Folks, other people’s travel hell stories are about as interesting as other people’s “kids” or “new exercise regimen” stories, so I’m not going to bore you with one of those.
And as a matter of fact, my recent flight on American wasn’t uniquely miserable. It was just run-of-the-mill lousy.
But what really got me bummed out was my flight attendant’s outfit.
Katherine had gone to the trouble of wearing buttons with all sorts of sayings on her uniform.
You know, when you’re on a flight on one of the legacy airlines, you kind of hold out hope that somebody – anybody – will give a damn. And like a drowning man might, I saw Katherine’s buttons as a statement.
She cared! She was going to stand out against the ennui and mediocrity of her co-workers and let the world know that she, Katherine of American Airlines Flight 673 from Miami to New York, was taking a stand!
A stand for friendliness, and approachability, and caring about her customers.
Now, if you’ve been reading this newsletter for a while, you know I am a bit of a nut for our customers.
We love you.
We answer all your emails within 24 hours, and 88% of them within 3 hours.
We run all of our business out of the good old USA, right here in New York City, and don’t outsource stuff overseas, because we find we can serve you best when we’re close to you.
We don’t sell ads on the site, or your email address to other companies, even though lots of people would give us plenty of dough to do so.
And we generally try to treat our customers like our family.
So when I see somebody breaking out against the norm, standing up for customers, and daring to care, I can get pretty excited.
And so as Katherine approached me I strained to get my work weary eyes to read the fine print on her button.
It was a light blue button with dark blue writing, and I could just about make out the words:
And I have to tell you, that was just about the most deflating, disheartening, dispiriting, depressing thing to read after a relaxing weekend.
And I won’t share them with you here, but the rest of her buttons were of an equally sour-puss nature.
And you know, Katherine and her type stand for everything that’s bad in the world. For every one of us trying to achieve great things, there’s a Katherine standing nearby ready to tear it down. For each of us trying to make the world a better place today, this hour, this minute, there’s a Katherine in the wings sticking her tongue out.
And not only is there a Katherine, but there’s a company willing to hire her. Like American Airlines.
And while Mom said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all, I wish the Katherines and the American Airlines of the world nothing but failure. Failure in their campaign to pull down the productive people, failure in their efforts to keep winners from winning, and failure in the marketplace so that better people and companies can serve American Airlines customers.
So don’t be a Katherine! As you go about this job hunt, don’t waste your talents or fall into the trap of working for a company that doesn’t respect you, in a job where you stop respecting yourself. You’re too talented, and forward-looking, and capable to waste your years away inside a rotting body like American Airlines.
You take your career and your work seriously, and we take you seriously.
You deserve colleagues and a company that honor that.
Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short, and don’t let the Katherines of this world bring you down.
I’ll be rooting for you!