Steven Slater, a Jet Blue Flight Attendant decided that on the day he quit the company (and apparently his occupation because I doubt another airline will hire him after his escapade) he would do it in a “huff”! Anyone of us has been in a situation, or had a day, when we felt like we were about to boil over and would liked to have done nothing other than storm out the door and never look back. I can think of many, many reasons why that is not a good idea, not the least of which is that these stories will hang around for a long, long time. And in these days of social media, maybe forever. Mr. Slater’s story will stay with him and he will, unless he does not need to work again, have to recant the story and defend himself, his judgment, and his decision making for many years to come.
I once had a person who was to come to work for me and who was highly anticipated. It was Monday morning, the day he was to arrive on the job. He was being transferred from another facility within the company to the plant where I was the HR Manager. He was to be my #2 person as an HR Administrator and after weeks of discussion with him, I had prepared the team and various employees for his arrival. We were all set up for a meet-and-greet with the management team at 9:00 a.m. Coffee and pastries had been ordered, schedules cleared. Nine that morning came and went and there was no Bob. This was in the pre-cell phone and PDA era so there was no way to know where Bob was. Concern turned to anxiety and worry about what had happened. A few hours later I got a call from someone in the relocation department that Bob had decided to take another job, with another company. He had just called the relocation department to make us aware of it by telling them they needed to re-route his household goods that were being shipped to my job location, the location he had just abandoned. Bob didn’t leave in a huff like Steven Slater, but he certainly left in a “puff” with a cloud that stayed with him. His story is infamous among those who knew him and were involved in this situation. I also suspect that the world is small and viral enough that he has had to explain the situation to others a few times when asked about it.
We all have our moments, but how we leave a job sticks with us and becomes part of our career story. The best ending to any job change is the story of how we worked hard to the last hour, how we left finishing all that could be finished and that everyone was sorry to see us go.
The fewer huffs and the less puffs, the better.