The Big Quit. A Jobless Tale.

Why am I still fucking unemployed? Am I completely unemployable? After all this time, do I actually suck as a Chef and Instructor? Were the voices in my head correct? Is it because I have something in my teeth that I don't know about? Granted, this is not the best look but it is a good picture if you take that little black dot out of my teeth. Why can I not find a job that fits my skills? Lord knows I have been at it long enough to warrant some interest for fuck sake, even if I have schmootz all over my face.

The "Big Quit" or my personal favorite, "The Great Resignation", is in full swing and it's about fucking time. John Deere, Nabisco, food service professionals, airline workers, among so many others, are all finding their voice. These are the people who, before this whole shit storm started, did the menial work that most of us took for granted, for very little in return. You didn't notice them and you took them for granted thinking they'd always be there. Well guess what, Mister Man? They didn't go back to their old jobs. They finally took your advice and got a better job. Can you blame them?

What I read from all over employer land (want ads) is that everyone needs good people to fill positions, people, "not afraid to work," I have also seen people apply for jobs that they are qualified for and not hear anything. Surprising? Not really. I was raised to have a strong suspicion of "The Man", and from where I sit, The Man doesn't need their employees back, they need their slaves back.

According to job statistics, more people quit their job last month than any other time, since they have been keeping track of shit like this. Maybe I can get a job keeping track of shit like this? If I want to die of boredom, maybe.

We are all tired of working for less than a living wage in less than ideal conditions. We are tired of being treated like we are expendable. We are tired of having some loyalty and belief in our place of employment, only to be let down again and again.

Recently, I got a job at a local grocery chain. They gave me just over the minimum wage for my area, but along with less than an ideal wage came the glorious benefit of health insurance. You know, because we live in the richest country in the world and cannot provide decent insurance to every one of its tax-paying citizens. Which makes working stiffs like me look for jobs that have health benefits, a benefit that all breathing humans should have a right to, but only the rich can afford.

Not what I thought when I graduated culinary school so many years ago, but a job is a job, and it has benefits. Fuck you Richard Nixon and Kaiser Permanente, you started some of this.

So off to work I went.

The moment I walked through the door they moved the goal posts. During the interview process they guaranteed me 40 hours from start. Once I got in the door what they actually meant is I would get 40 hours after I went through the three weeks of training. And even after that I would only be scheduled for 38, because you know, overtime.

I get it. I have done your job, the middle management gig, but I was at least honest about the pay. If you are going to pay just above minimum wage, (crap), the least you can do is be honest, and there is a small comfort for employees in knowing that they aren't getting sunshine blown up their ass. Yes, the pay sucks but they are not being lied to.

Then there was the issue of employee safety.

When an employer states that they will police the mask mandate and require all customers to wear a mask, employees in turn expect them to live up to their promise and not walk right by a mask-less customer and do nothing. Employees rely on employers, to some extent, to keep them safe. It is a reasonable expectation, after all. I know that it's a tough job, but it is your job nonetheless, and not doing it while simultaneously forbidding your employees to say anything to PWM, (people without masks) is the height of negligence and a blatant lack of leadership. You are letting your employees down. Do better. (But you won't, you haven't yet and why the fuck would you start now?) It's not like you're desperate for capable employees.

What this tells me is that at the end of the day most employers really don't give two shits about their staff and only care about customers coming in the door. Shame. All in the name of Free-Dumb and the bottom line. Fucking lip service is what employees are getting.

Then, I quit that job because I thought I had something better lined up. I didn't quit because I was working in an unsafe environment. One where my employer failed in their basic job duties; to keep their employees safe. I have done that before, hell I spent the entirety of my 20's without health insurance. I have worked in some inhumane conditions where my meat thermometer reached 125 in my pocket. I joked that we were cooking med-rare that day. Fuck, with my utter lack of basic coordination I was rolling the dice just walking across the street.

But that better job fell through. This one's on me. I smoke weed, and it is a government job, and I couldn't pass the piss test. Yes, I am a clown. They changed the rules/moved the goal posts (like employers do) and I couldn't do a damn thing about it. Stupid metaphor, but it works, and I don't have a good explanation for why I couldn't pass the piss tests when I have passed EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM previously. The explanation is, I smoke weed and three days is not enough time to detox.

I want no sympathy. I will persevere. I have every other time, why would this be any different?

This is not a cry for help from me. Far from it. It is a call to arms, motherfuckers. It is the moment to stand up and say that the status quo is no longer acceptable. Until we address the wage inequality and start treating workers like they deserve to be treated, the song will remain the same. We will get nothing accomplished. We need to support our brothers and sisters in arms on those picket lines. I will burn your motherfucking tree to the ground before I have another Chips Ahoy. I don't care how delicious your cookie is you stupid elf, I will not break!

We are all struggling. We are all doing our best. All I ask for is kindness and a little bit of compassion moving forward. Kindness to the stranger doing their best through very difficult times. Compassion for the workers who are not only enduring abusively mask-less customers, they are also, most likely, putting up with negligent employers. Kindness to whoever you come across in your daily travels. When you tell someone you appreciate them, it goes a long way to making their day better.

Remember, we have more in common than we have differences.

Food is love.

On to the next adventure....


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