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Southwest Airlines Community

Culture Shock (of the very best kind!)

jlamb1
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This is a crazy place to work. Being relatively new to Southwest, I am still learning about our unique traditions that combine to make this such a FUN place to work. My learning started when I was driving into the parking lot and checking my speedometer to make sure I was not going over the posted speed limit of 18 mph. Pretty random speed, but I assumed it had something to do with our stellar safety record. I must admit that attending my new hire class wearing pajamas was also a new experience for me, but, after all, we were putting our last 737-200 plane to bed. As I went to set up our department tent at last year's "32nd and Last" Chili Cook-off, I did ask someone, "why is this going to be the last after 32 years?". Only to find out that our original Employees initially started with the "2nd and Last" Chili Cook-off because there was so much speculation (from others) that we wouldn't be around for a 3rd year. Incidentally, I thought this year's "33rd and Last" Chili Cook-off will go down in history as one of our best. But I think I'm finally getting it. Our department Culture Committee recently raised money…you know bake sales and stuff, to fund our Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween skit, Holiday party, and the most bizarre to me, the Message to the Field Tailgate. Having worked for three other major companies, it blows my mind that Employees will raise money to buy matching Company T-shirts, hire the "Hamburger Man" to cook burgers, buy a few adult beverages, and go celebrate in anticipation of the "Message." The Message to the Field is a series of events around the country where our Employees gather to hear from our leaders Gary Kelly and Colleen Barrett. mttf_crowdgary06.jpgA state of the Company message is delivered, and Employees stand and cheer (in their matching T-shirts). The tailgate occurs prior to the Message and would rival most Super Bowl parking lots. Maybe lots of Companies do this type of thing but it was new to me. Would you buy a Company shirt, bake a cake, and volunteer to give up an evening to cheer your Leaders? I hope so. If not, you should check our Careers page at southwest.com .
43 Comments
Jena
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This company brings out the "goofy" in me. Last year was quite a bear in terms of hard work and stress. So when our department themed Halloween as "Pirates of Marketing", I went all out. Yes, I got goofy and decided to dress like a parrot. I had more fun that day, sitting on the shoulders of "Pirates", running around making bird noises & flapping my wings. Our Leaders may have thought me a little nuts on any other day, but on Halloween - anything goes. I even flew to Lubbock that night in my costume. The guy next to me chuckled most of the flight, saying he'd never sat next to a 6 ft. parrot before. He was generous, I'm only 5'3". When I told Granny she would be picking me up in a parrot costume, her response was "How will I know it's you?". "Granny, I'll be five foot parrot, you can't miss me!" Thanks for keeping it FUN!
Melissa_Petri
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Sounds very promising. I mean, any employee who would be willing to raise money to buy shirts, etc. should be very motivated. And if you have lots who are willing to work together and do the same then... wow! If I was in the airline business, I would probably consider checking out your "career" page, as well. 🙂
Norizyan_Halim
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I'm wondering, does Southwest Airlines gives out Reward System to its workers?!
Kevin23
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Worthwhile magazine sat down with Southwest President Colleen Barrett a few months ago for an article about the keeper of the culture. You can read it at http://www.worthwhilemag.com/Articles/CultureQueen.aspx
DC1
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Melissa, you don't have to be in the airline business to have a career at SWA. I was in the insurance industry for - well let's say many years; now I'm at SWA on the Marketing Team. It's a different, wonderful, place. And Jena, I thought that was very original to come as a parrot. We LUV our "goofy" Jena!
jlamb1
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Melissa, I echo what Deborah said in her response. Even if you are not in the airline industry, you should check out our "career" page. We are always looking for individuals that want to have fun and work hard at the same time!!!!
jlamb1
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Jena, thank YOU for keeping it fun! Can I borrow your parrot outfit sometime...or any other large animal costume?
jlamb1
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Norizyan, there are so many rewards that the Employees enjoy at Southwest. We have great benefits, great profitsharing and as Jena posted earlier, we get to wear silly costumes and have FUN!
