Dream Job: CHECK
London. Los Angeles. New York: CHECK.
Pretty smile. Perfect Lipstick and the proper pour of Diet Coke. Done and done.
You got it. You did it. You do it— The Flight Attendant Life.
you dig it.
Well…at least you mostly dig it.
You dig the way people look at you and dig how they think you have such a cool job. You secretly crave the questions that center around the life and love telling people you were in Munich yesterday, Vancouver tomorrow, and Hawaii next week. There are the moments when you think you are as cool as everyone else thinks you are. But, there are more moments when you catch yourself pushing the cart through the skinny single-aisle— during a trans-con flight— with a single stew forty years your senior wondering, “Is he really happy? Is this how she envisioned her life to be? Was the painful breakup caused by this industry; the airline one?”
“Is this all there is?”
Because, you sincerely believed there was more to this job. You thought you would be challenged and intrigued, but work isn’t like that. You don’t really use your brain. It’s mindless and somedays, it often feels purposeless in an endless sort of way. You got here— you got what you wanted. Now what? You simply assumed there would be more to this life. The sad reality is that it actually doesn’t take many brain cells to ask someone if they want, ‘Coffee, Tea, or Water.‘ This job doesn’t require much of you, and then it requires everything of you. It requires your family, your commitment, your submission. It requires juxtaposition and a stretch you didn’t know was physically or emotionally possible. It asks of you more than you believe you have in you on some days, and then on others, much less of you than you believe your Doctor, Lawyer, and Engineer friends give in their jobs. Because, their jobs must matter. They are the big career life-changing types. Funny how life is; those uber-successful career world-changers probably have daydreamed about being you, Little Cabin Crew.
You are a juxtaposition of loving and hating; happy and not. You thought this airline would make your life better and it has, but it didn’t create the fulfillment you had expected that it would. You’re left always wanting more. The incredibly loneliness haunts you. Before this was your life, you saw the Instagram photos of layovers that looked like magic, colleagues that appeared to be best friends, and crew who looked to be fulfilled. It looked so good and you know it is good, but there’s just something missing in the mix and mess of a travel job like this one.
Strangers’ emails ping my inbox like incessant departure announcements echo in airports.“I’m wondering if it’s worth it and if you could answer that for me?” I hold my head in my hands; exhausted, burnt out, frustrated. Airline life? You’re asking me—today— if it’s worth it? Fuck. I want to say no, but that’s only half-truth. The better answer is; I have no fucking clue if it’s worth it.
You’re not doing this job right now, because you feel like it’s where you belong or because it’s your dream even. You’re doing it a little out of obligation; a little out of fear of being bigger and more impactful than you are right now. I write this blog now, not because this is entirely where I stand currently, but entirely because I have walked in that place and know these questions just as intimately as you.
Know you are not alone.
I challenge you— in these hours and days and months of questioning if what you do really matters— to remember to smile a little brighter at the passenger, show a little bit more kindness to a stranger, and be a better coworker. When you become so caught up in the loneliness and monotony of The Flight Attendant Life, you’ve come to the point that you have forgotten how much you matter. You have forgotten how much you are needed.
You are in this place because it needs you. Don’t allow yourself to become complacent in this space and in your work. If you stay, stay because it matters, not because it’s comfortable. Don’t let yourself become lazy, because it is an easy trap in the airline industry.
Above all, don’t forget you. It’s easy to let these months of flying turn into years, and one day you wake up alone and stuck. Why is it you don’t feel fulfilled? Is your time here done? Are you ready for the next place, next career, or next thing? Or, is this space of career discomfort simply forcing you to see that what’s really going wrong is you. That it’s you that needs to grow and accept and change. You need to be happy where you are, with what you have, with where you’re at.
It could be the job.
But it could also be you.
Or maybe a little bit of both.
But, whatever it is, you are not alone. Trust me. We feel a lot of the same things behind those perfectly polished and filtered Instagram photos.