We started this morning with a message from Michael Patlán, Manager of Recurrent training here at Southwest. Now, being in his position, how many people do you think he has seen (or heard!) coming through recurrent and stressing, as we all do, about their evacs! Well, today, he stopped in to tell us that we not only did a good job but that we “…knocked it out of the park” when it came to doing our evacs. And why would that be, you may ask? Well, according to Michael, because we have already received excellent training. Considering that here at Southwest you have to evacuate on all the doors (that means BOTH rear doors in the competency check!), something we have never had to do before, perhaps you will believe me when I tell you that we were ready for this. And YOU are ready for this. With the help of these wonderful trainers, you will all do just fine. I cannot stress strongly enough to those who will follow us that you should not stress about this training!
Another thing we found out today (and the people here are chuckling about the little things that make us happy) is that we get to BID for our recurrent training. Not only that, but since recurrent is done at the bases, you can bid at any base. So if you live in MCO and commute to MDW, you can bid for your recurrent in MCO. It’s not a certainty that you can hold it there, but how cool is it to have the option!
As we moved on today to the mundane things that we review every year in recurrent, first aid, CPR and the dreaded “Security”, I couldn’t help thinking of our instructors as “trainer entertainers” for even given such subjects they had us laughing. It continues to be so evident that this company does all that it can to make our job as easy and safe as possible. I feel sure you will all be as in awe as we were to learn of the headsets (and I don’t mean for XM radio), the PPE kits and most of all, the flight attendant pouch! I know I could give you details on all of them, but let’s leave you something to learn when you get here. Let’s just say that there seems to be no end to what they will do to make our job of customer service easier!
I have lost count of how many videos we have seen. They are short and to the point, but so helpful in visualizing all of these procedures we are trying to internalize. And in every module we are encouraged when on the line to just use common sense, good judgment and our own critical thinking. If we follow those guidelines, they leave us with no doubt that they will support the decisions we make every day on our job.
Our day ended today with a talk from the Employee Resources department about work rules and conduct, including attendance. Normally I imagine this is not a module that is fun to present nor one to which students eagerly listen. Here at Southwest, they expect a lot, but they give a lot in return. We were well into their presentation before they realized that the grunts and gasps they were hearing from around the room were positive reactions! They just have mastered the art of taking care of and giving back to their employees. Sure, they expect you to do your job here. As Mike Mankin said, “We are all adults. We have got to behave like adults and perform with professionalism.” If we will just do that, we will be treated with fairness. And after telling us that he is, “So stinkin’ excited…” that we are here, he left us with this thought – “If you take care of this company, it will pay you back tenfold.” And I, for one, believe him.