rogue

"I can't believe I stayed so long": 7 women on what drove them to 'rage quit' their jobs.

It’s a scenario most of us have thought about at least once before. OK, maybe more than once.

After months of putting up with condescending colleagues, a micro-managing boss, unfair conditions or general crap at work, you quit your job in a blaze of glory and swear words, storming out, never to return.

Sure, rage quitting (i.e. quitting one’s job on the spot under less than cordial circumstances) is a deeply satisfying idea, but not always realistic in a world where references matter and jobs are scarce.

But what about the women who have rage quit? What was the straw that broke the camel’s back?

Mamamia spoke to seven women who rage quit their jobs to find out.

Before we get into it, here’s a look at what the star signs are like when there’s a problem at work… is your’s accurate? Post continues after video.

Video by MMC

1. The primary school staffer.

I had been at my old primary school as an administrative and support officer for four years. Looking back, I am astounded I stuck it out for so long, but my three children went to the school and it was a close commute for me. One of my colleagues was awful from the get go. She used to threaten my job security daily, would continually bring up errors in staff meetings and it was always insinuated they were my fault. She’d also make sure any mistakes I did make were common knowledge.

Bullying and harassment were daily occurrences. I’m a strong, confident person with an excellent work history and she somehow made me feel like a child. It got to a point where I’d just had enough. I told her in a meeting that I could no longer work with her and she was impossible to talk to. I walked out in tears, which only infuriated and embarrassed me more. I made a formal complaint with the department and my principal. He called a meeting with both of us in the room, but I felt like I couldn’t speak freely with her sitting across from me.

I worked in a different section of the school for a term and was eventually offered work at a different school. It’s a bit shit because my daughters still go to that school and I feel guarded whenever I have to go there. My dad went to the same school when he was growing up and I used to have a lovely connection to the place. Now, not so much. But, I’m SOOOOOO much happier and can’t believe how bad the previous workplace was.

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"I'm a strong, confident person with an excellent work history and she somehow made me feel like a child."

2. The recruitment agency executive.

I worked at a recruitment agency and the culture was very much a boys club. The whole leadership team was male and because they were all mates, they got away with whatever they wanted. My manager truly had NO idea how to manage someone and was such an insane micromanager. He would throw me under the bus all the time but this wasn't my first job and I could handle it. When I got promoted, they hired someone to take my place working under him – a young girl who was passionate and excited to learn.

His new staffer was 21 and had no experience as it was her first real job. He compared us all the time and would tell her how she wasn't living up to his expectations. He would literally emotionally abuse her, be incredibly passive aggressive, gaslight her, make her think all the deals he lost were her fault, treat her like a complete idiot, and refused to give her any training or help.

She would vent to myself and another one of our female colleagues, she was in tears at work all the time. One day, I helped her draft an email asking our managing director to meet to chat about the situation. I helped her build her case, come up with her evidence of how he was treating her and wrote out points for her to say to keep the conversation on track. She so bravely went into that meeting and told our managing director everything. She was balling in the meeting (the meeting room was glass – this is important for later). The managing director said he had no idea this was happening and would coordinate a meeting for the three of them to sit down together and hash it out.

The girl left that day feeling so empowered. We thought finally something was going to be done about the power dynamic with the boys club at the top. The next day everything was fine... until near the end of the day, her manager put a meeting in her calendar for 5.15pm. The managing director wasn't on the meeting request. At 5.15pm, her manager took her into the glass meeting room and in front of all of us watching, fired her. The managing director had told the manager he could deal with the situation however he wanted, so he chose to fire her.

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As you can imagine, I was f*cking pissed. I felt so guilty because I encouraged her to speak up. The next day, I went into work and wouldn't look at or speak to my boss. He would ask me questions directly to my face and I would ignore him. Obviously, it was so unprofessional but I didn't care. After hours of extreme tension, he put a meeting invite in my diary for 2.30pm. As soon as that diary invite came through, something switched inside me. I knew I could just take his meeting, nod my head and be stuck working for this sociopath, or I could get the f*ck out. So I typed up a resignation letter, printed it off and went into that meeting.

