing store, the managers plus all the other coworkers went out to lunch together and left me alone in the store. I wasn’t able to ring up people yet, and the store was packed. I just walked out.
3. Finding Out Fraud
I was the plant manager at a small private company.
I had done some research to try to fix problems we kept having with the product out in the field, and, in doing so discovered the company founder/owner/president had faked most of her product data and we were essentially selling snake oil—lying to customers and setting ourselves up for huge legal liability.
Behind her back, the company board had asked me to prepare a report once they got word that I was trying to fix things at the plant. I prepared the report, gave it to my boss, the company president, and she ordered me to destroy it and lie to the board.
I told her I wasn’t going to lie to anybody, and she asked me if I knew what that meant.
I told her I did, dropped my keys on her desk, and left. I called my wife on the way out, told her I’d be home early, and called the maintenance manager to tell him he’d be running the opening production meeting tomorrow and however long the plant stayed in operation.
That turned out to be about two weeks, because after the board found out what had happened, they started withholding funding checks and bank account access to the owner/president, and things went downhill after that.
Bonus: a year later, I got subpoenaed by the SEC—the bad one, not the football one—to provide written testimony about the company president’s statements, financial handling, etc. for a financial fraud investigation.
2. Prove It
Worked at a restaurant in high school. It was pretty fine for a first job, worked with a lot of school friends, but after a year or so my two main friends had left and while I was on good terms with the remaining crew, we were far from close.
Also, they hired a total witch as a manager who seemed to have it out for me even though I never did anything out of line.
Anyway, I usually worked kitchen and on Sunday after church, we always got crazy-busy even though the rest of the day was typically slow—meaning we kept a small crew and just pushed through the lunch rush. 1 PM rolls around and suddenly my screen goes from one order to completely full (eight orders) with four pending. I’m literally running around the kitchen making sandwiches, fries, chicken, staying on top as best I can, but hey I’m one guy.
The manager comes into the kitchen entrance and stands there leaning against the wall making crappy comments like “Wow, you’re slow today” and stuff like that. I was still hitting our speed goals without a partner in the kitchen, she just liked antagonizing me.
I asked her “You think you can do better than me?” and she replied, “Of course I could.” I told her “Okay then, go screw yourself”. Took my work hat/shirt off, tossed them on the counter and walked out.
The look on her face is something I still proudly remember seven years after the fact.
Best. Feeling. Ever.
1. Getting All of Life’s Necessities
I was working at a grill restaurant, and the owner was the kind of angry mobster that you really didn’t believe was real until you actually meet one. Most of the staff were criminals or generally kind of thuggish.
One night, a chef threatened another with a knife and the first chef walked out along with half the staff, mostly the servers. The other half decided they weren’t going to run a restaurant on half-staff, and left as well abruptly, leaving only me.
I threw up the closed sign, tried to help the few customers that were left, and then stayed the ENTIRE night prepping for the following day. Making soups, cleaning the deep fryers, chopping veg, everything that a team of eight was expected to do.
When the boss came in the following morning I, exhausted as can be, explained to him that his entire staff had left and that he didn’t need to pay me for the overtime at all. He listened quietly, then in response uttered a phrase I’ll never ever forget.
“What do you need to live?”
I was so overtired that I joked that at the moment all I needed was sleep, but when he repeated it angrily I started to realize it was not okay and said I didn’t know. This was his following rant—imagine it in a furious thick accent.
“To live, you need food, water, clothing, and shelter. When you work here, I give you all the water you need and food discount. Covers your needs, you see? I give you uniforms—CLOTHING. You are under my roof—SHELTER. When you are here, I give you everything you need to live. It is because of me you are alive, okay? So do not tell me I do not need to pay you. I do whatever I want with you and you say thank you, because you live because of me, I am your god when you are here.”
I have never left a job faster.