Having spent an considerable number of years within the aviation industry, I was lucky enough to work in airports in both the UK and the USA, during the time I made some fantastic life long friends, as well as business contacts at all four corners of the globe, I think I can say with honesty that I have friends and contacts from every single aviation role, all have different stories about their own individual journeys, but I’d like to focus on one recent story from a friend who was cabin services personnel for a major UK long haul airline, by his own admission is harbouring immense regrets, due to taking his role for granted, and not anticipating what lay around the corner.
So as I delve into this a little further, I’m sure this is something we have all done ourselves, taken our daily lives for granted or taken our jobs for granted, our health and wellbeing, our finances etc the list is endless, we tend to to live like we have an endless tomorrow, where our fortunes probably won’t change, our health will be fine, our jobs will be secure, but if 2020 and the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, we must never ever take things for granted ever!
So my friend who’s anonymity will remain, has first hand felt this very bombshell, he worked as I said for a very well respected long haul airline, serving and flying for well over 7 years, during that time he’d learned all his aircraft types, all his safety procedures and fallen into a comfortable manner of working, well why wouldn’t he? He was excellent at his job and always a friendly respectable smile greeted you from him, working for a major airline, travelling the world, staying in wonderful hotels, being afforded all manner of perks that come with a cabin crew role, the problem when you become to comfortable you suddenly become very complacent and take for granted what you have.
My friend as I said travelled all over the world, staying in superb hotels and enjoying, all the amazing destinations he visited not knowing or ever thinking his world and that of so many others would be changed so much, he had gotten so comfortable in his role that he got himself off flights he didn’t want to go on or that did not suit his personal plans, swapping and changing regular, well why not he worked for an international airline that was rolling in money his future safe and secure or so he thought!
His reality was to take a monumental downturn in March 2020, when the world announced conclusively that this invisible virus was crawling across the globe causing mass infections and causing widespread death, in the early part, the UK naively carried on about its business, whilst its deathly grip tightened, my friend continued to fly, but as days turned to weeks passengers became less, flights were consolidated or cancelled, the once multi billion pound aviation business was crumbling .
Now as is the case with every business when things are on the downturn and money needs saving, its always the frontline workers that are quickly sacrificed, the share holders still receive their dividends, the CEO’s and directors, still receive their six figure salaries but at the other end, staff that are simply numbers are culled, my friends world, his life for over 7 years was vanishing, and yes massive regret was setting in, thoughts and regret of getting rid of flights as it didn’t suit his plans, should he of volunteered more? Did he grumble to much when working? A whole plethora of emotions gripping him as his career teetered over an unthinkable abyss, what was to become of him?
As the pandemic gathered strength his airline ceased all operations indefinitely, unable to realistically operate with practically no passengers and very few places to fly to that was open, he and his colleagues were furloughed, waiting in vain to see what will become of his career, as time ticked on and the TV/radio channels and social media were flooded with story upon story of death, illness, redundancies, lockdowns etc. His anxiety levels reached breaking point, why had his normal that he took for granted just simply gone, in a click of a finger.
After several months of furlough his airline announced multiple job cuts, as always it was the little guys being thrown to the slaughter, the CEO’s and the directors, share holders, owners etc. Still collected their huge salaries naturally, but the hard working men and women were now easy collateral damage, all the staff went into pools some would remain most would go, sadly he was chosen to go! His norm of waking up to get ready for a trip to New York, or Los Angeles maybe a weekend in Cape Town gone in an instant! His life had to change he would need to earn money to live, since he was finished he has done a number of small PT jobs to make ends meet, but how ones life can so massively be stopped in its tracks is a lesson to us all!
The moral of this story is we’ve all taken things for granted, thought it will never happen to us, yet in an instant across the globe thousands of peoples dreams and aspirations were taken away, everything people naturally their comfort zone was always going to be there, the sense of security still strong yet in an instant gone.
When you go home treat each day as perhaps tomorrow might not arrive, when you go to work give it 100% as next week your office maybe gone, don’t put off that task, to you may be it’s unimportant but to somebody else, It may be the last ever opportunity to do it.
Keep safe! Paul 28.01.21