Have you lost your airline job, or are you about to lose your job because of the crisis that has hit the airline industry since the coronavirus outbreak? Former flight attendant Simon Marton is sharing some helpful advice on solutions to an airline job loss.
Reflections of a former flight attendant turned passenger
Just a few years ago, I was sitting on an Easyjet A320 with my family looking forward to a week’s holiday on Santorini, a Greek island which is close to my heart, having lived and worked there 25 years ago.
We were set to visit my sister and her family, and this was to be the first time all six of us had traveled abroad by plane.
Having worked in the airlines as a flight attendant, dispatcher, and eventually a crew manager, this was poignant for me as it was the first time I had been anywhere near an airliner since leaving the airline industry for good, a couple of years earlier.
It was about 20.30 local (8:30 p.m.) and the late-October skies were dark. I was busy interpreting the shoreline lights over Kamari the resort which you pass over on a one mile final and realized we were a little high.
Abruptly, we started to climb and my wife looked worriedly at me:
“Is this normal, Si?”
“No…it’s a go-around…we’ve either overshot, undershot or there’s something on the runway still, which is unlikely…”
“Have you ever had one of these before?”
“Only once…out of a couple of thousand flights….”
(It happened to be on my first flight as a newbie junior cabin crew member, on a Tristar landing into Faro, Portugal May 1996. I was in the flight deck as a supernumerary that day.)
Turns out we had overshot because the ILS was not working. And so it was to be that my youngest two of the four, experienced their first go-around on their very first flight. Lucky things.
Coronavirus pandemic creating havoc on airline jobs and careers
Fast forward to the present day. It’s now late June 2020 and of course, the world is very different for all of us. Unless you were one of the illuminated ones, no-one could see this coming, and one of the principal casualties has been the airline industry.
I really feel for anyone, whatever background, employment status, sector, or age who has been knocked sideways by all of this.
I would like to offer a perspective on this and believe me, I am no expert in any form.
From toilet factory to reinvention
If you have ever been hit by a sudden event such as the loss of a close family member or a dear friend, you’ll experience a similar feeling at the loss of a job, a relationship, or even a band that was promising so much in the future. (I’ve been there for all of the above.)
About fifteen or so years ago, I ended up working for an agency as a worker in a toilet factory.
I had never been so depressed. One minute I had been carefree, and the next minute I lost everything in a life clear-out, largely of my own making. I knew deep inside though that I could give up, resign myself to being a loser or find my path, my destiny, my purpose.
The last fifteen years have seen me marry and inherit an instant family, change career paths several times, gain a Law degree and then a post-graduate qualification, recently self-publish my first
book, take risks every day, and push myself forward.
We have a family to support, and they are hungry. No sooner have you bought the week’s shop then it’s hoovered up by four young gannets.
Time for a turnaround?
So, you may be saying to yourself, where are you going with this? OK, some background so you know I can at least empathize with any front liners reading.
My work as a flight attendant has been on aircraft as varied as ATRs through to 747s.
I dispatched mainly Dash 8s, but also Sheds, Twin Otters, and 737s. I know what it is to boil in a cabin with the air-con non-op in the height of summer, to try to keep awake at night on a night flight back from the USA.
Cheesecake helped a little. I know how to oversee a turnaround, literally and metaphorically…
Laid off or furloughed from your airline?
Maybe you’ve been knocked for six and are now looking at the very real prospect of your livelihood gone? How do you feel about your employment in tatters and your role which you adored, gone like a vapor trail into the atmosphere?
I address pilots and engineers specifically here; I can only imagine the effort, tears, exams, and sacrifice that has gone into achieving your ratings.
Cabin crew- you put your hearts and souls into creating on-board atmospheres that influence pax to choose to fly with your carrier again and again.
Managers- you do your best to navigate a role that is much maligned and criticized, often feeling you are in no-mans land, but overseeing so many to keep everything running smoothly.
So what next?
Loss of airline job solutions and advice
This is my story, so feel free to discard it but here is something I have learned:
The bills keep coming and you need to pay them. Do what you can. Our airline training is incredible and stays with you. All of it is transferable.
It’s not just about evacuation procedures, fan-blade replacement, service recovery, or rejected take-offs. It’s about teams (CRM), self-discipline,
mediation, forward-thinking, alertness, health and safety, crisis management, and so on…
If you find yourself in a toilet factory like me, when you had been formerly dealing with the Executive Club, a bomb-scare or a challenging full flight to DUB, then embrace it just like they did in the last two world wars.
It’s just a moment in time, and you are doing what needs to be done at this moment.
It could be warehouse work, van driving, cleaning, hospital-portering, or supermarket check-out. I promise I have learned so much in those personally low times about resilience, determination, and perseverance.
Hope is ahead, ride these storms…
- I cannot say that you will be doing what you were, but hard times always pass.
- I decided to retrain along the way and ended up in a completely different industry (social housing) which I love. This is nothing I could have planned, and it was just the course of life.
- If you can ride these storms out, keep yourself open to new ideas and never stop learning, you would be amazed at what’s out there.
Being unexpectedly sidetracked from your airline career, which you love so much, can be devastating for some. What do you think about Simon’s solutions and ideas to an airline job loss? You can contact him here.
Featured Image: Unsplash.