We sat in the meeting and he told me why he let the girl go. He tried to explain that she wasn't a fit, that she wasn't cut out for recruitment. After his horrible attempts at explaining away his decision, he said, "Is there anything you'd like to say?" I pulled out my letter and said "Yes, this is my two weeks' notice." IT WAS THE MOST MOVIE-WORTHY MOMENT OF MY LIFE. HIS. FACE. WAS. PRICELESS. Then, I went into a rage blackout going IN on him about how wrong firing her was, how he was a coward and I was disgusted by him.

I worked my notice and didn't look at or speak to him for the entire two weeks. After I left, I decided to take as much time as I needed to work on my passions like blogging and YouTube, and that actually led me to the job I'm in now. I'm now doing a career I love and have a side hustle I'm passionate about that I otherwise wouldn't have had the time to start if I was still employed by them.

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"My manager would throw me under the bus all the time, but this wasn't my first job and I could handle it." Image: Getty.

3. The nanny on a super yacht.

I was working as a nanny on a super yacht in the Greek Islands for a family – it was just the mum, dad, their baby and I living on board and sailing around having a ball. One week, the mum and baby went on holiday (from the holiday?!) so I was left alone on the yacht with the dad. He was French, and needless to say, he turned out to be a massive creep.

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He told me he was in an open relationship and then brought lots of women onto the yacht. One afternoon, I came back from town and had to swim the 10 metres from the shore to the boat. I had to run past the dad and one of the women to get to the shower. He started screaming at me, telling me I was getting water everywhere and was ruining the deck. I end up quitting and packed my big backpack as quickly as possible to get off the boat. I asked him to drop me to shore, but he refused. I had to paddle board my way there with my 30kg backpack and all my worldly possessions.

4. The civil construction engineer.

After being continuously undermined in a managerial role in a male dominant industry for the better part of a year, I threw the towel in after an outburst from a colleague. Said colleague (a 60-year-old man directly reporting to me, a 28-year-old woman) felt it necessary to accuse me solely for a loss of profit in the company. He said I was a pity hire and everyone knew I would fail at the role, and that some of my own staff had been whispering behind my back. He said the company and the livelihoods of others would be better off without me.

I’d raised concerns about this colleague with the director previously, who did little to nothing about it. So, this is the day I rage quit. The whole thing was all kinds of confidence destroying and truth be told, it’s been six months and I haven’t gone back to work yet. But, it turns out they are not better off without out me, but I am better off without them. It was a complete turning point for me, and nobody can and will treat me like that again!

5. The fashion designer.

I was working in the fashion industry with a nightmare boss who was a liar and constantly criticised me. The boss seemed to get pleasure from others’ misfortunes (she would make jokes and be disparaging of other staff if anything bad happened to them) and I knew if she said those things about those staff, she’d be saying the same about me. She would push me to make certain decisions and then undermine those decisions, almost like she was setting me up to fail. She was unreasonable about all sorts of tiny things!

She would call me 10 times a day to make sure I'd done a task, then once it was complete, call me constantly to tell me how I could've done it better. She was quite obsessive and tried to manipulate me into doing her own dirty work, but then would criticise me for it. I couldn’t take it anymore, so one day, I literally told her to “stick your stupid job, I’m done with your shit.” I told her that I didn’t like her dishonesty and the way she treated me. The look on her face when I told her to stick it was the best.

I’m completely fine now, and even at the time, I was fine as I felt like I’d taken some control and power back over the situation. It was the catalyst for me leaving the fashion industry altogether. I ended up getting a job in another industry about two weeks later, and a year later, I enrolled in uni to study psychology. I’m now a clinical psychologist and couldn't be happier.

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"It was the catalyst that made me leave the industry altogether." Image: Getty.
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6. The retail assistant.

