Everyone who’s held a job has probably felt tempted to blurt out, as David Allan Coe said in his famous song, “Take this job and shove it! I ain’t workin’ here no more!”
Although he didn’t use Coe’s words, JetBlue attendant Steven Slater nonetheless made his intentions more than clear when he announced over a passenger plane’s PA system that he was quitting. (In fact, Coe’s lyrics are far cleaner than the language Slater used to express himself.) The long and the short of it is that Slater, following an altercation with an uncooperative passenger, decided he’d had enough of the flight attendant business and made a dramatic exit–activating the inflatable emergency escape ramp and then grabbing a couple of beers before sliding out–from the plane as it sat on the tarmac. He was later arrested for pulling this stunt, but has since been released. As the following video shows, some see the frustrated flight attendant as something of a hero.
I’ve worked as a telemarketer, I’ve held various office jobs (including customer service), and I’ve worked as a college English instructor. I’ve had to deal with plenty of rude customers as well as crabby, gossipping coworkers and some extremely hateful and immature college students. So I’ll admit that there have been multiple occasions when I felt like doing something along the lines of what Slater did (though I’ve never had access to an inflatable ramp or some cold beers for me to brandish). Yet I always refrained, largely because I didn’t want to shoot myself in the foot, so to speak, when it came to finding another job (I can just imagine trying to explain on a job application how my previous employment ended…). But I’ll also admit I’m just not gutsy enough to pull a “Steven Slater,” even though this incident has put him in the limelight and may open some doors for him. A young musician named Jonathan Mann has even penned a ballad celebrating Slater’s bravado. (Warning: the song uses the “f” word quite liberally.)
Of course, as a Christian, I keep in mind that I represent Christ and would never want to do anything to dishonor Him. In addition, I keep in mind the Golden Rule, and I don’t want to turn around and be a jerk to others, however tempted I am to lash out at them for being a jerk to me.
So, on the one hand I feel some sympathy for Steven Slater (heck, I almost feel like shaking his hand and giving him a big pat on the back), but I’m not sure I could–or should–emulate what he did.