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JetBlue's Steven Slater's Not-So-Funny Career Suicide

I should be writing this post for my colleagues over at the Life at Work Desk here at BNET. But having done some traveling this weekend I wanted to share with you a thought about the career suicide just committed by former JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater.

Slater has begun his 15 minutes of fame. He is the fellow who cursed back at an F-bomb flinging passenger, grabbed a couple of beers from the galley, and slid his way into unemployment down an emergency slide he deployed from the parked plane at JFK.

We all applauded when we read this take-this-job-and-shove-it story because we've all been there, pushed over the line by a belligerent boss, cussin' customer or pushy peer. So when I flew AirTran this weekend from Boston to Atlanta, I quizzed some of the flight attendants about Mr. Slater's actions.

"Bet you've wanted to do that a few times," I prodded a female attendant as I stood in line during boarding. "That guy's an idiot," she responded. I was puzzled, but moved to my seat. Once in flight, I approached a second flight attendant.

"Oh yeah, we all want to do that sometimes," he said. "But we don't" He went on to say he didn't think Mr. Slater's actions were very professional.

"What do you mean professional?" I countered. He was quitting his job in a blaze of glory.

"He was endangering lives" by deploying the slide with ground crews down below, the man responded.

And then it hit me. If even flight attendants don't see the humor in their former colleague's actions, what potential employer is going to overlook the fact that Slater, in his mad rush to freedom, endangered lives to flatter his own ego? Who is going to hire someone with so little judgment? This young man has likely written himself out of any serious employment for years to come.

All of this to say that the next time you reach a breaking point, take some deep breaths and go for a walk. Think of Steven Slater not as someone to emulate, but as someone who, in a few seconds of stupidity, committed career suicide.

Hope you enjoyed your beers, Steven.

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(Slater image from MySpace)
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