Autostraddle Storytime Roundtable: I Quit! You’re Fired! I’m Taking the Goldfish!

Jobs are so 2006. Sarah Palin quit her job and if she ever learns to speak in actual words rather than abstractions, perhaps we’ll find out why. (cough*bookdeal*) Dan Choi and over 300 other gays in the military have been discharged this year for being homosexuals, and as you’ve probably noticed, the nationwide unemployment rate is out-of-f*cking-control  — although many are enjoying what they refer to as “funemployment.” Perhaps you too have lost your job, been “downsized,” or are living in perpetual fear that you WILL lose your job, causing you to do crazy things like work really hard instead of surfing facebook all day. OMG LIFE IS SO HARD. (No really; it is.) (And more complicated, too, when it comes to the lesbians).

Trying to do something about it will likely prove frustrating, so it’s better just to laugh at yourself/sit around and bitch & moan with everyone else — like the girl who got fired by Woody Allen and then decided to make an entire movie about being Fired.

Let us reflect on the magic and the misery in this week’s Autostraddle Roundtable: I QUIT! YOU’RE FIRED! All of these stories happened before the recession, so as you can see, misery can be found just about anywhere.

What’s your best getting fired/quitting story? Please share.



When I was at university in Philadelphia, my roommate Ben and I both got jobs at a casual Mexican restaurant in Center City called Hot Tamales. We weren’t crazy about food service, but the pay was under the table, we had all the free tacos we could eat, and I kinda liked working in a place with a “HOT! HOT! HOT!” neon sign in the window.

The day we’d found the place just happened to have been the day their entire staff had thrown a mutiny and quit, so they basically hired whatever hapless suckers had filled out an application that day. From what I understood, they didn’t actually often hire girls, and made sure that I knew that I was never allowed to prepare food – women just weren’t smart enough to understand the complicated art of burrito assembly.

From what I understood, they didn’t actually often hire girls, and made sure that I knew that I was never allowed to prepare food – women just weren’t smart enough to understand the complicated art of burrito assembly.

Girls were only good for working the register, which I guess I was fine with, until the owner started making comments to me like, “Girls can’t learn ANYTHING!” and asked me why I was even bothering going to college. This got old pretty fast, and after a while the constant misogyny outweighed the benefits of free burrito. I sucked it up and politely submitted my two week’s notice, citing a need to dedicate more time to my schoolwork.

On my last day, my afternoon class happened to have been cancelled, so I came in early to help out with the lunch rush (for which the restaurant was often understaffed). When I walked in, the owners yelled, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!?” When I explained that I’d come by to help out, they snapped at me to leave and return only when my actual shift started.stefsboss

A little weird, but fair enough – I got a cup of coffee and read the CityPaper for a bit. When I returned, the owners were gone – and so was my timecard. My roommate informed me that they’d decided I was trying to screw them out of an extra hour’s pay, and that they’d fired me on my last day for my “snotty attitude.”

Joke’s on them – I continued to enjoy free Mexican food at their restaurant for months afterwards, and in the process learned how to wrap my own killer burritos.

I think Sarah Palin should get a job at Hot Tamales.


“Goodbye boss man. It’s quittin’ time.”
(Judy, 9 to 5)


intern-vashtiIntern Vashti:

My senior year of high school I was working at [redacted smoothie shop] and it was amazing. I loved it, loved my co-workers, and knew it was a big step up from the sketchy canvassing job I had the previous summer. By summer [I started in the fall], I had every smoothie recipe memorized to the *ounce*, knew the orders of all our regular customers, and was on my way to becoming a team lead. In May/June our store was falling behind in sales compared to the rest of the district. My manager started cracking down, firing some of the weaker employees and strictly enforcing the one smoothie per shift rule [meaning we couldn’t give away free or discounted smoothies to friends and family anymore].


Some of my coworkers were becoming a little stressed about the possibility of getting fired but I was just stressed that I hadn’t gotten my promotion yet.

About halfway through June I bit my tongue. I don’t mean that metaphorically. I mean I physically bit my tongue. HARD. It bled for awhile and seemed fine, until the next morning when I woke up at 7:00 to a sharp pain in my mouth. I had to be at work by 7:45 to open.

My tongue had swollen up and I couldn’t even talk without it hurting. My Mom called me in sick and though I felt horrible about leaving my coworker alone, I couldn’t talk and Sundays were slow. I went to Urgent Care and they told me the infection was contagious, so obvs that was a good call on my part.

Moral of the story: Don’t bite your tongue. It will get infected and then … you will get fired.

The next week was my pre-planned vacation and when I got home, I called for my schedule and was told I wasn’t on it. I figured my boss had forgotten I wasn’t going to be back that week [it wouldn’t be anything new, she’d done it before] so I just let it be and called the next week. I was on hold for way longer than it should take to walk to the schedule board and back … when I finally got to talk to the manager she asked how my trip was and how my tongue was feeling and I said it was good and better and asked about my schedule.

