I receiving the much dreaded WARN notice this weekend from my airline. Finally! And I don’t mean finally with excitement or happiness about receiving the notice. I mean finally…after months of company communication regarding the future of the airline all in the interest of transparency (which, by the way, was always riddled with politically correct corporate jargon), the ball is in motion to begin the process of
downsizing right-sizing the workforce.
Many flight attendants have been in denial about the possibility of furloughs. Hoping for an extension of the CARES Act or thinking that if enough senior flight attendants retired it would somehow shrink our work group to a size that wouldn’t require any further action from our employer. Wishful thinking, but a tad unrealistic. This was inevitable—at least I knew it was. That didn’t make opening that letter any easier, but there was a sense of relief upon reading it. I would equate it to being dangled over a balcony. There you are holding your breath, scared and unsure of what your fate will be. Are they going to pull me back in over the railings…or are they going to drop me? At least now I have a clearer sense of what will happen come October 1st.
Naturally when I read the WARN notice my first instinct was to do what everyone does in today’s social media driven world, I posted about it on Twitter.
I realize that this tweet contains a huge Easter egg with regards to the identity of my employer, something I have tried to avoid disclosing. That was the whole purpose behind Flight Attendant X and this blog—to be able to write about my life as a flight attendant while maintaining anonymity. So yes, someone who is up on current events in aviation can most likely connect the dots; however, at this point in time I have no plans to make any public declarations about the airline I work for, or confirm and/or deny their name. Stating your affiliation with an employer in any online forum makes you an easy target for workplace retaliation if said employer doesn’t like the tone or message of what you are communicating. As long I do not state my airline’s name, they can take no action against me with regards to any of the posts on this blog.
I spent the rest of this past weekend processing receipt of the WARN notice and what it made me feel. Actually, I spent Saturday drinking my thoughts and eating my feelings (translation: consuming wine, chips and chocolate). Even though I knew it was coming there was still a feeling of shock and sadness that was mixed with relief.
The idea of parting ways with my employer is similar to reacting to the death of a loved one. We’ve experienced good times and bad together. I’ve loved them, but I have also been resentful of the way I have been treated sometimes, and that resentment occasionally turned to hatred. Furloughs go in reverse seniority order, so my senior flying partners are safe. Some of them have shitty attitudes and deserve to be kicked to the curb, but our contract protects them. So I’m the one who has to start over, again. After all these years, I will be starting from scratch. Is this a break, like the one Ross and Rachel went through on Friends, or are we parting ways for good? Only time will tell. But it would be remiss of me to say that even though I’ve had some great times in the skies, I kind of like the idea of moving on. The past few months have been a chaotic mess filled with speculation, fear, but most of all, uncertainty. If we ever flatten the COVID-19 curve and air travel demand returns to the high levels of 2018/2019, should I go back if I’m recalled? Would I even want to?
Knowing what I know about the restructuring and downsizing of any business that has to cut back on costs, I just don’t know if the headaches of dealing with a leaner, cheaper airline would be worth it.