JetBlue, a Dry Erase Board, and Staff Morale

August 11, 2010

If you are running a practice, let’s hope that you don’t experience either of this week’s examples of how to depart your job while also making it onto CNN.

If you are running a practice, let’s hope that you don’t experience either of this week’s examples of how to depart your job while also making it onto CNN.

Now I’m sure by now you have a feeling on Steven Slater, the (former) JetBlue flight attendant who decided to deplane both an aircraft and his career by deploying an emergency slide and bidding adieu to those on board. Following a heated altercation with a passenger, Mr. Slater felt it best that he take his career in another direction. That direction, apparently, is either hero or heretic. It seems the general public remains divided on the matter.

My other favorite resignation story this week came from “The Chive,” about a girl named Jenny who decided to send her “I Quit” to all of her co-workers via a series of photos with messages written on a dry erase board. The photos featured a series of messages about how she truly felt about her boss – warning: some salty language was scrawled on the boards – as she departed her job.

Alas, the latter example turned out to be a hoax, but nonetheless, for a good 12-hour period, the world was introduced to yet another interesting way to leave a job outside of the standard two-week notice letter. (I should know better than to trust anything called “The Chive,” right?)

Not since Ellen DeGeneres left American Idol has America been captivated by two stories that have the same basic message: “I Quit.”

The stories are the same in that both display the frustrations of employees taken to the very extreme after what appears to be some neglect by their supervisors. Now don’t get me wrong, shouting a string of expletives and causing a pseudo-security incident at a major airport is not the way to get your boss’s attention nor is promoting his short-comings via office e-mail.

Times are tough. Employees are doing more with less as are employers and the result is undoubtedly some stress on one if not both of the parties.

Given the presence of Facebook, Twitter, etc., it is much easier for people to express their dissatisfaction with their job at the click of a mouse, a potentially dangerous approach for an employee’s career and your business. Think one or two JetBlue flight attendants have heard a joke or 20 lately about their former colleague or experienced some mocking from passengers? You can bet on it.

So don’t wait until your practice becomes a potential national punch line. Take some time today to interact with staff members who to you seem motivated, dedicated, and hard-working, but could actually be worn-out and tired. Use some of our tips on how to build office unity and get staff talking, rather than reacting.

A couple of minutes today to say thanks to the people who keep your office running is a good way to let them know you recognize their role in your success. Teamwork is a vital part of any good business and if it has been a while since you delivered that message to staff, do it immediately.

We’ve seen the alternative this week and it is not pretty.