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I think by now most of America has heard about the diatribe-delivering, beer-absconding, slide-deploying JetBlue flight attendant who quit his job in what can only be described as spectacular fashion.  In many cases he is being regarded as a hero, others look at him with a certain level of disgust.  In a similar vein I ran across this as I perused WordPress this morning. (EDIT: Apparently this one was a hoax.  Color me embarrassed for falling for it.)

Both stories got the gears in my head turning.  After all, while I didn’t exactly quit in a new and creative way (or at all), I did recently find myself among the legions of unemployed individuals currently struggling to find work these days.

One would think that as someone who lost their job I would look with a certain level of derision upon those who simply throw theirs away.  But in these cases, I find a little something to admire in these people.  It takes a certain level of bravery, mixed with a combination of righteous indignation and momentary insanity I’m sure, to quit your job at all in this economy.  But to quit in such explosive manners takes true grit.

I guess the reason I see something to admire is that I am seeing a trend in the world these days that I find mildly disturbing.  This trend can be summed up in a phrase that I think most of us hear on a fairly regular basis: “just be happy you have a job.”

Now, before people start flaming me let me say this.  I do not believe anyone is simply entitled to a job.  The sense of entitlement that has been fostered in society at every level is one of the major driving factors behind where we are today.  If we are ever going to find a permanent fix for the troubles we are in today it needs to start by losing our belief that we are entitled to anything.

However, I have seen many instances where employers or customers will leverage the fact that things are so bad out there to slowly migrate from tough but fair to abusive.  There is a line.  It can be difficult to see at times with all the gray-area existing in today’s world, but it is there.  The real trouble is that with the job market crumbling under the weight of the unemployed people are simply too afraid to defend themselves. Fear of losing a house, a car, a lifestyle drive us to weather storms that can quickly become unbearable.sout a bit of warning, especially in this day and age.

We as managers need to remember that our workers are not simply wage slaves who can be used and abused in any way we see fit.  Yes, we need to do more with less.  Yes, the pressure is on, and it runs downhill as we all know.  But, morale is the great equalizer.  If your people are miserable their work product loses quality and timeliness.  Loyalty pays much grater dividends than fear.

Finally, we as people need to understand that most people on the unemployment rolls at this time do not want to be there.  Americans want to work.  We don’t want to sit with our hand out, hoping the government will take care of us.  There is a shame and a frustration that comes with losing the source of their mortgage payment and the food on their table.

Remember that net time you want to lash out

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