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擦了5年飞机,我学到了什么

擦了5年飞机,我学到了什么

Shanice Joseph 2020年09月02日
从事这样一份工作可以让你获得很多有关生活和现实的人生感悟。

洛杉矶国际机场的一架美联航737喷气式客机上,一名保洁员正在给机舱消毒。图片来源:MEL MELCON / LOS ANGELES TIMES VIA GETTY IMAGES

航空公司在航班上都会提供呕吐袋,但不幸的是,还是经常有人吐在机舱地板甚至座位上,而清理工作自然也不会由旅客负责。

对此我是深有体会。为了支付读大学的费用,我曾经在洛杉矶国际机场做过飞机保洁的夜班工作,这份工作让我学到了很多东西。

说起机场工作,人们首先想到的往往是飞行员和空乘充满浪漫色彩的工作,比如:旅行免费,收入体面,有时还能在头等舱遇到一些知名人士。而幕后的地勤工作却鲜有人关注,但这种工作可以带给你很多人生感悟。

现在想想,我对自己去做飞机保洁工作还是会感到不可思议。2013年,当我踏入长滩城市学院学习社会学专业时,内心激动不已。然而,第一学期刚过半,我就碰上了财务问题。我的学费补助能够覆盖学费、书本费、学习用品费、课程材料费及其他与学校相关的费用,但在支付住房、交通、食品、医疗保健及其他的基本生活费用时就有些捉襟见肘了,当时我常常要在吃午饭和坐公交去上学之间做出选择。

第一年春季学期结束时,我的成绩很好,但手里除了用过的书本,连5毛钱都拿不出,对我而言,如果还想继续做全日制学生,就必须得去找份全职工作。

我当时申请了所有可以申请的初级职位。麦当劳回复说我做他们的工作是“大材小用”。我还申请了一个为期9周的认证护理项目,不过后来也取消了,原因是这个项目要等9周才能拿到津贴,而我等不了那么长的时间。

最后,我跟美国航空公司旗下的一家承包公司签订了雇佣合同,工作地点在洛杉矶国际机场。仅从合同内容来看,这份工作还不错:全职工作、工作时间灵活、享有健康福利、时薪9.4美元(2013年加州的最低工资是8美元)。

作为机舱保洁员,刚入职时我都是上夜班。在一次安全简报会后,我和同事被分为了若干个班组,每组五到六个人,分别负责三到五架飞机的保洁工作。

我们每次会花大约一到两小时去做“深度清洁”工作,也就是打扫所有的折叠餐桌、窗户、机舱舱壁和扶手,还要检查机舱内的储物柜。为机上的洗手间、驾驶舱和厨房补货也是我们的工作。完成这些工作之后,我们需要检查每一个救生用品舱,补上缺失的救生用品,然后我们要面对整个机舱,对其进行彻底的安全检查。没错,确保飞行安全的不是运输管理局,而是我们这些机舱保洁员。

这份工作有时会让人反胃。当飞机经过长途飞行从伦敦、悉尼、东京(成田机场)或香港飞回洛杉矶时,机舱内的状况可谓惨不忍睹。每一个垃圾桶都已经不堪重负,座舱里到处都可以看到散落在垃圾桶外的垃圾。你会看到水槽里还没有冲下去的呕吐物,还有卫生间内外沾上的粪便。

令我讶异的是,我发现自己竟然很享受机场夜晚的宁静。工作的时光过得飞快,我和同事也都成了朋友。但是要想兼顾机场的工作和学业也并非易事。有时,我会因为夜班太累而无法上课或者工作太忙而来不及完成作业。在那些上课的日子里,我有时则会因为睡过头而导致上班迟到。

2014年秋季学期结束时,学校给了我留校察看的处分,公司也因为我缺勤太多给我下了最后通牒。经过权衡,我做出了一个日后让我颇为后悔的决定:暂时休学、继续工作。

家人对我的决定感到非常失望。和我一起生活的祖母非常严肃地对我说,工作是暂时的,但教育则是永恒的。而我则认为自己能够从工作中获得自己想要的一切,因而休学是正确的选择。随后,我从保洁员升职成为了负责机舱服务调度的运营调度员,在美国航空空中交通管制中心负责为每一架进港飞机安排保洁人员。

