I Hate My Job Episode 2 (11/16): Quittin’ Time
Have you ever quit your job? I have. Usually, it has gone pretty smoothly. Everyone has behaved and said nice things about each other. Of course, I’ve always given something called notice. In other words, I’ve given my employer a chance to replace me before I left.
Quit It Already
The episode opens with a faux Fear Factor shoulder to shoulder slow motion stroll down a dirt and gravel road by the remaining four contestants, Josh, Jim, Art, and Frank. Interspersed with scenes of the walk are profiles of the contestants complete with tape rewinding noises and shots of the contestants backing up before their individual profiles are shown. For the most part, the profiles are just a rehash of what we were told in the first episode. We do learn a couple of new things, including that Art has a wife from whom he is recently separated and that Frank was in a gang and thinks he’s sexy because his wife and other dudes tell him he is. We also learn that Frank and his wife only have three children. I’m puzzled for a moment because, as the only person in the world who watched the first episode four times, I distinctly remember Frank saying he has four children. It then dawns on me that there was a reason he didn’t identify his seven year olds as twins. One must have a different mother.
Quit Your Bellyaching
The contestants eventually arrive at their destination and are greeted by Al and Stephanie. The clichés start to fly. The Rev (as Stephanie calls him) tells them that they have demonstrated that they have the passion, persistence, and performance, now they are going to see if they have the courage to take that final step.
This whole segment is hard for me to watch because it gives me flashbacks to a team building exercise I was forced to participate in at a law firm retreat. We were broken down into teams of six and had to complete various exercises such as navigating a course while blindfolded. I thought it was incredibly stupid at the beginning. The scary thing is that the exercises actually brought out exactly how the various participants interacted with their colleagues. But, I digress.
Stephanie, who really should have covered her head lights, takes over then. The guys put on halter devices. Stephanie explains that they are about to embark on the “Leap of Faith.” Fifty feet above the ground and ten feet in front of them will be a ring. The guys will have to jump from a platform and try to grab it. Stephanie, never afraid to state the obvious, explains to us that the barriers in the courses are symbolic of the barriers they are going to face in pursuit of their dream jobs. She also tells us that they need to fully commit to their dreams.
Art goes first. He tells us that he had to climb a telephone pole and didn’t think it was a big deal until he got to the top of the pole and realized it’s shaking because he’s shaking. Art leaps without much hesitation and gets his hands on the ring but it slips through his fingers. Symbolism, anyone?
Jim goes second. I’m afraid of heights so I can sympathize when Jim says the tough part is just standing up. We then see Jim’s sweat-soaked face. That was something I could have done without. He explains to us that the ring looks 20 feet away from up there. Stephanie feels the need to tell Jim to “find your center before you leap.” Eventually, Jim leaps and also touches the ring but can’t hang on.
Before Frank makes the climb, Stephanie tells him “Frank, you’ve got to be determined and hold on to that ring.” She emphasizes that it’s the only way to hold on to your dream. I’m guessing that cow manure processors don’t do a lot of work with consultants because Frank explains to us that he was thinking, “Are you crazy?” Frank is the first to successfully leap and hang on to the ring. He explains to us that he decided he was “just going to think about me grabbing my wife’s ass.” You may be asking what a ring has to do with his wife’s ass. Rest assured so was I.
Josh tells us he’s a machine and he’s going to go crazy on the ring. Just before he leaps, he exclaims that “I want that ring!” I fully expected him to yell, “my precioooous!” Whatever kind of machine he is he’s not well-oiled because he fails to hang on.
The second exercise is called “The Bridge.” Stephanie again explains, as if we are all Josh’s students, that sometimes people get in your way and that other people will be the biggest obstacles to accomplishing your dreams. The guys are broken down into teams of two. One guy starts on each side of a plank located high in the air. The guys have to walk across figuring out how to get by each other in the middle. Jim and Frank go first. They both look very uncomfortable but they manage to complete the task. Josh and Art go second. As Jim says, Josh looks like he’s already lost it in his pants. Nonetheless, they successfully navigate what Art calls the dance in the middle. Josh is so pleased that he grunts like a caveman and let’s out a few awesome dudes.
