Written by F/A Paola Nadine Ubaldo
I can still remember the pain from the first time I applied for this job. It was for a local airline. I cued in the line under the heat of the sun with hundreds of applicants ended up being rejected because of my weight. It was heartbreaking, I don’t know how I will stand up from my very first rejection. But there’s one important person who told me that “You will never know if you don’t try again”. It made an impact to me.
I waited for another open day. This time for a different local airline. I attempted for a second try, hoping this airline would take me in. I thought I’m in the best version of myself but I was wrong. I cued in the line among hundreds of applicants, just to be rejected once again. This time I don’t know the reason why. I was teary eyed and felt like my hopes were gone. It was hard for me since I’m working for business consulting and telecom company doing office work I felt like I was stuck. That I am supposed to be somewhere else.
When an international airline announced a recruitment day in Manila, I was happy and excited because this time I thought I was meant to be a flight attendant outside my country. Just like the first two, I was rejected again. Then came my fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh attempt and so on. The cycle just went on and on. I keep on receiving regret slips and hearing the same lines again and again “Thank you for your application. Competition was very strong and we decided to go in another direction”, been through a lot of long queues under the sun / under the rain, waited whole day during open day, did not make it to cut off time, made it to the last step ended up being rejected and so on. Every open day, mass hiring, walk – in expect me to be there. Even if the airlines that I applied to did not tell me what I needed to do in order to get accepted, I kept on striving and hoping that one day I’ll get that opportunity. I studied everything, I got better in doing my make up, I had lasik surgery, I worked myself in the gym so that my physique will be more suited as a flight attendant. All I prayed for is a chance.
These rejections taught me the same lessons over and over again; to not give up, to learn to try again, to live with disappointments and how to live with setbacks because they will always be going to accompany you. I’ve struggled with self - doubt because a lot of times things didn’t go my way or what I planned. It was never been an easy journey for me. There was a point in my life that I’ve asked God if this dream was really meant for me. It brought me frustration and resentment. Everything was uncertain. But there’s one thing I’m sure of; to not let go of this dream.
Luckily, on my 20th attempt, I made it until the end. From impact interview, initial medical, exams, panel interview and meet the president, all came unexpectedly.
And just when I thought my hardships will end because I made it through my application. It did not stop there. I thought the training will serve my FA dream in a simplest way, just I expect it to be. Well, it did not. It has been months of sleepless nights, countless cups of caffeine, and endless of routines, procedures and drills to review and master with almost 90% passing rate and limited lifelines to save. It hasn’t been clear skies, but I have endured the crosswinds. It has been quite a journey that I will forever be thankful of.
To all aspiring flight attendants out there, keep the faith! (regardless of timing) God has His own version of our dreams. Yes, we get frustrated when we don’t get the things we want in our own time line. Even when we don’t get the things we believe we deserve. Whatever wishes are in our hearts, be it in our career or personal life, remember He is in control. Now it makes sense that you can’t always control your life no matter how hard you try because its always His timing, not yours.