机舱保洁主要是体力活,而调度则需要对何时、何地派出保洁员进行统筹和规划。不幸的是,管理层过于欣赏我的才能,一分钟都不舍得让我休息。8个小时连轴转,既不能休息,也没有时间吃饭,我时常会有种遭受了不公待遇的感觉。但在我试图将自己的遭遇反映给经理时,得到的却只有冷眼。之后又来了新的管理层,他们对员工的压榨更加变本加厉,员工的休息时间越来越少,还得被迫加班。老员工要么被裁要么辞职,管理层也不会补充新人。作为调度员,我手下一开始每班有40名员工(10个班组,每组4人),后来慢慢减少到了18至20个人(6个班组)。但是需要保洁的飞机数量却并没有任何减少。

幸运的是,这家承包公司后来又换了愿意倾听员工声音的新管理层,他们雇佣了更多的员工,我的同事们也纷纷升职加薪。2018年,我找到我的经理,跟他说了自己想回学校读书的事。令我惊讶的是,他很爽快地答应了。但就在新学期即将开始的时候,我们公司失去了美国航空公司的合同。

这一消息让我顿时傻眼。当时的我既没有了工作,也没有了学业。如果当初我没有休学,那么我在2017年春季应该就已经拿到学士学位了。

在机场工作的经历让我学到了在学校学不到的东西,让我理解了商业、战略、职业道德和金钱的价值(我们都是为了钱而努力工作)。但我得回学校念书了。在洛杉矶航空公司做了五年飞机保洁工作的我还从未坐过一次飞机,直至今天我才终于明白祖母所说的“工作是暂时的,但教育则是永恒的”这句话的含义。(财富中文网)

沙尼斯•约瑟夫现在就读于长滩城市学院社会学专业,她热衷于通过写作来帮助社区、教育他人。

译者:Feb

航空公司在航班上都会提供呕吐袋,但不幸的是,还是经常有人吐在机舱地板甚至座位上,而清理工作自然也不会由旅客负责。

对此我是深有体会。为了支付读大学的费用,我曾经在洛杉矶国际机场做过飞机保洁的夜班工作,这份工作让我学到了很多东西。

说起机场工作,人们首先想到的往往是飞行员和空乘充满浪漫色彩的工作,比如:旅行免费,收入体面,有时还能在头等舱遇到一些知名人士。而幕后的地勤工作却鲜有人关注,但这种工作可以带给你很多人生感悟。

现在想想,我对自己去做飞机保洁工作还是会感到不可思议。2013年,当我踏入长滩城市学院学习社会学专业时,内心激动不已。然而,第一学期刚过半,我就碰上了财务问题。我的学费补助能够覆盖学费、书本费、学习用品费、课程材料费及其他与学校相关的费用,但在支付住房、交通、食品、医疗保健及其他的基本生活费用时就有些捉襟见肘了,当时我常常要在吃午饭和坐公交去上学之间做出选择。

第一年春季学期结束时,我的成绩很好,但手里除了用过的书本,连5毛钱都拿不出,对我而言,如果还想继续做全日制学生,就必须得去找份全职工作。

我当时申请了所有可以申请的初级职位。麦当劳回复说我做他们的工作是“大材小用”。我还申请了一个为期9周的认证护理项目,不过后来也取消了,原因是这个项目要等9周才能拿到津贴,而我等不了那么长的时间。

最后,我跟美国航空公司旗下的一家承包公司签订了雇佣合同,工作地点在洛杉矶国际机场。仅从合同内容来看,这份工作还不错:全职工作、工作时间灵活、享有健康福利、时薪9.4美元(2013年加州的最低工资是8美元)。

