My post from earlier in the month “Do What You Love” was Freshly Pressed by WordPress on Thursday. In less than 5 days, the post has had 4076 hits, 214 comments and we’re still counting. The topic hit a cord with many WordPress bloggers who are unhappy in their current job or find themselves “stuck” in the job they are in. Generally, the response from many was that Paul Graham’s essay inspired them to press on.
Coincidently, I happened to be flying yesterday when a colleague shared this NY Times story with me. (Thanks CP). I appreciated this story because I see myself in Mr. Akana…love the work, proud of the firm, fascinating clients, wonderful colleagues and a continuous learning environment. I would wish this good fortune on everyone. But we digress…back to the story.
“63 Years Flying, From Glamour to Days of Gray” is a charming background piece on a 83-year old United Airlines flight attendant who has loved his job for a very long time – 63 years in fact, and he’s still loving it. Same company. Same job. For a whopping 63 years. Imagine that. And it all started with an interview in an Aloha shirt in 1949. It was also interesting to read about how air travel has changed…
A few excerpts:
“…Mr. Akana was a fresh-faced 21-year-old when he — along with 400 others — applied in 1949 for one of eight steward positions United wanted to fill to represent each of the eight major Hawaiian Islands. “For a local Hawaiian boy, it was so exciting to get to the mainland,” said Mr. Akana, who was born and raised in Honolulu. “I looked around and thought, ‘I’ll never get this job.’ There were 400 other guys; half of them had coats and ties. All I had was an aloha shirt.” But after the first cut, he began calling the hiring manager weekly to check in. His persistence paid off, and he was soon taking off on his first flight to the mainland…”
“Ron Akana has worked as a flight attendant for 63 years, clocking some 20 million miles along the way, the equivalent of circling the globe about 800 times or flying roughly 40 times to the moon and back…Though no one tracks seniority across all airlines, he is widely believed to hold the title of longest-serving flight attendant in the United States.”
“While many of his older colleagues are still flying because they have to, Mr. Akana said he does not work for the paycheck alone…’When I fly, it’s vacation money,’ Mr. Akana likes to joke. But after flying for so many years, the idea of hanging up his sparkling wings is hard for him to fathom. He added that he would miss the people he works with, the passengers he meets and the routine he goes through for every trip, laying out his uniform and packing the night before.”
“I just always felt that it’s just too much a part of my life,” he said.
“All along Mr. Akana has remained a loyal company man, but he is beginning to think about retirement. After so many years of flying, he and his wife want to see the country by RV and perhaps take a cruise.”
Do What You Love (davidkanigan.com)