Quitters, in the United States, don’t get the love they deserve. Stick it out in quiet desperation is the twenty-first century sutra. Quitters have to beat the odds. They face a marketplace that’s no carrot and all stick: constantly hitting new heights of unregulated cruelty, run by giant bad actors who think minimum wage is $7.25 more than you deserve. Whatever finally did it, the story is usually so ugly you wonder how they held out in the first place (bills).
But sometimes your conscience quits before your paycheck hits—without consulting you—and you realize you can’t, literally can’t, put up with the next grope, the next racist taunt, the next little act of cruelty towards colleagues or clients or customers, and you’re out.
This year, we’ve talked to many people who quit their jobs. They, like you, glued themselves together every morning with anxiety over rent, debts, people to feed, and then hauled themselves back into work. And then, one day, they said no. These aren’t always stories that grab headlines. They’re small, intimate tales of capital and life during this pandemic, like a shelf of chipped and colorful mugs.
Happy holidays to the quitters. Read their stories.