Former flight attendant and now a financial consultant Mara Karisse Palomares believes that the golden key to success amid the uncertainty of a crisis is a person’s ability to adapt to changes while uplifting other people as well.
“My message to most people out there is to keep helping each other and let’s be open to the fact that we all have strong potentials even outside the aviation industry. It’s all about our perception, our mindset,” Mara says.
The flight attendant’s career in aviation started in the Middle East in 2017. Mara remembers that it took a year for her to get a highly desired position in one of the region’s Top airlines, since the first time she had applied for it, the company rejected her. However, having a great dream and determination to achieve it, Mara got the job on the second try and began working on Boeing 777s and Boeing 787s as well as Airbus A320 Family jets.
“Before aviation, I graduated from De La Salle University – Dasmariñas in the Philippines, my home country, where I took up the course of AB Communication Arts. But I guess the media work was not for me. So, I tried venturing into the sales industry, I also gained some experience in the BPO (ed.- Business Process Outsourcing) before I went on and pursued my dream in aviation. I think I just manifested the thought that I would become a flight attendant. It was so surreal.”
“It is important to hold on to your dream when you have one,“ Mara says.
Mara successfully fulfilled her dream and has visited destinations around the world. Shortly before the pandemic, she began considering her further career options such as a transfer to work for a Florida-based low-cost carrier. Before all this, she also went through a rough breakup. The abrupt changes in her personal life encouraged the cabin crew member to get involved in meditation, hiking, and solo traveling. She continued meeting new people in her journey to healing.
Those travels were put to a stop because of the pandemic. In addition, her career in the new airline also ended before it began, prompting Mara to wonder whether the aviation industry was the right professional path for her.
“The airline emailed me saying that they’re not going to push through with the application anymore because of what’s happening. So, it was heartbreaking and disheartening because I was already waiting for months. The news made me think that maybe the airline industry is not for me, maybe God is telling me something. Why is it becoming harder, of course, adding the pandemic to all the struggles?“
“I just thought that this season has made me change the way I look in life because I really had to change my career. I had to jump from what I really want to something new. I guess this crisis is teaching us to stretch out our potentials and do something more with our given talents. I used to say that the sky is the limit, but it isn’t.”
After taking a deep breath, Mara accepted all the challenges the faith had sent to her and became a financial advisor in the Philippine-based company. “It’s funny because I was a flight attendant, an FA, and now I’m still an FA – a financial advisor. Just like what I do in the skies, here, I’m given a purposeful task to secure people’s lives. I’m helping people to be financially literate, lessen their debts, and get financially prepared for the future when something happens. I’m enjoying this job.”
Taking a look back at the pre-pandemic life, the flight attendant says that she misses the ability to travel the world and explore cultural diversity. However, she thinks that although the pandemic has caused aviation to stagnate, the global crisis has brought positive changes as well. The flight attendant believes that the difficult circumstances over the job prospects in the industry stimulate people to expand their horizons and stretch themselves by getting out of their comfort zone.
Mara encourages aviation professionals to uplift each other while hoping for a brighter future.
“There are so many possibilities for us out here and I believe that successful people are the ones who can adapt to change. Sometimes, we all focus on a future that we’re deeply aiming for. But then God redirects us to something new. I kept saying that I do not want to go back to sales. But here I am, in sales again. Sometimes the breakthrough is in the job that you refuse to take.”
“All of us, ex flyers, aspirants, should be resilient. We should take on new things because we don’t know what might happen tomorrow. Let’s make the most of our time. We should uplift ourselves and others as well. Life’s already hard as it is. The pandemic is something that we should learn a lesson from so that we can make a move forward. One day we will all be able to fly once again,” Mara believes.