Good Luck, Steven Slater

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 - 09:56 AM

Steven Slater is getting his 15 minutes of fame, and he will eventually get his day in court as well. Slater lost it after an argument with a passenger. He used the P.A. system to deliver a profanity-laden tirade, grabbed a couple beers out of the galley fridge, deployed the inflatable slide and zoomed down the slide to unemployment.

Have I ever quit my job with this kind of spectacular gesture? No. Have I ever wanted to? Of course. And do I secretly envy the kind of chutzpah it takes to hand in the kind of resignation that Slater did? Absolutely.

Here's the problem: the employment rate is 9.5 percent. There are five people who need a job for every open position. There are few people that have enough financial stability to voluntarily leave their jobs and even fewer who are confident they can find a new job if they lose the one they have. Especially if they have an arrest record.

But that makes me sad, to some extent. It's an unintended effect of high unemployment. No Jennifer Aniston flipping off her boss with flair in "Office Space;" no songs called "Take This Job and Shove It." People are too scared to say they've had enough. And that means the balance of power between employers and employees is seriously out of whack. Creating jobs won't just empower people to pay bills, keep their homes and get health insurance; it will also restore the delicate balance in the workplace that we need to prevent either side from taking advantage of the other.

Good luck, Steven Slater. In your coming job search, may I humbly suggest you stay away from retail or food service. Those jobs also require you to deal with demanding clients, but there's no escape slide.

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