A few days ago I was working a long flight from Denver, Colorado to somewhere in Florida. This specific trip I was assigned to work on the bar cart in economy. It was a long day. I was tired, and a little irritable, and not exactly feeling my spry self.
When a lady asked for a Coke Zero, I reached for the drawer of the bar cart to grab it. They're always in the back of the drawer, but the drawer was stuck. I knelt down on the ground and yanked and the drawer, but it wouldn't budge. I yanked harder and the whole drawer came flying out forcing me forward and hitting my head on the tray of the bar cart.
"UGH, I yelled. "I hate this Job."
I said it out loud and was instantly mortified at myself. I looked around to see a handful of passengers staring at me. Not a mortified look, they thought it was funny.
"FINALLY!" One man shouted, "I have never heard a flight attendant admit to hating their job!" He laughed and a few other giggled with him. Honestly though, I had to sit there for a moment to pull myself together.
I don't hate my job. I love it. I don't know what I would be without this job, but I'm pretty sure I would still be in college trying to find a major that fit nicely into my life. I owe all of myself to this career that I have had for two years now.
BUT, I think I might have hit a breaking point. Since living in Denver I have worked trip after trip, long days and short layovers. A 16-hour work day with a 10-hour layover can really kill a persons spirit.
You're overworked, you're tired, you're losing your voice, smiling is hard, and everything is a mountain-sized task. Sometimes, it's just how things are.
What I meant was "I hate this job sometimes." But then again, who doesn't hate their job sometimes.
I guess the thing is that, this job isn't all beachy layovers, bicycling around Amsterdam, and getting hit by cars in Rome because you weren't paying attention while eating your gelato. It's also 16-hour days, short sleeps, and missing out on things because you have no control over your schedule.
I spent the next few days pretty bitter, until something in me just couldn't take it anymore. I seriously thought that if I kept up this bad attitude I would not make it through another day. So, I told myself to fake it. Go to work and fake your smile. Make people believe that this is something you love more than anything else.
I was on the bar cart in economy again, and I started talking to passengers. Instead of "Anything to drink?" I would say "Hey there, can I get you anything to drink today?" And I would say it with a smile.
When you start off with that, most people respond really well. Some of the passengers just tell you what they want without looking up, and I really had to force a smile through that frustration, but some will honestly, smile back and happily tell you how they are doing well and ask politely for their drink.
I made it though the whole service, and I was DRAINED, but I had to go back one more time before my break to pick up trash.
About halfway through, a woman stopped me and said:
"You know, it's amazing how at every row you stopped at, you smiled and had a genuine conversation with the passenger. Nothing was awkward and every conversation was filled with light.
Three years ago I made the bold (and crazy) decision to drop out of school, quit my job and move across the country to start my life as a cabin crew member. With my suit freshly pressed and my shiny wings pinned to my heart, I was ready to take on the world. ....read more.
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