When life gives you a second chance, grab it. I had just finished 18 ½ years at another airline, and my career had "flat-lined." No growth, no advancement, and little satisfaction. I was facing a forced transfer to a less-than-desirable location due to cutbacks, and I made the difficult decision to let go, in spite of seniority and what was, at the time, job security. However, "airline" was in my blood because, in addition to my own career, I had grown up in an airline family. I wanted to get back into the industry, but I only wanted to work for Southwest.
So at age 42, I did the "Al Bundy" gig selling ladies shoes at a department store in order to pay the bills (don't worry, I didn't emulate Al's sofa "stance"), but when I saw a Southwest ad for new Reservations Sales Agents, I jumped. The day I was able to march into the store's office to give my notice that I was saying adios for Southwest was one of the happiest days of my life. No more searching the storage room shelves for an elusive size 7B for a shoe somebody had to have, but which had not been in stock for six months. That was 11 years ago.
A recurring question on this blog is "does Southwest like to hire older Employees?" I can answer a resounding YES! Besides me, my Reservations class had older New Hires, along with a couple of folks in their very early twenties. That was true when I was hired, and it is true today. I know how dangerous it is to guess ages, especially with women, but at Company events, I often see New Hires my age or older, and they represent every department from Ground Operations, to Inflight, to Reservations, and to Headquarters. Just today, I saw our newest Flight Attendant training class enter the building, and there were a lot of folks my age among them. Some of our older Employees are like me, too young to retire, and others have retired but are too young to stop working.
What has my second chance meant for me? Well if I had stayed at "Brand X," I would have just completed 30 years, and I probably would have been totally disillusioned and jaded. It's hard to list all of the benefits of changing careers, but foremost, it has made coming to work each day a fun event. I almost hate it when I have to take vacation. Remember, I said "almost"–I LUV my job, but I like to play too! Working in such a diverse environment has kept me feeling and thinking young, even if my body won't cooperate, and I finally have been able to combine my love of writing, which had been dormant since college, with my love of aviation. At the same time, our younger Employees benefit from working with older Coworkers who can provide maturity and a worldly outlook to their jobs.
My advice to anyone is that you are never too old to work for Southwest, and if you are interested, go for it. A list of our available positions can be found on the Careers page at southwest.com.