I found a necklace.
This is likely not exactly what you’d expect as an explanation for why I quit my job, but thinking back on why I decided to become a flight attendant, this is where my career change story begins.
At first glance, this career change is somewhat nonsensical and definitely abrupt. Yet somehow, it also makes perfect sense and has been a long-time coming.
I’ve spent the last five years working alongside an incredible team at YourTango.com. I started as an intern in 2014 and left my position as Deputy Editor in February 2019.
For all intents and purposes, YourTango was my dream job. If you had asked me in college what I planned to do with my journalism degree, I would’ve described my job at YourTango. I had the creative freedom to write about what I wanted at all times. It was a work-from-home position, something I tried to take full advantage of, traveling every chance I got. The female-owned-and-operated company provided an understanding and comfortable atmosphere.
So what was the issue, then?
To start, I felt like the pressure was constantly on. The pressure to perform better, to always say “yes,” to continuously have new ideas, to never drop the ball, to be successful.
It wasn’t YourTango’s fault — it was mine. It’s just the way I am: perfectionist, Type A. Success meant using my degree and making more and more money, all of which I was doing even though it equated to not always being very happy.
That high level of stress was my normal. And I’ve managed it (or at least thought I was) — until I couldn’t anymore.
The best way I can describe it is like a buzzing in my head. The buzzing was always there — it started off faint, slowly becoming louder and louder.
For a long time, the buzzing was imperceptible, easy to shake off and continue moving forward. But over the last couple of years, it started getting harder to ignore.
The buzzing was at its loudest in 2018. All at once, I found myself in a rather unhealthy relationship, had a couple medical emergencies in the family as well as an alarming health issue of my own.
As dramatic as it sounds, everything felt like it was falling apart and the incessant buzzing made sure I knew it. I could’ve handled one thing at a time, but as the stressors started adding up, my body started breaking down both physically and mentally.
And then I found the necklace.
Back in 2017, I bought a necklace in Greece. It wasn’t fancy or expensive, just a simple Greek evil eye on a delicate rose gold chain. But it meant a lot to me, a little memento signifying my first solo trip.
I lost the necklace as I moved back and forth from Pennsylvania to New Jersey. I tried finding replicas online and in store with no luck and for months assumed it was gone forever.
And then I found it. And the buzzing stopped.
I believe in signs and this one stood out as a big one to me. My life felt like it was crashing around me but here was my evil eye in a place it logically could never have been, yet there it was.
It was a small silver lining that, for whatever reason, reminded me that yes, bad things happen — but good things do, too. A fact that I already knew, yet instead chose to focus on the negative and shut out the small positive things that happen each day.
So I did what I could to turn let go of the pessimism and work on moving forward. I talked to a TalkSpace therapist who emphasized the importance of self-compassion. I started a gratitude journal. I booked a solo trip to Hawaii to get myself into the sun and warmth.
During this time, I faced what was causing me so much anxiety instead of trying to stay a step ahead of it and realized I needed to take a step back to figure things out.
I didn’t exactly intend to quit my job. But while all of this was going on, I stumbled upon a Spirit Airlines flight attendant job posting and applied on a whim. I love traveling, I love airports, and I love flying, so why not?
I never expected to hear back, but a couple of days later I got an interview invitation.
So I attended the interview (which was an entire day-long process that included answering a question in front of an entire group of flight attendant hopefuls, a one-on-one interview, and lots of waiting around), not expecting to make it past even the first part.
But by the end of the day I was offered a position.
There were two training classes available, one of which would be held during my trip to Hawaii. We weren’t allowed to choose which class we wanted to attend, so I told myself if I got the first class it wasn’t meant to be.
But I got the second class — another sign.
So I made the jump. Luckily, my managers at YourTango were completely accepting and understanding of my decision (and I plan to continue on with the company in a smaller capacity as I take on this new role).
The second I took control and made the decision to become a flight attendant, I felt more at peace than I think I ever have in my whole life. For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t feel overwhelmed or anxious, and find myself being okay with going with the flow instead of trying to control every aspect of it.
I had a friend remind me that you can’t run away from the problem when the problem is you — as the saying goes, “wherever you go, there you are.” I agree it’s important to be cognizant of that, but I don’t think it applies here. I’m not trying to run away from myself or my anxiety. Rather, I’m providing myself an environment in which I can better manage it.
I don’t know if I’ll be a flight attendant forever. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the journey from 33,000 feet up.