Tuesday, January 10, 2012
After four years I am still trying to figure my job and the people I work with out.
Now before you get all concerned that I don't know how to pour a coke or evacuate a plane, I'll put your mind at ease and say, that isn't what I am talking about.
What I am talking about is the lifestyle. Because it really, truly is a job and a lifestyle. You are independent of your home life so often and dependent on complete strangers quite often. The fast paced change on plans and fluidity of schedule makes it really hard to stay grounded in the realities outside of the job.
During a trip, I easily loose track of what is happening and how time is passing back home. (I have called Jake more than once at 9am on a Saturday concerned as to why he didn't answer his office phone too. "Your still in bed? You have to get to work!" "It's Saturday." "oh.") I think this happens to a lot of flight attendants. It is a very egocentric job because the individual can control almost anything about their work experience themselves: days off, total hours worked, type of and length of trip, aircraft type, destinations can largely be self controlled. After spending so much time at work, living your life, it is easy for that to become your life. The sad part about it is that it doesn't give you much in return. On the jumpseat I have talked with so many sad, lonely, and desperate people. I'm not sure they would say it that way themselves, but that is what I hear when a person I met at check-in at 6am is sharing with me about her divorce, kid problems, money issues, family baggage, or medical problems by 9am.
For awhile I thought it was just the camaraderie of the group. "I'm a flight attendant, your a flight attendant, lets talk." However, over time, I am beginning to think that I am hearing all of these troubles because they have no one else to share with or no one else who will listen to them. I have been really touched by some stories and highly offended by others. Mostly they just make me sad because it seems these people, usually 30 years+ my senior, have so much regret and so much to look back on and wish was different.
It makes me sad to think that someday I could look back on my own life wondering were it went. All the optimism and plans of today could be something incredibly different in 30 years.
I wonder what they were like at 27.
Were they investing in a grounded life or spending it in the clouds. If they were honest, was it worth it?
So here's to not ending up a crazy cat lady, a bitter spinster, or a mess in a dress. I love Jake and the way he always keeps me real and my feet on the ground. I love my friends for giving me something (fun) to talk about at work when the jumpseat jabber gets too real (depressing).