Two months ago I left a job of twenty-plus years to pursue this dream to be a writer. The decision to leave should have been an easy one. Corporate caca corrupted what was once a great place to work that provided a job that was fun to go into every day and turned it into a soul-sucking cesspool that broke people down physically and mentally. Most individual goals there used to include churning out more product, improving the quality of said product, and managing to do both in a safer fashion. By the time I left, most individual goals were one of two: 1) Get yourself a cushy job that allowed you to be part of the problem, or 2) Getting the hell out of that place. The second goal was the more popular of the two, but decent benefits, four weeks of vacation, and a liberal absentee policy made the decision to leave a difficult one. For many of us working there it seemed like we were in prison with no chance of parole.
My breaking point was small and quite silly. However, it was the latest in a long string of pointless and seemingly arbitrary decisions that left most of us shaking our heads in disbelief.
Our manager held quarterly meetings designed to keep us informed of performance and what to expect in the coming weeks and months. A recurring theme in all of those meetings was customer complaints, the most common of which was hair in the product. By now it seemed we had exhausted all possible means to reduce hair complaints, yet the manager asked for more ideas. The manager then mentioned seeing some men with chest hair sticking out of the top of their uniforms and recommended that they should cover it in some way. Upon hearing this, I turned to a coworker and said that we would all soon be wearing our top shirt buttons closed regardless of lacking exposed chest hairs.
A few weeks later I returned from a long vacation and noticed my coworkers were now wearing their shirts with the top button buttoned. They told me of the new policy. I laughed. We were told that the policy was handed down from corporate “for our safety”. Whether this was true or false mattered not to me. The coincidence was too obvious and proved to be the proverbial straw that broke my back. I’d had enough.
My last day of work was an easy one that provided me plenty of time and opportunity to contemplate my future. Working for the company was no longer a part of it. A like-minded coworker and I discussed the possibility of quitting several times throughout the day. We were, in some fashion, trying to talk each other into it. My coworker managed to accomplish his task. I failed him miserably. By day’s end I had come up with a plan that meant quitting my job within two weeks.
Fate, however, had other plans.