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The Freedom to LUV My Job

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I am a prime example of the fact that Southwest Airlines gives its Employees the Freedom to move around the Company. I've been at Southwest for nearly seven years, during which time I've held three very different jobs. I started my career at Southwest as a Recruiter. While in the People Department, I interviewed candidates for open positions in Finance and Internal Audit here at Headquarters. I enjoyed meeting potential New Hires, and I loved being the first point of contact for the folks who were hired at Southwest. I can honestly say that the hardworking People in the People Department are some of the best folks with whom I've had the honor to work. Plus, one of the perks of being a Recruiter is that it's a terrific way to meet People. I still see familiar faces every day around Headquarters that I met during my Recruiting days. After nearly two years in Employment, I decided I was ready for a change and interviewed for the Compensation Analyst opening. The hiring Managers (and later two of my favorite bosses), Brent Wolfe and Michael Curtis, are true believers in the "hire for attitude and train for skill" mantra, and thankfully they decided to give me a shot. Although I did not have previous Compensation experience, they taught me the trade of evaluating job responsibilities; completing market surveys; and helping to administer Southwest's salary administration program. Needless to say, I learned a lot during my tenure in Compensation, and I grew to LOVE Excel spreadsheets! After over three years of analyzing and evaluating, it was once again time for me to "move my cheese." I had spent most of my career thus far in human resources, and was ready for a career change. One great thing about SWA is that you can change careers without changing companies! So…when fellow blogger Sunny Abercrombie posted an opening for a Culture Activities Rep, I thought I'd be crazy not to apply. Here I am, nearly two years later, and I still pinch myself when I come to work. Our Team's primary responsibility is to keep the Southwest Culture strong by planning Spirit Parties, Messages to the Field, and the Annual Awards Banquet. In addition, we support the Local and Corporate Culture Committees in their quests to enrich the SOUTHWEST SPIRIT in their departments at a local level. I'm happy to report that I feel like I've finally found my niche. I'd love to hear stories about other SWA job hoppers…where did you start your career? And where are you now?
39 Comments
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Shelley, I got to work with you in your most recent, previous career as a Compensation Analyst, and you always did a really great job. BUT ... you were BORN to be one of our "Culture Chicks." And for anyone else out there who's listening ... if you ever want to be cheered up and just feel good about things in general, give our Shelley a call!
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Gee to me, "Compensation Anaylst" is the very antithesis of Shelley Logan. Blog Boy
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Shelley, I coasted through the mortgage business on the refi boom for the last 5 years and recently decided I am going to "move my cheese" too. I've been applying (okay, a little aggressively) for different positions at SWA recently (finance and internal audit - not kidding!) and keeping my fingers crossed. I read this blog daily. I'm in the SWA Myspace group, blogging with employees. SWA fitsinto my big picture - the "where do you want to be in 10 years?" picture. I could go on and on. But eventually I had to admit that it may not happen right away and that I may need to take another job. 😞 But that's okay - I am firm believer that everything that happens to us, happens for a reason. And my part in it is go with it and do the very best I can, and always continue to learn. And frankly I have a lot to learn! Just as I make peace with the fact that my dream company will have to wait or that possibly it just wasn't meant to be *shudder*, just as I finally think I can work elsewhere and try again in a few years, I read this blog! It's torture! ;-) Seriously, thank you for a great post! It is inspiring to know that other companies do promote cross-training and internal transfer, because mine, unfortunately does not. (One of the million reasons I feel I belong at SWA). Nikki (the weirdo who sent her resume covered in peanuts to HDQ)
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I moved my cheese a lot in my five years at SWA. I started as an HRIC data tech - excited every time I received a piece of paper to key in a happy event for one of our employees. Next, I was an Admin Assistant to three of the best bosses I have ever had. My 3rd job was as Compensation Coord and lastly I moved into the empty space left by Shelley by becoming a Compensation Analyst. I am now at a small global company as an HR Manager. When I answer the question of where I was before I often get the same response. "Why would you leave Southwest?" I love my SWA family, but love my husband more and we recently moved to Utah so he can finish his education. Miss you all! Shannon P P.S. Shelley, I saw you on "Ace of Cakes" I recognized your laugh before I even saw you!
