When I gave my two weeks' notice, I simply wrote a note indicating that I was leaving and when my last day would be. There was so much more that I could have said about why I was quitting sooner rather than later, but I didn't because I might need my retail employers for a job reference later on. And it's not like I could have said, "This job SUCKED and sometimes I hated it so much that I thought you SUCKED, but can I still list you as a reference?"
Giving notice to your employer is a little like breaking up with a significant other. You can't be brutally honest about why you're leaving, because you don't want to come off sounding like a jerk. (Side note: But there has been more than one occasion where I've wanted to say to a guy, "I never want to see you again because you're always bragging about the fancy electronic gadgets that you buy, but you expect me to pay for dinner or drinks every time we go out," or "I don't want to go out with you because your hair kind of makes me think of Dennis the Menace.")
But if I could have been honest about why I was leaving that job, here's what I would have said:
1. You make me sick. My retail job this summer stressed me out so much that I kept scratching at my arms because it felt like bugs were crawling up and down my skin. I ended up with small scabs all over my arms, which still haven't completely healed. Because it's T-shirt weather, I feel self-conscious exposing my arms in public, because I feel like people are going to take one look at my skin and gasp, "What happened to YOU?"
2. My life doesn't revolve around you. Even though this was supposedly a part-time job, it took up a lot more time than I thought it would. At my other retail jobs, I usually only worked three or four days a week. At this one, I worked five days a week, sometimes more.
It took almost an hour to commute to the Tourist Trap and an hour to get home, not to mention taking public transportation every day with a bunch of sweaty people who apparently don't believe that deodorant is necessary didn't do anything to help my nerves. Even though we were scheduled to leave at a certain time, if we were working the closing shift we were made to stay until the store looked perfect. That meant that I had to work late, anywhere from a half hour to more than an hour past my shift every time. The managers would keep coming up with more stuff for us to do, and even after we completed our tasks, they'd walk around the store and point out places that we missed.
I'd get home from work too tired to do anything but fall asleep watching TV. I hardly got any work done on my dissertation, and I missed more than one deadline on my website job. I didn't get to blog as much, and I was only able to write fiction sporadically. I didn't get to spend much time with my friends, because what I was earning was barely enough to pay for groceries, let alone a night out. I always promised myself that I would never become one of those girlfriends whose entire life revolves around her boyfriend, but it had gotten to the point where it felt like my whole summer revolved around this job.
3. Being with you makes me miserable. As I've mentioned before, I've spent years working in retail, first as a bookseller, then as a clothing store employee. I never really liked it very much, because the work is boring and repetitive; it's tiring to stand for several hours a day, and the pay is extremely low. But I didn't hate working at the bookstore or the clothing store nearly as much as I hated working at the Tourist Trap.
The tourists weren't really the problem. I mean, it wasn't fun navigating crowds of tourists every day, but for the most part they were actually nicer than a lot of the customers I'd encountered at the bookstore and Expensive Clothing Store. Even though the high Chicago sales tax (9.75%) often shocked them, they were a lot less likely to throw tantrums over the prices of the products we sold. When I worked at Expensive Clothing Store, customers would often blame me for the high prices of the clothes, and I'd be all, "Don't blame me! I just work here." (I didn't actually say that, though.) They'd get back at me by making me run all over the store to find clothes in different sizes or colors; then they'd try all of them on, leave the fitting rooms in a mess for me to clean up, and they wouldn't buy anything.
When I worked at the bookstore, one customer literally started stamping his feet like a caveman and bellowing insults at all the sellers because we wouldn't give him cash for his gift card. Other customers would get mad at me because I wasn't ringing up their orders fast enough; they'd say, "I have really important things to do today. Can you speed this up? Or do I need to talk to a manager?" I always felt tempted to say, Exactly what important things are you planning to do? Are you talking about all the money you're going to burn through, which you think makes you entitled to treat underpaid cashiers and salespeople like crap? That sounds REALLY important.
But at the Tourist Trap, the customers were usually just happy to be in Chicago and would chat about all the places they'd been to or the interesting things that they'd seen. So it wasn't them that bothered me.
What bothered me was having to work late every night. It was one manager telling me to do one thing, and then another manager telling me to do something else at the same time; then both managers would get mad at me because I didn't get all the work done fast enough. It was certain (though not all) coworkers who would stand around and do nothing, leaving other coworkers like me to pick up the slack. It was knowing that with all the money the store raked in every day, my employers could more than afford to pay us even just a little bit more (which would have made a big difference), but they chose not to while pressuring us to sell as many "add-ons" and make as much money for the store as possible. It was the fact that even though I was working two jobs (plus a couple hours a week tutoring the daughter of one of my parents' friends), I still couldn't afford to pay for all of my expenses without the help of a credit card.
Being at that job made me extremely unhappy, more unhappy than I've ever been at any other job. I've decided that I never want to be that miserable at a job again, because it can (and did) have negative effects on other parts of my life. All that misery just wasn't worth the paycheck, even though I did need that paycheck. Next summer, I hope to find something better, though preferably not in retail. I usually take a break from teaching during the summer, but I'm more than willing to teach next year. And hopefully, once I complete my degree and find a full-time teaching job, I'll never have to work part-time jobs that make me think, So this is what hell must be like, ever again.
But it wasn't necessary for me to tell my employers at the Tourist Trap why I was really leaving. Tourist season in Chicago is mainly during the summer, because it gets so cold in the winter that even locals will usually break down at one point and cry, "I've become a human popsicle! AAAHHHHH!!!!"
So the Tourist Trap doesn't need as many workers once summer ends, and I probably would have gotten laid off anyway. School will be starting soon, so I am going to take the time that I have left to enjoy a well-deserved and much-needed vacation. Although by "vacation" I mean clean out my apartment, work on my dissertation, revise my syllabi for the classes that I'll be teaching, pick up extra hours at my website job, exercise at the gym, find an apartment with cheaper rent, etc., etc. If I were to take the kind of vacation where I just laid around all day, I'd probably start imagining bugs on my skin and start scratching at my arms again. I am a workaholic, after all.
What about you? Have you ever quit a job that you didn't like? If you could say something to an employer or a significant other that you left behind, what would it be?