Richard
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Where is the best place to post this comment: I Love Southwest Airlines for two huge reasons. (1) You can change flights without paying a $100 fee (you only have to pay the difference in fare, which is, ahem, fair enough:-). (2) Several of the flight attendants have superb senses of humor. I know at least one sings a wonderful song over the PA about Southwest. Others have a lot of fun with the preflight and inflight instructions. This is so marvelous because it makes us all relax a bit and realize we're all Americans living in a wonderful country enjoying the finest mode of travel humanity has ever devised. It's hard to find a way to tell management at SWA about all the great people on the flights -- so I hope this is the beginning of my enthusiastic feedback! Richard
Randy_Anglim
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I have grown up with this company my father has been with Southwest for 23 years and I just had my 7 year annivesary. Growing up with the SWA culture I would have to say it is very unique. Before I came to work for Southwest I worked for a couple of companys one was a corperation and the culture was not there. It was just a job that I hated so my father convinced me to join the SWA team (not alot of arm twisting on his part) and I have not looked back yet. I have held three diffrent jobs with in SWA, Ramp agent, Operations agent and the most recent is Flight attendant. Our culture even encourages people to change departments. I really don't even consider this a job anymore I have TOO much fun at work to call it a job Its just a way of life that I luv! You also make a lot of life long friends sad to say but there are some people around the system that have known me since I was in diapers but I have a big SWA family and it keeps growing.
jlamb1
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I hear stories like yours all the time, Randy. We have so much to be thankful for not the least of which is a Company that encourages families and Employees the opportunity to move around. I appreciate all you do!
jlamb1
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Richard, this is a perfect way to let our Leaders know your comments about our service. We appreciate you SO much!
DC1
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Speaking of our culture, just yesterday several people in a tour group were taking a picture of my cube. At the company I worked at before SWA there were strict rules about what could and couldn't be in your cube. My walls now are covered with thank-you cards from co-workers, memorabilia from SWA events, tons of photos, etc. My desk is covered with nic nacs that are special to me. The top of my overhead bin is literally crammed with things both work-related and personal that have special meaning to me. I feel very forturnate that the space I "live" in here can reflect who am. Apparently our visitors found that fascinating.
jlamb1
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Isn't it wonderful to have the Freedom to make your space uniquely you. The other unique part of our Culture that visitors find fascinating is all the family and pet photos gracing our Headquarter walls. I have had many visitors comment on the fact that you would never see see photos on their company's walls.
Kimberly
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With the encouragment of friends and SWA employees I posted my resume. I received my invitation to to attend Southwest Flight Attendant group infomation session in HOU.! Sound like the job is a Blast and one to have fun with, and to Company to be with in the future. I really enjoy reading the message board and hope very soon I can post my own expenience. Looking forward to meeting ya'll very soon. Kimberly
jlamb1
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Congratulations on the invitation!! I bet you are going to be awesome! Just relax and be yourself. Let me know how it goes.
Leah3
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I sent my resumÃ
jlamb1
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Leah, hang in there...it will be worth the wait!!
Leah3
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Thanks, Jeff! Does everyone who sends in a resumÃ
jlamb1
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Leah, I hope you will keep trying. Sounds like you have that LUVing feeling! We recieved over 250,000 resumes last year so not everyone gets an invitation. Thanks for helping us out on the flight from AUS!
Leah3
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Jeff, a flight attendant-SWA-sent the company a referral letter not long after I sent in my resumÃ
Leah3
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I meant it's good, not its good.
Steve_Bradshaw
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Leah, don't give up. You think you LUV our company now. Just wait untill your part of our family. SWA is an awesome family. I work in Reservations but I have lots of friends that are Flight Attendants and they LUV it.
Leah3
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Steve, I definitely will not give up! 🙂 I'm very, very eager for my dream to come true & become part of the LUVing SWA family! How long have you been working in Reservations? SWA LUV & mine, always! :) P.S. Steve, I had a grandma (my dad's mom) whose maiden name was Bradshaw!
Mike_Nolan
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OK! The reason plain and simple is that you have great people who care at SWA! I recently returned from BWI to Manchester NH in awful weather...I had the best crew...the best staff ...it was a great trip that took 5 hours instead of 45 min due to weather and when we all got off people were laughing and joking.....that takes dedication and caring on your part....who ever hires and trains at SWA needs a BIGGGGG!!! bonus. I love SWA and will fly it whenever and whever it goes. I give up! you win.
jlamb1
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Mike - Thank you for sharing your "great" five hour flight. We do our best to find and train "Fun-LUVing Attitudes" but the real credit should go to our crews. They contantly amaze me. I'll pass along your comments to our entire People and Leadership Development Team. Your kind words will be our "bonus" this week.
