Grounded: How Quitting My Flight Attendant Job Helped Me Soar

I quit being a flight attendant seven years ago. I wasn’t bad at the job but I don’t think the opportunity happened at the right time for me. After all, I showed up at the interview ever so nonchalant. After reading how hard the selection process was I was certain that they would never pick me. But they did!

Training was based on the ability to retain information, remain calm while evacuating your peers, and your leadership skills. Looking back, I would’ve loved to be a trainer. I still utilize skills from training like fatigue management, flexibility, and de-escalation.

After graduating I selected New York as a base. As someone who didn’t want the opportunity, to begin with, I tried really hard to make it work. While I was dropped in a whole new city with a fresh flight attendant from training who was going to be my roommate, she was in LA visiting family knowing the company paid for a couple of days in a hotel. We had nowhere to live and she was hella nonchalant about the whole situation. I’m nonchalant but that was next level nonchalant.

I spent a couple of days figuring out where the 7 train would take us. I even caught it the wrong way by accident. I learned Walmart didn’t exist in the city, found the nearest Target, and a local restaurant that I could be a regular at. Most importantly I spent my days looking for a roof over our head. That should’ve been a red flag there. I’m a professional optimist though and knew I could make all things work.

I don’t regret pulling half of the $1100 rent out of her like pulling teeth, or being so house poor that we ate “protein, potato, veggie” bake on a regular thanks to me. I’ve realized that if I wouldn’t have quit such a job seven years ago, so much greatness wouldn’t have happened for me.

First and foremost, I wouldn’t be mayor and delved deeper into my volunteerism. Flight attending was after AmeriCorps but AmeriCorps accelerated my volunteerism. If I’m not doing something slightly fulfilling I feel some kind of hole inside of me.

I wouldn’t have accepted the fact that I didn’t need a roommate. College taught me to save money and after sinking and swimming in the Big City I feel like I can make it just about anywhere.

Publishing a book was always on my to-do list and after quitting I joined a publisher, resigned from their awful contract, and self-published several books. Now I have my own self-publishing consultant company.

Oddly enough, I enjoy traveling more now that it’s not my job as I travel more for fun. I try to go somewhere at least twice a year which I understand is a luxury. My favorite places so far have been Belize, Denver, Cozumel, and San Diego.

During training classes get a visit from the Imaging Department. The Imaging Department looks you over and casually mentions things you need to change about your appearance to be considered in life with the company imaging standards. Around this time I was wearing wigs and many airlines don’t embrace locs let alone colorful hair. Embracing my natural hair has been a journey and I’m enjoying every second of it.

Although the job was fun, my personality was fit for it. I quit the job professionally knowing the universe needed me elsewhere. My colleagues that I graduated with are awesome flight attendants and the sky is in good hands. I needed to get involved in the community. I needed to lead to show young people in my community how to do so. I needed to be a flight attendant to learn I was pouring from an empty cup. I was stretching myself like I was Gumby.

Now that I know I can accomplish anything I want and that things happen the way that they need to. One day I might go back to the travel industry as a writer or professional. One thing I’m learning in my 30s is that you never know where the journey is leading but it’s important to enjoy the pit stops along the way.



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