Take This Job and Shove It – Why You Should Try Getting Fired (At Least Once in Your Life)

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The concept of selling hours of your life for little or no money is older than I care to research to determine an exact time in which it was put into practice.  Most normal people will start off with at least one or a few incredibly crappy jobs.  They’re the type of jobs that have miserable employees who are treated like garbage by customers who are the scum of the earth and have no other way to feel good about themselves.

Well after being an Resident Assistant for two years (which was much longer than any other job I had ever held), I quit so that I would have more time to waste on anything but writing.  After all, these were the steps I took towards pursuing my dream at the time.

It wasn’t long before I realized an obvious fact about life.  If you don’t work, you don’t have money.  If you don’t have money, nothing is good.  Some people say that money can’t buy happiness and they might be right, but I wouldn’t know seeing as how I’ve never had any money.  Nobody says that poverty can buy happiness.  Actually I’m sure somebody somewhere does because this is a big world full of all types of people.  This hypothetical person is out of their damned mind.

Some people say that money can't buy happiness, but nobody says that poverty can.

Needless to say, I started looking for a job.  It wasn’t easy in those years right after the financial collapse.  I should say it wasn’t easy for most people.  I got hired at the first place I applied to.  For the most part I’m a pretty unlucky guy.  Somehow all of my luck has become concentrated in the arena of finding employment.

It was a new pizza franchise, Marco’s Pizza.  If you’ve read some of my blog posts, you know that pizza and I go way back and that it’s something easy enough that I can do it in my sleep.

Well, not Marco’s.  Marco’s had standards and the most adept micro-manager in the history of people who are awful at their jobs.  Her name was Patty and she was a raging Bitchasaurus.  Patty supervised much of my training, which to give you some perspective, was extremely unnecessary seeing as how she was in charge of managing multiple locations within the franchise.  She never let the scope of her responsibilities get in the way of counting how many pepperonis I put on each pizza though.  Or how precisely I stuck to the telephone script for taking orders.  No matter how busy the store was, she ALWAYS had time to be right there breathing down my neck.

Luckily, she had a great teaching style.  She would tell me to move out of the way while she made the pizzas for me, all the while shaming my efforts.  Minimum wage pizza makers are kinda supposed to count pepperonis, but customers truly don’t give a crap.  They don’t taste the difference between 28 and 30 pepperonis.  It’s one of many instances where “Close Enough” is identical to its cousin, “Good Enough.”

I only worked a few days that first week.  It was hell.  I hated it.  Nobody had heard of this stupid chain and I didn’t make any money in tips because there were so few orders.  I didn’t know the delivery area and I didn’t have a GPS to back me up.  If I called the store for directions, they put me on with Patty and I experienced the sudden urge to just drive as far away as possible in one direction until my car ran out of gas.

After being totally lost on a delivery and having plenty of time to stew in my own frustration, I decided I would wait for the opportune moment and then quit.  There was no longer a need to keep my temper in check with this lady.  Next time she was asking for it, oh I was gonna let her have it.

I was only there for a week and a half, but I got to know one of the shift leads pretty well.  He was as laid back as Patty was wound up and we bonded pretty quickly over the single closing shift that I worked at this crap factory.

It was my second Friday at Marco’s when I took a delivery to a high school football game.  The booster club was selling pizza by the slice at the concession stand.  As condescendingly as she possibly could, Patty told me to leave the pizza and bring back the hot bags.  I took the pizza to the game, left it and was about to walk away bags in hand when the nice parent volunteer behind the counter asked if they could keep the hot bags seeing as how that was the usual arrangement.  The customer is always right, but I played it safe and called the store.

Answering the phone was the nice, overweight general manager (who in retrospect I feel bad for seeing as how she wasn’t allowed to do her job with Patty sucking all of the air out of the room with her aura of horribleness).  Fat manager told me to go ahead and leave the bags.  I did just that, flashing one more toothy smile at the customer before departing.

When I returned to the store, Patty immediately asked me where the hot bags were.  I explained that fat manager told me I could leave them with the customer.  Patty told me to turn back around and go get them.  This was my opportunity, but I didn’t take it.  Yet.  I went back to get the bags.

Back at the football game, the friendly parent volunteer kindly told me that they were still using the bags to keep the pizza warm as they sold it.  I didn’t want to be the bad guy, so I called the fat manager to put her on the phone directly with the customer.  Apparently fat manager didn’t want to be the bad guy either, because she told the customer that she could keep the bags for the second time.  The customer handed the phone back and I was informed of the resilience of the status quo in terms of hot bag possession.  I had tolerated all that I could of this dump.  I wanted to lash out, but this wasn’t fat manager’s fault, it was Patty’s.  So in a level, controlled, cold-burning temper I calmly told her to “Thank Patty for wasting so much of my time tonight.”

When I came back, I was fired.  This was to be expected, but the way that it was carried out was entirely unexpected.  Patty, for all her micromanaging, delegated firing me to my buddy shift lead.  If you’ve never worked in a fast food chain, shift leads are often high school kids.  It wasn’t in this case, but still, that is the level of employee that she chose to do her dirty work.

