Expat Career Change

When the sky is not the limit: How I turned my career from Air Hostess to PR Manager while living the expat life

Even if I was enjoying the job, I was open to new opportunities. The airline office had an opening for a PR Manager role and I decided to apply, as the role was relevant to my studies, and I got the job.

73% of women are looking to change careers

According to a survey of 1,500 women run in 2019, 73% of women are looking to change careers. The main reasons are to increase income (32%), to find a job aligned with personal values (16%), and burnout (13%).

When asked what would be the biggest obstacle to career change, 28% of women answered lack of connections in the field of interest, 17% indicated lack of education, and 16% pointed out that they could not afford to take the pay cut that the career change would require.

What would make it easier for women to change careers? 24% of women answered the ability to afford education, followed by access to employer-led education/training (22%). And 19% of women suggested that having access to a career coach service could make them more likely to change their job.

In this new series, we are meeting the career changers, people that dared to change their lives and explore several careers path.

My career change from air hostess to PR Manager

This week Giovanna Gentile, shares her story. She speaks three languages and has a Degree in Communication that helped her to shift her career from Air Hostess to PR Manager while living the expat life. She moved from Italy to London and from London to Paris, where at the moment lives with her family.

Education, languages and moving to London

What is your educational background?

I have a degree in Communication; I studied in Rome. When I moved to London, I took a part-time PR course to be able to improve my PR and Communication skills.

How many languages do you speak?

Italian is my native language, and then I speak English and basic French. The English language and the city of London have always had a special place in my heart. After graduating, I moved to London, and I focused on improving the knowledge of the language. I attended an English school and also had private lessons at home. At that time, I also had an Australian boyfriend, so that helped a lot! Regarding the French language, I am studying that now in Paris, where I relocated last year, with my husband and my first child.

What are the benefits of speaking different languages?

Knowing a foreign language is very important and necessary nowadays, not only to be able to meet and exchange ideas with people from different backgrounds but also for personal and professional purposes. This is particularly true for someone coming from a country where English is not the first language. Learning English was an essential stepping stone in my education. It allowed me to find a job quite easily after moving abroad and also to progress and change my career.

What did you want to become when you were a child? And did you get the job you were after?

I wanted to be a police officer.  But I didn’t become one.

Becoming an air hostess

You then became an air hostess. How was that experience?

As an air hostess, I was based in Rome, Ciampino. It was a great eight months of my life. I met many people, and it was funny to see the passengers from a different perspective. I trained in Pisa for one month, before the final exam.

Which were the pro’s and the cons?

The pros were to work in a pleasant environment with great colleagues. The cons were too many long hours and having to put up with passengers’ requests.

What skills did you learn from this job?

I learnt how to keep calm under stressful situations and to deal with the most disparate people and their requests.

Was the job suitable to your personality?

For a short time, it suited me. It was a pleasant job.

Do you have any funny stories to tell?

Once a passenger asked me if the plane was moving while we were on air; according to her, we were still. On another occasion, a passenger asked me to hold her hand for hours as she was pretty scared.

Shifting career – My air hostess career change

How did you shift career from air hostess to PR Manager?

Even if I was enjoying the job, I was open to new opportunities. The airline office had an opening for a PR Manager role and I decided to apply, as the role was relevant to my studies, and I got the job.

How was your experience as a PR Manager for one of the most famous airline company?

I was based at London Stansted Airport in the airline PR department. I enjoyed it because I was always on the go, travelling to Italy every week to meet journalists and hold press conferences. Unfortunately, after a few years, my role was relocated to Dublin, and I didn’t want to leave London. So I had no choice but to leave the job. After that, I progressed my career as a PR Manager in the travel industry for many years, until I had my first child.

Relocating to Paris after becoming a mum

What happened after that?

I was working part-time but I had to leave my job to relocate to Paris with my family. At the moment I am looking after my child and I am trying to learn French to increase my chances of finding a job.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I really would like to work in PR again, but having the right work-life balance and being able to look after my child are my priorities. I am taking one day at the time, and I don’t overthink about the future. But I can’t deny that having a goal and something to look forward can make the difference.

Why do you think changing a career is a good thing? 

Changing a career or job is vital for your personal and professional growth, especially if you are an ambitious person. It gives you a dynamic mentality and the capacity to adapt to a different environment while using and improving your skills. You also need to have a good reason to change, like an opportunity that you can’t miss.

Did you enjoy reading Giovanna’s air hostess career change? Read other inspirational stories of career changers.

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