Once upon a time in 2005, a 29-years old girl was living and working in London as an immigrant. She was fed up and quite depressed about her situation: she did not like her job, her lifestyle and the place where she was living. She wanted a change but didn’t know how to start.
Going back to her home country was not a good idea, there were no many jobs opportunities offering a decent life. She wanted more than an ordinary job. There was no idea coming up: ”Where should I go in order to be happy, what kind of job I would like to do?“ One evening she saw on the Romanian national news that an Arabic airline was recruiting in Bucharest for cabin crew position. “Mmmm, cabin crew? This should be really cool. I have never dared to dream about this job”, she whispered. “Where is this Qatar?“ she asked herself after that. She checked on the internet and she found out they were recruiting in London by the end of February. By that time was January. She had seen a company number online and she called the next day to ask for details. The thing is her temporary visa was expiring by 3 rd of March and she should apply for a new one and for that she needed to submit her passport to the lawyer. She found herself in a difficult situation. “If I will choose to go for the interview I will lose the opportunity to apply for the 3 years residence and then to apply for the British citizenship“ All her friends advised her to apply for the British residence, of course. So she decided; after few days of white nights and a lot of thoughts crossing her mind to play her cards. “I will go for the interview, anyway I am not happy here.” So bye-bye British passport.”
She went to the Internet café in the local area, because at that time she didn’t have WIFI and laptop at home. She wrote the e-mail to Qatar Airways and they replied to her asking for CV, the full body, and passport size photos. One lady helped her to prepare her CV and she borrows a black skirt and the shirt to take the required pictures. Two friends of her took the pictures for her with a disposable camera. It was pretty funny how the photo session took place; one was holding the lamp and the other took the pictures. After a long exhausting hard working day, she still had the energy to smile for the photos, because the energy came from inside, from her desire to be cabin crew. She sent the photos and the CV to QA and they sent her an e-mail where she was invited for the interview. Early morning, she went to the hotel where was hold the interview and entered the room. She was nervous and panicked when she saw everybody dressed in business attire and so serious. She closed the door instinctively in order to walk away thinking “this is not for me, I cannot compare myself with these people!” But she heard a lady voice calling: “Are you invited for the AD?” “Yes, I am“. she replied confusedly. “Come, we have to start”, she said very politely and smiling. Her way to approach made the girl feel more relaxed. The interview took the entire day. She met people of different nationalities and the ladies that represented Qatar were so nice. By the end of the day, she was not feeling nervous anymore. After 3 days she left London for good with no regrets just a few sweet and sour memories. She got attached to the small room, which represented her privacy and her small world, but it was the time for a new change.
Back home, she started to look for a job immediately and she went for a few interviews. During one interview for HR position within a German company, her sister texted her to let her know that one airline staff called her to announce that she successfully passed the interview tests and she was accepted for the cabin crew position. In the same day, she was also accepted by the German company. Again she had to take a decision. It was not easy at all. A lot of questions popped out in her mind: “How is going to be in an Arabic country, that I never heard about it? I don’t really feel like leaving again and I don’t know how is going to be.” That evening, her father helped her to take a decision advising her that “a job of 300 EURO salary, you will always find in Romania, but an opportunity like this one is rare, so take it as a vacation and if you don’t like it you can always come back”.
On the 1st of May 2005, on the Eastern Day, she left for Qatar. It was a big impact on her when the aircraft doors were opened and a hot humid air hit her. She was going to live in 3 bedrooms flat together with 2 girls from South Africa. Next day in the morning, she saw on the bus, which took the new trainees to the aviation school an Australian girl that she met during the interview day. She felt so happy and did not feel alone anymore. For almost 2 months she attended the safety, security, first aid, and service training. She needed to study hard and to pass the exams. It was not easy but together with her colleagues that were living in the same building manage to study and pass all the exams.