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You guys all do a great job with a lot of spirit!! As a proud stockholder and frequent flyer, I really look forward to each SWA trip. Bob
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In my 5-plus years with SWA, I've had two jobs. I was hired in April 2002 as a Customer Service Agent, and switched to Operations three years ago. I'm now interviewing (soon, hopefully) for Operations Supervisor here in BDL. We have a pretty junior and young station, and I have high hopes to be retiring from Southwest in about 40 years or so. I have an interest in just about every aspect of the company, and I plan on "moving my cheese" many times in the decades to come until I know SWA inside and out. I hope to be in Headquarters in the next... 5 years, maybe. I'll have Colleen's job in 20 years. (Yes, I am ambitious!!)
New Arrival
The best part about my job is that I get to do so many different things as a part of, and in addition to, my regular job. I've had several different titles, but have always done pretty much the same thing ... help people understand how to use our technology to do their jobs better, faster, more efficiently, and/or more effectively. But I've also been a singer for our Heroes of the Heart Ceremony; a graphic artist for lots of t-shirts designs, posters, logos and the like; a mentor for several interns; a "den-father" for a couple of groups of new-hires in technology; an actor, choreographer, singing coach, and music editor for our Halloween skits; a member of our terrific Culture Committee; and lots, lots more. And NOW, I get to travel all around our system meeting new people and making videos to show all of our great bloggers and posters how much FUN we have working and playing together. I'm a very lucky man!
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Leah, Sit down---I have some wonderful news to share with you!! I got the RSA job in Houston!!! I wanted to thank you for all your encouragement. Please keep us posted on your info, I sincerely hope that you have Good News soon... Ricky
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I am amazed at all of the dedicated you guys have put into this company. In November I will celebrate my one year anniversary with this company. I work in reservations in case you would like to know. 🙂 I love it here. Everyone is dedicated and has a huge heart. I hope to be "moving my cheese" with the rest of you guys in the years ahead. 🙂
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Congrats Ricky! You'll do great!
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Shelley, I understand your satisfaction with working for such a great company. How do others get on board to do something they love? It seems almost impossible to get a job with Southwest Airlines, especially in Texas. Airplanes are my passion. IÃ
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Congratulations, Ricky! *Blows up balloons, throws party & passes out drinks, candy corn, nuts, Just Plane Crackers, & cake.* That's very exciting! When do you begin training? I really was sitting down when I read this. 🙂
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Thanks & you're welcome, Ricky! When I do submit my resumÃ
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Oh, Ricky, when will you know what your hours are? I'm just curious. I know in OKC, the RSA Center is closed from 6 a.m.-8 a.m.; are they closed the same hours in HOU as they are in OKC?" "She always says, "Don't play ball in the house!" "Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!" Mike, Carol, Alice, Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marsha, Jan, Cindy, Sam the butcher, & Tiger. I just felt like saying that! 🙂
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Nikki - Don't give up! Sometimes it's just a matter of timing...making sure that we have an opening that fits your background. Please know that our hardworking Recruiters are doing their best to find the best folks for all of our openings! You are right...everything happens for a reason, and when it's meant to be, it will happen! =) Tim - As I told Nikki, don't give up! Keep checking www.southwest.com for job openings that match your qualifications. Many, many SWA Employees interviewed time and time again before landing a job at SWA. We are fortunate to receive an overwhelming amount of resumes (approx. 250,000 each year!) and we are able to hire only a small percentage of those folks who apply (last year we hired just under 4,000 People!). So...please don't get discouraged...it isn't easy to get hired, but it is worth the wait. Many People get their foot in the door with an entry-level position and then move around the Company (I'm living proof!). I'll keep my fingers crossed for both of you, but please keep on doing what you're doing...and be sure to keep checking www.southwest.com for the latest and greatest openings!
