Coffee, tea or...weee! Steven Slater slides out of his job
(Photo Credit: Jetblue/Mrkathika via Flickr.com. Commercial reuse rights granted.)
Steven Slater, can we be friends?
If you haven’t heard of Slater, you’re a day behind on your Internets, people. He’s been dubbed the new “folk hero” of the common American worker who got mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore. In grand, flaming, fashion.
The former Jet Blue flight attendant got into an altercation with an unruly passenger yesterday. Slater, who’d been recently caring for his sick mother, was allegedly told to “fuck off.” So he did. Literally. After making a brief announcement on the plane’s intercom, he supposedly grabbed two beers off the beverage cart, deployed the plane’s inflatable slide and slid down it. He was picked up later by police while having sex with his boyfriend at home. Talk about a rough day.
I’ve quit quite a few jobs in recent years, but I don’t think my self-terminations had the same flare and now I’m a little sad. There was the time I quit as a layout editor of a small newspaper the day after a fight with my publisher-boss. His last words to me during our fight over my recently-hired incompetent manager boss were, “Well, Kat, you need to go home and figure out your priorities.”
Take this job and, uh, it’s yours now!
I did. The following morning, I marched into his office and said, “Ken, I figured out my priorities and have concluded they don’t include working for you anymore.” He actually tried to get me to finish out the work day, but I didn’t. I packed up my things, said my goodbyes and didn’t set foot into that place until…three years later. It was under new management and I took a position as a reporter this time. Ken was gone, but many of the people I’d worked with previously were still there and we missed each other. It worked out for a few more years until a new opportunity came along.
This time, my award-winning writing had landed me in the hallowed halls of a very famous newspaper company. I had big dreams about what I’d do, but after three months, it became apparent I was working for a crazy editor and an even crazier editorial director. I’d gained almost 20 pounds and was barely sleeping more than five hours a night. I dragged myself into that hell hole with deep dark under-eye circles that made me look like a fat raccoon. We were constantly berated, left with few resources for help as we struggled to write our weekly papers and churn out endless amounts of Internet copy that was to be done daily. None of the reporters earned more than $29,000 a year. With all the un-paid overtime we put in, we earned an average of $6 an hour at times.
That time, I’d had enough as I was stuck, once again, in horrible traffic. My boss had threatened that if I was late again (I was often 10 minutes late), I could be fired. Naturally, I was told in the next breath I was her best reporter. Instead of waiting for the possibility of losing my job, I called and left her a voice message saying I’d quit. I had cleaned out my desk the week or so before after the second conversation about my lateness. I was pissed because I was being singled-out. Lots of other reporters were allowed to work from home or turn up when they felt like it; I was not. My fellow reporters were on my side. The editorial director was furious. Oh well.
What you think of me is none of my business
I am not sure if this other news item, also uncovered today, is true. You can look at the website, but the story claims a girl quit her job via a white board message slide show she allegedly then e-mailed to the entire company. The pretty, young woman alleges she worked for two years at her job and quit after being called a “HOPA” a slightly twisted acronym for “Hot Piece Of Ass.” If this is true, one would think the offended young woman would at least have a chat with the offender or the human resources office before quitting a job in an economy like this. She claims not to have another job lined up. Perhaps it’s just a clever way to find a new job. If that’s the case, bravo, Whiteboard Girl, well-played.
Now that I’ve been out of work for going on seven months, I wouldn’t dream of quitting another job for a long time. In this tempest-tossed economy, no doubt many people are feeling burned out due to overwork and no compensation. After all, one of the reasons some people have retained their jobs is that they’ve shown how much more effective they were compared to their laid-off former co-workers. Or they were cheaper to begin with. Or they were well-liked. Still, we all pay the price—one way or another.
Quitting on one’s own terms is the American dream. That’s why it was so satisfying when I got to quit another nightmare job on my own terms. It was a dating service company where I’d worked as a telemarketer. Of course they didn’t make it seem like I’d been hired as a telemarketer. The job title was “Dating Consultant.” When I interviewed, nobody said anything about sitting down for eight hours a day dialing pages and pages of so-called “warm leads.” These warm leads were kind of shocked that an online survey about their love life would lead to an invitation to come into my office to meet with one of the REAL dating consultants. That’s where they’d be ask to spend thousands of dollars to potentially meet the right people. I felt sorry for these poor souls.
One time, as I was working late by myself, I came across a former neighbor’s lead. Knowing he would be better off meeting someone on his own, I “lost” his lead. I talked to him sometime later and found out my co-workers had called him at least 12 times and set up three appointments with him. He couldn’t find a polite way to beg off. He was relieved to learn I’d trashed his information. He actually hugged me. That’s when I knew I needed to find another job. I’d already been laid off once from the place and suffered a broken eye socket there after tripping over one of the many folders my manager left scattered on the tiny office’s floor. I fell face first into the corner of a wall. Nobody offered to take me to an emergency room. I spent six weeks in utter agony recovering. I didn’t want to go back, but I had no choice. A month later, I was a victim of layoffs.
What color is your parachute? Oh, just use the slide!
When the company called me a month after that, I was not excited to return, but had no other choice. My unemployment benefits had only a few weeks’ of payments left and I figured having A job was better than NO job. So I returned. I was the only person scheduled to work six days a week and often the only one forced to work Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday night. When I finally landed a really awesome job, I plotted my own style of quitting revenge.
It was a Sunday night. As usual, I was the only person scheduled to work. My boss made a point of telling me that because I was single and childless, unlike the rest of my co-workers, I was a “better fit” for all the weekend and night shifts. I tried telling her that if maybe I had some weekend nights off, those problems might resolve themselves. She didn’t care and I didn’t either. I showed up to work with two letters of resignation, one for her and one for the owner of the company. I waited until it was clock-out time--I wanted to get paid for every minute of work, after all--to place both notes on their respective desks. Then I took the office key and placed it in an envelope and kicked under the door after I locked it. I was done. The following day, I was happily starting my first day of my new job while wondering as each hour passed how all of the little “gifts” I’d left behind would be received. I giggled each time I imagined what might be happening at my old job.
So, here’s to you, Steven Slater. I hope you and your boyfriend hoisted those two beers high into the air, said a toast to your future happiness and then enjoyed your time alone before the po-po arrived to take you away. I hope you get a book deal or movie out of it or something else that helps you survive this nightmare economy. One thing’s for sure, you left with your dignity intact and the applause of burnt-to-a-crisp workers everywhere. Yeah for you and all of us!