Writer and contributor anonymous
The airline industry is definitely one big 'showbiz'. Tsismis, otherwise known as 'gossip' in English, is very rampant in our industry, and I am quite talking about the airline industry as a whole, and not just one in particular. Whether you like it or not, anyone can be a victim to this phenomenon, whether you are a flight attendant or not. I have been flying for more than 6 years and I myself were both a victim and a starter of tsismis.
Tsismis is like social media, it can be fake news or it can be authentic but regardless, people most of the time will believe and share it. They will comment without looking into the real story. Working as a flight attendant for quite a long time, I have seen it's many effects on my colleagues and even on those from other airlines. Our industry is small, trust me. No matter what, one is connected to another.
Okay okay, I know that tsismis is anywhere, regardless of where you work, but I want to focus on my industry and how it is to us as flight attendants.
I once spreaded gossip on a fellow flight attendant because of some conflict we got into during one of our layovers. Basing everything on just pictures and a multitude of tsismis from other friends, I set out a wave of negative words against her. Though I do know for most part of my tsismis, most were just assumptions and nothing concrete, it did have an effect on her as she started ranting on social media. She did not know it was me but the fact she was reacting, she seemed affected and I was happy! She was also "bogged" (an airline term only FAs know) by her seniors who were close to me. Little did I know that years after, things would boomerang.
I will not elaborate anymore on what happened but to make the long story short, I became the spotlight after falling victim to tsismis. Well as first, I shrugged things off because I know myself too well and I know it was not true. It's effects started to creep in as people started messaging me, I received hate messages on social media, I became viral after two people started making "parinig", with their "patama" posts on me. Then when I noticed feeling demotivated and later on, I started to cry. I wanted to be alone during layovers. I am glad that in one of my layovers, a more senior flight attendant became my room mate and I noticed her motherly concern towards me. She was asking why I seemed not so enthusiastic on board, why wasn't I smiling that much, and why I was not with those who are almost my batchmates. From then on, she became my "nanay-nanayan" at work who would constantly give me advices, especially on how to cope with tsismis. I am glad that the period of being affected didn't last so long. I am still flying but I've learned how to stay away from tsismis and this is what I want to share with you now.
Where Tsismis Usually Starts:
Tsismis or chismax or even chika starts from anywhere and any situation. A simple social media post, a picture of you with a person, an unintentional action, a word you say, or even the way you worked, tsismis can all originate from there. All it takes are two people to get the flame rolling. One to light a spark, and another to fuel it. Usually, this really begins from the mouth of one person seeing something "tsismisable" about the other. With no solid evidence or even facts, they quickly write a "novel" about that one single observation. This then gets passed on from one mouth to another, or from one social media page to the next. Screenshots are usually now the best fuel to ignite tsismis. So guys, think before you post okay?
How accurate is tsismis? Well for as long as it goes from one mouth to another, the story gets longer and longer. The more it gets altered too! Try playing the game "pass the message", that is how tsismis works. When it gets back to the source, everything is a whole different story already.
Tsismisan usually happens not only on social media, but most of it happens during our layovers and field reserve duties. Yes we do have our phones with us checking the Instagram and Facebook of others, but that's exactly where tsismis originates at most times. I noticed how my colleagues would talk about fellow cabin crew during my our layovers. Before falling victim to tsismis, I was sometimes the first who is eager to hear one. After, it never became my interest anymore.
Here are the usual sources of tsismis in the airline industry:
Our job requires us to work with different people everyday because our schedule and rostering dictates so. Co-cabin crew, and pilots. A picture in a layover with someone of the opposite sex in a nice place like the Eiffel tower or the London Bridge could right away spark tsismis and next thing you know, either someone is mad at you already or someone asks you if something is going on between you two. Malice could stem from just one picture.
Devastating Effects of Tsismis:
Tsismis may have no or devastating effects on someone else, it depends on how the person may take it. Some are born sensitive, some are born who really don't give a s**t about it, and there are some who are undergoing depression. It's most devastating effect though is it can ruin and destroy families! I know fellow flight attendants who separated with their spouses because of tsismis. No not necessarily that the flight attendant had a third party, but sometimes, the other person goes for a third party after hearing tsismis. It could also destroy relationships between lovers.
One effect I experienced was when my boyfriend decided to split up with me during the height of when I was the subject for tsismis. He decided to believe the gossips. Wow, so much for trust huh! Well, I am happy he is out of my life, especially if one tsismis is enough to make him react that way, and come to think of it, he is even not from the airline industry.
Tsismis can also affect the victim's work inside the aircraft, especially if she or he was placed on "waitil" (I'll have a different topic on that later on) by someone who believed the gossip. Inside the aircraft, we have to indeed work as a team, and it would be hard for a cabin crew victim to work especially around people who knows about the gossip. As I said previously, people takes tsismis differently and some are quite very sensitive to it to the point that even their performance as flight attendants are effected.
Another huge devastating effect of chismis are on people facing depression. One wrong tsismis and it may throw the victim into considering to commit suicide.
Just avoid tsismis if you can:
First of all, choose your close friends in the airline, friends who you can trust. Flight attendants in the Philippines comes from all walks of life. There are some who are raised well, there are some who, no comment nalang, baka machismis nanaman ako. Be friendly to all but do not forget to put a wall until you could completely trust a group of people or a person. The quote "tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are" definitely holds true. If you want to be a tsismosa or tsismoso, hangout with the same types. You'll definitely be one of them later on.
Second, think before posting on social media. Your status, a picture, or a picture you are tagged in could be a source for tsismis so just be mindful of what you put. Please do not post when you are angy, sad, or drunk. Screenshots are your best enemy. You would not also want to be a hot item whenever you sign in for your flight, all the more you would not want to fall to a "pasikatin natin" move.
Third, silence is your best weapon at all times.
Fourth, please do not let tsismis get in your way at work. If you are working with colleagues who "knows" something about you, shrug it off. You do not have to live your life trying to impress each and every soul in this world. Your true friends in the airline knows who you really are and tsismis will not change the way they see you, tandaan ninyo yan.
Tsismis will always be a part of airline culture, especially within us flight attendants. We just have to live with it and accept the fact that we are all prone to it. It's a matter of how to avoid and counter it. Me? I found my self worth, my true friends in the office, and my potential to always be the best flight attendant I can. Some may find ways to ruin me, I have ways to always be better than before.
Always remember that tsismis is just tsismis too. Nothing is true until proven so it's merely one's opinion taken as a fact by others. My advice, get to know yourself more and know your value. No amount of tsismis will destroy your dignity if you know those deep in your hearts.
Lastly, to those who spreads tsismis or gossips, may God bless your hearts.