“You didn’t get anyone to cover the opening shift you missed two weeks ago,” she said. “So you’re not on it.” I hung up in tears. What just happened? Was I fired? And if so — why? I’d never done ANYTHING wrong and I knew plenty who had.

I was told to go in and apologize to the coworker I’d left, so I did, but she was totally over it and also didn’t get why the manager was freaking out. Another week passed … no update from my manager. I go back … AGAIN. … and the coworker I run into isn’t optimistic about my future there.

I went home ENRAGED! BAWWHH! My manager didn’t even have the decency to give me any sort of official [or unofficial for that matter] notification of my termination.

It’s been a year since then and I STILL don’t know my employment status there. I should probs look into the legality of my termination. Maybe I could get some money for my troubles.

Moral of the story: Don’t bite your tongue. It will get infected and then … you will get fired.


“Janie, today I quit my job. And then I told my boss to go fuck himself, and then I blackmailed him for almost sixty thousand dollars. Pass the asparagus.”

(Lester, American Beauty)

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3213 articles for us.


  1. I was working at a salon for like 9 months. I adored my boss, I was pretty much her bitch: someone needs to cover this shift. I’ll do it! Can you clean the salon before you leave tonight? (Keep in mind that I was not paid HOURLY, but 50% commission) Sure, I’m on it like white on rice. I’d entertain her 3-yo stepson when her husband brought him in while they replaced shampoo bowls, whatever. Occasionally I had a space cadet issue with forgetting to do my assigned chore before I left – but not all the time by any means, not intentionally, in fact when I remembered I’d do more than prescribed.

    Last August though she made some changes. Walk-ins were no longer distributed evenly amongst us, but would go in order of who that was available had sold the most retail product the day before. I suck at selling retail – pretty good at doing hair, but this is a mall salon, people don’t come in to spend $400, they come in for a $15/$20 haircut! Our cheapest bottle of shampoo was $13. Come on now.

    The new girl butchered hair, but churned through clients and sold retail like nothing else. She could see 5 clients in 2 hours and sell them all something or two things, and she’d do it like this. “You need this.” Plop it on the desk. And the receptionist would dutifully ring it up. That’s gotta be illegal.

    Anyway, new girl was hoarding clients and I was NOT COOL with it, so I began to look for another job. One of the places I looked felt it appropriate to call up the boss and let her know. She called me the morning of my next shift and told me, that since I’d basically quit without giving notice, I could pack my station that day.

    I just said, “You’re funny,” and hung up on her.

    • I worked at Blockbuster for 2 weeks in high school. Standing for 8 hours to be rewarded with a 30 min break was NOT fun. Not to mention the $5.50/hr minimum wage. Now I’m all grown up and get sit with my feet up reading Autostraddle at work & I can take as many breaks as I want!

  2. I was unfortunate enough to graduate from college this past May, right as the unemployment rates were getting totally redic. I have a degree that is quite marketable in an industry that is very big where I live, but NO ONE IS F*CKING HIRING!!! And those who are hiring, hire the older candidates with more industry experience.

    So I live at home with my parents, in the middle of nowhere, in a town all my friends have managed to escape.

    • I’m kind of in the same boat as you, only I’m on the edge of Somewhere because a bus ferries people into town during the morning and evening rush hours.

  3. I worked at the library at my school (Grinnell College) and my job was filing card catalogue cards…piles and piles of card catalogue cards. I hid in the stacks and read magazines instead and eventually stopped going to work at all. The assistant librarian finally realized that I wasn’t showing up (we came and went as we pleased) and demanded that I meet with her. I ran over to the library and told her that I was a terrible employee and that she had every right to be angry and to terminate me. I told her the job was boring and that I would likely have trouble doing it on a regular basis. I listened to her frustration and anger and her NEEDS and nodded sympathetically (clearly, I was meant to be a social worker). As a result, she asked me to stay on. She didn’t ask me back the following year, however, which was a blessing because my girlfriend got me a job in the AV center.

  4. I, like Riese, could write a book about this topic. Here are the highlights:

    ~Worked at Discovery Zone. Did b-day parties and came in early on Saturdays to clean the place (thank g-d I never had to clean the ball pit). One Sat. morning, after a month of being there, I walk in to a crying manager and pissed off employees. She walked in to a note on the door. “WE were bought out by Chuck E. Cheese.” We were all “laid off”/not needed anymore. Fuck that mouse. About a year later, I get a letter in the mail from Chuck himself saying I was getting a special chance to interview for a job with them. No thanks, ratface.

    ~I gave away a free iced coffee at a donut shop I had worked at for over a year. I was a trainer, a team lead, and I gave my friends a coffee (we ALL did it ALL the time). They had set up a sting operation in the parking lot that night with a computer in the car that was synced to our cash register and saw everything that got paid for vs. what walked out of the store. They came in, asked me if I did it, I knew honesty was the best policy, so I said yes. I said sorry. They said leave. I cried and cried. I went back for the next week (though I was told not to enter the premesis again) and made little signs to put on the table asking the loyal customers to rally to have me hired back. The employees there assisted me with this campaign. I was told to take the signs down and to stop doing this. My mgr and district mgr liked me and finally told me that the CEO wanted me to take a trip to see him and apologize and he would personally decide if I could have my job back! Then they wouldn’t let me talk to him directly, they had to have his assistants hear me grovel and pass it on. So creepy. He let me back, but he had my dignity forever.

