Imagine the hardest job in the world.
OK, we all know what you're thinking: The worst job is always your job.
I?have yet to find someone that says "Oh, my job is the best! I love going to work every day! Sunshine and kittens and fresh baked cookies!"
Everybody thinks they have the toughest job: you work longer hours than you should for too little pay, all the while putting up with bosses that don't "get it" and co-workers that don't pull their weight.
Note: I am not describing my job. I'm a big fan of my job, almost as big a fan as the bipedal snakes over at the Iowa Student Loan Liquidity Corporation.
I think most people, when pressed, will admit that perhaps there is a slim chance that they actually don't have the toughest job in the world. Maybe.
So what job is tougher than yours? Inevitably people will rattle off a list of professions where "death" is the first listed occupational hazard. Police officers, firefighters, all the vast, sprawling branches of the military; these people are the only people that have it tougher than you do. Unless you're currently being shot at and/or engulfed in flame then don't complain, because they couldn't handle your office.
I don't know where you work or what you do for a living but I?guarantee it isn't that hard.
Do you go to work roughly the same time every day? Do you have a comfortable chair? Can you eat in your office?
If you answered "yes" then congratulations, you have a regular job that really isn't all that bad.
Maybe you said "no." Maybe you have to wear a uniform and stand all day and deal with a bunch of idiot customers who don't know how to order a Happy Meal?
Guess what? Still not bad, really. Sure, the food smell gets to you after a while and watching people stare blankly at a menu you are certain they have memorized can be a more than a little frustrating but you can always grab a smoke break after the lunch rush, make fun of some of the more annoying customers with your coworkers and unwind for a minute.
Now, take all the worst aspects of the fast food industry, throw in some alcohol, add the occasional terrorism scare and put the starting salary somewhere below that of assistant high school chess coach: what do you get?
The worst job in the world, flight attendants, and they're hiring!
The Great Loser of Luggage, American Airlines, has announced they are looking to hire 1,500 new flight attendants. This, after AA had 2,205 flight attendants accept a buyout deal.
Why? Well, AA is in bankruptcy and wants new, younger flight attendants to fill the spots of workers with pensions and insurance and all that other annoying stuff you have to pay people who have "contracts."
So, who is ready to get up into the wild blue yonder to do a little flight attending?
What other job could combine the thrilling experience of being a waitress in a terrible restaurant with all the excitement and international intrigue of trying not to punch out a gaggle of drunken business types that keep demanding you switch the inflight movie to "Boiler Room."
To anyone considering this job, I offer this question: Have you been on a plane in the last 10 years?
Overflowing crowds, screaming kids, and a constant stream of complaints ranging from "whatever happened to free meals?" to "the guy next to me looks too foreign to be on my plane. What are YOU going to do about it?"
Not to mention a whirlwind tour of this nation's most terrible airports! Atlanta! LAX! DFW! Each more awful than the last!
American Airlines is banking on attracting the next generations of flight attendants by appealing to the past, to an age where people dressed in suits to fly and flight attendants were the hip, mod ladies of the friendly skies.
That is not true. "Mad Men" lied to us.
You want the real experience? Work at a fast food place, have someone shove you randomly to simulate turbulence, and take all your breaks next to the bathroom. Who's mod now?
Maybe your job isn't that hard after all.
Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.