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What Color is your Inflatable Slide?

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If you've been following the news the last couple of days, you probably have heard of Steven Slater, the Jet Blue flight attendant. I've heard various versions of the story, but almost all agree that he was dealing with a rude customer and got to the point where he just literally bailed on his job - grab some beer and went down the inflatable slide to exit the plane. (Side Note: I've always thought that would be fun to use the inflatable slide... just never wanted to be in a situation where it was the best option.) Many are hailing him as a hero of the common man.

Shortly after, news started to spread about Whiteboard Jenny, a young lady who had enough of her boss'... well just about everything. It turns out that stunt involving Jenny (real name Elyse Porterfield) was a complete hoax. Before it was revealed to be a hoax, a lot of people took notice and sympathized with this office assistant.

The timing of both these stories has made for a lot of talk in the media. The bad economy is making companies try to do more with less money. This means fewer people doing things they might not be accustomed to doing. This means more situations where people are not happy with their jobs. It sounds a little bit like a generalization to me, but perhaps it is accurate.

One thing that struck me is that Steven Slater might have difficulty finding another job. (Elyse Porterfield, as she was just a hired actress in a hoax, does not face the same problem.) His next employer could say, "We don't need this person flying off the handle and creating another media circus." Of course the opposite could be true too. In any event, it is easier to "pull a Slater" if you have another source of income outside of your main job. There are times that, as part of my job, I have to be nice to customers who are rude to me. I don't know if I could ever just a pull a Slater and show up a customer, but it's nice to have freedom to walk away from the job. The alternative income that I make from websites makes this possible.

However, alternative income doesn't have to come from websites. For some it is real estate or stock dividends. For others, it may be eBooks and/or iPhone apps. Or it could be teaching people how to start their own business.

If alternative income was your inflatable slide, what color would it be?

Posted on August 12, 2010.

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8 Responses to “What Color is your Inflatable Slide?”

  1. Andy Hough says:

    Darn. Steven Slater and Whiteboard Jenny were going to be the subject of my post tomorrow. Now I guess I will have to come up with a new subject.

  2. Who knows what really happened, the story is very fishy, but Slater is no hero in my book. I wouldn’t hire him with that kind of response to a difficult situation.

  3. Moneyedup says:

    You are right, Slater will have a difficult time finding another job, and job hunting is quite difficult in these times to begin with. In my current job I have to bite my lip a lot and put up with situations where I am unhappy, and the only thing holding me back from pulling a Slater is that I don’t currently have another source of income that is sustainable. Sometimes you just have to grin and bear it I suppose.

  4. I’d love to quit my job and make a living writing fiction, but it’s not that I dislike my job. In fact, I like it quite a bit (which is why I’ve been with the company 13 years) – but I enjoy writing much more.

    Unfortunately, I’m not yet selling enough to inflate my slide :(

  5. If I was going to quit my job, I’d love to go out with a bang like these two (even if one was fake). Stick it to the man, right? I think these stories fascinate us because they are so impulsive, against the grain of society, and inspiring. We all wish we could do something like this, but we all can’t.

  6. That Steven Slater guy should write a book quick or start a reality show. His 15 minutes of fame is almost up!

  7. crashdamage1957 says:

    While the thought of “pulling a Slater” when dealing with disrespectful or rude people does have its Walter Mitty appeal, I have found that its actually far more satisfying to respectfully shun them, gutting my opponents by denying them the pleasure of the attention that drives their inappropriate behavior in the first place. That way, I get to keep my self respect and my job.

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