When I was 17, I worked at a luggage store in the city for about 10 months. It was a very strange, poky little shop tucked away on a street off the main mall that was always filled with young female shop assistants, but no customers. The owner of the store gave me creepy vibes from the day he interviewed me (he asked me if I had a boyfriend in the interview, which in hindsight, was a huge red flag) but I was about to start uni and needed a job that paid better.

In the first few months I worked there, I made a couple of pretty stupid mistakes. Just silly mistakes that cost the company money, but no more than $100. Both times my boss totally flew off the handle, called me a “stupid girl” and took the money out of my salary. I apologised and felt terrible, not to mention about a centimetre tall. From then, he just seemed to really, really hate me. He told me I had “street smarts, but no book smarts” and that I had a “brilliant customer manner” but lacked logic in the workplace. After working there for about six months, it was clear it had turned into straight-up bullying.

He’d organise staff dinners on a Friday night but made sure I was working the late shift so couldn’t attend. Another time, he invited the whole team to watch his ballroom dancing competition (lol) but didn’t invite me because he “didn’t think I’d want to come”. The list goes on. It got to the point where if I walked into the staffroom, he’d turn around and walk out. He also made awful comments about people who came into the store. He once told us “never to accept resumes from ‘bigger girls’ because they won’t be able to go up and down the stairs” and if a man applied, we were to throw the resume away immediately.

One colleague told me he massaged her shoulders, and once asked her for a hug because he was “lonely”. Other girls would tell me he’d comment on their looks, what they were wearing, and would ask them about what exercise they did to “stay in such great shape”. He also told us he had access to the store cameras from home, so was always watching what we were doing on the shop floor. It all made my skin crawl.

One shift, I made another dumb mistake. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but my boss was absolutely furious. He yelled, and I mean YELLED, at me in front of everyone, including customers. People from the street even stopped and stared. I felt my face go red and my eyes fill with tears. I’d had enough. I stormed into the staffroom, grabbed my keys from my bag, slammed them on the counter, said “I won’t be coming back” and walked out. I felt a huge wave of relief wash over me. I never had to deal with him again.

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I’m so glad I left when I did, because if I had stayed any longer, I know the bullying and belittling would have only become much worse and impacted my self-esteem and self-worth. I’m 26 now and working far, far from retail, but I still shudder when I think about it.

Side note - Mamamia Out Loud discuss whether thank you notes will get you a job in 2019. Post continues after audio.

7. The not-for-profit worker.

Last year, I was working for a not-for-profit where I'd been brought in specifically in the leadership area to work under a training manager. We were only a small team of six, so I didn’t expect much hierarchy, however there was a lot of status and job titles were very important. On day one, I knew there were going to be issues as I was told by the CEO that I was not her first choice, but the training manager had final approval. Because she would be working more closely with me, I got the job.

The training manager was an amazing manager and we had a very collaborative, respectful relationship. When she resigned, because the culture was toxic and other issues within the company, I knew there wasn’t going to be anyone to have my back. I decided to stick out the job because I loved the work. After my training manager resigned, I approached the CEO to discuss how we would tackle her workload. I was prepared to take on more work and responsibility and the CEO seemed happy she didn’t have to race to find someone.

I was away doing some training when I heard from the administrator at the office that the CEO had hired a new trainer – the guy she had wanted to hire when I got the job. The administrator had also just typed up his contract and told me he was going to have the same title as me, but would earn $10K more than I was, despite having no experience.

I found this out on a Thursday, and was due back in the office on the Monday. Over the weekend, I wrote my resignation letter and on Monday morning, I handed in my resignation WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT at 7.30am. By 8.00am, I had packed up my things and I was gone.

Do I regret leaving? Absolutely not! However, the way I resigned has always niggled me because it is not professional to give effective immediate notice. I have come to terms with it as I know that based on how I was treated during my year at the company, I would have been used and flogged until breaking point.

Names have not been used to protect the identities of each individual, but these women are known to Mamamia.

Have you ever rage quit a job, or thought about it? Tell us in the comments below!

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