Quitting your job can be cathartic. It can be sad. It can feel like new horizons are open to you or that you’ve closed the cover on a very dark chapter.
It can be all of those things at once.
And the act of walking off the job has been captured expertly in song. These are the tunes to blast as you peel out of the parking lot or just trudge to your trunk with a box full of stuff from your desk. You’ll find something below in every work scenario.
“Take This Job and Shove It,” Johnny Paycheck
The ultimate song for walking off the job. Even if the song is less about the job and more about the woman who left him, that refrain is excellent to shout at the top of your lungs.
“Killing in the Name,” Rage Against the Machine
**clears throat** “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me! Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”
“We’re Going to Be Friends,” White Stripes
Sometimes you just have a better offer. And you’ll still be friends, right? Of course you will be.
“Last Hour of the Last Day of Work,” Less Than Jake
This one’s all about fatherly advice and whether it’s a good idea to spend your life dedicated to a job or if it’s better to, you know, get out there and live a little.
“I Want to Break Free,” Queen
Pretty sure this is supposed to be about getting out of a relationship, but when your work relationship is bad, that’s just as draining. Sometimes you feel like you just need to break out.
“The Job That Ate My Brain,” Ramones
“I can’t take this crazy pace/I’ve become a mental case.” Feels like that sometimes.
“I Hate My Job,” Cam’ron
The ultimate “what the hell am I doing here?” song wondering if it’s all worth it.
“Dead End Job,” The Police
Sting never sounded as punk rock as he does here, railing not so much against a bad employer but the idea of having a job at all. “Don’t wanna be no teacher, I don’t wanna be no slave/I don’t wanna work no assembly line, like my uncle Dave/The queue gets longer everyday, I just ain’t got time to stay/I ain’t gonna run away, all I wanna do is play.”
The employer-employee relationship can be toxic, too. And just like in the song, you can tell your old boss that they’ll never find another one like you as you put all your stuff in a box to the left, to the left.
“Frankly Mr. Shankly,” The Smiths
An honest and frank song saying, essentially, I don’t want to work here. I want to be famous instead. Can’t fault ’em for that.
“Worker’s Song,” Dropkick Murphys
A song for anyone who has worked hard and not gotten nearly enough respect or money for it. The Dropkicks have your back.
“I’ve Had It” and “Clocked In,” Black Flag
Before he joined the band, Henry Rollins famously was brought onstage to sing “Clocked In” because after the show, he had to drive back to Washington, D.C., and go to work.
“This Fucking Job,” Drive-By Truckers
Sometimes you’re stuck in a gig that isn’t getting you anywhere. It’s just keeping you in the same place and not letting you go forward.
“Dorothy at Forty,” Cursive
Oh man, broken dreams. This frenetic Cursive track is all about how Dorothy isn’t ever going to reach them, but then it goes on to point out that the American Dream is kinda bullshit. “American dreams pollute our cities,” Tim Kasher howls.