Monday, August 20, 2007

First Dreams: Trying to Fly High

I’ve always wanted to make a living as a writer, but reasonably understood I had to find a way to support myself at least at first. No career appealed more than the glamour and excitement of becoming a flight attendant…


So, as a high school senior, I applied to a flight attendant school. Someone from the school called to set up an appointment for their counselor to interview me in my home. I’ll admit I was a nervous wreck when the day came, and it didn’t help that my parents and I sat and sat and sat, until I realized--like the jerk I’d go on to write in TOP TEN USES FOR AN UNWORN PROM DRESS--that the interviewer had stood me up! With my confidence shaky and the fact there was never any follow-up whatsoever from the school, I dropped the whole thing and enrolled in college.

But some years later, while otherwise employed, I saw that a top international airline was hiring flight attendants. On a whim, I wrote for an application, and to my delight, made the first cut and got called in for an interview.

There were at least 15 applicants in the room. The interviewer would state a question, and one at a time, we’d stand and respond. This was rather intimidating since it was easy to see who was good and who wasn’t. In fact, some of the candidates had been interviewing with all the airlines and had real polish. Still, I felt like I held my own with the first couple of questions, but totally bombed out on the third because by the time they got to my end of the table, all the good answers had been given. So I was like, “Yeah, what they said.” (Ugh!)

Then came the written test. I figured I had to be smart and fast to make up for my blunder. The test was a breeze, and indeed, I was the first to turn my test back over. But later, when recounting this to a friend whose sister WAS a flight attendant for that airline, she grimaced. She said that this airline tended to disqualify applicants who finished the test too quickly because they thought it a warning that that person would get bored and quit too soon after training. I have no idea if this is true. And my guess is I was "out" before we started the test. But I didn't hear from them again.

In any case, I always enjoy chatting with the attendants on flights, who clearly work very hard. In fact, on a recent flight, I heard one tell another during drink clean-up, “When people ask what I do for a living, I say I’m in waste management.” They both laughed, and quietly, I did, too, thinking we all have beefs with our careers--but hey, at least they got the second call-back!


Don’t get me wrong…I wouldn’t trade my my writing career for anything…and who knows, maybe some day I’ll get to live out my flight attendant fantasy inside the pages of a book!

What I'm Reading: The Undomestic Goddess, Sophie Kinsella

Tina

Tina Ferraro
Top Ten Uses for an Unworn Prom Dress
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring, 2008
The ABC’s of Kissing Boys, Spring, 2009
www.tinaferraro.com

9 comments:

Kelly Parra said...

I'm glad you found your way to writing rather than flying for a living! :) I'm reading Shopoholic and Baby. hehe.

Janie Emaus said...

Tina,
I remember that the flight attendants (back then called, Stewardesses) had to be certain height and weight and be model-quality. And not wear glasses! So even though I sort of thought it would be fun, I never did fit that description.


Janie

TinaFerraro said...

Kelly, I'm pretty sure YOU are the reason I started reading Sophie Kinsella! And I love her books. That one you mentioned is next on my list...

And Janie, yep, back in the day, you had to have a certain look to be a stewardess. I kind of wondered if that was why that school sent interviwers to the house...to see if the prospective students fit the bill???

stephhale said...

I can totally see you as a flight attendant, Tina. Did you know that Alyson Noel used to be a flight attendant!
I always seem to get the surly ones, but after seeing what they go through, I guess I can't really blame them. Great post! I love that first pic!
xo,
Steph~

TinaFerraro said...

Really, author Alyson Noel was a flight attendant? She's lived BOTH my dreams? Can't wait to meet her some time (and I do believe she's a local LA girl)...

alexgirl said...

That's such a cute story! I think that would be a horrible job. I always see people being rude to flight attendants, and I would hate that!
Funny that you're reading Undomestic Goddess. I just added that to my goodreads shelf. I didn't like it much, though I'm usually a huge brit-chick-lit fan!

TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Alex! While I agree that The Undomestic Goddess wasn't my favorite Sophie Kinsella book (I figured out the plot too easily), her voice and her word choices simply delight me and keep every page fresh. I suspect I'd read her grocery list if it got published...

Alyson Noel said...

It’s true, it’s true! I was a NYC based flight attendant (Delta) for many years! I took a voluntary furlough two years ago, and then I wrote a book about it (Fly Me to the Moon). It’s true that the interview process is very strange, and while I enjoyed my time in the sky, I’m pretty happy these days just hanging out in my PJs making stuff up!
Alyson

TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Alyson, thanks for coming by and bringing us up to speed on your career. I'll have to check out your book!