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Thanks, Shelley. I'm looking for a Ramp Agent opening and understand that those are few and far between in Austin. I'll remain hopeful and patient, though. I do have experience on the ramp, so maybe that will help.
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Thanks Shelley! I'll just keep checking the openings and applying! I've found about 5 positions that I think are a good fit for me. Maybe I will have to take another job in the meantime and then can bring that experience to SWA at a later date. And maybe that's what is meant to be. :) In the meantime, I wait tables on the side as a part-time 2nd job and what an experience it has been! As an analyst and auditor, I haven't had much contact with the customer, but as a waitress, that's all I have! And I love it. I know this unique set of skills belongs at a unique company, and SWA is worth the wait! Thanks so much for the kind words of encouragment! And congrats on having such a cool job! Nikki
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I see SWA is still going strong. I retired from DAL MX in 2000. Sorta wish I was still there. Would really like to get back in touch with some of the other retired Maint. people.
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Jim, I am in MX and I can get you in touch with some of the retired MX folks if you would like. I am the Culture Ambassador for Maintenance & Engineering and we have a network that seems to be working for the retired MX employees. We would love to include you in that group.
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To the employees who read this-would being an Activities Assistant (which is what I do) working with Health Care & Alzheimer's residents count as customer service? I personally think no, because I don't have much one on one interaction with them. Certain residents require one-on-ones, & so I go spend a few minutes with them, reading, showing pictures, etc., & talking with them. I say hi to the residents & visit with most of them, but mainly lead (or assist) a good sized group with exercise, call Bingo, rhythm band, current events, etc. We also go on outings, & I get to go on another one tomorrow! I've had CS experience before, but I am just curious about my current job; I just wanted to ask that question. "What'd you do that for, Kev?" "Me! You told me to." "Way to go, Kev." " "I can't believe you did that." "You're supposed to talk to her, not make her cry." (Sorry, I feel somewhat like Ding! boy. I feel like posting lines I have memorized from some of my favorite TV shows, such as the Brady Bunch & this one from the Wonder Years!) 🙂
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Leah, In my book, your residents are Customers, and it sounds like you are serving them. Customer Service doesn't have to be one on one, it can be you assisting a group. I think delivering that kind of Customer Service can be harder than to just one individual. Here's why: In a one-to-one situation, you get feedback from the other person and can adjust your own response, based on that. With a group, you don't get that luxury, and have to deal with everyone. As for old TV show dialogue The blogosphere attracts all kinds of people. Some just read, and others post comments. When that happens, I go to work--I carry a moderator's badge. It was Wednesday, and the weather was raining. I was working the day watch out of the Blog Division. Everything was quiet until I got this post from a chick in Oklahoma.
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Morning Leah! I'd say that your people experience would definitely be valuable. Hey, you're communicating with the customers and providing a valuable service, right? Whether it fits into the "customer service" category or not, it's valauble and this experience offers a potential employer (ahem, SWA :-)) a look at what wonderful things you are capable of. That's my opinion! Have a great day, everyone! Nikki
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Shelly. What a wonderful surprise! Yes, I retired in 2000, and have been kinda lost ever since, I really miss the action, and all the great people. I would love to get back in touch with the old gang. I remember one of the group retired to Llano, TX, just can't remember who. (CRS maybe?) I currently live near Marble FallsTX, about 30 miles from Llano. BTW I remember you, and you would probably recognize me if you saw me. I was RON/shops/ hanger RON supervisor for 5-6 yrs before going into QC. Also, retirement isn't all it's hyped to be, very dull and boring for the most part. Thanks for your responce. I look forward to hearing from you again soon. Jim
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Good evening, Brian & Nikki! Thanks for your comments. I agree with you two. "All I hear at school is what a great sister I have. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!"