作为机舱保洁员,刚入职时我都是上夜班。在一次安全简报会后,我和同事被分为了若干个班组,每组五到六个人,分别负责三到五架飞机的保洁工作。

我们每次会花大约一到两小时去做“深度清洁”工作,也就是打扫所有的折叠餐桌、窗户、机舱舱壁和扶手,还要检查机舱内的储物柜。为机上的洗手间、驾驶舱和厨房补货也是我们的工作。完成这些工作之后,我们需要检查每一个救生用品舱,补上缺失的救生用品,然后我们要面对整个机舱,对其进行彻底的安全检查。没错,确保飞行安全的不是运输管理局,而是我们这些机舱保洁员。

这份工作有时会让人反胃。当飞机经过长途飞行从伦敦、悉尼、东京(成田机场)或香港飞回洛杉矶时,机舱内的状况可谓惨不忍睹。每一个垃圾桶都已经不堪重负,座舱里到处都可以看到散落在垃圾桶外的垃圾。你会看到水槽里还没有冲下去的呕吐物,还有卫生间内外沾上的粪便。

令我讶异的是,我发现自己竟然很享受机场夜晚的宁静。工作的时光过得飞快,我和同事也都成了朋友。但是要想兼顾机场的工作和学业也并非易事。有时,我会因为夜班太累而无法上课或者工作太忙而来不及完成作业。在那些上课的日子里,我有时则会因为睡过头而导致上班迟到。

2014年秋季学期结束时,学校给了我留校察看的处分,公司也因为我缺勤太多给我下了最后通牒。经过权衡,我做出了一个日后让我颇为后悔的决定:暂时休学、继续工作。

家人对我的决定感到非常失望。和我一起生活的祖母非常严肃地对我说,工作是暂时的,但教育则是永恒的。而我则认为自己能够从工作中获得自己想要的一切,因而休学是正确的选择。随后,我从保洁员升职成为了负责机舱服务调度的运营调度员,在美国航空空中交通管制中心负责为每一架进港飞机安排保洁人员。

机舱保洁主要是体力活,而调度则需要对何时、何地派出保洁员进行统筹和规划。不幸的是,管理层过于欣赏我的才能,一分钟都不舍得让我休息。8个小时连轴转,既不能休息,也没有时间吃饭,我时常会有种遭受了不公待遇的感觉。但在我试图将自己的遭遇反映给经理时,得到的却只有冷眼。之后又来了新的管理层,他们对员工的压榨更加变本加厉,员工的休息时间越来越少,还得被迫加班。老员工要么被裁要么辞职,管理层也不会补充新人。作为调度员,我手下一开始每班有40名员工(10个班组,每组4人),后来慢慢减少到了18至20个人(6个班组)。但是需要保洁的飞机数量却并没有任何减少。

幸运的是,这家承包公司后来又换了愿意倾听员工声音的新管理层,他们雇佣了更多的员工,我的同事们也纷纷升职加薪。2018年,我找到我的经理,跟他说了自己想回学校读书的事。令我惊讶的是,他很爽快地答应了。但就在新学期即将开始的时候,我们公司失去了美国航空公司的合同。

这一消息让我顿时傻眼。当时的我既没有了工作,也没有了学业。如果当初我没有休学,那么我在2017年春季应该就已经拿到学士学位了。

在机场工作的经历让我学到了在学校学不到的东西,让我理解了商业、战略、职业道德和金钱的价值(我们都是为了钱而努力工作)。但我得回学校念书了。在洛杉矶航空公司做了五年飞机保洁工作的我还从未坐过一次飞机,直至今天我才终于明白祖母所说的“工作是暂时的,但教育则是永恒的”这句话的含义。(财富中文网)

沙尼斯•约瑟夫现在就读于长滩城市学院社会学专业,她热衷于通过写作来帮助社区、教育他人。

译者:Feb

The airlines provide barf bags, but the dirty secret is that people often don’t use them. They throw up on the floor and the seats. This is not a society that cleans up after itself.

This is one of the lessons I learned, all too well, when I was trying to support my college education by cleaning the insides of airplanes at LAX in the middle of the night.

When people think about working at the airport, they often think of the romance of being a pilot or a flight attendant—traveling for free, being paid decently, maybe meeting a few celebrities in first class. They don’t often think about working on “the ramp” side of the airport, in behind-the-scenes jobs that few people seek out but can teach you quite a bit about life and yourself.

