AIRCREW: NOT YOUR USUAL 9 TO 5 JOB
Lynne scored her job (ten being the most enjoyable job you can imagine).
by Daniela Andrei
As we were going to spend the whole day on a plane, going to South Australia, Lynne and I decided to sketch the cabin crew. We quickly got their agreement after boarding and Lynne took out her colors the minute we took our seats. There were three flight attendants servicing the cabin and Lynne started sketching them going through the motions of safety procedures demonstration. Then during the meal service. When things calmed down, two of the flight attendants shared more details about their job with us. One was a female flight attendant, Sue, more novice, while the other interviewee, Robert, had more than 10 years’ experience on the job.
Task Variety is Essential
In a work environment that is characterized by very strict procedures, and a job in which the main tasks seem to be repetitive, surprisingly both interviewees stressed task variety as one of the key characteristics of their work. While a few of the usual tasks are well prescribed (eg., when and how to demonstrate safety procedures) the social nature of these tasks, as well as the variability in scheduling and crewing, ensure high task variety, to the point that “every working day is quite different”. However, having to be “on call” some of the time, to deal with demanding customers while maintaining a positive attitude, and having to be prepared for and handle possible emergencies, can increase the level of demands in this particular job, making it challenging and potentially stressful.
“The thing that I love about my job now, is that every day is quite different, we work with different types of people, different types of schedules, we work at different times all the time!”
“It can be challenging at times – 5-6 times a month you are on call, and you have to prepared and ready to come to work in about 1h – 1h/ ½ if need be, and of course, if it is the 3 am flight it can be challenging. But I like it this way, I enjoy it, and I also enjoy having the time off on a Tuesday afternoon!”