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Doug Leier, Published August 14 2010

Lamb: Parting shot

A week ago Steven Slater was just another flight attendant telling passengers to have a good day. That all changed Monday when he told a passenger where she could stow her carry-on.

Slater’s stock shot up a mile-high by doing something so many wish they had the bags to pull off – leave a job in a blaze of glory.

Not only did Slater tell off the rude passenger over the plane’s intercom system, after doing so, he announced, “I’m done.” But not before grabbing a couple beers from the beverage cart and opening the emergency exit to slide down to the runway.

Slater’s slide may ultimately land him in jail, but his now legendary last day at work gave him a prime spot in the pantheon of job departures.

Who hasn’t held a stressful job and wished they could walk out with a fiery farewell, telling bosses and customers alike what you really think of them?

(Note to my bosses, co-workers and readers – I like my job, as long as people don’t complain about the papers I don’t deliver or the stories I didn’t write.)

When Richard Nixon resigned 36 years ago this week, you know he would’ve rather waved just the middle finger on each hand instead of flashing the V-for-victory sign.

Ultimately, Tricky Dick was too much like most other Americans – more concerned with how such a gesture would offend others as opposed to how good it would make him feel for the moment.

Deep down, most of us don’t want to burn bridges as much as we want to put someone in the hot seat.

A good example of this circulated recently on the Internet. A site, www.thechive.com, posted a series of pictures of a young woman holding a dry-erase board. Each progressive frame showed a new message, revealing that she was leaving her office job and would miss her co-workers, except her boss. She proceeds to call out her boss, topping it all off by outing him for how much time he spent playing Farmville at work. It’s a great idea, even if it was staged.

Certain professions are just more prone to dramatic exits. If you work in a kitchen you either never show up for your next shift or your two-week notice is the bruise on your boss’ arm after throwing a pan at him.

I once worked at the Fargo Public Library, and while most people would think such a job would be stress-free, well, I’d like to give them an earful, but I’d have to shush myself.

Once I was swamped by patrons with questions or waiting to check out and couldn’t take it any more. When someone asked what the new Sue Grafton mystery was, I wanted to bark, “O is for ‘Outta Here,’ as in ‘I am!’” Instead, I put her name on hold for “O is for Outlaw.”

So Steve Slater, raise that embezzled beer high, because this Bud’s for you.

I even dedicated a song to you on the jukebox. “Take This Job and Shove It.”

Readers can reach Forum columnist John Lamb at (701) 241-5533