Life Update #1: Why I left the aviation industry
|Photo By: Patrice F.|
I know what you are thinking, "Girl you know how many people would love to be a flight attendant?" "Wait? You left?" "Why did you leave?" or my FAVORITE one "Girl...that was the best job ever, you could've retired with amazing benefits"
While all of those statements and questions are absolutely true and warranted to put it simply I wanted more for myself and I needed to truly do what made me happy. I started flying August 4,2015 for a regional carrier based out of Raleigh, NC. I kind of fell into the aviation field by chance at the time I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life (career wise) but I knew I needed financial stability and a change of scenery. I originally wanted to join the military but that quickly changed once I got to MEPS and they started yelling at me. (Yeah, I couldn't do it. haha)
I had a pretty decent job at the time but I wasn't happy so a dear friend of mine suggested that I look into becoming a flight attendant. I did a bit of research and began applying, now mind you I was terrified of flying so exactly how all of that worked out I couldn't tell you. I got hired at this regional carrier and relocated to Raleigh and began to build my new life. I stayed with that carrier for two years I met some amazing people and learned a lot about being on my own and the importance of taking care of myself (emotionally, mentally and physically).
I eventually left that carrier after I was offered another flight attendant job with a bigger airline but this time I was based out of New York! I interviewed with the company in April (2017) and I remember walking back to my hotel room while I was on the phone with my dad and I kept saying, "Dad, I really want this job, I think I got it!" Luckily, for me I did get it and off I went on another but adventure with an amazing support system at home and a loving boyfriend (He's my hubby now!!!!) I made the decision to commute which meant that I would keep my apartment in Raleigh as my permanent home base and live in New York part time. Now I have always had a special place in my heart for New York and the busyness of the city but honey after living there for two years, I can say it's a great place to visit but I couldn't live there full time. I'm a true southern girl at heart, I need my sweet tea, my car, adequate parking, Wal-Mart I just needed space.
It took a major toll on me commuting back and forth from Raleigh to New York just about every week. Luckily my family and friends were always encouraging me but to be honest depression creeped in. At one point I was ready to pack up my whole life and move back home to Virginia and live with my dad until I figured it out. Now mind you this is what I wanted, I prayed for this job I put in the work, I sacrificed holidays, family events and my time for this job. I gave up a lot and God gave me exactly what I asked for.
The reality is, I was unhappy before I got the job and apart of me felt like getting the job would make me happy. The first year and a half that I spent in New York was truly the most uncomfortable, unnerving, unhappiest time in my life. There are truly no words to describe the spiritual and emotional attack I was experiencing, it affected me in more ways than I even knew. BUT God never let me fall, I never went without, he always made a way and through it all I learned some valuable lessons.
Being a flight attendant can be very lonely, there are often times when you are just sitting and waiting on the next assignment. I can not even begin to tell you how many Netflix shows I had binged watched, and how many times I just picked up the phone to call my family just so I could have someone to talk to. My commute kept getting harder as the months and years started to go by, I was experiencing homesickness and anxiety about flying back to New York. Often times I would stay cooped up in my apartment for days just waiting on a flight assignment (trip) I didn't have a desire to explore the city or do anything fun because I was paying two rents, buying groceries for two places and just trying take care of myself.
Although I had amazing roommates nothing and I mean absolutely nothing was helping. I started applying for jobs back in Raleigh pretty soon after I got to New York and nothing seemed to work out. I figured that God had me in New York and at that company for a reason so I just decided to wait. As I said before I wanted this job, I prayed for this and in my heart I was wondering did I move too fast? Did I make the right decision? Why did I do this to myself? I was failing to realize the blessing in all of it. I was growing emotionally, I was constantly stepping out of my comfort zone, I was being stretched and most importantly I was given a chance to meet amazing people and experience things I had only dreamed of.
In the beginning of June (2019) after a difficult start to the year (more on that later) I told my roommates that I was leaving. I received a mixture of responses and to be honest at that point I figured it doesn't matter if anybody is happy for me I am finally doing what's best for me! I had to come to terms that although I am leaving the industry my struggle wasn't or isn't always something that others can relate to. My reasons for leaving were probably something that others could get through and I made it perfectly clear that I wanted to do this for me, my family and for the life I wanted to have going forward.
I am so thankful for the four years I spent hearing the stories of my passengers, comforting mothers who are going to bury their children, holding babies who refuse to sit down, giving mini tours to the toddlers who want to touch everything in the galley. Petting every dog that came onboard, attending to medical emergencies, having heart to heart conversations with my coworkers on a red eye flights, trying to desperately fight for holidays off and every sunset and sunrise at 35,000 ft. I do not regret leaving the industry without my time there I wouldn't have realized my true strength.
To my fellow flight attendants continue to fight for your dreams and enjoy every moment.