I’m still surprised I ended up cleaning planes. When I began attending Long Beach City College in 2013, I was passionate about my major (sociology), and I couldn’t have been any happier. But by the middle of the first semester, I was in financial trouble. My financial aid covered the cost of enrollment, books, supplies, course materials, and school-related fees. But I could not afford housing, transportation, food, healthcare, or other basics. I often had to choose between eating lunch and having bus fare to attend class.

When spring semester ended that first year, I had good grades, and books I no longer needed, but I did not have fifty cents to my name. I decided that if I was going to be able to afford to be a full-time student, I would need a full-time job.

I applied for every entry-level job I could. McDonald’s said I was overqualified. I applied for a nine-week certified nursing program but deregistered because I could not wait nine weeks to receive my first stipend.

Eventually, I was hired by a contract company under American Airlines at Los Angeles International Airport. On paper, it was decent job. We received full-time hours, flexible schedules, health benefits, and $9.40 hourly (in 2013, California’s minimum wage was $8).

I started as a cleaner of aircraft cabins on the graveyard shift. After a safety briefing, my coworkers and I were split into crews of five to six people, and we were assigned three to five aircraft.

We spent around an hour or two doing “deep cleaning”—cleaning each tray table, window, wall, and armrest, and securing all compartments in the cabin. We restocked the lavatories, cockpit, and galleys. We also checked every safety compartment and replaced any missing items. And then we dismantled the cabin—an extensive security search that involved taking the aircraft apart. That’s right, the Transportation Security Administration does not secure aircraft; cabin cleaners do.

This could be disgusting work. When planes were coming long-distance from London, Sydney, Narita or Hong Kong, it was horrible. Trash would overflow every bin and was stuck in every compartment. You’d find throw-up in the sink, and feces spread in places both inside and outside bathrooms.

I discovered—to my surprise—that I enjoyed how peaceful the airport could be at night. The work went by fast. I made friends with co-workers. But working at the airport and going to school did not fit easily together. Some days I was too exhausted after working a graveyard shift to get to class. Other days I didn't have time to complete school assignments because of a busy workday. On the days I went to school, I would oversleep for work and come late.

By the end of the fall 2014 semester, I was on academic probation and I had received a final warning for my attendance at my job. So I chose to stop school and continue working, a decision I would later regret.

My family was disappointed. My grandmother, with whom I lived, stressed that a job is temporary, but an education is forever. I justified missing school by deciding that I would get everything I could out of the work experience. So I rose beyond cleaning, to working as an operational dispatcher for cabin services in the American Airlines traffic control center, assign cleaning crews to each incoming aircraft.

Where cabin cleaning required much physical work, being a dispatcher required planning and strategizing for where and when to send cleaners. Unfortunately, management loved my planning skills so much they overworked me. I often felt mistreated—forced to dispatch for eight hours straight without a lunch or a break. When I tried to bring it to the attention of a manager, my complaints would be dismissed. Then new management arrived. They pushed even harder, demanding even more work without breaks, and forced overtime. People were terminated or quit and weren’t replaced. As a dispatcher, I went from having 40 employees (10 crews of four employees) on a shift to having 18 to 20 people (6 crews). But there were still just as many planes to clean.

Fortunately, the contract company again got new management, which was open to hearing from employees. More employees were being hired, and coworkers were getting raises and promotions. In 2018, I approached my manager about returning to school. To my surprise, he said yes. But just as the new semester was starting, our company lost its contract with American Airlines.

I felt stupid. Now I would have neither job nor education. If I could have stayed in school full-time, I would have had my bachelor’s degree in spring 2017.

The airport taught me lessons that school could not—about business, strategizing, work ethics, the value of a dollar (we worked so hard for our money). But I needed to go back to school. After five years cleaning planes at LAX, and never flying on one of them, I’d finally learned what my grandmother meant when she said that your job is temporary, and your education is forever.

Shanice Joseph is a sociology student at Long Beach City College. She has a passion for helping her community and educating others through her writing.

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