Every now and then, we hear stories of employees who have made dramatic exits from their job. Of course, none are in the league of the Steven Slater’s public departure from JetBlue this summer. After being berated by a passenger while still on the tarmac in New York City, the long-time flight attendant quit, using choice words, over the plane’s PA system and slid out the emergency chute.
Now the term “Slaterize” has made it into the urban dictionary, the web-based dictionary of popular slang words and phrases. The definition: “When you are so fed up with your job, the people you work with, the people you work for that you instinctively and temporarily go bezerk and quit.”
There are those who secretly harbor fantasies, not of going bezerk, but of delivering their version of the famous rant, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.” (From the movie Network.) That explains why a young broker became an internet sensation this summer for quitting her job by posting captioned pictures, many criticizing her boss. It didn’t matter that it was later proven to be a hoax, thousands applauded her for doing what they dreamed of.
While any kind of dramatic departure may make for an interesting story at parties, it’s bad news for both employees and employers. Those who leave in this way burn their bridges on the way out. Those who stay are distressed that the organization didn’t resolve a situation before it blew up.
There is only one way to deal with the aftershocks of a high-profile exit. Talk about it.
Join in the discussion with employees. Acknowledge that sometimes stresses at work can build up, and identify people in the organization to whom people can talk if they are feeling overwhelmed.
- Remind employees that there are alternatives to “slaterizing.” Those who are successful in their careers leave a job on good terms, even if that involves taking a few deep breaths before handing in a resignation.
- Note that storming off decreases the chance for a good reference, and can damage reputation.
- Avoid speaking ill of the person who left in a huff. Instead, show good will. Also, remind the team that it is much more effective, not to mention professional, to use the exit interview to officially inform the company of concerns.
It doesn’t matter whether people are in permanent positions, doing contract work, or in temporary placements, employees can get overwhelmed by demands and pressures at times.
After 40 years as staffing solution experts to companies of all sizes across the GTA, we’ve heard it all at The Bagg Group. And we know the most in-demand workplaces are those that champion employee well-being, and that includes encouraging employees to share their challenges and concerns, as well as their successes, in good times and in tough times.