Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Life is Like a Roller Coaster

(luckily, I actually like roller coasters. Especially this one: Manhattan Express at the NYNY Casino in Vegas, which is ironically where I spent the last two nights)

Yesterday was crazy! I had a really long day of flying but right before the last leg, I turned on my blackberry to a million emails and texts. Apparently, United announced the need for 2150 furloughs in the fall. I'm just going to give a quick overview of how the system works because it's uber-confusing and there's no need for that.

We have people on furlough now for various lengths of time. They are all being "recalled" to the company so we'll be back to our original population of flight attendants (15,000 ish). Then everyone has the opportunity to bid for a voluntary furlough. It's actually a sweet deal because you get to keep your benefits (med, dental and flight). If they get 2150 volunteers, all is well. If they don't then poo hits the fan and things get hairy. Because of where I sit, I think it's best for me to put in for voluntary furlough and hope that they get 2150, whether it includes me or not. If I get INvoluntarily furloughed, I get no bennies and will not be happy and I am so close to the bottom of the population that it's a prospect I have to deal with and be prepared for.

Anyhoo, it was still a huge and really hard decision to make and when I was putting my choices into the computer this afternoon, I felt more emotional when I saw the dates on the screen. The scariest part about all of this is that the vast majority of the offered furloughs are going to be for 30 months... 2 and a half years!!! That's longer than I've actually been with the company! Ug. On the bright side, if all works out and I'm able to do other things for the next 30 months, by the time I come back, I will have enough seniority to hold a line every other month and I'd be at almost double my current pay rate! Again, if I get the evil INvoluntary furlough, I get NO seniority accrual, so if I ever get called back, I'd be even worse off than where I am today. I wasn't kidding about it being an overly complicated system. Most times it works though, like last fall when we didn't have to take furlough.

To be completely honest, with all of the reduced flying this year, I could probably make about the same at a restaurant and have a lot more TRULY free time (without being chained to my cell phone). The last 2 weeks when I wasn't working and didn't have to worry about my cell phone completely spoiled me. I won't know anything until the end of July so the next month is just going to be an annoyance when it comes to work because there is so much speculation and worry. I'm convinced that whatever is meant to be will be and I have such a great support system that I'll be 100% fine. This is just how the airline industry rolls, baby. ;)

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