“Ohhhh, I love OWS!” the text from Griffin read. Griffin was referring to the cable wakeboard park in Orlando that I had just tried out while on my layover. He wanted to go with me next time—but thing is—I didn’t know ‘the next time.’ I was thrilled at the thought of hanging out with him. If only we could actually plan it. We can’t plan though, because I can’t pick my schedule. I don’t choose my trips, my days off, my flights, my crew, how long my layovers are; any of it. I choose nothing, except to continue to stay at this job. It’s so hard to plan your life when you actually have no choice over your “life” (aka schedule).
I don’t bid. Yeah. You read that right.
I. Don’t. Bid.
And, I kinda want to bid. Like, kinda-really want to bid. I think being able to choose what I do in a month; where I go, who I fly with, and what days off I have would give me a WHOLE lotta reasons to stay or continue to love my job. Who the hell knows if, or when, I will actually quit. That leaving thought is thick in the air. Me, myself, and I are in the throws of a personal discussion regarding our exit strategy or if there needs to be an exit strategy. I’m just so tired of feeling out of control, because an entity takes all (or most) control of my life. I’m just fucking tired and it shows; it’s showing.
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I know bidding. I used to bid and get my first choice in schedule, albeit after an entire year of getting the last of everything. I know what it’s like to forget to bid and be stressed over not knowing what to bid. I know what it’s like to get so tired of bidding every single month. The nice thing about not bidding is I can blame everyone but myself for the shitty handout. “I got that destination all month. Ugh.” “It’s one night everywhere.” “Goodness— two straight weeks of standby?!?! What is this?!?”
And, when you don’t bid, there are these moments when the Universe conspires in your favor to make serendipitous moments occur. When you get sunshine in London, meet your best friend in New York, and happen to catch a windy day in San Juan. These are the moments and memories I so treasure. I love my flying because of the possibility amidst the chaos and unknowns. Sometimes the best moments in life you don’t pick or you can’t plan. They just happen.
It still would be nice to choose. If I could choose where I went to, I could plan meet-ups with my friends, go to events that I wanted to go to, organize business meetings, and see the places that I want to see. If I had a choice of when I flew and where I flew, I could plan layover activities and tell you when I will see you again. Someone might actually want to try dating a flight attendant…or at least trying to date me would be a whole lot easier.
There is a reason airlines let employees pick schedules and airlines have this system called seniority. When you lose both (like I did by switching companies), you see how those two aspects of flight attendant life help to create a little more fairness and lessen favoritism. You understand parameters and a computer gets your preferences. You kinda know what to expect and you feel like your entire existence isn’t up to God knows what and who knows what. Don’t make enemies in scheduling.
What I do know to expect is that I’ll be jet-lagged, work red-eyes all the time, and have a chance at about eight or so destinations. It’s not a bad life, it’s just not a sustainable and livable life, really. Today, it doesn’t feel sustainable. It feels endless. It feels like I am a number, who should be a robot, but just can’t seem to shake my humanness; my emotions, hopes, beliefs, desires, and dreams. It looks nice on the outside. So nice. When I’m in Copenhagen eating Avocado Toast, it tastes good too. My job makes me feel most happy and free when I have days off at the beach; kiting. It feels like my job is using me more than I am using my job.
I used to use my job to get me places, to write about the wonderful things, to pitch blog trips, and create adventures. Now it seems like a little monster in my life that I don’t know what to do with— because it’s so my life. The life of; not picking schedules, flying constantly and commuting has given a rhythm to my existence. Everyone needs rhythm and I am so accustomed to the cadence.
I’ve become accustomed to not bidding, because it’s just how it is. But, when I think about it, I just wish I could bid. I wish I could choose one place or one of my favorite people to fly with; or even, to drop a bunch of trips, because I’m so fucking fatigued right now. Yeah. I’m pretty tired. I already said that. Airlines hate when you say that, btw.
What I find the saddest part of all of this; the job I loved so much has me now terrified of saying too much. Because you; the general public, should never know we flight attendants get tired. You should never know that we work when we are sick or are sent to places with no choice but to go. We go because we are scared to lose the job we deep down do love. I know I am scared. Because this flight attendant thing is what I do, and it’s who I’ve been, and I don’t know if I’m courageous enough to break free from the addiction.
I don’t have a choice in my schedule, but I have made a choice. I do have choices. I’ve accepted all of this not bidding, no seniority, no travel benefits, and literally no life (in some aspects) really. And, I’m just kinda questioning,
“Why? Is it really worth it here?”