5 Employees Who Spectacularly Told Their Bosses to Take This Job and Shove It
Do you like your job? If you do, you’d better keep that information to yourself, otherwise all your friends who hate their jobs will get angry with you.
If you’re a normal person, you dislike working, and that’s fine. You get paid to do things you don’t like, not things you do. And maybe you dream of one day walking out, in some dramatic fashion that makes everyone clap. We can’t safely recommend that you slam a keyboard across your stupid boss’ face, but we can point you to the following stories of people who made their last days ones to remember.
A Flight Attendant Quit, Then Rode Out the Emergency Doors, Beer-in-Hand
On August 9, 2010, something happened among the passengers on a JetBlue flight that had just landed at JFK in New York City. The way steward Steven Slater would later tell it, a woman got up too early, tried to pull her bag from overhead and swore at Slater when he tried to stop her. He did not use the k-word when describing her, as this was 2010, but you get the idea. No other passenger later corroborated Slater’s story, leaving it unclear exactly what set him off.
Whatever it was, Slater went on the mic and spoke, delivering one or two swears of his own. One witness quoted it like this: “Fuck you! Fuck all of you! I’m fucking through with this! I’ve had it! I’ve been doing this for 28 fucking years, and I can’t take it anymore. And for the fucking asshole who told me to fuck off, fuck you! That’s it! I’m done. Fuck you all!”
Next, Slater opened an emergency exit, letting loose a slide to the ground below. He picked two beers off a cart and slid down to freedom.
Then, awkwardly, he realized he’d left a bag aboard the plane. So, he had to climb back into it, up the very slide he’d just ridden. Afterward, he went to the terminal, left the airport, stopped at a 7-Eleven for snacks and went home. When police showed up at his place later, they found his boyfriend in his underwear, leading to the rumor that he was in the middle of celebratory sex when they arrested him.
Prosecutors first tried to send Slater to prison, but in the end, he got away with counseling (the guy had some issues) and a year of probation. He also received an offer to host a reality show and got a handful of endorsement deals. One was for a texting app called Line2, where Slater picked the best flight passenger stories for something called the Mile High Text Club. That makes sense. We're pretty sure “upvoting stuff on their phone” is exactly what a lot of people end up doing all day after they quit their job.
A KGB Spy Quit By Claiming He Had HIV
Albrecht Dittrich was an East German who trained in Moscow as a spy. The USSR sent him to America in 1978 as Jack Barsky, the name of an American kid who had died two decades earlier. His mission was to get close to Jimmy Carter’s German-educated NSA advisor. How the hell he was supposed to do that, well, the KGB left that to him.
In time, his handlers sent word that they were recalling him to behind the Iron Curtain. Like many spies who spent time in America, Jack didn’t want to leave, particularly because he now had a wife in New York. He also had a different wife back in East Germany, but the New York wife was better. So, he told his handlers he couldn’t go back east because he’d contracted HIV. He needed to stay in the U.S. for treatment, and besides, they didn’t want him bringing the virus to Moscow, did they?
They didn’t. They let him loose, which was totally unlike their usual policy of never letting go of any spy no matter what. Most stories of defection you’ve heard involve desperate flights to freedom, fleeing communists with guns. In case this wasn’t already clear, no, Jack was not in fact HIV positive, and the Soviets never asked for proof that he was.
In the 1990s, American authorities finally realized Jack was using someone else’s birth certificate, and the FBI interrogated him till he revealed all. They never arrested him, though, as he by this point hadn’t spied in years. The FBI agent behind this later even went on to be the godfather to Jack’s daughter.
Instead of Staying in His Research Base All Winter, One Scientist Burned the Place Down
Almirante Brown is a research base in Antarctica. It’s named after an Argentinian admiral. William Brown never went to Antarctica himself, but he did enjoy all sorts of other adventures. For example, there was the time when he won a war against the Spanish, and then he went on fighting Spanish ships afterward — just for fun. This was kind of illegal and also ended with him marooned on an island.
Antarctica’s Brown Station was an elaborate place back in the 1960s and 1970s. Besides the living area, it had a library, an office and a bunch of different labs. It was equipped to operate year round. And that was why, in April 1984, the Argentinian navy could suddenly inform a doctor stationed there that, despite what he’d earlier thought, he would be spending the following winter at the facility. The man didn’t really have a choice, since even if he resigned, he couldn’t exactly grab the next taxi out of there.
And so, he burned the station down. Just razed the whole thing with cleansing fire. No one died, and the now-stranded scientists were rescued by an American ship. Argentina rebuilt the station, but now, they figured that maybe it was best to keep the place running only during the summer months.
A Train Conductor Just Took Off, Leaving 100 Passengers Stranded
In September 2016, a train was going from Santander to Madrid in Spain. Several trains go this route each day, and the trip normally takes around four hours. Halfway through, the train driver’s shift ended. This sounds like ludicrously bad planning on someone’s part, but he was done with work, and no substitute was on hand to replace him.
Thus, the guy stopped the train at the village of Osorno and abandoned it. It was 9:15 at night, and the train announcer told the passengers only that the vehicle was having technical problems, as the real situation was too absurd to share. A little later, with no solution presenting itself, the announcer revealed the truth. Some passengers disembarked, while others stuck around waiting for the train company to fix things. They looked quite cheery about the wait:
The train company couldn’t figure out how to get a replacement driver there anytime soon. Two hours later, they did send a contingent of shuttle buses to collect the passengers and take them the rest of the way. The real mystery is how the absconding driver got to Madrid, or Santander, or wherever he’d rather be than at his post. Maybe he caught a train traveling in the other direction?
Someone Drew a Salary from the ‘New Yorker’ for 30 Years Without Writing Anything
Joseph Mitchell wrote for the New Yorker in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. A lot of the stuff he wrote is still available on the site today, so you can go back and read his coverage of how a bar changed over the years or how this other bar changed over the years. Being a writer used to be awesome.
It’s becoming increasingly rare, by the way, for publications to maintain such long memories. We ourselves are fortunate to be a site where you can still browse and stumble on articles from when the Steven Slater JetBlue story was brand new and something to riff on.
In 1964, Mitchell submitted his last piece. He never published anything again. Still, he stayed employed at the New Yorker, and he went on getting paid as usual, for year after year, for the remaining three decades of his life. Again, being a writer used to be awesome.
However, Mitchell didn’t exactly spend those final 30 years of his life partying. He continued coming in to the office every day like everyone else. Co-workers, baffled by the absence of any output from him, used to sneak in there when he was out and look through the trash to see what he was writing, since he surely he had to be drafting something and just was failing to make it work.
And really, when office people dream of quitting, they fantasize about leaving the office, not of ceasing all action. If you had the chance to trade your current fate for going to the office daily till you die and accomplishing nothing, maybe doing something productive with your life doesn’t sound so bad.
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