Jet Set Go
It is easy money. In the initial years you will make more money than your friend but eventually you will lag behind the ones who went in a carrer for which they trained and careers which require skills more than just speaking English with an accent.”
The timing is not right. This should have been posted a week ago. I agree. But read on as I am not really discussing the facts but some interesting observations related to this whole episode.
You had seen the big headings on the front pages and you had seen the tearful faces of the air hostesses who have been sacked by Jet and you have heard their complaints as well. Now let us go a few years in the past. A boy goes home very happy with his result.
He has completed his graduation in Microbiology.
“Come son. Gimme a hug, I am so proud of you”
After a hug the dad asks the son about his future “So are you planning to do for a post graduate degree?”
“No dad. I am planning to go to Bombay or Delhi”
“Actually not a university, Dad.”
“So what are you planning to do?”
“I am thinking of joining the aviation industry”
“Aviation industry? Since when do they have a requirement for Microbiologists?”
“Actually dad, they don't...”
“So what are you going to do there?”
“I am thinking of being a crew member”
“Crew member bole to...”
“A flight attendant dad.”
“A flight attendant? You can't be serious.”
“I am very serious”
“But what in god's name would you like to serve food and clear trays in an airplane when you can go for a PG and maybe even a research after that"
The boy stands there, staring his feet, not saying anything. The dad looks at him and realises that the sun has already made a decision and he is not open to logic.
“I mean if someone like Rohit who flunked twice in class 12 and never went to college, it would have been okay but you have skills. Skills that is required for a higher calling. Skills that will go waste while you demonstrate safety instructions to the flyers.”
“Dad, there is good money...”
“You are a lunatic you know. You will never earn more as a flight attendant”
“Dad, my starting salary is going to be 20K. If I take up a job on my qualifications as a Microbiology graduate, I will earn not more than half of this”
“True you will not get so much now but think long term. A microbiologist with 10 years of experience is definitely worth a lot more than a steward with same experience”
The guy was not programmed to think long term. He is not alone, there are a lot if young boys and girls who have given up career options that would have much better prospects in the long term for joining the airline industry.
Maybe I am a little more cautions than I should be but there have been a few instances in the past where I couldn't figure out why people are ignoring the obvious. For example, when the dotcom boom was happening, I couldn't figure out why the hell someone would want to pay anything to a person making a site.
“How are they going to gain anything from it?” was my question and no one seems to be able to answer that. In the hindsight we all know a lot of VC money that went into some of those sites was a waste. I was actually skeptical to even a larger degree. I couldn't figure out why Microsoft would want to pay $40 million to Sabeer Bhatia for Hotmail. It is a free service and you have to spend money to make it available to people. How can you possibly make money? Once explanation I got was that Microsoft got so many millions users. Big deal. I guess 40 million doesn't make too much of a difference to Microsoft but if it has to see an ROI on that, it is would not have been a profitable business
The same thoughts came to my mind when the call centers, or “BPOs” as they are known now came to India. The starting pay was good but the only skills required were the ability to speak English in an accent. You are not required to be too educated; you are not required to even have good communication skills as all your responses are taught to you so how do you have a long term future in a job like that? Sure you can get promoted and rise but what percentage can actually do that since there always are going to be more people that need to be managed than the ones managing them.
This article originally appeard on Mental Floss