0300 Wake-ups. Plane after plane. Grumpy passenger after mean one. Prefaced by smelly person with ending credits that of another rude human. Normally, you are good at handling the circus of long days of flying, crowded airports, and TSA, but currently, all you keep thinking is, “I can’t even…”
You can’t even because you are worn out, burnt out, and flown out. The job you love is quite possibly the enemy that you loathe. Crew scheduling hates your face and you’re not so fond of his sorry ass. You feel under-appreciated and a bit like a failure. Because if you were the robot the airline needs you to be, you could do this. The job isn’t that difficult, so why is it so hard right now?! You drag yourself from early report to late show, swapping between day rests and red eyes. Jet lag hurts. Relationship drama. Flight Attendant fighting. It’s been a few bad days at the office and the sweetest icing on the cake? You made $18,000* last year. That was your perk to live in this “glamour.” “Thanks airline!” you say. You wonder if it’s worth it. Do you keep killing yourself for adventure, for the status, for those moments of brilliance? Is it worth it?
I don’t know. Only you know.
This isn’t a post to pick a side and tell you that the lifestyle is worth it or it isn’t. Also, this is NOT a post complaining about how things are in flight attendant life. This is simply an acknowledgment that not every day—even at a job you LOVE—is going to be rainbows and sparkles. Some days in life are just a grind; for flight attendants or for anyone for that matter. That’s life. Your task is to either—grind through it, grind on, or pick a different grind.
It’s human to have bad days. That’s ok, but what isn’t ok is pretending you are perfect and that everything is always perfect. I so often feel the ‘pressure of perfection,’ more as an international cabin crew member than ever before. I feel the nagging need to have perfect hair, perfect skin, and a perfect smile always. I can’t be an always girl, but I can be real. The intense pressure to be thin, bubbly, sweet, always going, and adorable is a subtle addition to my existence and crushingly pronounced in moments when I am stressed and exhausted. I’m hard on myself. I know this, but I also know that I’m not the only human who feels pressured to “be.’ We’ve all experienced a need to fit into societal norms and achieve that pedestal ideal of who a man, woman, mother, father, or flight attendant is “supposed to be.” We all know these feels.
In industries where a high amount of attention is placed on looks—like as in the flight attendant career—there is an even greater tendency to hold unachievable expectations. I want you to know that you are pretty, you are loved, and you are enough. I want me to know this too. Having days when being a flight attendant is “too much” is not a reflection of who you are as an individual, does not lessen your value, and does not mean that this job isn’t for you. It’s a bad day. Maybe a bad month. Know that no one expects you to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. No one expects as much from you as you expect from yourself. Give yourself a minute. Give yourself a little kindness. Give yourself a little credit, Darling.
For those who have been reading my posts recently, you have been witnessing a season of questioning, struggling, and searching. So these words are as much for you as it is for me. I know I need to take my own advice. Sometimes, I think that my honesty scares you. It scares you because your image of who a flight attendant is and what a flight attendant does is shaken. You worry that I will stop flying or stop blogging. Do not fear. Your impression of flight attendant life doesn’t need to be shattered. You just need to know that beneath the perfect uniforms and cookie cutter look of cabin crew are real stories and real feelings. And as for my adventures; I will stop flying, stop blogging, and stop whatever journey I am on currently when it’s time. I don’t know when that time will be, so I’m gonna hang in there and face this flight attendant grind.
On the days you don’t believe you will be able to get through your flight attendant grind, take a few of these suggestions listed below. Implement them into your life. When I use these strategies, it has helped me.
Best friends— Your friends will keep you sane when all else is crazy. Trust me.
Talk to someone— All it may take is a listening, non-judgmental ear to cheer you up.
A walk— Step into activity to help you step out of your bad day.
Sleep— This changes everything.
Looking forward to days off— Focus on what you are excited about, not on what discourages you.
Being outside— There is just something about fresh air and nature that lifts the spirits
Reading positive quotes— You know Pinterest on my down days is my BFF
Crying— We need the cathartic moments
Laughing— Those who laugh, live longer.
A hug— Human touch is such an important component of life
Expand your comfort zone— A few weeks ago, when I was especially down, I took a week to go kite boarding. Kite boarding is out of my comfort zone. I’m not good at it, but the act of challenging myself and pushing my knowledge helped lift my spirits and built confidence in myself.
Upgrading my self-talk to kindness— Please be kind first.
Eating healthy— When you eat well, you feel better and you feel better about yourself.
I know I said sleep, but it’s important enough to mention twice. Make sure you sleep.