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I didn't add this yesterday, but I do feel like we're providing service by the activities the residents have. The only downfall, though, is not having the one on one service like you do as a CSA, FA, etc. I enjoy what I do & find it very rewarding (please don't think I don't). I don't want this to hinder me from getting on with SWA. I've had one on one CS experince, though. "Okay, put away your songbooks. We won't need them after all. We're going to use the entire hour for voice auditions! Who wants to be first?" "First? Was she joking? Only a complete doofus would want to be fir-."
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Hey Leah, Are you on myspace? (I know, I know, but it's a great way to keep up with old friends). There's a group for SWA employees, hopefuls, and customers - basically anyone. There's some great insight on the bulletin boards there too! I wish I had a cute TV quote, but all I ever watch these days is the news (husband is a news junkie) and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Just isn't the same! 😉
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Leah, I think your job provides great customer service experiences. As a CSA, at times I do have to work within the framework of groups - when I make gate announcements, when I'm helping to coordinate the checkin of a large group (elementary school kids going to the state capitol or high school kids going to an important competition) or when I have to lead a group of passengers from one gate to another during irregular operations. I think it's wonderful that you have experience in the "big picture" tasks! Good luck!!
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Hi, Nicole, I've heard of MySpace but I don't have it. It's funny, because one of my friends that I also work with was talking to me about this evening! She has it but her profile is set to private,which is what I'll do, too, if I chose to get it. Hi, Laurie! Thanks so much for the response. I forgot to mention that we also do manicures on the residents on Fridays. Those who live in the apartments & in health care come to the Activities Center (sometimes, though, we have to go over to those two places instead) for manicures. I go over to the Alzheimer's Unit to do theirs. That's another time I spend individual time with residents. "Well, I think she's great." "Paul, get a grip." "Why? Just because she sang a little?
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I forgot another thing! Sorry. Anyway, another time I get some individual contact with residents is when we have our monthly ice cream social. Sometimes one of my coworkers will go with me, & sometimes I do it by myself. We take ice cream, bowls, etc., on a cart to certain residents (some are unable to have any) & offer it to them. Even when we have certain other events, such as monthly birthday parties, we serve cake & punch during the entertainment. *Scratches head in thought. Hmmmm. I think that's all for now!* "I don't want to sing. That's why I took Glee Club in the first place!" "We're going to look like idiots in front of the whole school, not to mention our parents. What are we going to do?" "Well, for one thing, we're not gonna mention it to our parents." "There's something else we could do! We could practice." "Look, Arnold, you got us into this mess, so you gotta get us out." "How? She's never gonna listen to me." "Why not? You're Mr. Passion. You're the only one she will listen to." "Talk to her. Our lives are depending on it."
