Being a corporate flight attendant is like dating…in LA.

It was an amazing contract. I loved the company, the clients, and [most of] the pilots. I flew with them fairly regularly and felt incredibly grateful for the experience. Even now, I consider flying for them as one of my favorite contract corporate flight attendant opportunities. Then one day, I didn’t have oatmeal for a pilot. I sensed he didn’t really want oatmeal but was simply testing me. He had never requested this food before but everything went south from there. Later, the pilot made a point to tarnish my reputation in front of a scheduler. It was in a joking manner, but it was not a joke. I have never felt so bullied at a job. The torrent of tears that ensued on my drive home was enough to impact California’s drought. The situation, for lack of a better description, sucked. Welcome to messy work breakups. 

It stings knowing the unfairness of it all, but that’s aviation. That’s life. Being a corporate flight attendant is like dating in LA (or all over the world for that matter). They say they LOOOOVE you. They say they’re gonna call. You have the BEST time going out. “Can’t wait to see you again. Let’s go to that one place on our next date.” And then, silence. No calls. No texts. No heads-up. No reasons. Never asks you out again. You are left wondering in confusion— “But I thought we had a connection? What the hell happened there?” The next prospect has just turned into a ghost. God. Dating and career can be so cutthroat at times. 

It is in the rejections, disappointment, and uncertainty where you learn and grow the most. Really, Darlings. Stop taking everything so personally. I would say, 90 percent of the time that it’s not about you or something you did wrong. And hell, maybe it is, but who fucking cares? Some relationships— both work or personal— are meant to last a long time and maybe forever. Some are just meant to teach you. They arrive for a season and stay for a moment. Even in the departure, they exist for a lesson. Your job is to learn. Learn in the process and learn in the breakup. 

Maybe you’re just not ready to date that man or land that corporate flight attendant job. It doesn’t mean that you are not good enough. Scratch that vocabulary out of your life. It’s not about being good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, etc. etc. etc. No. There is a match at times and then there is not. And no, I have absolutely no idea why the company didn’t call when they said they loved you. Not your problem. Let them know you still exist, but don’t worry so much. Things happen. Maybe the operational needs changed. Maybe they found a different flight attendant. Stop worrying about everything you can’t control in dating and career. You’re exhausting your energies when you could be focusing all of that attention on landing something (or someone) better.

Your sphere of control ends with you. How you prepare. How you show up. How you follow through. You also control how you let go. Will you allow all of the rejections to deter you from what you really want? Or will you be the one who examines the messy breakups and says, “That’s unfortunate, but how can I be better? How can I still be happy when it didn’t go my way? Where can I improve next time?” Rise above, Darlings. Always rise above. 

I don’t know if it was that ‘Oatmeal Day’ that sealed my fate with that company, but the consistent calls turned to crickets. Am I ok with that? Yeah. I am. It wasn’t easy to get over, but that’s life. I am just SO grateful that I had the chance to grow through the experience. I’m grateful I had the chance to work for them. Every time I do an international trip, I think about all of the international trips I did with that company and how much it taught me; how much it prepared for the flights I’m doing now. I’m a better flight attendant and a better person for having worked with them. Looking back, I realize that I didn’t need to cry so hard over losing that job. I could have done so much differently, but I did my best at that point in time. That’s all I can ask of myself. That’s all you can ask of yourself. We all start somewhere. It’s ok to be green. To be young. To be old. To be challenged. To feel confident. Just never stay where you start. Show up. Work hard. Be thankful. All I can control (really) — in both work and dating— is me. The way I approach, how I invest and in the manner I exit (or how I manage the other party’s disappearance). You can always live, work, and love in grace. 

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I won’t be perfect but I can be my best. I do always hope the client sees the experience as “perfect.” That’s what I strive to achieve. I want to make a good impression on first, second, or third dates. I want to make the best impression on every flight, but controlling whether you like me or not is not in my job or dating description. You cannot manufacture a personality fit. You cannot alter timing. You cannot force someone to date you or hire you or love you or call you back. Stop putting all of your energy into one job and one guy. But definitely go for what you want and NEVER take the first no.

The better at dating (and letting go) you get, the better at ‘Flight Attendant Life’ you will be. As a contract corporate flight attendant you will be faced with many options and opportunities— most of which will not pan out. It is a numbers game. It is “who you know.” My friend Kate is a strong proponent of ‘Mantourage Dating.” She says I have yet to really understand what mantourage dating is, but I completely understand it when it comes “Dating your corporate flight attendant job.” Have many options until you commit. Simple. Fly with a lot of different clients, companies and pilots. It will make you such a better flight attendant.

STOP looking for a boyfriend or husband or a full-time corporate flight attendant job. It will show up if you just keep getting out there. The more companies you contract with the better. Go out on dates. Find contract work with every company you possibly can. Your goal should be gaining experience and understanding. You won’t need to convince someone how valuable you are because they will simply recognize your value. If you contract everywhere and anywhere that you can, you will start hearing the magic words, “Sooo, are you looking for a full time position?” Bingo. Now, instead of a company telling you how much you are worth, you name your price, your terms, and what you want. 

I tell this to my corporate flight attendant friends— Your power of negotiation lies in your ability to walk away. You can ask for what you are worth when you know that if you don’t get it, you will say, “Thanks, but no thanks. This is what I’m worth,” and it will be their loss. Your power in dating is the same. It’s having clarity, knowing your value, and setting boundaries for yourself. It’s knowing what to compromise on and what you will not alter. You don’t get in life what you deserve, you get what you ask for.

If you want a full-time corporate flight attendant job, great. But first, invest and throw yourself completely into the hustle of contracting. This will make better. You will be shocked at how quickly you get good at the job and how you no longer have to hunt for those full-time accounts. They will show up and you will always have work. It’s never crowded at the top. I personally don’t understand what the huge concern over full-time is, anyway. You (typically) can make SO much more money contracting and have a say when you work or don’t. Your goal should NOT be security first, but your aim should always be growth. Learning. Experiencing this beautiful amazing life. Embrace the opportunity and love the struggle. Cause I get it. It’s a fucking struggle to date in LA. It’s also a fucking struggle to be a successful corporate flight attendant. When you get what you want, though, it will all be so worth it. Don’t settle. Don’t commit too quickly. Know you have options. Know your value. Don’t beg. You’re too good for that.

Whether you need dating or career advice, I’ll leave with this. Hope it helps in some way. 

  1. You are 100 percent always enough.
  2. You will make mistakes “dating your job.” It’s OK!
  3. As competitive as this space is, there will always be more men and there will always be more flight attendant work. What belongs to will always be yours.
  4. You may do everything ‘right,’ and they still might not call you back. Cry. Move on.
  5. Date around and work around until you get that offer that is irresistible.

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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