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Nicole Martin
New Jersey
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Personal Branding IRL: Steven Slater of Jet Blue Fame

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What a way to quit your job!  For anyone outside of the tri-state area, has this news story traveled your way?  Read on, this one’s very interesting!

Ever have a day where one thing after another seems to go wrong at work?  After one of those days, Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater quit his job, and not too subtly. 

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It all started when two passengers got into an argument about the overhead bin space.  As someone who only carries her luggage on, I understand how precious this space is.  However, this argument escalated, and when Slater stepped in to ask one passenger to check their bag at the gate, he was accidentally clocked on the head by said bag.  Well, that stinks… great start to your day!  (Sarcasm here folks ;)

But it didn’t end there.  Once the plane landed at JFK, the passenger who was forced to check her bag at the gate became very upset that she could not get the bag back immediately.  Because Slater was the one who checked it for her, she took her anger out on him, very loudly and with many f-bombs.  Wow, the poor guy was just doing his job, cut him a break!

Here’s where the story gets juicy… Slater walked away from the woman (good) and got onto the intercom to announce his resignation (bad).  He allegedly said, “Those of you who have shown dignity and respect these last 20 years, thanks for a great ride.”  Slater then proceeded to activate the emergency exit slide, toss down his bags, pop open a couple beers, and hop down the slide himself.

Depending on what your reaction is, you can file this reaction under either off-his-rocker-crazy or wow-I-wish-I-was-that-ballsy. 

Let’s take a step back here for a moment to take a look at Slater’s personal brand before this incident.  Before, the public knew nothing about this guy.  According to a variety of new stories, his parents both worked in the airline industry and Slater was very passionate about his job.  To some, he was a friend, co-worker, helpful flight attendant.  Slater was by all means an Average Joe.

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Afterwards, however, Steven Slater is now known as that Jet Blue flight attendant who quit his job by jumping out of the emergency exit.  Quite the change, thanks to the media.  Keep in mind that once your actions are broadcasted to the public, they will trigger a variety of reactions.  These reactions will then be your  personal brand to those people, like it or not.  That’s why it’s so important to think before you, ah-hem, leap.  (cracking myself up over here! ;)

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How do you view Slater?  Is he a hero who was brave enough to speak his mind and represent abused flight attendants everywhere?  Or is he an idiot who will have issues getting a job in future due his jail time and clear anger management issues? 

All I know is that I wish I could exit some days with a slide :)

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