Sunday, October 25, 2009

Doing What We Love - Loving What We Do

Hey Flight Attendants! Thank You! 

(Addenda italicized - ADDED 10-28-09)
Tonight's newspaper announced that US Airways must lay off 1000 employees. Last year it was over 2000. So, when taken together, these numbers represent about 10% of their 32,000 employees.

In my book, any story about people losing their jobs is heartbreaking.

But as I scrolled to the bottom of the article and trolled though the reader comments, my heart hurt.

Their comments were nothing short of vicious. Many were actually gloating over the economic woes of one of our biggest local employers.

The bloggers repeatedly called the airline "clueless" asserting it is a business that deserves to fold. This is a company where corporate executives have routinely considered the sentiments of their shareholders over their passengers. The mean spirited comments comparing them unfavorably to their biggest rival is their reward for their MBA operating philosophy.

Now, I own my own business. I know how hard it is to compete in today's marketplace. Our firm's success hinges on having staff that genuinely cares about our clients.

So, here's what I hope. 

I hope US Airways executives embrace a new corporate culture. One that appreciates and respects their passengers as much as their passenger's money. 

I hope it then survives and thrives. I hope it can eventually hire all of their staff back and add more. I hope they eventually expand their route structure and fly to China.

I also hope to see a day when those self-righteous, hate filled, blog posters fly to Oz and get a heart from the Wizard. 

This airline has joined its rivals and has brought us more choices in economy fares (with assigned seats). It has helped me make my own business stronger by allowing me to cultivate new  clients in new states. Its demise would only hurt the economic recovery of our region.

For goodness sakes, try out some empathy, US Airway's employees are our neighbors.

Herewith My Original Posting

With limited time given to us by our creator we can't afford to waste it working in jobs we hate.

I have always loved my chosen field; architecture. Before kindergarten, I knew I wanted to spend my life creating the built world. I didn't chose it for money. There's lots of ways to make more money with a lot less effort.

In fact when I look around, I realize my family is filled with artists, teachers, and people who do what they do, simply because they love doing it.

Perhaps I'm off base, but after talking to a whole lot of flight crews over the years, I have come to realize most do it because it is what they love to do. 

It can't be for the money. And it hasn't been for the glamour for a couple of decades now.

And the airlines seem to find new ways every year to make it harder and harder for them to enjoy their one big perk - free travel.

They are not there for our comfort, they are there for our safety. It is a job with unpredictable hours, requires a lot of training, and the patience of a saint. 

One minute they may be settling seating disputes, serving drinks, or performing first aid. The next minute they are serving as human shields protecting pilots that need a break.

With the new baggage rules they are blowing out their backs helping people lift baggage into overheads. And lets face it many of them qualify for the seniors menu at Denny's.

Yet, I love that. I have a warm feeling every time I see some grey hair in the flight deck. I feel the same way when I see knowing, experienced eyes twinkle as they greet passengers boarding an aircraft.

The airwaves go nuts when the rare mistake is made (whoops, we flew past the airport....).  And everyone seems to love to regale us with a "flying nightmare" story.

But flying is still the safest way to get from here to there fast.

And that is, in a large part, thanks to well trained flight crews that love what they do.

So next time you get on the plane, shut off your flippin cell phone in the jetway.  Smile and make eye contact with the crew. Offer them a genuine "Hello".

And on your way out, give them a warm "Thank You!"

I do, and I mean it!

Roadboy's Travels © 2009