    ~Got my first restaurant gig in college as a hostess and, after 6 hours on a training shift with a girl who did not train me and just kept talking about what time she would get off of work to go party, I never went back. The manager called me for 2 weeks, and even called my mom’s house (my emergency contact) and spoke to her and told her to have me call and explain why I quit. After one 6 hour shift she said I “left her high and dry”! No call was made.

    ~Finally, I’d worked at Applebee’s for 6 years, 3 of which were as a manager after a promotion prompted by my district manager. I moved to Seattle and wanted to stay with the company, so I went to work for a franchise (as opposed to the corporate store at home). It was g-d awful and the GM was so rude and greedy, after many things tipping me off that he was not a good man to work for (he supported the way his mostly Hispanic kitchen treated women poorly because he said “it’s there culture”)I finally had had the final straw. I told him I was on 5 closing shifts in a row and that he had promised it would never be more than 2. His answer was “there is no one else to do it, and I could do it, except the next day is my day off and I really don’t wanna waste it by sleeping in after being here late.” I was awestruck. That night I finished my shift, wrote a strongly worded letter (printed up and left in the “mgr log”) for all to see, and also emailed a letter to my gm’s boss to let him know what happened. I gave examples, but said that I would walk away and not fight for this job, that it wasn’t worth it. I never went back. They tried to contact me for months to find out all of the things I alluded to in my letter, but I didnt even want to revisit that experience.

    Now I work for a non profit and read autostraddle all day…

    • Your stories are a lot like my stories! I love the letter technique. It’s like you can quit or be fired and still totally get the last word to haunt them forever.

  5. I once was hired from Dairy Queen because they thought I was autistic. Looking back, I probably could have sued for discriminatory practices…because I am not autistic…I was just a 16 year old with social anxiety disorder, ha!

  6. I feel so bad for all you guys.

    But, Riese! Wow. Just wow. For living through all that you deserve endless hugs and toasted marshmallows.

    • I know right? Instead I have $15K of credit card debt and a lot of pasta nights. But also — a lot of hugs!

  7. jobs ARE overrated. I got ‘laid off’ ( i prefer fired, its more dramatic) from my fave job so far in Feb because of the bastard recession and haven’t been able to find one since so I’m poor and unemployed, but its defo ok because I’m honing my N64 skills to expert level. May be becoming malnutritioned from only eating cereal though.

    • i agree about word usage. where i work when someone was fired they called it “termination” which I thought was waaaay more dramatic than fired. legal agreed the terminology was too strong so now they call it “separation” which just sounds like the company is divorcing them and taking the kids. whatever happened to good old fashioned firing?

    • Me and Mario Kart 64 are pretty much besties. Banjo Kazooie is also pretty high up there.

      • i love mario kart!its much better than the new wii version. also goldeneye is played a lot in my flat and is useful for deciding who takes the rubbish out etc too. you can tell we’re all unemployed!

        • When we were growing up my brother, sister and I would play Goldeneye on slappers only mode to decide who would win arguments. We figured that if we weren’t allowed to literally beat each other up feeding each other virtual bitch slaps in 64-bit glory was the next obvious solution.

  8. I had a job I loved working with people with traumatic brain injuries. I was supervisor of the overnight shift and loved being there so much that I worked extra shifts at least twice a week. Yeah, I know.

    The trouble started when I noticed a girl on another shift and began a relentless “pursuit of the straight girl.” Eventually, I won her heart and she switched over on to my shift so that we’d be able to have more off work time together, aww. But of course, it was against company policy to date subordinates. However, I saw several of my fellow supervisors in relationships with other staff so I continued on with my relationship, but with a little added effort to keep it under wraps.

    One day, after an administration meeting, the boss called me into her office and asked if I knew this girl and what my relationship with her was. I told her we were friends. It was then that I found out that she had been anonymously informed of our MySpace profiles and had seen them and the mushy comments we had left each other. She sent me home, telling me I couldn’t work until the situation was resolved. The next day I heard nothing. The day after that, she called my girlfriend and asked her six different ways if I had sexually harassed her. The following day, I was called in and fired. Come to find out some time later, the person who ratted me out was my friend and room mate at the time.

    Now, in retrospect I wish that I had called her out on discrimination because all the hetero supervisor-staff couples weren’t ever in any trouble. Or at least spilled the beans that I wasn’t the only one doing it. But whatever, I suppose.

  9. I’m on the jobhunting trail at the moment. I printed out loads of CVs to send out and then noticed on the last one that printed that I’d put my old phone number on it and had used up the last of the ink in the printer.

    I have no money to fuel my Muller Rice addiction.

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