Quitters Might Actually Win
That night, the guys join Al and Stephanie standing around an enormous bonfire. For those of you who remember the early 1990’s, it’s kind of an Iron John moment sans the drums. In light of the expression, “smoke follows beauty,” I find the fact that the smoke seems to be wafting straight at Al somewhat disturbing. Al makes it sound like he’s offering the guys placement in the Witness Protection Program telling them that tomorrow they will have to sever all ties with the past.
Al has arranged for a special guest for each of the guys. The first to emerge from the dark is Jim’s sister Maureen. Maureen asks Jim if he’s sure this is what he wants. She reminds him that although money isn’t everything, he makes a lot of money. Jim tells her that he’s learned that money doesn’t fulfill him and asks for her support. She tells him yes. Next is Art’s friend Tim. I’m guessing Art and his wife don’t have a chance in hell of getting back together if she’s not the one there. This pretty much gets confirmed. Art explains that Tim has been the guy checking in with him every step of the way. He reminds Tim that he knew him in his old life when he was married, had a house with a view, and three cars, essentially everything anybody could want. Tim describes the changes Art has made the last several months as a quarter life crisis and cautions him to be sure not to let things snowball. Tim gives Al his support. When Al asks Art if he’s sure, he says his decision was made months ago. I wonder if Art’s wife is watching this and what the story behind Art’s decision is. Enquiring minds want to know. Josh’s roommate Greg who is 6’ 10” and looks like he’s spent some time with Ricky Williams arrives next. Maybe Spike was too cheap to fly one of Josh’s family members to California from New Jersey? The “dudes” and “bros” fly between Josh and Greg. At the end, Greg tells Josh he has his back and Josh confirms to Al that he’s quitting. Last to approach the fire is Frank’s wife, Kim. Frank looks shocked that it is Kim. Who was he expecting? A former gang member? Kim is worried about the kids and finances. Frank tells us that he instantly had a little doubt. Kim emphasizes her concern about the three kids and the bills again. I wonder if one of the bills is a child support obligation for kid number 4. In the end, Kim gives an extremely unenthusiastic endorsement that she is 100% behind Frank’s decision.
After all four guys have affirmed their decisions to keep going forward, Al again tells them that they will quit their jobs tomorrow. They then participate in a symbolic burning ceremony (I knew there had to be some reason other than roasting marshmallows and singing Kumbaya for the bonfire). Stephanie hands each of the guys things from their current work lives and they toss them in and watch them burn. Al tells them that he thinks they are ready.
Quitting Is Such Sweet Sorrow
The next morning, we see Frank wake his daughter up at 6:30 and help with the kids before leaving for work. At 7:15, we see Josh skateboard into his preschool. At 7:45, Jim arrives at his Beverly Hills law firm in a sweet little convertible. We then see Art making a cold call at 8:00. Each of the guys seems to have some trepidation about quitting.
Watching Josh with the kids, it is even clearer that he is just a big kid himself. At the end of the day, Josh goes into the office of his boss Marilyn who bears a striking resemblance to Yoda. Josh quits and tells Marilyn about his dream of being a club promoter. God Bless Marilyn for not laughing. The laughter comes when he tells her he’s quitting that day and not giving her any notice. Marilyn proves to be a better woman than me and tells Josh she understands, gives him a big hug, and wishes him luck. Josh then makes a mysteriously edited transformation from skateboard to car to bar where he meets up with some friends. He tells them he quit his job and shockingly announces that he’s ready to get drunk. Drink much Josh?
