Contributed by FA Mayie Carballo
"Wow! 5 Airlines!" "You're so good!" These are some of the enormous compliments, among many others, I would often get from people when they find out I have been with 5 airlines as a Flight Attendant. To be honest, I feel both proud and shy at the same time. Proud because who wouldn't be? Shy because first, I understand it's a dream of many, yet not all are able to make it and I don't want anyone feeling sad or down that they are unable to, while others, including me, can. Second, shy because I wasted the time and privileges all laid down for me to enjoy to the fullest. I took 5 chances for granted.
I was getting homesick. After resigning from one airline, I would end up applying at another. I was only very happy and excited when flight are over, enjoying the layover, and of course, pay day! It was a decision and routine, looking back now, I am not proud of. I was young, fickle-minded, happy-go-lucky. I was uncertain of what I really want. I neither saved nor invested or probably, saved and then, after a few months, savings gone. To think, I was not giving money to my family.
Yet through it all, I must say, somehow, I still took my job as an FA seriously. I was not one of the typical FAs others have perceived as just simply asking "chicken, fish or beef?" I have always been going above and beyond. I have received several commendation letters from colleagues and passengers in which I am proud of, very happy, and fulfilled.
What am I saying?
It is, yes, a glamorous job, however, it doesn't stop there. There are a lot of challenges that come with such a beautiful job. Have the right reasons why you want to be in the industry, and when you're blessed with the great opportunity to cruise by the clouds, be very grateful, choose to be happy every day, fly high but keep your feet on the ground, make the most out of it, save, invest and give back. Don't do it just so you get your duties and responsibilities done, consistently extend an extra mile and sincerely care for your passengers. Remember, it is not important to join 5 airlines or so, it is not the only "wow," what's "more wow" is to stay long in each airline. 3-5 years+, for me, are most ideal. If you still make it to as much number of airlines as I did or even more, and still get to spend 5 years+ in each, which is better.
I've been training aspiring FAs and I continue to share my story because I don't want to see them doing the same mistake which also applies to the ones currently flying, who might be, at some point, juggling between flying and leaving for the same reasons I had back then. When shaken, think of happy thoughts, recall the process (from the veeery long queue to the final panel interview, usually a 2 to 3-day series of assessments, tests and interview) and training you went through just to be where you are, look at your photos proudly wearing your uniform and all your smiles and poses by the Space Needle, Angkor Wat, Hollywood, Big Ben, Empire State and lots and lots of memoirs from other countries dreamt of by others to personally see, weigh things, and most of all, pray, and at the end of the day, you will realize that what's in store for you are so much more than the challenges. After all, nothing is all pleasure. Any kind of job takes a lot of hardwork and sacrifice. I may not have savored my flying career that much, however, I am blessed to motivate and inspire my trainees as much as they inspire me.
"Adventure exists in uncertainty," one of the mantras I live by.