Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo In Real Life’s sentiments.
Nina* (*not her real name), 21, is a flight attendant who lost her job in May 2020 due to COVID-19.
“When the lockdown was announced in March, I was on a return flight from overseas and had to be quarantined,” Nina began.
“My roommates had left for their hometowns, so I was completely alone. I just stared at the four walls all day,” she shared.
In mid-April, the company announced that due to the quarterly profit loss, one round of retrenchments were to be made, effective in one month.
After the announcement, rumours circled within Nina’s colleague groups on what the retrenchments would be based on.
Some said it would be on a “last-in first-out” basis, others said it would be performance-based, and a few thought it would be the combination of both.
“I lived in constant worry. It felt as though I was in a toxic relationship, waking up everyday wondering: Is it the end today? It was emotionally draining,” Nina added.
The first round of retrenchment
A month went by, and the company retrenched one batch of staff, stating in their email that it was due to ‘poor performance’. Luckily for Nina, it wasn’t hers.
“I was safe,” Nina said. She was ecstatic that she got to fly again.
“I got to wear my uniform, everything felt great! At the same time, I knew I needed to give 110% to the job,” she said.
Things went smoothly after that… or at least that’s what Nina thought. In July, rumours began circling around that a second round of retrenchments was imminent.
In August, the rumors were proven true, and Nina’s entire batch got the axe.
“I had to read the email multiple times before it sunk in. In exactly one month, October 2020, I would no longer be a flight attendant,” she said tearfully.
Nina lost a job that she dearly loved.
“I felt my whole world crashing down. My whole body went numb. I was frozen to my desk. Even though I saw it coming, I was still shocked.”
Nina decided not to share the news with her family. “They were already going through a lot financially. If I had told them the breadwinner of the family isn’t able to provide income, it would put them over the edge.”
Nina called her ex-colleagues instead, and by the end of the conversation, they all just sat down and cried.
It’s been two months since Nina is unemployed.
While she reports facing tons of financial difficulties, there’s been a silver lining.
“I have been taking some modelling gigs and brand sponsorship to have some kind of income. I’ve been very lucky to have that opportunity,” she said.
Nina is grateful for having the opportunity to work in the airline industry.
“I found friends that became my family. I got to hone my talent. Even when I doubted myself, I gained a lot of experience and lessons. And for that, I am thankful.”
“One day, I hope I can go back to being a flight attendant when the pandemic is over. Until then, I will take what I can get.”
The pandemic taught Nina to always look out, “You might think everything is going smoothly, and suddenly something is thrown at you. So always be prepared for anything,” Nina concluded.
For more stories like this, read: These Are Three Malaysians Who Got Fired for the Most Ridiculous Reasons and After Malaysia’s Borders Were Closed, Here’s What 5 Pilots Are Doing To Survive
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