Resignation Letter, Take One

December 10, 2009

Dear Corporate Hotel Bar Drone:

Please consider this my formal two-week notice. I’m sorry that you disappointed me to the degree to which I can no longer stand the thought of enduring one more minute in your establishment, especially, but not limited to, the particular feel of entering the locker room at the beginning of a shift and opening the red locker, the sound of the metal, the smell of hairspray hovering in front of the mirror, the toilet that always seems to be out of order. I overlooked the fact that when I first used the locker (noting with a sense of the uncanny that the combination given to me was my mother’s birthday) that someone else’s clothes were still in it, slumped at the bottom of the locker as if the body in them just simply disappeared (and strange, I thought, that these clothes were white, like a nurse’s uniform rather than the distinct blue long sleeve number of the Hotel Bar’s “team” members). I overlooked this perhaps foreshadowing sign of an abrupt departure and simply hung my own clothes over them. I did not tell HR about the mysterious white clothes until almost a month in, when I ran into Jill in the locker room and together we picked each item of clothing out, underneath which we found one metal coat hanger, a pair of white orthopedic nursing shoes, an empty perfume bottle, and one tube of fire-engine-red lipstick. If there were a crime, surely one of these items would be a clue, but as it were, they were clues without a crime, and so their mystery hung about unrealized.

But it is not the locker room, reeking of high school gym class, nor the way I have to sit and wait far too long in front of the (new! but somehow the candy is still stale) candy machine when I call up to the front desk for the keys on those rare nights that I actually get to bartend, that is what finally did me in. I could put up with, and even, I should add, take a kind of sick pleasure in the eerie Nietzschean eternal return of the gym class, the smell and feel of the behind-the-scenes restaurant hallway, reminiscent of past fast food work experiences like at Wendy’s (despite the Hotel Bar’s aspirations for “fine dining”) as if I am playing out some therapy fantasy of returning to one’s roots, the site of orginary Work, to, no pun intended, work something out. I even grew to love the freaky people of Hotel Bar and their strange practices of “talking at” me: Kyle: the chatty dishwasher who starts to come at me from across the room for a hug, so I’ve got to slip inconspicuously behind something or sing-song my hello as I briskly walk by on my way to do something urgent and important like fill the ice bins or plate a dessert. Or Michael: the older room service attendant who weaves long stories about his years of bartending or lectures on how drinkers and drinking has changed over The Course of History. “Which Michael did you get today?” others would ask me. Thankfully, I did not get the pervy one, as I heard what Michael could be like with the guys and feel blessed that I never had to witness this facet of his multi-layered “eccentricity.”

No, it was not Michael’s impromptu lectures that broke the proverbial camel’s back, but it was perhaps the notes, yes, definitely the notes behind the bar that finally did me in, notes that assume I will eat all the candy corn and disregard the lights that need urgently to be turned off at the end of a shift (gosh, how would I ever think of that on my own?) and that I will let the dirty ashtrays pile up just for my sick, childish pleasure. And it was the schedule, the bane of my existence. Although I did not verbalize my continued dissatisfaction at the schedule, (to you, that is, poor Dawn and my saintly parents did not hear the end of it), I thought about it many times, and I felt I wore my displeasure clearly on my face when I passed you in the hallway. It is certainly not my fault that you didn’t properly interpret such muscular twitches and down-turned brows and pinched skin just above the bridge of the nose, clear signs, as anybody knows, of discontent. Or maybe you did indeed make note of my unhappiness and it was acceptable to you, perhaps it even gave you one of those everything-is-as-it-should-be feelings, for, as a person who seems often unhappy herself, a world of unhappy individuals might seem perfectly “in tune,” as it were, or at the very least, unconsciously satisfying.

That I refuse to participate in this particular version of reality might indeed, I realize, come as a shock to you. Although it was not formally part of the one-hundred page package requiring my signature upon being hired, it was in fact, I see now, part of the implicit agreement of signing on with Hotel Bar to participate in manufacturing a worldview in which we are all victims of a system much larger than us and that, in addition to producing and supplying edible and drinkable goods, we also produce and distribute anxiety and self-doubt. Please consider this letter a formal refusal to participate in this production line. I understand this might cause you some discomfort because, like a fly buzzing in one’s ear, my refusal signals the possible presence of another way of being and, if it is true that one does not need to produce and harbor endlessly perpetuated anxiety and ill-feeling toward oneself and others in the work place (and most likely carried over into one’s personal life, as these things tend to “stick”), then what, you might ask, has been the point of all your own personal suffering?

With much pleasure and also some mixed feelings (including some unexpected sadness at missing those I leave behind and also some shame that I took part in such nonsense to begin with), I leave you to ponder this as you sit down with the new schedule, in which you attempt to sculpt and control other people’s lives.

Thanks for the initial opportunity and subsequent disappointment.

Sincerely,
Stephanie

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5 Responses to “Resignation Letter, Take One”

  1. Aimee Lind Says:

    Cheers, from your overeducated bartender friend in Phoenix!

  2. stephaniehop Says:

    Hi Aimee! How are things over there in Phoenix? Do they have lame managers there too? 🙂

  3. Nicole Says:

    Ah…bittersweet, but I must say, thou doth protest, perhaps, too much. My money’s on you working a double before week’s end.

  4. Derek Says:

    As a frequent hotel bar, uh, *frequenter,* I should tell you that your post explains a lot.


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