Art is the next to quit. Because Art works remotely, he has no choice but to quit over the phone. We hear an awkward attempt by Art to make small talk with his boss before getting to the point. The conversation is interspersed with different cameos of Art explaining. In some, he’s wearing a scarf on his head. In others he’s mysteriously added facial hair. After Art gets to the point, his boss asks him what he’s going to do. When Art tells him he has an opportunity to work with his hands and is going to build bikes, the boss says good luck and abruptly ends the conversation. Art then tells us how relieved he feels. He says that you carry your job on your shoulders and that it’s so heavy. Art goes to his friend Tim’s house. Tim tells us that he’s so proud of Art for going balls out. I’m hoping Art keeps his balls in for the rest of the show. We then see a shot of Art sitting in a crowded hot tub celebrating.
Jim, on his way to talk to his boss, tells us that he doesn’t have any choice but to quit because he doesn’t have any clothes or books anymore. He burned them all. Huh? We saw Jim burn one shirt and tie and one book. Did he go home and throw the rest of his work clothes and books in a fire? Even more scary, did he wear the same shirt and tie every day? Jim hopes his boss doesn’t get angry. He explains that he’s working on a pretty big case and he’ll be leaving in the middle. I’m pretty sure Jim’s boss McKey (don’t ask me, I have no idea) knows something is up given that there is a camera focused on him when Jim enters his office. McKey tells Jim he is disappointed he’s leaving and advises him to take a leave of absence instead. Jim explains that he can’t feel like he has something to fall back on if he’s going to succeed. At the end of the conversation, McKey seems to understand and wishes Jim luck. Jim goes back to his office and packs up his Harvard Law Degree and other personal stuff and leaves.
Frank, given that he has the most responsibilities is understandably the one who has the hardest time quitting. He says that he can’t believe he’s doing it. Frank goes into his boss’s office and hands him the keys to his work truck. The boss seems a little incredulous at Frank’s plans to be a male model. The boss shouldn’t worry that he’s alone. Frank explains that he wants to show off his physique. This does nothing to make the boss more understanding. In the end, the boss tells us he’s not surprised that Frank has bigger plans given his work ethic. The boss wishes him luck and Frank goes to his in-laws to break the news to his wife and family. On his way there, Frank tells us that he’s got to succeed. He realizes that he’s throwing all the financial responsibility for their family on his wife. He pulls his wife aside at the house and tells her he quit. She seems shocked that he has done it already and tells him she thought he was going to talk to her first. Frank says I thought we already talked about it. In the end, Kim repeats that she’s behind him 100%.
Winners Sometimes Quit
The next day, we are again treated to the patented Fear Factor shoulder to shoulder stroll. This time it’s down the beach. Frank tells us that if you “shoot me, bullets will bounce off me.” Whoa there Frank. Jim seems pretty realistic about the challenge ahead. Art is glad they have all become friends and will all be pulling for each other. Josh feels like he’s given it his best so far. When the guys reach Al and Stephanie, Al gives them a speech about fear which includes lines like “massage fear.” He then gives each of the men advice. He tells us that he sees a little of himself in each of them. When he’s challenging them, he’s really challenging a little of Al. Each of the men is going to be given professional mentors in their chosen fields and they are going to be moving into a house together. He leaves them by telling them he’ll “catch them on the rebound.” I swear.
Finally, we see each of the guys preparing to move into the house. Art seems to be the most excited about living with three other guys. Frank seems to be the most reluctant. Kim has to reassure him that it is okay and that she will tell the kids he loves them.
Some People Can’t Quit While They’re Ahead
Next week on I Hate My Job, the guys move into the house and begin working with their mentors. Art develops a case of foot in mouth disease, declaring in the hot tub that “so far I’m not feeling so challenged.” The Rev is not amused. Jim looks like he’s having trouble keeping an audience engaged. Josh is relegated to menial work. Frank appears to be doing okay. This probably means Frank is in trouble.
Eliminations? We don’t need no stinking eliminations. firstname.lastname@example.org