A New Life (Part 2)
In January 2016, I left a 30 year career in radio to find a new path. Fear, doubt, and anxiety filled the vacuum at that time. I had no idea where life was going to take me. These writings are about my experiences and how I landed back in radio, but I truly hope they are inspirational to those who are going through something similar. The fear, doubt, and anxiety can all lead to a tailspin. I knew that. I also knew that I had to keep moving toward something…..and hang on.
(Recap from Pt.1) I left a 30+ year career to pursue a voiceover career and find a new path outside of radio. The voiceover career remains of great interest to me, but it’s a slow growth industry. It takes a while to gain traction and income. Not getting either, I had to do something to make ends meet. I chose to pursue something in the airline industry because I’ve always loved the airport, aircraft, and travel. I submitted an application for a ramp agent position with Southwest Airlines and got an invite for an interview.
It was an exceptionally nice April day, clear skies and temps in the mid-70’s. It was nice enough for me to take the top off the Jeep and enjoy the sun. I took this selfie on my way there. I would tame the “Jeep hair” once I got there.
The interview took place at their “People Department” which is about 15 minutes west of the airport. It didn’t take long before I was sitting in front of the interviewer. Yes, I was nervous! My interviewer’s name was Lindsey. She was very friendly and welcoming. The questions are a bit of a blur now, but I remember her asking me why Southwest Airlines? My answer was honest: it’s the only airline I fly. I’ve always enjoyed the service, the cost, and most especially, the personality of the airline. I’ve always believed that the fun, friendly atmosphere was genuine and not a branding strategy. They’ve got to have good people to make it genuine. I want to be a part of that. Also, I’m a member of their Rapid Rewards program. She nodded her head and smiled. HOME RUN, PEOPLE! I hit it over the fence!
Right after the interview, she had me fill out a background check and scheduled me for a urine test. I felt if they were going that far after an interview, then the prospects looked really good. I mean, if they want my urine, I’m as good as gold. (No pun intended)
By the time I got home, I felt really good about this opportunity. I went online to find out as much as I could about being a ramp agent at Southwest Airlines. I found this video:
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Looks fun, right? I hope you saw the part where a ramp agent was inside of the bin (the belly of the plane) stacking bags. And how small the bins are. And that he was doing it on his knees. That caught my attention when I saw this video the first time. The excitement and optimism that started my day was immediately tempered with worry and doubt that I couldn’t physically do this job. I wasn’t a young man anymore and I had just left a long running career that required little to no lifting or sweating. The day after this beautiful sunny day, Denver got rocked with a snow storm that shut the airport down. The thought of me out there in the snow doing that job concerned me. Despite the lack of physicality in radio, I still had my share of body parts that were worn and sore. Especially my right shoulder. I would find out the following week that I have a torn rotator cuff.
This was the only legitimate lifeline extended to me since January and I felt it was about to be yanked back up. Driving back from the doctor’s appointment, I said it out loud, “No! I’m not stopping. I’m going through with this. I don’t care if my arm falls off my body, I’m going to do this”. (I do talk to myself frequently, but rarely out loud.) All I needed was that call back from Southwest Airlines.
(Pt. 3 this Friday)