What makes a workplace special? Good pay and benefits? A healthy work/life balance? Smart colleagues? Interesting responsibilities? It’s not easy to find an employer that offers all those things. Here are 50 places that do. PLUS—the most memorable excuses for missing work, outrageous on-the-job behavior, unusual exits, and more.

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Companies with terrific benefits, stimulating work, flexible schedule schedules, opportunities for growth, and respect for their staff.

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When flight attendant Steven Slater quit his job with JetBlue by sliding down an airplane’s emergency chute, beer in hand, it got us thinking: In Washington, full of professionals unlikely to burn bridges, would anyone make a dramatic exit from a job?

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Think this is a serious city where nothing unprofessional happens in offices? Read on.

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Some of these stories, as recalled by colleagues, are true. Others—you be the judge.

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Find out how to apply for Great Places to Work.

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Posted at 12:11 PM/ET, 03/16/2012 RSS | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Guides