Today’s Washington Post summed up the Internet’s fascination with the Jet Blue flight attendant who grabbed a beer and slid the escape chute to…? Well at the moment he’s reportedly facing possible jail time.
I think we all want to pull a Slater now and then. We want to activate the escape slide. Maybe at work, maybe at home. We want to shout “It’s been great!” and grab a beer and slater on out of there… We don’t know much about Steve Slater. All we know is that, with a flourish, he declared that he’d rather be unemployed than continue for one more second in that crappy job. What do you think: A spoiled brat who abandoned his job? Or a hero for our times?- [full Washington Post article]
Even the normally conservative, gotta vet vet vet, New York Times is already soliciting “Last Straw” stories on their blog. Who hasn’t been stuck on a long cramped plane ride near some jerk making everyone nuts! Many of us have had jobs that deal with the public and know first hand how brutal that can be. And, I can’t help plugging it into the “Take This Job & Shove It” context. My heart goes out to Nurses and Social Workers who have horrifying stories and the toll it takes on their health. According to at least one survey, the majority of us who have been bullied at work do look at the painful future laid out before us at the mercy of an abusive boss and “pull a Slater” — just not with as much flair or confrontation. I think the public loves this story because being a flight attendant seems like the exact opposite of the one we have — fun and carefree traveling all over the world. Which is exactly how Slater described his career on his MySpace page:
Back flying after five years off the job and having a ball. If I am on the ground, I am probably in my humble home in the ‘burbs doing something domestic and trite. like vacuuming.Or dining, as I just love to dine. Which leads to the gym, to offset the dining. Big fan of sand and sun, I am often found on the beach or in a park, anywhere I can catch some exercise and a few rays. My airline affiliation allows me amazing travel privileges, and I love to max it out with trips around the world, sometimes on a moment’s notice!Let’s go! [Read more: http://www.myspace.com/nycflyer71#ixzz0wDy4Kk2C%5D
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I worked for a renowned Airline of the South, for over 25 years. I loved my job. No matter the blue funk I may have felt en-route to work, once I was in the midst of working with my passengers, my day flew by, and I usually left it feeling up beat!
However, for more years than not, the one thing that ruined the job, was management. It was always something. And for a hard working, mid-west work ethic type like me, I probably took a lot of it to heart more that was needed.
In 1988 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Over the years, my health declined, and attendance became a problem. I was once told by a Supervisor that “it is a good thing you can sell or you would be out of here!” I continued to do the best I could do to satisfy attendance, by resting in my car on breaks and lunch; even renting a hotel room next to the office, where I could rest, if I could be assigned a split shift.
My sales statistics were far higher than those who had perfect attendance, but no matter, it did not fit with in the rules. I fought applying for short term disability, because I did not want to consider myself disabled. I begged the company to let me work on my good days, and just not pay me when I couldn’t be there. That also was against the rules.
I applied for Family Medical Leave twice, but was turned down as the company did not believe the bill applied to the employee who was ill, unless. as I was told “it was Cancer or something serious like that.” I filed under the Employees with Disability Act, to provide a work station that would ease my pain at work, and keep a clean work environment to aide my weak immune system. It was provided in name only.
When I discussed this with an attorney, he told me I better file for short term disability immediately, or I would be finding myself fired, after 25 years, and would lose all of my benefits. I followed his advice, and then began the life of hell for two years, never knowing if another paycheck would or wouldn’t arrive. Being sent to physicians and psychiatrists that agreed with my own doctors that my medical symptoms were real and disabling. This period even included being followed by a private investigator, who had to finally come to our home under false pretenses to see if I was there. His findings agreed with the doctors. However, I still continued to wait in limbo to learn of my future. It was only when I was on the brink of a mental meltdown on the telephone with the secretary in Human Resources was a decision agreed upon and I was granted full time disability. I really felt if one was not crazy when this process started, one would be crazy by the time it ended.
I left the company that I had loved, with my benefits in tack, but greatly discouraged and disappointed that something I loved so much, would end with such a sense of betrayal.