Year Four. Month Seven. #BLI.

It does get better, you know.

I've been there.

The endless airline applications. The "thanks but no thanks" (TBNT) e-mails. The hours spent typing in your job history information, your personal information, your most intimate details, hoping that the summer you spent serving ice cream or the short nanny gig your sophomore year might help you stand out against all of the (thousands; tens of thousands even) other applicants.

The rejection.

The sliver of hope moments, the invitations to interview, the holding your breath as you purchase a full fare airline ticket to go interview in a faraway city; hoping this is the last ticket you'll ever have to buy and the first of many faraway cities you'll get to explore.

The vintage ruffle blouse seemed like a good idea at the time.

The absolute failure moments. 

Why did I not listen to the online advice and wear a black pantsuit? I'm the only one in a pale yellow blouse and pink heels!
Why did I not bring a pen? What is wrong with me? 
Why did I answer that question that way? 
Oh my god, did I just spill coffee all over myself?!

The one chance you had to impress.

And you didn't make it happen.

I've been there, believe me. Hang tight.

(Spoiler alert: you will get another chance, just maybe not right away.)

The tearful, joyful moment that you get a confirmed job offer (CJO) ... but it's not with your first choice of airline.

We all just got a CJO! Now to survive training!

Do you take it? Or wait?

You make your decision. You jet off to training. You watch friends and colleagues around you *not* make it. You cry every night into the phone; to your mom, your best friend, your boyfriend.

And for the first time ever, your loved ones can't help you. They don't know what you're going through.

But I do. I know it so well. I've been there, friend.

You pass every exam, your drills are checked off and you walk, shaking, across the stage to get your wings pinned. Now what?

You are sent to Minneapolis, Minnesota. Or Kansas City, Missouri. Or Newark. Your new base is not what you dreamed it would be. Crowded crashpads. Public buses to work. You're living on stale peanuts and cans of tomato juice but you're doing it! You're a flight attendant!

An actual airport in Pellston, Michigan. Don't worry, the layover hotel had matching decor.

And then there's reserve life. Twelve hour on-call shifts, or maybe even twenty-four. Day after day of sitting by your phone, afraid to leave your crashpad to even grab a coffee. You finally get called in to work the lowest of the low trips, the bottom of the barrel sequences that have you working five legs a day, ten hour layovers in Bemidji, Minnesota. Or Fresno, California. Or even Twin Falls, Idaho.

And you do this reserve thing for six months to ten years. Or more.

I know.

I've been there.

Let me tell you something, friends. Wherever you are in this process, you have to know this: it does get better.

I promise.

You're going to get that base transfer back to your home city. Or, you're going to fall in love with someplace new. You're going to get a raise after a year and move into your own apartment. You're going to get a car and you're going to start to enjoy reserve. As you move up on the reserve seniority list you'll get called less and less, and you'll start getting the days off you want. You'll understand the system better and be able to figure out a schedule that works for you.

Flight attendant Wynn crying into his discount bag of tortillas because: RESERVE

You'll stop living off of peanuts and cans of V8 and you'll find yourself setting up a reasonable budget. You'll buy yourself a sturdy lunch cooler and pack some of your meals, creating a healthier diet so you can splurge on drinks and apps with the crew on your layovers.

You'll find a work-life balance. Your mom, your best friend, your boyfriend will call and you won't be in tears. You'll learn how to Facetime in funny places, like the McDonalds in Vancouver that has wifi, or by the hotel pool in San Antonio. You'll learn how to use your buddy passes and you'll invite friends and family along with you to go on weekend layovers. Turns out, Fresno is a lot more fun when you bring company.

And one day, you'll get a line. It will take you by surprise, and you'll find yourself having Crew Scheduling PTSD, wondering if you should still bring your cell phone into the bathroom when you shower, or if you'll be okay without it.

#TFW you get to fly with good friends
You'll be okay.

You're okay. We're okay.

Now, this timeline is different for everyone. For some, it takes mere months to get hired, get through training and get a line in their preferred city. For others, it may take upwards of five years. Be mindful of where others are at on their journey. Don't brag about getting a line in six months when the senior mamas ahead of you spent eight years on reserve before being furloughed for eighteen months. They have lived the struggle, don't forget to have a little respect.

And be careful about being flippant around the new hires. They are in the middle of it all. They still live off of peanuts and V8, they don't know if they will be able to pay rent and they are exhausted and a little heartbroken.

Just tell them, I know what you're going through, and it does get better. I've been there.

I promise.

You'll get through this, I promise.
Happy flying!


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