Saturday, August 28, 2010

A very noisy exit

We have all thought about it. When we are at work, we sometimes have days that make us want to walk out the door and never come back.

These types of days follow a familiar pattern. As we drive to work, we are already thinking about the stack of tasks we will have to do when we get there.

However, our plan for the day usually goes out the window about 30 minutes after we arrive. Many times, we are doing our job and minding our own business. Then, out of the corner of our eyes, we see our boss. For reasons unexplained, a cold chill goes down our spine.

Yes, he is walking our way, and he is walking with purpose. At this point, we have to drop what we are doing and follow his directions right now. If we do not, the entire civilized world will be turned upside down.

This is because if we do not, our boss will get mad. And then his boss will get mad. And then his boss will get mad. It is funny how these things have a ripple effect. One failure can set in motion a series of events in which we hear from people we never knew existed.

This can be doubly bad if days like this occur in the customer service industry. Not only do we have to deal with our bosses, but also the wrath of the public. It is a double-edged sword that can cut deep.

The fictionalized scenario just described is similar to what played out earlier this month on an airplane flight. Steven Slater, a flight attendant with jetBlue, got fed up with the abuse he felt he was receiving and walked off the job. He said that he had been cursed by a passenger and konked on the head by a suitcase.

At the end of his flight, he got on the intercom and said his goodbyes. Then, he grabbed a couple of beers and slid down the emergency escape ramp of the plane.

I guess if somebody is going to leave, why not leave in style?

Still, we have to be very careful about doing something like this. It is easy to get caught up in the moment and think about how great it would be to make a grand exit.

But, what about after that? Jobs are tough to come by these days. Unemployment remains above nine percent nationally. A job is a job even if it is one we hate.

Back in the late 1970s, country singer Johnny Paycheck had a big hit with 'Take This Job and Shove It.' Also in the seventies, Peter Finch's character in the film Network encouraged listeners of his television program to open their windows and scream that they were mad and would not take it anymore.

It is no secret that it is easy for people to get fed up with their jobs. The reason for this could be that employees have been expected to produce more but with less resources in recent years.

Productivity rose 3.5 percent last year, but as high unemployment statistics show, this increase has not been because more people have been hired.

In some respects, the bad economy has been good for employers. Because of high job demand, it is easier for them to retain employees and put bigger burdens on their shoulders.

However, as the Slater example shows, people are getting restless and can bring lots of publicity to a company if they do something drastic.

Economic cycles eventually turn around. Employers better treat people with a little tender loving care or more may hit the exit.

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