From Journalism to Jet Setter
“OMG, she was always so into writing and production. Why’d she throw it all away?”
I can image dozens of posts like this cycling around my former co-workers and classmates’ texts, emails and thoughts. Curiosity is only natural, and when someone like me (type-A, has it all figured out, gal with a plan) drops their four-year degree triple majoring in Journalism, Production and Advertising for a career in flight attending, that intrigue heightens ten-fold. It absolutely is not, however, throwing anything away. Comments like the one above don’t upset me at all though, in fact I’m writing again for the first time since my post-graduation adventure began to explain, not only to others, but to myself how I got to be where I am now, which is right where I belong.
Anyone who has graduated college knows that awkward period directly afterwards where you feel kind of, who am I kidding, completely lost. Whether there’s a job promised right away, you’re still looking for one or you’re waiting to start grad-school; you’re eager but want to take a rest after your final finals, you want to start that aforementioned “next step” but also want to travel the world care-free, and let’s face it, you’re probably broke.
I was lucky to come out of my beloved little Flagler College with a job that came from a previous internship, and while I loved the company, I quickly learned that I had different aspirations than originally imagined. I wanted to travel the world and help people, which it turns out is surprisingly hard when you have no money or cause. Burnt out from the nine-to-five, I called the man who’s career and life always inspired me, Mr. Leo Burghoffer, my very own father.
“Between your bubbly personality, nurturing ways, love to cook, desire to travel and strife for perfection, I can’t see why you aren’t already a flight attendant,” he said in a way that hit me as if I’d just seen the light. From that very moment, I knew my career path had forever changed. Once I have set my mind to something, I will work until I am 100 percent in it, and that is exactly what I did.
I began beefing up my resume, hoping some of my experience in the medical and hospitality fields would grant me the chance for any opportunity in the field, and after a short time it presented itself to me. I was asked to train for a client-specific aircraft, at the end of which I would either be dismissed or offered a position to wait until they had an opening. I was lucky to receive the news that it was the latter, although was not completely satisfied as this would mean waiting to start my career until an unknown time.
“So you’re available for a trip in two weeks? Great! It’s a three-day trip to Chicago, you’ll be fine.”, I was informed by, who I think of as my fairy godmother in the business just a week after training.
I was shaking with excitement… or was it nerves? Either way, I knew in that moment I had been blessed with the beginning of my dream career. It turns out I actually got to fly with two of the most kind-hearted experienced flight attendants in the business before that solo trip, which was yet another blessing.
In the past six months since I have made the decision to turn my life into something completely different than originally expected, yet better than I could have ever hoped for. I have truly gotten to see the world and feel as though I serve a great purpose, as small and insignificant as it may seem to some. I have been places I would have likely never gone otherwise, and met amazing people from all over the world with the most intriguing lives.
Sometimes I still feel like I’m in after-graduation mode, and I think in many ways I will for a while. I feel like a kid just playing pretend as an adult, but mostly because I find my work so enjoyable. I still find myself here writing a blog like a bored teenager needing an outlet for thoughts. But when I stop and think about it, I am now truly an adult. I have car payments, electricity bills and even got a real W-2 form in the mail just today (I should probably figure out what to do with that). But those aren’t really the things that qualify us for adulthood.
I have gained a broader perspective of various cultures and people in the world. I have gotten to eat things like reindeer in Finland and pickled herring in Sweden (not worth it, by the way). I have made friends that I may never see again, but will never forget, and others that I have already seen in multiple continents. I have felt that I could have done things better on some trips, but more importantly have learned from these instances to feel pure pride in my work at other times. I have gone hiking alone in New Zealand and felt a peace in my soul that I will never be able to explain, and have gone out on a fishing boat with locals in the Bahamas. These are the types of things that make us adults; realizing that we may be just one piece in this giant puzzled world, but we matter. Understanding that we are not above anybody, but can share in the amazing experience of learning from one another. Making sure that we are aware that we must not congratulate ourselves too much or reprimand ourselves too much.
A degree isn’t only about choosing a major and sticking with it. It is equally about being grateful for the opportunity to receive a higher education and using it to do what best suits you in life. When I see classmates and peers doing something that they love, I am ecstatic, whether it is becoming a member at a big law firm, going back to school for something that better suits them or something I never would have expected them to in my wildest dreams. I feel quite certain that corporate flight attending is what best suits me and I intend to become the best crew member I can be.
Let the “OMG” texts fly through the cyber-waves if they must, but let there be no miscommunication about how overjoyed Miss Communication is for her new career path in aviation.