Person handing in their letter of resignation.

Internet thrilled as boss forces employee to work backfires on Thanksgiving

A post about an employee who quit his job after being told he could no longer take the Thanksgiving vacation days he had booked has gone viral on Reddit, where it received 147,000 upvotes.

In a post shared on Reddit’s antiwork subforum, user bearandthebunny shared a screenshot of a text exchange with his employer, known as Matt. The user was reportedly told via text message that he “had” to work Thanksgiving Day and the next day due to a “scheduling nightmare” as another worker (Megan) reportedly left.

When the user replied, “I’m already cleared to fly this weekend, 24-27,” Matt wrote, “Things have changed, I’ve scheduled you for the morning of the 24th and the afternoon of the 25.”

The user then said, “I’m not coming for Thanksgiving,” to which Matt reportedly replied, “It’s non-negotiable, there are no other options. If you want to continue working here, I need you to work the 24 and 25.”

The original poster replied, “I guess I quit then, I won’t come tonight [the peace sign with two fingers]’, to which Matt said, ‘Please call me now.

Person handing in their letter of resignation.
A stock image shows a person handing in a letter of resignation. A Reddit post about an employee quitting his job after an argument over taking Thanksgiving days off has gone viral.
iStock/Getty Images Plus

Among the top reasons people leave their jobs in 2021, “lack of flexibility to choose when to work hours” was cited by nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents for a Pew Research Center study released in March 2022. the reasons were “feeling disrespected at work” (35%) and working too many hours (20%).

Was the boss unfair?

Joe Mull, author and host of Boss better now podcast and founder of the BossBetter Leadership Academy, said Newsweek the employer’s actions in the job – canceling his employee’s vacation at the last minute and ‘imposing work’ – are an example of the ‘ingrained and normalized inhumane treatment’ that has been ‘present in the workplace for years and that the workers reject en masse”. “

Brooks Scott, executive coach and interpersonal communication expert, said: “Yes, but it’s more than a question of fairness. It’s a question of right and wrong depending on your own company’s policies. The director tries to adopt a weak overall corporate policy which, in the end, offers even less structure and even more chaos.”

Thomas Roulet, an associate professor at the University of Cambridge who teaches human resources, career management and leadership at the Judge Business School, said the employer’s behavior was “unfair and risky”.

Employers must be wary of frustrating their workers in the current environment where they are already “quite demotivated and have multiple opportunities to leave and find other more attractive jobs”, he said.

A rash decision to quit smoking on the spot?

Mull said the employee “did not make a rash decision,” explaining that the user “finally had enough of this type of treatment, which falls into the category of dehumanization.”

Dehumanization is “the perception and treatment of people in a way that ignores and diminishes their intrinsic worth as human beings,” Mull said. In a work environment, this happens when “workers are treated not as people but as a commodity”.

In the Reddit post, “the company’s priorities were more important than the employee’s. This is dehumanization,” according to Mull.

Scott said it’s not that the employee was forced to quit because he had no choice. Instead, they “chose to exercise their right after realizing there was no benefit in doing more for a company that wouldn’t do the least for you.”

Darcy Eikenberg, Accredited Career and Leadership Coach and Author of Red Cape Rescue: save your career without quitting your jobTold Newsweek that the employee should not have resigned with an SMS. “They should have stuck to their agreed time off and let the manager continue to work through the issues.”

“By quitting rather than waiting to see if someone would actually fire them on Monday…they lose all access to unemployment or severance pay,” she said. “There’s nothing to be gained by reacting instead of taking a beating and addressing it when cooler heads prevail.”

Roulet said: “The employee’s rash decision can best be understood in the context of ‘the big resignation’ and ‘quiet resignation’ – two buzzwords that still reflect the current and general lack of commitment and motivating the workforce at a time of great uncertainty and inflation.”

Scott said: “More needs to be done to protect employees because not everyone is able to leave their job immediately. It’s a right to be able to do that, and it’s also a privilege. .

“But if we can’t find a way to craft laws against these practices, companies will still see more and more employees choosing themselves over their company,” he said.

Could it have been handled differently?

Eikenberg said that, from the outset, the conversation should have been over the phone rather than text.

She said: ‘Many of us have never learned a framework for when to use digital communication and when to have a conversation. So, increasingly, “the medium and the message are often disconnected in the workplace.”

Eikenberg said an employer-initiated live conversation could have started by gaining an understanding and then “making a request, not a request” to the employee.

The career coach said a live chat “could have resulted in a joint conversation to help resolve the issue,” such as the employee coming in for a few hours or the user reminding the manager that someone else could be more flexible.

“At the end of the day, if a team is set up in such a way that one person’s availability makes or breaks the business, then that’s a bigger issue and the manager and employees should go out and find new jobs” , Eikenberg said.

There are always “bigger fish”

Several Redditors showed their support for the original poster.

In a comment that received more than 11,000 upvotes, NumbSurprise suggested that when the employer said “Please call me now”, the original poster should have said, “No. Whatever you wanted to tell me, you can put it in writing.”

User grinberB wrote, “‘Non-negotiable’ guess again, f***o”, in a comment that got 9,400 upvotes.

User tooOddtooCare replied: “Actually, it [the employer] was okay. There was no negotiation [winking face emoji]“, in a comment that received 5,000 upvotes.

MysticYogiP said, “There’s always a bigger fish.”

Newsweek contacted the original poster for comment.

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