Last week, a disgruntled Jet Blue flight attendant became an instant folk hero to overworked and underappreciated working schlubs everywhere after he quit his job in dramatic fashion — he triggered an inflatable emergency slide and scooted to freedom with two beers in hand.
Then a story about a young woman who quit her thankless clerical job via pointed messages to her lecherous, Farmville-obsessed boss on a dry wipe board hit the news.
The dry wipe story turned out to be a hoax, and accounts of the Jet Blue incident have been contradictory, but whether the tales are true or not, they struck a nerve with an increasingly burdened and dissatisfied workforce.
The stories went viral almost instantly. Even in a bull economy, the urge to throw off the gilded handcuffs of gainful employment isn’t unusual. OfficeSpace, a film about a group of affable white collar IT slaves who exact revenge against their employer by embezzling company funds, was released in 1999 and became an instant cult following. In an economy where the job market is still on life support, the possibility of escape is even more remote, and consequently the fantasies of telling your employer to "take this job and shove it" have become even more intense. Last week we were able to live vicariously through the Jet Blue refugee and the fictional dry wipe quitter. For a brief moment, we escaped with them and it felt good.
Well guess what? I’m not ready to quit cheering. I’m not ready return to the grind. So I asked a few familiar faces about their own history of leaving terrible, horrible, no good, very bad jobs. Here are some tales of leaving histrionic and homophobic bosses, thankless low-paying jobs, and in my case, the biggest group of douchebags south of the Mason-Dixon line.