I quit my job ( as a domestic flight attendant ) of ten years, last week. The decision was an easy one. I had been on maternity leave the last 4 years, and while a little part of me held a small flame for the good times gone by, The overwhelming feeling was relief.
I hated the job in the end. But more then that I hated the toxic, patriarchal power system it used to control its staff. It employed the submissive, top down, bullying approach.
The majority of pilots were middle aged men, who possessed the god like complex. The majority of crew, were young uneducated females, or gay men. Often with little or no work / life experience, & as a result, didn’t have the confidence or knowledge to stand up for their rights.
Middle management consisted of scorned middle aged women who had clawed and back stabbed their way to the “top”. Thinking they had “made” it, only to realise their job was nothing more then that of an aunt Lidia from handmaids tale, a kind of corrections officer monitoring “bad” behaviour and sick leave. Threatening disempowered young women with their employment if they dare question their rights or the party line.
The system truly resembled that of the dystopian Gilead; of Handmaids tales. Even down to the uniforms worn. Women in red dresses, smiles literally painted on their faces in mandatory red lipstick, men in sudo-authoritarian suits. The power imbalance even blatantly obvious in grooming requirements.
I share my experience not out of bitterness, but out of hope. I had many great experiences flying, and met many exceptions to the rule, lovely respectful pilots, both men and women. Smart flight attendants, with drive and ambition. But as stated these gems were the exception, not the rule. And unfortunately business’s such as this are based on gender inequality and power imbalance. The company I worked for was not unique, all airlines work under the same power structure, hell most corporations do. Hospitals, banks, governments, its an old, ingrained way of operating. But it doesn't need to be this way.
I share this because we can do better. We can make our workplaces people orientated. Places where people are respected, listened to and valued. Places where people are happy to work. Can you imagine the way the world would change if people felt valued and supported in their workplace. The productivity, the reduced sick leave, but more importantly the sheer human value that creates. The value of putting people before profits.
I share this because it is my fuel for Dreams and Wildflowers. To create a healthy workplace for myself. To inspire others to do the same. To inspire others to speak up and express what is not right. We all have a right to thrive and feel valued in this world. To stand up for ourselves and be treated with respect. It is well and truly time to dismantle these toxic power structures, and start working towards a fairer world for all.