Grand exit is a dream for some

Grand exit is a dream for some

Defying the rules, telling people off and walking off a job isn’t usually a launching pad for public acclaim. But few have fulfilled that particular working man’s fantasy in such grand fashion as JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, who left his job via the plane’s emergency chute, beer in hand.

Slater’s sudden exit has rekindled memories of workers’ liberation – and sparked wistful excitement among workers who have long fantasised of choosing pride over pay.

Samuel Rodela still remembers the morning a decade ago when he contemplated 1.5-hour how he would make his exit from an office that had turned oppressive. In the end, the web designer went with a simple approach: He walked into his office with a box and immediately started packing his belongings. When his hated boss asked what he was doing, he turned to her and uttered a few words usually not printed in newspapers. Then he walked out the door.

Rodela still believes that even in a daunting economic climate, professional opportunities will arise for those who refuse to settle.That’s what Mary Phelps found. After being scolded for the last time by a boss she believed was treating her unfairly while sleeping with the other waitress on her shift, she seriously considered knocking over the giant pot of tomato sauce sitting on the Italian eatery’s stove.

Instead, she walked to the front of the restaurant and took orders from six tables sitting down at the beginning of the dinner rush. Then, before bringing anyone so much as a drop of water, she left.

“It felt fantastic. It was a great feeling,” she recalls. “It was absolutely no regrets, absolutely. And it was a feeling of just letting go of something that wasn’t working.”
Now, nearly 30 years later, the Columbia, Ky, resident credits the experience with helping to build her career as an equestrian journalist.

But for many, pragmatism and self-control mean the fantasy of walking off the job will stay just that.

Waiter Matthew Kennedy has dodged punches from belligerent drunks and fought with unruly customers displeased at being cut off at the bar. He’s far from the first person in the service industry to be tempted to just walk out.

In recent years, the foundering job market has left many workers effectively stuck in unhappy situations. That has let their imaginations run wild thinking about quitting. However satisfying they may be, such dramatic exits may not be good career moves.
Unless someone is being sexually harassed or suffering similar abuse, anything less than two-weeks notice might come back to haunt him or her in future job searches, said Roberta Chinsky Matuson, a human resource consultant and writer on workplace issues.
That hasn’t stopped Chris Carter. Out of the nearly 40 jobs that the 30-year-old has held, he’s walked out of more than half. Even after so many repeats, he says he still gets a thrill of victory every time he walks out the door.

“When you’re not making more than $10 an hour, there’s certain things that are not worth putting up with,” he says. “I’ve never allowed myself to get to that point where I feel like I have to put up with this and I have to be somebody’s slave.”

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