Life After an Airline Career (III)
Hello Again !
I am sure you all thought the close of my last article was a total cliff hangar ! Well maybe not, but I can pretend it was.
For anyone who missed reading my Articles I and II, here is a quick recap. In Part 1, I wrote about my transition from a 27 year airline career to becoming a burgeoning entrepreneur at JLT Image Consulting. In Part II, I took a minute to reflect back on what my life was 'really' like as an airline manager for Jazz Aviation. I ended Article II by telling you I 'might' have been hanging on by a thread in my last 6 months but that you had to wait another week to find out for sure.
Today in Part III, I am here to tell you that I made it ! I kicked my last ball through the goal posts in 2015, the crowd went wild and out the big airline stadium I went. I drank some champagne with my Jazz team in the locker room, changed out of my game gear and into my JLT Image Consulting gear. Fast forward 2 years and I haven't looked back. Well, maybe that's not entirely true. I do look back and when I do, my memories are good ones. I remember the people that I worked with and how much I loved them, I remember all the the crazy days we had and that I was always confounded that we kept going back for more. Maybe it was us that was crazy and not the days !
So you ask, what are my tips and strategies on how to survive a long term , stressful, action packed airline or any other career ?
I believe a few things saved me. The first one was my passion for exercise. The harder I worked at my job, the harder I ran, swam, cycled, did yoga and worked out in the gym. Yes I was obsessed, my exercise routine was extreme and it still is. The other area I was very disciplined with was my diet. Many of my colleagues ( John Dunlop, John Dooley, Billy Whalen, Matthew Stacey ) made great fun of the miniature JLT salads that I ate 365 days of the year. Those little salads kept me fueled for many years and they still do today. I am healthy and strong and I have double the energy of anyone half my age and twice my size. I didn't drink , but some days......I could have pounded back a double rum and coke. I got everyone else to drink for me.
I did not relax as much as I should have and my life was definitely not balanced so I can't lecture you on that. I did however have a very strong support system with my husband and children and several close friends. They let me talk and figure things out. In my last year, I think there were many sentences I couldn't quite finish. They accepted that my job came first even though we all say our family should come first. Today, my family does come first and that makes me very happy.
I think what truly saved me in the end, was my strong desire to finish my career with my reputation , my honour and my integrity intact. It mattered to me what my bosses, my employees, my colleagues and my customers thought of me. It mattered alot! I couldn't bear the thought of disappointing them by being carried out on a stretcher or in a straight jacket. I wanted to contribute to the betterment of Jazz and to everyone who worked at Jazz right up to my last day. I will always remember my General Manager Laura Nadin-Young coming into my office on my last day. Laura extended her hand to me and said very quietly and gently, " it's OK Jennifer you can leave your office now," and I did. My employees had formed an honour guard in the hallway.
Whew, that brought a tear to my eye but I am still smiling and I hope you are too. Wherever you are, and in whatever part of your career you are currently in, please remind yourself that 'you' can make a difference and that 'you' too can finish on top.
Thank you for your interest and support, Part IV won't make you cry, it is going to get you all fired up.
All the best. JLT