Leah3
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I called Wednesday to remind the Company that I sent in my resumÃ
jlamb1
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Leah, yes that is still the case. We recieve over 250,000 resumes annually so sometimes it takes longer than it should.
Leah3
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Can people send in a resumÃ
Leah3
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Guess what! I received a letter today inviting me to attend a Group Information Session for Flight Attendant Position!!!!! It's July 13th in Dallas! I'm so, so excited, I seriously don't know if I can sleep tonight! 🙂
CW_Smith
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My life with SWA started almost two years ago when I got bored with retirement and applied for a position at PHL. I had a long career with the airline industry starting as a ramp agent with NWA in 1969 and ending as a Regional Director with Ogden Aviation. I lived through the 70's and 80's with the DC10s and 747s including providing ramp,cabin cleaning and other services fro twenty-five International carriers at Chicago's O'Hare airport. Does anyone remember the A and B Concourse and the Butler Aviation buildingss/ Well to make it a short one, I have never had so much fun at any one place before. The "family" at SWA is just what you hear about.Smoe good and some bad but always there to make your day a fun one. So if you are bored with sitting in your rocking chair and want a fun day (or night) job go to southwest.com and apply.
CW_Smith
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To see some candid phtos taken at PHL click on CW Smith in either of my postings. Shows you the fun life work environment at SWA.
Joan_Pischel
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I am anxiously awaiting my flight attendant interview invitation in the mail. Can you offer some helpful pointers for a successful interview? This is a life-long dream, so I want to give it my best shot! P.S. Is it best to get an employee recommendation? Thanks so much!
jlamb1
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Joan, hopefully by now you have received your invitation to interview for Flight Attendant. The best advice I can give you is to be timely, dress appropriately, and most importantly, be yourself! And remember to smile and have fun! You will do great!
Sandra2
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Hi Everyone I have a group interview on 10-10-06. Can anyone tell me what to expect or give me some advice? Thanks
Linda21
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I had an interview with the company last friday Jan 5th. I was told I would be called this week about my status, when should I start worrying about not getting the job?
Jeff_Lamb
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Linda, Typically 2-3 weeks would be the longest. We are backed up a little post-Holiday but someone should be in contact soon. If you don't hear something in a week, let me know a little more information and I'll check personally. Thank you for your patience. Jeff
Joe_Crawford
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Hello everyone! I have dreamed of working for Southwest Airlines since I was five years old. I took my first commercial flight from Lubbock to Harlingen with a change of planes in Dallas Love Field. Since then I have always wanted to work for Southwest! Every year I would get to fly to my grandmother's house in the Rio Grande Valley on Southwest. I can remember flying with my grandfather in his 235 Cherokee back and forth from Lubbock to Amarillo in my earliest memories! With aviation so much of a part of my families history, I want to continue the love for airplanes and there is no better way than with Southwest Airlines. When I graduated high school I went to Dallas and applied for a position with Southwest. After not getting the job, I realized maybe I was a little young and should go to college and get my degree. Now having my degree, I want to try again for the position at Southwest. How do I achieve this goal that I have been wanting to accomplish since I was five years old? Joe
Jeff_Lamb
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Joe, Funny you should ask. I addressed that question in my latest blog entry which will be posted in the next few days. After reading it, don't hesitate to respond if you still have a question. Jeff
Anna_Bui
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Hi Jeff! I got from Southwest Airline for the interview. I study alot since I received an email from SWA. What question should I ask during the interview or what should prepare? I need help!!!! Anna
Nicole1111
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hello guys i'm new here i found it by an accident lol i was looking for a way to prepare for the upcoming group interview i was invited to for a customer service agent i really want to work for this company because i see how friendly the employees are with each other and that's hard to find in a company and also i love meeting new people and i'm very patience and i don't have a short fuse i'm very delightful and i have empathy for airline customers especially moms because i am one i understand how hard it is to fly with children anyway my question is what to expect at the group interview at bwi and how can i prepare thanks
Renee_Cameron
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I was offered the chance of a lifetime to attend a group interview in Chicago. I had been sick but still was going to go. However right up to the last minute, i mean, was on the plane ready to leave and got very sick. was unable to go and have had a very bad virus. What can I do to get in touch with Janet Baker to plead with her for another chance? Anything you can tell me to help me out would be greatly appreciated.
Mary_Rossi
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Could you please tell me what the starting salary is for SWA flight attendants? Thank you