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Happy one year Rapid Rewards member anniversary to me! 🙂 I received a card & a "gift" for a free upgrade Hertz rental car today. I certainly really want to use it! As often as I fly SWA, I really don't know why I didn't become a member a long time ago! I have several positions I want to work for at SWA & will send my resumes again for all of them. Even if I only work one of those until retirement (I have a long way to go!), I'll be happy because I'll be working for the best airline & fulfilling my life long dream & goal! "We sell the tickets & that's not all!" "We're at each Customer's beckon call!" "We check in the flights, give passes at the gate!" "First come, first serve so don't you be late!" "We do it in order, & that's a fact!" "It's 1 though 30 or you're sittin' in the back!" SWA LUV, & to all a good flight! 🙂
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I better quit making comments on this post-at least for a few days! Ha, ha. :)Anyway, can anyone tell me please when SWA will be hiring again for FAs? I still see it says to check back in the Fall; I'm planning on resubmitting my resume (I can't get that little mark to go above the last "e") for RSA, CSA, & FA late February 2008. By then, I'll have been at my current job for a year. Well, I began February 2nd, so I could try early in the month. I'm also considering trying for Provisioning Agent & a position at HDQ. It depends on what's being offered there. If there's a position I'd be a good fit for, I will; if not, I'm still go for the others! Of course, I won't quit my job until I get on with the Company. Believe me, I really LUV what I do now & get into my work with lots of energy, enthusiasm, humor, & laughter. I can't just go through the motions with no personality; it's just that I've wanted to work for SWA a very long time. My heart & LUV belong to you, & I will (& already) do anything for the Company! I picked my parents up at the airport yesterday (of course, they flew SWA!) & as soon as I walked in, I saw an SWA FA. I told her I'm going to be doing that one of these days! I told her I've gone through the interviews but hadn't yet been picked for training, & that I'm not giving up! We talked a little bit, & she was certainly very nice! She said she hopes we'll work together some day, & I said "So do I!" "When it's time to fly, we get the call!" "For business or pleasure we reserve them all!" "Two in your party, need a rental car?" "Is your baby under two we don't go that far!" "We book, we sell, we do our part. We help our Customers fly just plane smart!" (I have all of the "Just Plane Fun Shuffle" video memorized.) SWA LUV! 🙂
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Hey Leah - I'm still reading your posts! I think applying for a position at HDQ is a great idea. Then if you're already on the LUV team, it may be easier to get one of the coveted FA positions when they open up (That's what I've heard anyway - a lot of people on the Myspace group are applying for FA also). Have a great week! Nikki
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Hey, Nicole! Thanks. I'll have to see what's offered; if there's a position I'm fit for, I'll have to give it a try! 🙂
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Yesterday a man asked, "So, what did Southwest Airlines give you for your 25 years of service as a flight attendant at that Awards Party?" I said, "The awesome priviledge to continue to work for the greatest airline in the world! Oh, and a fantastic dinner party and this pin on my collar!" He and the other man at the window exit gave me a High Five and the man grabbed my hand and shook it saying, "I LOVE this airline and it's folks like you that make it that way for me! Way to go Linda you are awesome!" I am so HAPPY to hear when people appreciate when they have it made and have nothing to bitch about! Nothing worse then a whiner and how could ANYONE whine about working for THIS company!? You guys are GREAT!!!! I had been telling them hilarious stories of things passengers have done on my flights over the years. I had 'em in stitches! Then they asked how long I had worked here. This aint no JOB baby this is a JOY!!!!
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I LUV it, Linda! 🙂 That's a great story! Thank you for sharing it. So, can you interview me now for FA position, please? 🙂 No, this compliment isn't a bribe for an interview. I really do think it's a great story! SWA LUV! :) "Buy your clothes at Eskimo Joe's!"
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Shelley, Thanks for the great post. It went a long way in calming my nerves. I have an internship interview with Southwest coming up for the Operations- Financial Analysis title. I feel a lot more relaxed after reading your article. But I would still like to ask you for some inputs. Any special advice how I should prepare for an internship interview. Any small things that we tend to overlook which really matter. Just any tips to prepare myself and ace this once in a life time opportunity. Its a dream to work for an airline and I just don't want to mess up. Thanks. AR
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Does anyone know if southwest will start hiring F/A's again. I noticed they are looking for recruiters so is that a good sign? I am a former ATA girl until the doors closed April 3. So sad. I just want to fly again, and I would love to work for Southwest!
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I was just reading through this topic. I just landed an interview at SWA HQ next week. I really want to nail this thing. I have studied southwest in college and used them in examples when i was in class. They are one of the best companies in the world to work for. So far they think I match up also. So now I just dont want to mess this up. Im doing some mock interviews with some friends so that should help. The position I am going for is in operations and specifically IT purchasing. I am a total techie geek and I love purchasing because it fits my frugal personality so well LOL. I would really like to know what I am in for at this interview. If anyone that currently works in purchasing reads this and can help me out, I would be soooo happy to hear from you. I will be checking back here to see what comes up. THANKS