Monday, October 27, 2008

Br'er Rabbit

Recently, someone asked me what my dream job would be. My response was this is pretty much it. While there are other hats that I'd like to wear, like trophy wife, mom, author, coach, there are no other jobs quite like mine. Work stays at work, and work travels around the world, and I get at least 10 days off a month if not more. Someday, in the magical land of holding a line (aka real schedule), I'll even get to say where and when (now I get to sort of say when and occasionally where - reserve). My only issue that I run into with my line of work are others who aren't okay with the job.

You jealous.

As I was surfing the web, and found one of those lame Q and A's of this undecided girl asking whether or not she should pursue a career with the airlines. This was the response:

Dear Undecided,

I think you should do it. You want to do it, so you should do it. I don't know if I can offer you any insight. It's more sheer enthusiasm. I feel like standing under your window singing "Do it! Do it! Do it!" I maybe should feel some nuance, some wizened concern, but I don't. All I feel is ... I feel like cheering.

I admit that I am in a rather reduced state and that rather than looking for a problem to solve I have instead been looking for a solution I could applaud. But what's wrong with that? I feel in my gut that this is the right thing. Will you allow me that?

Could you possibly waste your education? A "waste" would indicate that your education was of no value in itself. Your education is worth what it is worth regardless of what you do afterward. That's what we always used to think of education, anyway -- that it ennobles the soul. It allows the mind to grow, so the mind can work right and help you make the right decisions, which means if you get done with all that education and you know deep down that now it's time to become a flight attendant, then that's probably the right decision. If you didn't have the education maybe you'd think, Oh look at me, I'm just a lowly flight attendant, I have no education and no future, this is all I'll ever be. But no. You've got the ribbons and the medals. You can call the shots. And this is the shot you're calling. More power to you.

Do what you love. Allow yourself to love what you do. And when the love ends, then you can leave. It won't kill you. What an adventure!

Wanting is knowledge. Someone asks us what we want and we say, Oh, I don't know. I don't know what I want. But the truth is we do! We do know what we want! It's just (isn't it?) that what we want isn't the thing we ought to want or want to want or are supposed to want or think we want. It's what we want. It's the potato we want in a store full of ripe oranges. It's the comic book on a shelf full of Shakespeare -- and why are we supposed to not want that? Because wanting is the deepest story of who we are; wanting is who we are more than getting. Getting can be fate or accident: You wanted to be an actress but were forced to be a stenographer because that was what was available. Getting can be an accident for which we are not responsible. Getting can be circumstance. But wanting is pure. Wanting is who you are.

I too am thrilled every time I board an airplane; I am thrilled to stand at the curb of an airport pickup lane, watching the shuttles and the vans full of pilots and flight attendants and all the rest; I too love to watch the planes fly over. I too have wondered what it is like to wander the sleeping aisles, the only one awake traveling through the sky. Observe the traveler. Stand over the sleeping traveler, watching over him, thinking of all the things you know and all the things you could do, but knowing that you are doing the thing that was strongest in your heart. You wanted to be high in the air watching sleeping bodies, preparing the coffee, standing in the galley thinking.

So I applaud you. I applaud you. I applaud you.

This was one of the more moving pieces I had ever read about my profession. I get so pumped on my drive to work and to cut the dress on the catwalk headed towards the gate. I love the smell of Boeing in the evening. If this isn't how you feel about your job, or even your life, then perhaps its not life that's letting you down...

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