There was this merry lady on a bike – a pretty little girl in an infant seat at the front, a playful looking boy in the backseat. I was on my way to the airport and she stopped as she passed me. “Excuse me, what about swapping our lives?”, she suggested. “You take care of them (pointing to her young ones) and I’ll take your flight. I don’t care where it’s going, anything will do!”. She laughed a joyful laugh and cycled off again.
To ‘fly away’ seems to attract almost everyone. I meet a lot of people who are curious about my job and ask me what it’s like in general. I find it hard to answer that question, since I would call it ‘a way of living’ rather than a job.
The other day I met a friend of a friend who told me she considers applying for a job as a cabin attendant. But she couldn’t make up her mind and therefore wanted my advice. I told her I would first give her a few reasons why she shouldn’t apply for the job. She gave me a staggered look. First of all, I told her, you will not only change your work, but your life as well. While others enjoy their time off or are asleep, you might be at work. And forget about your weekly girls night or tennis game: there’s no way you can be sure you’ll be at home. Likewise you will certainly miss a few family Christmas diners, celebrating it with people you might not even know, somewhere far, far away. We work with different colleagues all the time anyway, so, to make it a success, you have to work on relationships every single flight again. As a matter of fact, nothing is regular about this job. And there will be moments that you’re really tired and wished you were somewhere on your own. But you’ll have to get over it, since there’s a plane full of passengers counting on you: you’ll have to be approachable, alert and decisive at all times. And what about your body, crying for sleep but the sun’s still up in New York? Unless you want a sleepless night, you’ll have to deal with the jetlag and ignore this cry.
And so I went on about all the aspects of my job I presumed others might dislike. But the friend-of a-friend started to look happier and happier by the minute. “Wow, that sounds great!”, she cried at last. And I hadn’t even started to tell her about the real great things of my job… So I advised her to apply for cabin attendant with KLM immediately, since they’re looking for new cabin staff currently. It wouldn’t surprise me to meet her on board real soon.