“Wait…so, you’re saying that the private jet trips don’t get any less stressful the longer you do it?” Kate, the spunky red-haired gem of a friend I somehow found through the internet, stares at me from across the table; patiently awaiting a response. “No— it does get easier. Like, you don’t have to think so hard and go over everything fifty-million times, but…” I pause contemplating the way to explain how it feels being a corporate flight attendant now compared to a year ago. “It’s not like I’m ever NOT nervous. The difference is I do have more confidence now and manage the stress better. I think…”
Believe it or not, most of the corporate flight attendants I know— even the ones with twenty-years of experience — feel job related anxiety. The difference between more experienced flight attendants and less experienced is that the intensity and consistency of the stress changes. Full-time corporate flight attendants, contract corporate flight attendants (which is what I do), and commercial flight attendants feel different types of stress, but we all understand each other to some degree. Whether you have a lot of experience or a little, full-time or part-time, ‘Pop ups’— the calls for trips with less than four hours notice— will always get your heart pumping. It’s a world of, “Be ready for anything.”
I began telling Kate about my friend Lauren. By far one of the best contract corporate flight attendants I know and a former Emirates girl, I see her work and culinary skills and immediately assume that she would NEVER get nervous or feel intimidated by our private jet job. And you know what she told me once when I was freaking out? “Kara, before my passengers arrive, I have to stand on the jet and take a minute to power pose and pep talk myself! I put positive energy and confidence out, and I let the rest go,” she advised. “Really? YOU power pose? YOU??!” We all get scared— no matter how much we know, what we can do, or what we have accomplished in the past. It’s ok to be afraid, but how you handle the fear and stress that will help direct and guide your immediate and future outcome.
I think it’s important to mention because I have fallen prey to thinking thoughts like, “Oh, they would never hire me for that airline. I’m not qualified.” “That private jet client is going to hate me because my food skills aren’t perfect.” “He would never want to date me because I’m not skinny enough, pretty enough, this enough or that enough…” The sad part about this is that as we are talking ourselves down from the precipice of our dreams, someone else is passionately and powerfully stepping up to a world waaaaay beyond their reach. It could have always been you. Believe in your worth.
You don’t have to deserve it— we never really deserve our lucky breaks and amazing opportunities. It’s all a gift. You really just need to believe your worth it. Believe you can do it and be grateful in the process.
There will be the days when you don’t believe, but do the task at hand anyway. I’ve literally thrown up before and after private jet flights because I was so intimidated. I still get intimidated, but I manage my nerves through strategic planning, a strong community of mentors and friends, and my relationship with God. It helps me to hear when my corporate flight attendant friends share their secrets and successes; fears and failures. We think everyone around us is doing the perfect job and living the perfect life and most of the time, all of us are just squeaking by. We just don’t practice authenticity. Share your story. Give your smile. You don’t know who you may help in the process.
No matter what outlook you have right now in ‘Flight Attendant Life,’— whether just stepping in or wishing you could step far, far away, posture yourself in gratitude. ’Be thankful’ because it’s easy to get lost in the hustle of business aviation and the grind of a commercial flight attendant job. I have felt overwhelmed, lost, and bat-shit crazy in both at times. You get tired. You get worked. You make mistakes. You wonder if this dream job you signed up for is a binding contract because no one mentioned the fine print that it’s not always blue skies and sunshine.
But you are here for a reason. Find your power pose, be intentional about the truths you speak in your heart, and learn from those around you. You aren’t alone in your feelings or frustrations; insecurities or unknowns. I feel you more than you will ever know.
Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.
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