By: Len Serrano
“It’s a dead end after being a flight attendant!” This one misconception, discourages parents of FA aspirants in taking the flying career. They think that flight attendants will eventually face a blank wall after being “boxed in the skies”. Even those who are already flying are pessimistic on what comes next after their flying years. I have met ex-colleagues who were in this situation.
Few were hopeful, while others still were either insecure, or depressed. Worst, they felt worthless after all of it.
But let us begin by tackling why flight attendants resign despite the “luxurious lifestyle”, free travels, and “fat income”, to name a few benefits.
It’s all about priority. There are flight attendants who in the midst of their flying career need to listen to the ticking of their body clock. Yes, they want to raise a family. There are also those who, as in my case, need to go back home to take care of her ailing loved ones, setting aside personal travel lists to fulfil the duty of a hands-on family member.
And how about those who face emotional struggles: relationships falling apart, homesickness, or simply not happy with their environment and career choice. Well, at least, the last is the luckiest because they are not forced to resign. It is merely just their realization.
Then, there are also those who simply have no choice but to retire. Age and physical requirement are no longer met. Even if they claim to have the strength of a 20 year-old but when an airline impose retirement at 45 or 50 years old, or a waist line measurement of less than 30 inches, you are forced to go home. Who cares about your unfulfilled goals!
Now you will have to battle against your own insecurities. At your age and status, where will you start? What else do you know? Tougher challenge for FA’s who lived overseas, feeling alienated in their own country.
From my own experience, I can assure you that there is life after flying. Let me share my story.
After resigning my airline, I had to stay home to take care of my then sick mother, I did not let it burden me. I had to look for a job at the same time. So, I submitted my CV’s online. I also let my ex-colleagues know that I was looking for a job. Suddenly, an FA School called me thru my ex-colleague who was also an instructor there. I got hired and I was so excited and happy every teaching day because I was able to share my knowledge and experiences.
I have met students from all walks of life. The challenging part for me, (which I love anyway) is molding the undergraduates, the financially underprivileged, and the “probinsyanas”. Bridging the gap in providing them better leverage to visualize and penetrate the aviation world, where competing with “FA-ish” applicants from the cities, is motivating. This school is my “new sky”.
Whenever our graduates become flight attendants, I feel their zest. Through their eyes, I can see the world. For each successful story is a joy for me. Through my job, I am able to sustain my finances, not as huge as when I was flying but it is equally rewarding. I enjoyed teaching.
After few years, I was entrusted by our School Directress who was also an ex -cabin crew to become the School Administrator. I pride myself to be someone who believes in the potential of Filipino FA aspirants wherever they come from, as long as they have a solid dream to fly. I also believe in the potential of FA retirees who, when their knowledge and experiences are shared genuinely, will be a blessing for others too.
Resignation after flying is not the end of life. When life leads you to land, grasp some air for a while. Soar from the strength of your wings, and not according to the gust of winds. The height of success can also be found on land as it is in the skies. Let yourself define flying. Let your existence be a cycle of blessing.