Ignominious Exits

Working 9 to 5 may be a grind, but with the economy stuck in a rut, people who had a steady paycheck counted themselves lucky in 2010. Maybe that’s why tales of workplace drama drew so much attention: When it’s so hard to get or keep a job, people caught abusing their positions are bound to get the attention of a working (or unemployed) stiff.

And, on the other hand, it seems that some folks never learn. Again and again, slip-ups caught in the media spotlight cost people their jobs, whether they were four-star generals or journalists.

Among the most talked-about workplace sagas of the year, avidly followed online, was a flight attendant’s meltdown, topped off by his dramatic exit from a plane via emergency chute. While he played out many people’s cherished fantasy of telling off annoying customers, his folk-hero status didn’t last long.

But there were genuine good guys done wrong who won America’s outrage and sympathy, and who were vindicated by an outpouring of support. Some stories lead to happy endings … heartening news for downtrodden workers.

–Cicely Wedgeworth

Cicely Wedgeworth is a Yahoo! editor who also writes the Chowhound Digest for the San Francisco Bay Area. She previously wrote and edited for the Los Angeles Times.