By now you've all heard the little story that has made me giggle with a snarky little smirk on my face. Steven Slater, former JetBlue flight attendant, made his infamous exit from not only the aircraft but from his multi-year career yesterday after landing at New York's JFK International Airport. He'd had it. And for some reason, employers frown on telling customers to "F ___ Off." How can employers be so not understanding?
Flight attendants, along with a myriad of other folks working with the cracked-out public, are under stress. Daily. Every single time we turn around there's another expectation that we will overlook some issue, smile when smiling really isn't an appropriate reaction, turn our heads to avoid another confrontation, ask people repeatedly (is there a stronger word than "repeatedly"??) to do various things like turn off mobile phones, be nice to children that should have the crap knocked out of them, help people that are more needy than anything else, and look pretty when our uniforms are covered in soda pop, spit up, tomato juice and sweat. In many ways, it's a simple job. Routine. In other ways, it's a pressure cooker. Stressful. And its worse for some personality types than others. If you're the guy who can ignore things, let it run off your back, and not take things personality, you'll be better off. But, even then, all of that stress has to go somewhere. It has to be dealt with and actually handled -- not just ignored. And if you're the type of gal who has a personal vendetta against people or the world, then you really should just stay home or go find another career. And, its funny, that most of the things we deal with regularly are simple, easy things -- "turn off your cell phones, remain seated, stow your bag" sort of things. But, honestly, you'd think we're asking for a solution to world peace. It's a grade school issue pretending to be of college-level importance. And its not.
In spite of the fact that I don't advocate blowing up and calling someone naughty names, I understand his predicament 100%. Every single day I wonder if what is in my head is going to actually come out of my mouth. And you know me, many times it does. I met a gentleman at a party a year or so ago who is a sort of psychologist/therapist bloke. He found out that I was a flight attendant. He subsequently informed me that his practice is filled with pilots and flight attendants -- and how much stress we are under -- and how we are not provided with proper coping mechanisms and tools to deal with such a wide variety of issues over the course of a multi-year flight attendant career.
My favorite part of Steven Slater's story is when he absconded with a beer from the galley before deploying the emergency escape slide. I hope it was a higher quality beer, at least -- nothing like PBR or Keystone. I mean, hey now, if you're going to end your career in that way, do it right.....right??