One of the most publicized incidents currently in the U.S. news is the case of the flight attendant, Steven Slater, who had a tirade at the end of his shift on board a JetBlue flight. This tirade came after an unruly passenger, at the end of the flight, decided to unload her baggage from the overhead compartment before the crew had given the OK for passengers to leave their seats. Slater asked the passenger to sit down but the passenger refused. At the same time, her luggage fell from the overhead compartment onto the head of Slater. Slater then requested an apology from the passenger who then cursed at him. Slater then used the plane’s public address system and declared, in rather colorful language, that he had enough after 28 years as a flight attendant and cursed the passenger who cursed at him. He then grabbed two beers and opened the rear exit and deployed the emergency exit slide and exited the plane via the slide. He was since arrested later at his home.
This is obviously an incident where a worker had enough of the conditions in his workplace and had a rather explosive reaction. It also brought to mind an incident I had in the past where I may not have acted as diplomatically as I could have in a work situation. It was the end of a long weekend where my group, the IT applications group, had just implemented a new software package. On Sunday, I was performing some last minute testing of the application and I discovered a major problem. As a result, I needed access to the application server and did not have the security to do so. So, I then called the Network Manager who never called me back. I was hoping that this issue could be resolved before the company started working on Monday since the Manufacturing floor needed to use this application to do their jobs.
When I caught up with the Network Manager on Monday morning, after stewing on this issue overnight, I screamed at him at the top of my lungs within earshot of any employee who happened to be in the area. The network manager, in not so many words, pretty much told me that there will never be 24X7 coverage so don’t expect it. To make a long story short, the issue was resolved that morning after the company pretty much came to a standstill for a couple of hours. That work stoppage could’ve certainly been avoided if I was able to contact the network manager on that previous day.
Could I have handled the situation with a calmer demeanor? Probably. Did I have justification to go off on the network manager that morning? I certainly thought so. So, I’m wondering, would you ever “go postal” at your workplace? If so, do you feel that your tirade would be justified? And what would be the consequences?