Being that I liked this guy, I didn’t yell at him when he told me to go inside and get my stuff without talking to anyone, especially Patty.  Instead, I flashed my most playful grin as I said, “Come on!  Let me have a word with Patty.  I’m already fired anyways!”  He kindly asked me not to do that and I really felt bad for the position that he was in, so I obliged him.

It was one of the most gratifying experiences in my entire life.  As cogs in the system, we all have to put up with so very much bullshit at work. For an exercise in asserting your self-worth, I encourage everyone to take the opportunity one day to tell their boss to fuck themselves.  Don’t do it all the time and don’t do it if they aren’t a bad person.  Just keep this suggestion in your back pocket for that moment when you can’t take it anymore.  I guarantee you it will be worth it.  And I’m pretty sure once will last you an entire lifetime!

Tell someone important to fuck off every once in a while.  It's good for your health.

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Parents Weekend

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Parents weekend snuck up on me every single year of college.  Luckily, my parents only chose to participate for Freshman and Sophomore year.

Being the decent, moral, religious folks that they were, I had thoroughly expected it to be a distressing weekend in which I tried to hide the byproducts of my debauchery from their judging eyes.  I was an adult and I didn’t need anymore of that “I’m so disappointed in you” crap.  In the days leading up to that weekend, I knew that I would need to clean up the beer cans, take down the beer pong table, and kick all of the beautiful naked coeds out of my bed.  Then I could feel guilt-free when I put on my best know-it-all teenager face seeing as how I wasn’t actually rubbing their noses in my sinful lifestyle, just walking around like the new man that it made me.

Given my well-documented social struggles, there wasn’t a ton of clean up necessary.  I hid my fancy bourbon and shot glasses away behind some stuff under my bed.  I folded up the barely-used ping pong table.  Most importantly, I hid my fake ID, which I never kept in the same place as my real license anyway.  Seeing as how they would be in my room and I didn’t want to leave it somewhere obvious like a drawer, I put it in the console of my car underneath a lot of other junk.

My family and I met up with some friends from back home at dinner the first night.  Our parents were friends from the swim team that their daughter and I spent so much time with throughout high school.  I felt like such a failure that I didn’t have anything to hide from the adults as we discussed our adjustment to college life.  Afterwards, my parents turned in early.  They wanted to be well rested for the football game the next day.

I picked them up from their hotel the next morning so that they wouldn’t have to pay to park on campus.  It saved them a huge nightmare of circling the garages on game day.  My dad mentioned that he needed to go to the bathroom, so we stopped at my dorm building and he and I ran up to my room.

At this point, I was sweating a little bit.  My mom had no reason to go through the console of my car, and I had my fake hidden in such a way that she would really have to dig to find it.  Still, it was stressful to picture her alone in the car with an item that could get me into deep trouble with my parents.  Granted, I would have done my best to pretend not to care that I was in trouble with them, but it really would have bothered me.

There's no shame in not wanting to disappoint your parents admitted no teenager ever.

My dorm was parent-friendly and my dad looked around before settling in at my desk chair.  This wasn’t the bathroom.  I wondered what he was doing.

“Your mother is under the impression that you have a fake ID.”

My performance must have been convincing enough, “What?!”

“I know.  I don’t know where she gets these things.”  He studied me.  “Give me your wallet.  I will just tell her that I looked through it while you were in the bathroom.”

I handed it over, thankful that the ID was in the car next to my mother, who was assuming that my father would find it in my room.

He didn’t find it.  The room got more comfortable.  He went to the bathroom and we went to the game, which he and I were more or less enjoying.

I knew that I would get under my parents skin if I joined the crowd chant of “Bullshit!  Bullshit!” when UCF was hit with a questionable penalty.  Naturally, I became one of the loudest voices in the student section.  My mother hit me and scowled.

But that was it.  It was all that she could do to me.  I was a grown-up now.  I couldn’t be grounded for using colorful language.

She didn’t want to stay for the second half.  She said she had a headache, and I wondered if I had shattered her heart with my profanity.

That was probably one of my dumber thoughts that weekend.

I’m proud to say that the UCF student section is insanely loud.  Brighthouse Networks Stadium is not a fun place for the away team.  We jump up and down on the metal bleachers, creating a racket that drowns out most communication on the field.  We howl during every defensive possession.  Fan forums love to boast about this, but I was always skeptical about the true impact of the ruckus until this year.

This season, my girlfriend and her business partner got press passes so that they could shoot pictures of the game.  They watched the home games from down on the end zones and she was shocked by how much of the student section’s cacophony polluted the field.  It’s no wonder my migraine-prone mother couldn’t handle a full 60 minutes of football.

The twelfth man actually does make a difference.

On a side note, Ben reached out to me a few days prior to parents weekend.  He let me know that his folks would be swinging by the dorm.  His solution to the fact that they were paying good money for a bed that he wasn’t sleeping in?  Well, he just figured he would put some sheets on it and lie, and he asked that I corroborate his story.  By now, I realized that the room was way comfier with him not in it, so I was thrilled to play along!

Do you have any awkward stories to tell about your college’s Parents Weekend?