School vacation came and went here in Thailand, and now the streets and buses are once again packed with students in school uniforms. School breaks is really the only time you see them in "civilian" clothes.
I thought that during the week off I'd sit and blog a bunch, you know, what we were up to, where we visited, what cool things we ran across...but it didn't work out that way...I spent my break bored!
Usually during the vacation, Pae and I will take some time to hit the beaches down south or at least go home to Ubon and visit the family for a lazy week of hanging out, playing with dogs, eating awesome Isaan food along with a steady diet of Oprah. This would normally be followed by blog entries, sharing with you all.
This vacation, I have to admit, was filled with sitting, waiting, waking up at the butt crack of dawn daily and watching the same soccer games on tv over and over, as well as week old college football games from the states and perhaps the most unproductive thing, tending my crops on FB Farmville.
There was a good reason for this lack of adventure...it's because there was a new kind of excitement and different kind of adventure going on...
Pae got her first job since finishing her degree (graduation should be in Jan or Feb)!!
We had mentioned in previous posts that Pae had been interviewing here and there (Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur) but never really got too much into it. I recently got the go ahead to share a tad bit of her past few weeks with you!
She has been to four job interviews so far in her attempts to become a flight attendant. The interviews here are crazy and most of them are walk-in interviews. Her first one was with Qatar Airways. It was estimated that between 2,000 and 2,500 applicants made it to the interview...which, with so many applicants, ends up being 3 seconds of first (and often only) impression with one of two interviewers. You basically walk up to the recruiter, hand them your resume or CV, say hello, have them ask you a question like "Can you be contacted at the number on your CV?" and in 3-10 seconds you are basically gone, sent home to hopefully receive a call telling you that you were one of only 100 or so who were selected to interview further...
Let me tell you something, I now have first hand experience watching the process. Hours, I mean tens of hours, go into that 3 second interview!!! Pae and two of her friends stayed awake for basically two days doing nothing but prepare for that 3 seconds!! Out of the three of them, one was not contacted for further interviews. Of the three of them, none of them passed to the third day of interviews. I believe 18 or so of the initial 2,500 applicants were chosen...next for them, physical examinations which, if passed would see them eventually on a plane to Qatar to start training! Pae has several friends who are still awaiting the results of their physicals and word on when they will start training.
Bringing us to Pae...as you may have read, she also interviewed in Malaysia. That was in interesting and learning experience for her. In Thailand there are two major areas that hire flight attendants...Middle East airlines like Emirates, Qatar and Oman, and several Asian airlines like Korean Air, Asiana, Cathay Pacific and several Thai airlines. Most of these pay higher than the average Thai salary and obviously take you to different places in the world and expose you to so many different kinds of people and situations.
Pae had an opportunity to interview with a local Thai airline for a three month contract position to cover flights during the high season here. Much of the chatter online was that "It isn't worth it for only 3 months of work." and such...but we looked at it as a great opportunity to get some real life experience, certification and a resume builder for the next time Qatar and Emirates come to Bangkok to recruit. Pae prepared really diligently again as she had for previous interviews, and proceeded to WOW a five member panel with her humility, excitement as well as winning personality (I'm a little biased!)
When she got home she told me how the interview went and I knew she was a lock! But I was still nervous, waiting until late at night for a call asking her to either come for another round of interviews to further narrow the field of applicants, or to tell her what to do next in the hiring process...Day 1, no call...Day 2, no call...I couldn't understand how she didn't get a call...there must be something going on...none of her friends got a call either. Oh well...another airlines interview, no call, chalk it up as a learning experience, better luck next time.
Someone called later telling Pae that the airline was going to hire some male flight crew and they wouldn't notify new hires until the men were properly sorted out. What do ya know, a day later Pae received a call from the airline asking her to show up for a full physical and swimming test.
Sooooo, she passed her swim test and got poked, x-rayed and prodded during her medical screening...results of which have still not been shared. All they know so far is that three recruits have issues, but they aren't gonna tell them who those three are until after certification exams. Odd, but whatever! Next day began flight attendant training. Her airline flies two types of aircraft, but she is only training currently on one...more on her training in future posts...
Just wanted to get back into posting stuff and keep yall in the loop. Hopefully Pae's medical turns out fine and she passes all of the certification tests this coming week. 90% is required to pass...I've seen the manual...there is so much more to being a flight attendant than meets the eye! They are rushing them through training...What is usually taught in 3 months has been abbreviated to around 30 days...OJT is always better than figuring stuff out in manuals or texts!
Good luck to Pae during the next couple months...Hope she can fly away and home safely every day, keep her passengers safe and share plenty of lovely smiles with everyone she meets. There is always the possibility that the economy improves and the airline keeps some of their temporary contract flight crew on to permanent contracts...if not, we'll start the process of interviewing again, and if that goes well, could be relocating to the Middle East in the next year or so! Should brush up on my Arabic. (Translation: "learn Arabic").
I'll put up some pictures when I get access at home...and permission ;) Pae hasn't gotten her uniforms yet, although I believe she has been measured and fitted. I think she took pictures when she was fitting though...Hope to have that up here soon!
I've been trying really hard not to get ahead of myself here...I mean, I really want her to pass all of her tests and medical so that I can go full bore in sharing her experiences...Easy for me to say...she's been training 6 days a week for several weeks now with very little time to breathe quite honestly. I call it Flight Attendant Boot Camp...and when I use the word "boot camp" I am using it as a person with Marine Corps boot camp experience...it's been a rough few weeks for Pae. I mean, flight attendants aren't just up there to look pretty and serve drinks.
I think the medical is the main sticking point right now...there are lots of requirements for a flight attendant that recruits often fail such as levels of iron and red blood cells and other blood requirements and seemingly most common, angle of spine. Many girls are dropped from training after the medical finds that their spine is tilted more than a certain number of degrees...It seems common. So, perhaps I should leave it at this for now...but once she gets up in the air the first time...then she's official!
So, although I was pretty bored the past few weeks, I was busy trying to make things easier for Pae, cheering her through the process and just sitting back at times watching her reactions to one of the more stressful stages on one's life...post degree employment search. Very rewarding and I'd take this level of boredom over a week of snorkeling and lounging on the beach anyday!! Boredom, glorious boredom!
Way to go and good luck Pae! You can do it...just another few weeks. You've got all the support in the world right here!!
Spring Break at the Rigg River Ranch (April 2014)
7 months ago