28 December 2010

Dear Melissa

I recently has a reader ring the call button and ask me a really thought provoking question. Melissa wanted to know if I would do this job over again if given the chance... Talk about a toughie!!

Melissa, I would have to say for ME the answer would be yes. Perhaps I am a glutton for punishment but I think if I saw that ad for a cattle call again as a 21 year old, I would like to think I would go to that interview again in spite of some of the crap that would be in my future.

When I applied for this job I had no real idea of what a flight attendants life would be like. My mother did the job in the glam era of the job, so her nostalgia painted a pretty picture of the job I will admit. (Mom, the crew desk no longer gives you wake up calls when you have an early trip, but supervisors do not check to make sure you are wearing a girdle.)

If I had a strong need to sleep in my bed every night, or even know what day of the week it is, I would not reapply. If I would burst into tears at the thought of spending 24 hours alone on a layover, in a foreign country where I did not speak the language, I would not reapply.

This job has taken me to over 20 countries on layovers , and over 60 on personal travel that I could only dream of with my reduced rate travel on other airlines. I have also had to share apartments and even rooms for far longer in life that most of the people I went to school with, for this jobs pay is not one if its strong points relative to the cities I have been based in.

I have worked charter flights to the Olympics and met more celebrities and even royalty ( admittedly minor royals or shamed ones...yes you Fergie). I have also has people expect me to clean up after their vomit or throw trash at their feet and expect me to clean it up.

The job has given me layovers between 10 hours and 5 days, in hotels ranging in quality from 5 star (Swisshotel Seoul and Steigenberger Frankfurt, I miss you) and so dumpy as to be listed in a Korean hostel guidebook ( yes you dumpy Furama).

If I felt a strong need to be home every weekend, or could not entertain myself when I am awake with jetlag at 4am and the only thing on the TV is CNN International because I am overseas, I would not go to that interview again.

Melissa, this job is nothing that cannot be undone, it is not enlisting in the service. If you are thinking about it and are open enough in life to be able to deal with not knowing where you are sleeping that night as you are on standby, and can bounce back from things like spending a Saturday night watching Bravo because no one fun to go play with is on your crew, then go for it.

This job ended up to be not much like I imagined it, sometimes I am so tired I spend the whole day in my pajamas recovering from a gruesome trip, yet for me the benefits outweigh the negatives. Hell for me most anything beats getting up early five days a week.

If you have any more specific questions please write back.


Lynn said...

I tried, but they had a height requirement back in the day and I was too short. AH, me! have to live vicariously through you! ;)

Melissa said...

Thank you for posting this!

Lenman said...

Your paragraph third from the bottom said it all. In fact the context of it could apply to any job, couldn't it? The glamour and the glory of the job I've been in for over twenty-five years was very appealing to a young man looking for a challenge and direction. And now as an 'older and experienced' man in a still young man's career field - having weathered through anger, tears, laughter, uncertainty and predictability (and even world travel)- I wouldn't change a thing either.