It was time now for her first flight to Manama (Bahrain). It was a very short flight, about 30 minutes long. everything was ready for the flight: repeated the safety, prepared neatly her uniform and encourage herself to do a good job. Next day, the early morning she entered the briefing room. She could not sleep at all last night, she was too nervous. The Cabin Service Director was asking aviation questions during the briefing, but she answered all correctly. The next flight with was a layover. Our crew loved Italy, so she was so excited to be there. The layovers by that time were pretty long, about 2-3 days out of the main base. After a few months, she decided to stay for 2-3 years, but she was able to say goodbye to flying only after almost 10 years. In the meantime she met a lot of nice people from different countries, she went on vacations to nice places, bought a flat and overall she was successful in her career.
Most of the time during the briefings, she was wondering how the supervisors were able to conduct the briefings, to ask questions, to solve the unpredictable situations, to speak in front of others. When she found her Cabin Senior promotion letter in the mailbox, she was almost fainting. She was convinced that she would never be able to speak in front of others and to be responsible for a flight. During the CS (Cabin Senior) training, she was very quiet and worried. She wanted to refuse the promotion but she heard this would affect the career. But because she had an amazing service instructor, who was her trainer for the CS course, she started to enjoy the classes and to feel more confident. The first CS flight was pretty funny, taking over the aircraft from Seychelles, which was a brand new 320 Airbus, equipped with a new video system. She had no clue how to operate the video. The safety demonstration was done manually because of that and everybody could hear her nervous voice. Her face was red, but she did it. It was challenging, every flight was different. There were days when she said “ENOUGH, tomorrow I will resign!”, but the very next day she woke up and went again for a flight. And flight after flight, layovers, shopping sessions, vacations, recurrent training, exams, she became CSD (Cabin Service Directors). Growing professionally and becoming a strong confident person made her grateful that she had chosen to accept this job. She did not give up when she felt overwhelmed by the situations, otherwise, she would never have the occasion to see how is to talk confidently in front of the people, how to delegate tasks, how is to be a leader and to take initiative and decision under pressure when everybody was watching her.
At the beginning of November 2014, she walked to the office to submit her resignation, after 9 years and 8 months. She felt physically tired and she wanted to try something else in life. The last flight was more emotionally and touching that she was expecting. While she was conducting the last briefing she felt her voice quivering when she addressed to the crew. “Don’t give up! What does not knock you down, makes you stronger” was her message. When she removed the uniform, tears came out from her eyes. Only at that moment, she felt the 10 years of her life full of memories. That time she preferred to remember only the nice ones. It was not easy to say goodbye, but she felt inside that she had to close that door and to open another one.
What did she do after that? Any beginning was a challenge for our crew. “If you train your mind to be patient and you follow your inner voice, nothing can knock you down” she kept on thinking. There were taught periods in life and challenging situations, but when you thought that is nothing else you can do, something will come out for you. Nothing is by hazard in life, everything happens for a reason. There are many other opportunities in life if one-day somebody decides to quit a job. People are curious to hear about the flight attendant lifestyle, about the countries she visited and they admire the cabin crew for doing this job. Most of them wish to have such a job. For those who chose to remain in Qatar and still fly, they found an office job as a welfare officer, housing officer, safety trainer, service instructor, performance officer, recruiter, etc. Back home, our girl graduated from the Health Coach course. She also attended an HR Inspector course but finally, she chose to work as an events planner and aviation volunteer.
So do not be afraid to try whatever you are dreaming of, don’t let others influence you and do not be afraid of the future. There is always something fated for each of us. This cabin crew in particular never ever regretted choosing to go for QA interview and not to apply for British residence. She was even grateful that God sent that recruiter to call her back in the assessment day and her father to help her make up her mind.
If you didn’t guess yet, this story is about my flying experience, with ups and downs. Now, as a Crew Resource Specialist, I will be more than happy to assist you, to support you and to do for you what my father did for me. You can always write me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and your question will be answered soon.
Mihaela Moise – Crew Resource Specialist