Just read the current Bloomberg Businessweek to arrive in the mail (I do like magazines). Its first story about the “Mad As Hell” JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater caught my eye and that of the rest of America, too.
To bring you up to speed, he quit his job in a flamboyant way, over the plane’s PA system to “curse a rude customer whose bag landed on his head, politely thanking other passengers, grabbing two beers from the galley before sliding down the inflatable emergency chute and sprinting toward home.”
What did America do in response? APPLAUD! And, social media erupted.
Facebook pages attracting 18,000+ fans with 211,000 likes lauded his gutsy move to quit a 20-year career in the airline industry. Others lamented their lack of nerve to do the same.
While Slater ponders a possible seven years in prison for criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, companies should ponder the entire real-life situation. Social media is not attacking JetBlue in this case; luckily the employer had nothing to do with this incident – or did they?
I think there may be some culpability on the company’s part; however, not in a financial or legal way…here’s how.
Everyone is aware of the state of the ever-worsening economy. Those with jobs are coping with workloads overflowing and work-life balance in disarray. Companies with a majority of frontline sales and customer service reps need to examine how they keep employees’ tempers in check when hazards of the job cause stress eruptions.
It may be easier for teleservice representatives to maintain composure, but the airline industry, retail, health care and professional services, for example, should look at new programs to de-stress frontline employees.
When was the last time you interacted with a customer service rep face to face? Was the experience professional, calm, satisfactory? Hopefully, it was because employees are not trained in social work or psychology and really don’t know how to handle other peoples’ stress beyond their own (even that’s suspect).
- Perhaps workers who engage the public as frontline ambassadors should experience a friendly course in anger management for non-offenders.
- Maybe employers can pop for a hotel getaway on the company to help de-stress frontline workers.
- What about engaging a company-wide spa day? That would jolt a niche of the economy, wouldn’t it?
What do you think about Steven Slater’s decision to toss a job down the chute and contemplate prison garb in the not-too-distant future?
This is fascinating, and he, too, has hired a publicist; just like the post I wrote about Mark Hurd of H-P who has a PR firm on board to manage their celebrity.
(photo credit courtesy of Facebook)