Dust Yourself Off And Try Again
I didn’t grow up dreaming to be a flight attendant nor did I go to college with hopes of becoming one.
After all to be a flight attendant, one simply needs the passion, personality, customer service skills, and a high school diploma. Experience and degrees are perks.
I have all of the above. I believe I exceed the requirements also.
I started looking into be an FA after graduating college and figuring out myself better. I looked at the upsides and downsides of the job and still found myself being passionate about it.
I feel like even if I don’t get a base pay to do it, I still would. That’s when I knew.
I playfully applied to a sophisticated and highly rated airline, Emirates.
About a month later I received an email saying my application was short listed and I didn’t have to attend an open house day. I was bumped to the assessment day interview.
Excited I prepped night and day for the interview. I used every resource out there. The more research I did on the job, the more I wanted to become an FA.
Fast forward to Sunday, August 24th, 2014. Today is the day.
My interview began at 9am sharp at The Sheraton New York in Manhattan.
I rode the train from Brooklyn for an hour, having to transfer trains in between stops.
I couldn’t eat breakfast. My stomach was doing flips. I wasn’t nervous, but ready.
I felt extremely prepared. I had done tons of research, knew the airline, their policies, what they were looking for, their dress code, approved hair styles, everything verbatim.
I was the only girl in the room with a khaki blazer to imitate the Emirates khaki blazer. I also put my hair in a bun (1 of their 3 approved hairstyles), had French tip nails (again 1 of their 3 approved nail grooming options), dyed my hair one color, black (which never happens), etc.
I smiled the whole time, until it hurt, and still continued, as the author of the holy grail bible for flight attendants, Kiki Ward suggested.
I interacted with everyone around me, and actually naturally conversed with the other candidates.
We were all nervous, and basically felt the same way. I met 5 other people who flew in from Atlanta, which relaxed me a lot more, seeing a piece of “home”.
We basically had to fill out paperwork, then hand in our resumes, portraits, and invitation to the recruiter one by one. I totally was not expecting just 1 recruiter. I was hoping for a panel.
After that we watched videos of the airline, got a paper with information about our work schedule, pay, time manageability, life in Dubai, etc.
She then asked questions, I raised my hand and answered one.
She then looked at me and looked around the room and started speaking about the Emirates reach test, and how we had to be able to reach 6’9, 212cm on bare feet because their aircrafts are one of the largest.
I kept looking at her smiling. She kept emphasing that if we know we can’t reach this, then it’s best to get up and leave now. I comfortably kept my 5’2 stature seated and continued looking at her smiling. None of the other shorter girls got up to leave, and she wasn’t going to break me.
I practiced the reach test at home tons of times before coming. I marked 212cm off on my wall and thank God for long arms and swimming lessons from 6-12yrs old that I’m able to stretch my arms and torso farther than average.
I patiently waited to take the reach test. I wasn’t nervous.
She then decided we weren’t going to take the reach test until after eliminations.
She told us to go on break for an hour and she will match our resumes with our pictures and appearance today.
Anyone with mini skirts, tight skirts, stiletto 5 inch heels, jeans, visible tattoos and piercings, etc would be eliminated.
Again I felt very confident. I had come prepared. My resume and picture were the least of my worries.
My resume was formatted to mimic a flight attendant’s resume, except with my information, skills, awards, etc on there.
I have the personality, experience, and requirements needed to be the perfect match for the position. I’ve been flying since I was 2 as an unaccompanied minor, I have dual citizenship, I’m used to moving, being the new girl, adapting to new cultures and people; I’ve worked in Public Relations. I have a degree in Communications, all of my other jobs have been in customer service. I’m artsy, I like to blog, travel. I’m extremely empathetic, intuitive, analytical (all great for understanding the needs of others). I was a member of the Children Youth Red Cross when I was younger. I have welcoming eyes, nice teeth and smile, quiet confidence, team-oriented. Why wouldn’t she pick me?
After an hour on break, having genuine fun hanging out with the other candidates, we nervously rushed to the wall where 4 pages were pinned. The four pages had around 20 names and only around 7 on each page were highlighted.
We made a single line to check to see if our name was highlighted.
The people who already checked either had big smiles and ran into the room where the ones that made it had to go, or walked past the line of us waiting to view our name, crying/ sad that they didn’t make it.
I started praying as I waited in line and saw the different emotions from the people ahead of me.
I told God that I wouldn’t be angry. If my name isn’t highlighted, then that means he’s trying to tell me that Emirates isn’t the airline for me, and I wouldn’t dare question him, just continue to keep it moving. After all, there was nothing I think I could’ve done better. I gave it my all.
I got to the wall and looked on all of the pages. My sight felt hysterical and blurry.
At first I could even find the paper I signed my name on. I calmed myself down, took a deep breath and searched from the last page to the first page, because I knew I had signed my name on the first page since I was one of the firsts to arrive.
I searched the first page last and found my name. It wasn’t highlighted. I checked again and turned to two of the people I was hanging out with; a Russian girl and another girl from Atlanta. They had both made it and they felt I was cheated.
I simply hugged them big and wished them the best.
I called my cousin and told her my journey for this airline had ended and asked for directions back to the apartment.
I had never ridden the subway alone in New York, but I was sort of zoned out and just wanted to get bk as fast as I could.
I didn’t even take off my heels. I exited the Sheraton, and took off into the busy streets looking for the train station.
I didn’t sit once on the train ride back. I stood against the pole, still zoned out, thinking about what had just happened.
Everyone on the train and on the streets were staring at me with my popping red lips, a big, low, donut bun, scarf and heels.
This one Italian guy on the street asked if I was an Emirates flight attendant. I in-genuinely smiled and said no.
I got home and had to explain to a lot of people, which I ignored until I came to terms with the situation myself.
Later that night I cried for a mere 3 minutes, dried my eyes and felt re-energized.
I reminded myself that this is a “dust yourself off and try again” industry.
It is an audition type of job. Flight attendants are DEFINITELY not just waitresses in the sky.
This job requires you to be able to save lives. Your coworkers and yourself are the only ones in the air that people have to depend on if something goes wrong with the aircraft.
There are many steps to earning your wings. It isn’t the typical 1 interview/ 1 step job. After auditing you still have to go through training for a number of weeks, take around 26 safety, emergency, medical, airport and city codes, military time, etc exams and score a 90 and above on all to pass.
It’s a lot of work for many people, but if it’s something you really want to do and know it fits you perfectly, then it wouldn’t bother you.
I’ll be back in Atlanta Wednesday morning. I have another audition on September 3rd, and also applying to more airlines.
I still mark this first audition a success. It was a learning experience.
I appreciate everyone who supports me, and even the ones who don’t.
I have a friend or two that have turned their noses up at the fact that I have a degree, yet want to be a flight attendant.
I’ve also come across people in the industry that haven’t responded to referring me, but all I need are my skills, God and the support of family, which I’ve attained.
I’m excited that I know exactly what I want to do for now and proud of myself for hustling for it. I have to really be moved by something for prissy me to to “hustle” lol 🙂
I wish the girls who make it to the very end the best! My only regret is not exchanging numbers. The situation really forces you to unexpectedly bond with other candidates in a short period of time.
We are all working at the same goal. To get those shiny wings.
Your office view is the world! 🌎 Imagine that ❤️