Steven Slater JetBlue Flight Attendant Quits -- A Sign of Our Times?

Steven Slater JetBlue Flight Attendant QuitSteven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who is now famous for quitting his job in one of the most outrageous ways imaginable -- screaming at passengers and jumping down an emergency slide -- may become the best-known face of worker misery since the fictional character Howard Beale screamed he was "mad as hell" in the film 'Network.'

Who knows if Slater felt overworked in his job at JetBlue -- although he did snap after being hit on the head by a bag that a passenger was pulling out early -- but if he felt overwhelmed at work, it's a sign of the economy.

The Labor Department reported Tuesday that worker productivity fell 0.9 percent in the second quarter of 2010 -- the first decline in 18 months. The amount of hours worked rose 3.6 percent, or faster than the 2.6 percent jump in economic output, showing that people are working hard but that companies can no longer rely on getting them to work harder to increase profits.


Workers feeling the brunt

With all of the layoffs and extra work there is to do, the remaining employees are finding themselves stretched too thin, while employers are discovering that laying off workers and other cost-cutting measures won't lead to long-term profits.

Productivity rose 3.5 percent last year, much higher than normal averages of around 2 percent, CNNMoney reported. Companies did more with less during the worst of the recession -- and, as anyone still working knows, the workload falls on their shoulders.

"What's happened is a lot of U.S. companies have reached the limit of how much they can slash their work force and work existing employees to the bone," Nariman Behravesh, chief economist with IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., told CNNMoney. "At some point, even weak spending growth will require businesses to hire more people to meet the demand."

Slater may be the first of many workers to do what many workers dream of -- quit in an outrageous way.

Giving in to the pressure

Paul Bruno told AOL Jobs that his worst day on the job at a national restaurant chain was when he was slapped in the face by his kitchen manager. "I walked away and didn't fight him," Bruno wrote in an e-mail exchange, and he told the general manager, who laughed at him. "I proceeded to put in my 2-week notice because of the disrespect."

Amy, a worker who didn't want her full name used, told AOL Jobs in an e-mail that she quit after years of mistreatment and understands how people can quit their jobs in a huff.

"I think this flight attendant was slightly out of control, but I understand where he's coming from," she wrote. "While I believe the customer is always right, people forget that just because we're in a recession doesn't mean you can take advantage of other people."

She said she quit her job at a marketing firm after "being talked down to, being subjected to e-mails about the boss's antics involving a threesome during a professional conference, libel about employees and competitors, receiving e-mailed pornography from co-workers, and a general prevailing hostile and passive-aggressive attitude from the company owner."

She said she was asked to inflate hourly billing times for some of the company's biggest clients after being yelled at at all week. So, when her boss went to lunch, she quit. "I wrote a resignation letter, and left," she said. "No notice, no back-up plan, I just left."

That's probably the best way to go about quitting, no matter how bad the worst day on the job gets -- quietly.

Next: Confessions of a Flight Attendant

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Debbie

No matter what the passenger said or did, Steven Slater is not a hero for behaving unprofessionally and irresponsibly. Aside from everything else, using emergency equipment for a non-emergency purpose is a crime. As a trained and paid professional (which the passenger in question was not), it was the flight attendant's obligation to handle the situation appropriately, not to "escape" from it and leave others to deal with the unruly passenger and short-staffed flight. No matter how one passenger behaved, Slater still had responsibilities towards the rest of the passengers and towards the company that employed him. Furthermore, if the passenger's conduct was inappropriate, it was Slater's job to make sure the passenger was restrained, ejected, and if necessary arrested for the protection of other staff and passengers and as a deterrent to those who disobey airline rules and staff directives. His behavior was that of a small child throwing a tantrum, not a professional handling a job.

August 12 2010 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fedupwife

my husband has worked in the airline industry for almost 30 years and all i can say is airline personnel are fed up and tired. most, like my husband have not received a raise in over 7 years, not even cost of living. they have taken 2 paycuts in the past 15 years. they are working harder and getting paid less. if my husband does not do his job correctly lives are in danger, but managment still gets their big fat bonuses and buy new planes and we have difficulty sending our children to college. more people are going to start to lose it if things don't change.

August 11 2010 at 10:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to fedupwife's comment
mary morgan

This is all a bunch of bunk. Those of you who say the passenger have been charged were not on the flight so are putting your ideas ahead of the truth.
I was not on that flight so I don't know but I have been on a flight with the flight attendant in the past. He was very rude and screamed at my friend who was also on the flight with me. She had done nothing and I mean nothing. After he screamed at her, she told him he was very rude and he just glared at her and stomped off. When he got up to the front of the cabin another attendant asked him what was going on and he snapped at her that he had a head ache. No other explanation and sertainly no apology.
My friend and I both called the airline to complain and we got nowhere. Consequently, neither of us has ever used that airline again.
One other thing. We both noticed that his rudeness seemed to be aimed at women only.
There is no way this guy should be a hero for anyone. If he worked in any other kind of service job he'd have been fired long ago but now days, flight attendants seem to be able to get away with anything, as long as they don't cost the airline money. But airlines don't pay much attention to rude flight attendants because they don't connect with loss of passengers.

August 12 2010 at 3:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bill

Tell'em to eat S_it and go bark at the moon. Now, go to Disneyworld.

August 11 2010 at 11:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Bill's comment
thomas Lauzon

i fly the ft myers to Boston flight every month ..I have seen Steve Slater many times on a flight ,,,he always had a big smile on his face and did everything he could to make everyones flight comfortable ..what he should have done is thrown the passenger out of the airplane head 1st ..Good luck Steve . I hope you make millios on this
Peace

August 11 2010 at 3:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
J.

My sister is an FO for United. The tales she shares of passenger behavior is just unbelievable! I too have witnessed some ridiculousness on flights. I can understand where this man's frustrations came from. These people work very hard at what they do and YOUR passenger safety is their first priority. Had I been on the plane I would have clapped and gave Mr. Slater an ada-boy!! Then I would have pressed charges against the passenger for endangering my own safety by not following FAA/Jet Blue rules. Rules that are explained to every passenger who has ever boarded a plane post 9/11. Really how hard is it to remain seated until the plane has completed taxing to the walkway and the pilot gives the all clear to the passengers. Where is this passengers name in the press? I can't wait until his name gets printed. I suspect his life is about to get hellish. Some news reports say Mr. Slater has been taking care of his mother who has stage 4 lung cancer. Can you imagine the dedication it took to leave his dying mother to attend to his passengers? I am sure he broke about a million FAA rules not to mention Jet Blue rules? But I promise you there are thousands of Flight Attendants, Pilots, FOs and Airline Employees in general singing Mr. Slater's praise right now, maybe a CEO or two at Jet Blue....;-)

August 10 2010 at 9:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to J.'s comment
Rosemarie G.

I hope the CEOs at Jet Blue realize what this flight attendant was going through and realize it was the passenger's fault.

Good job Steve, I really enjoyed the way you handled this. Good Luck to you.

August 10 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rosemarie G.

Although this flight attendant was out of control, we have to empathize with him inasmuch as it was the passenger's fault entirely. Way to go Steve, I love a dramatic exit! No criminal charges should be made against the flight attendant, the fact that he left his job is enough. They should file charges against the passenger for not obeying the flight attendant in charge. Flight attendants take a lot of abuse these days especially, give the guy a hand!
Steve should be on SNL, because no one will forget about this one for a very long time!

August 10 2010 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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